What Are the 5 Main Macronutrients?

Medically Reviewed on 7/7/2022
5 Main Macronutrients
Carbs, protein, fat, fiber, and water are all macronutrients that fuel biological processes and give structural and functional support.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, carbohydrates, fats, proteins, fiber, and water are among the five main types of macronutrients. These elements are necessary for the body's cellular processes including metabolism, growth, and repair.


Carbohydrates are compounds made up of carbon atoms, hydrogen atoms, and oxygen. Almost every food item you consume contains carbohydrates.

Carbs account for up to 65 percent of your daily calorie consumption.

Carbohydrates are necessary for the efficient functioning of the muscles, kidneys, central nervous system, and brain. The liver and muscles are typically where these carbs are stored for eventual usage as energy.

Bread, wheat, potatoes of various types, grains, rice, cassava, "Shiro," pasta, macaroni, "kocho," bananas, sweets, sugarcane, sweet fruits, and honey are major sources of carbs. Although in smaller proportions, other foods including vegetables, beans, nuts, and seeds also contain carbs.

Classification of carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are divided into three classes based on the number of sugar units they contain—monosaccharides, disaccharides, and polysaccharides. To be able to provide people with particular needs, such as diabetes, with relevant details, you must be aware of the many types of carbohydrates (when someone has problems controlling their body's glucose levels).

  • Simple carbohydrates: Your body can easily use basic sugars or simple carbs. Due to this, individuals with diabetes mellitus should limit their intake of these carbs. Sugar, honey, sweet foods, and sugarcane are some examples.
  • Complex carbohydrates: Polysaccharides are referred to as complex carbohydrates and must be converted into simple sugars to be used by our bodies. Individuals with diabetes can eat them in moderation. Starch and cellulose are two examples.


Protein should make up 10 to 35 percent of calories. We require proteins in our diets to support immune system health and growth (which are crucial for children, teenagers, and pregnant women in particular). Additionally, they are crucial for tissue repair, maintaining lean muscle mass, producing vital hormones and enzymes, and providing energy when carbs are scarce.

Pregnant women require protein for the formation of the fetus and placentas and to produce more blood. Mothers who are nursing require protein to produce breastmilk.


For young toddlers who require a lot of energy-rich food, fats and oils are crucial nutrients because they are concentrated sources of energy. Fats can enhance the flavor and satisfaction of meals. Meat, poultry, dairy products, butter, cream, avocado, cooking oils and fats, cheese, fish, and ground nuts all include fat.

Classification of fats

Saturated and unsaturated fats are the two types of fats. Your ability to inform your community about which fats may be ingested with less harm to people's health depends on the classification. Healthy people avoid consuming saturated fats.

  • Trans fat: Dietary trans fat should be eliminated. The majority of trans fat is produced by hydrogenating or giving unsaturated lipids a hydrogen molecule. Hydrogenated oil is the result of this, which can be discovered in fried meals, baked products, doughs, margarine, and shortening. If trans fat is included on the label, it should be avoided.
  • Saturated fats: Typically, saturated fats are solid at cold temperatures. Consuming excessive saturated fat can lead to heart and blood vessel issues, which is bad for one's health.
  • Unsaturated fats: At room temperature, unsaturated fats are often liquid. These particular fats are good for you. Breastmilk, sesame and sunflower oils, maize oil, ground nut oil, and lipids from fish are other examples.

Healthy fat sources include:

  • Butter made from nuts
  • Dairy products with fat
  • Oils from vegetables
  • Seeds

Salmon, sardines, trout, and fresh tuna are examples of oily fish.


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A 50-kg adult has about 31 L of water and a 10-kg infant younger than one year contains roughly 8 L of water as a part of their body composition. 

People can go without solid food for a few weeks, but they cannot survive longer than a few days without water. Each day, an adult requires roughly 2 to 3 L of water. Giving fluids is crucial in situations where people lose a lot of water, such as when they have diarrhea.

Life is dependent on water. We require water for several reasons, including:

  • For cellular functioning and repair
  • To cool the body by sweating
  • To keep the lining of the mouth, intestines, eyelids, and lungs moist and healthy
  • To produce urine, which removes waste from the body


It is made up of various carbohydrates that pass through the colon almost undigested rather than being digested like other nutrients. Foods high in fiber include "kocho," whole-grain cereals such as wheat flour and refined corn or sorghum, as well as fruits and vegetables such as bananas, avocados, carrots, and cassava.

Consumption of dietary fiber

For the following reasons, fiber should be a part of your diet

  • Fiber gives food bulk or size, which might encourage someone who is overweight to eat fewer calories.
  • Fiber delays nutrient absorption, allowing nutrients to enter the bloodstream more gradually.
  • Fiber makes feces soft and thick, which can help avoid constipation.

Bottom line

Carbs, protein, fat, fiber, and water are all macronutrients. They fuel biological processes and give structural and functional support.

According to current recommendations, you should consume between 45 and 65 percent of your daily calories as carbohydrates, 10 to 35 percent as protein, and 20 to 35 percent as fat. However, every person has different needs.

Eat a balanced diet with sources of carbohydrates, protein, and fat at each meal to make sure you are getting enough micronutrients from your meals.

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Medically Reviewed on 7/7/2022
Image Source: iStock image

What Are Macronutrients? https://www.webmd.com/diet/what-are-macronutrients

Macronutrients and Human Health for the 21st Century: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7468865/

Carbohydrates: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/15416-carbohydrates#:~:text=Sugars%2C%20starches%20and%20fiber%20are,these%20macronutrients%20to%20stay%20healthy.