Myths vs Facts About Macronutrients

Wednesday, Jun 30  •  


Written by Maddie McRoberts,
Dietician at Avalon Hills

It is no secret that one of the most prevalent fad diets in 2021 is counting macronutrients. Many eating disorders start with counting macronutrients and often lead to a fear of certain food groups. At Avalon Hills, we incorporate a variety of food groups including all macronutrients. To understand macronutrients, it is important to understand how they help our body, why we should include all nutrients into our food repertoire, and to dispel the myths surrounding macronutrients.


Myth: Carbohydrates cause weight gain.

Fact: Carbohydrates provide essential glucose for our body and brain to function properly.

Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy. Without carbohydrates, the body starts to break down muscle to fuel itself. This can lead to decreased movement, greater risk for health problems, and difficulty utilizing brain function. Without the essential energy, the brain is not able to function properly. If there is an excess amount of carbohydrates, the body will store the glucose for future use when energy is needed. You should have 45-65% of your total daily intake from carbohydrates to produce adequate amounts of energy.


Myth: All fat is bad for my health.

Fact: Many fats actually help to lower cholesterol levels, increase satiety, slow digestion, and increase absorption of fat-soluble vitamins.

Unsaturated fats are a great source of dietary fat. These fats help to lower LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol and help to protect against heart disease. Other forms of fat are still needed in the diet to help perform essential roles in the body such as protecting organs and promoting brain function. Fats stay in the digestive tract longer than most other nutrients causing increased satiety and slower digestion. Consumption of fats also provide essential fatty acids and fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A,D,E,K) that are essential for overall health. You should have 20-35% of your total daily intake from fats for your body to function properly.


Myth: I need to have most of my intake from protein vs carbohydrates to promote weight loss and gain muscle.

Fact: Protein should consist of 10-35% of your total daily intake for optimal health vs 45-65% of your total daily intake from carbohydrates.

Protein is optimal in promoting satiety, muscle repair, glucose, and hormone regulation, but the average American is able to consume adequate amounts of protein from their diet without supplementing protein or consuming most of their intake from protein. Protein consumed in the diet will aid in muscle repair but does not mean increased muscle gain or weight loss. Protein should be used for muscle repair when exercising, but not in excess. Protein in excess can cause a buildup in nitrogen which can be detrimental to health. High protein diets do not have adequate research to promote the increase in protein vs carbohydrates. Although protein provides many essential functions, higher amounts of protein vs carbohydrates does not aid in energy production. Additionally, the body is only able to store 20-30 grams of protein at a time leading the excess to be stored elsewhere. Protein is essential to aid in many body functions, but should not be seen as the main source of intake. Protein should consist of 10-35% of your total daily intake for optimal use.