What is the Ideal Macronutrient Intake for Women?

A woman’s nutritional needs vary from that of a man and it is necessary to know the nuances of counting macronutrients to stay nourished and healthy, without depriving the body of essential nutrients. Here’s what you need to know about the ideal macronutrient intake for women.

What Are Macronutrients?

Macronutrients are chemical substances that are mandatory for sustaining the body and are usually required in large quantities. Macronutrients include carbohydrates, fats and proteins, and these work together to fuel the body.

It is important to understand how much of each component your body needs, and gender is only one of the factors that determines macronutrient consumption. Other factors like age, activity levels and calorie requirements all play a part.

Ideal Macronutrient Intake for Women

Studies show that adult women need anywhere between 1,600 and 2,400 calories per day while men should consume between 2,000 and 3,000 calories for optimum weight. This range, of course, varies based on age, physical activity and overall health of the individual.

Science has taught us that carbohydrates are the main source of energy at a cellular level, and foods containing carbohydrates are digested and converted into glucose. One gram of carbohydrates provides four calories, and it is suggested that about 45 to 65 percent of calories should come from carbohydrates. Some of the best sources of carbohydrates include whole foods like fruits, vegetables like squashes and potatoes, beans and whole grains like brown rice, oats and quinoa.

Proteins are the main structural component of organs, tissues, skin and cells. In the absence of fats and carbohydrates, the body uses proteins for energy too, and it is recommended that at least 10 to 35 percent of calories should come from proteins. Common protein sources include nuts, vegetables, grains, lean meats, eggs and dairy products.

Fats have a bad rep because of their ability to cause weight gain and clog arteries, but that might be changing now in the light of the latest Ketogenic diet, which is a high-fat, low carb diet. Fats are also an integral part of a healthy diet when taken in moderation, of course. They are a source of energy and also help pad the organs and control body temperature. It is recommended to get 20 to 35 percent of calories from fat. Good sources of healthy fats include avocados, olives, dark chocolate, sunflower oil, flaxseed and flaxseed oil.

With apps available for just about everything, you can find one that works right for you to help you calculate your ideal macronutrient intake and log each meal to keep track of your calories.

Do Women Need More Carbs Than Men?

There used to be a notion that women needed more carbs owing to the constant hormone fluctuations they undergo throughout their life, from menstruation to menopause and after. But recent studies show that a woman’s body seems to prefer fats as a fuel over carbs. A woman’s body also tends to oxidize more fat both during exercise and also while at rest.

Even though some studies show that women need more fats than carbs, the ideal macronutrient intake relies on the individual’s nutritional needs. Eating right for you and exercising regularly will help you in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.


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What Are Macronutrients? Their Importance & Best Sources. (2018, July 02). Retrieved from https://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/what-are-macronutrients/

Want a healthy macronutrient ratio? Do the exact opposite of what you’ve been told. (2016, May 18). Retrieved from http://paleoforwomen.com/want-a-healthy-macronutrient-ratio/

Anne, M. (2018, June 11). Do Women Require Different Macronutrients Than Men? Retrieved from http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/women-require-different-macronutrients-men-3709.html