Protein is by far the most important macronutrient that you need to consume daily if you play sports or exercise regularly. If you want to build muscle, you need adequate protein intake since it is the main ingredient in the growth and repair of bodily tissue. If you do not eat enough protein you will not gain muscle and can actually lose it if you are in a calorie deficit. Get in 1g for every lb of body weight that you have and you will be eating enough.
Animal products are usually considered the best sources of complete protein. Meat, dairy, eggs, and protein powders are your best bet for the highest quality protein. However, some vegan sources are also high in protein, like pea protein, protein found in beans, and soy products.
Even though the media has created an anti-carb craze for your health, they are actually very important to the overall healthy functioning of your body. They are not the enemy for fat loss either. It's simple – hit your protein goals and your calorie goals and you can have a lot of carbs and still see results! They provide quick energy (sugars) and sustained energy (starches) to fuel your body throughout the day.
The best sources of carbs are dependent on what you need for the day. Eat some fruit if you want a little boost during your workouts or even when you wake up every morning to start the day right. If you don't have any major physical activities planned, stick with complex carbs like brown rice and whole wheat pasta!
Fats contain 9 calories per gram, more than double of the other macros. Fat is important for hormone regulation and a ton of other health issues. The important thing to know is what is good fat and what is bad fat. Mono and Polyunsaturated fats are the most beneficial fat sources. While saturated fat is usually labeled as a bad fat, it is necessary and beneficial to get in around 25g per day. The one fat that you need to avoid in your daily diet is trans fats.
Nuts and fish are some of the best sources of healthy fats. Nut butters are a great way to boost your healthy fat levels and still feel like you are getting a nice treat. Omega 3 fatty acids are easy to get if you eat fish daily. If you don't, there are fish oil supplements that you can take. Saturated fats, for the most part, come from animal products. This kind of fat needs to be limited to ensure proper body function and overall health. Trans fats are in most processed foods, even if the label says no trans fat per serving. If you avoid everything but natural foods, you are basically good to go!
So there it is, a nice breakdown of the three macros and how they fit into your diet and healthy life. The key to dieting success is always balance. Don't forget to track your daily calories and track your weight as well.