Dieting is a great struggle for various people. Of course, as you start to restrict something from your diet, all you think is how much you want of that food.
Most diet plans like Paleo and Keto reduces or eliminates the intake of certain foodstuffs. These diets will reduce your weight, still, they can be difficult as well as frustrating to maintain. By restrictive diets, you cannot get proper portions of food especially when you return to a less restrictive diet. This might help you to regain weight easily.
Macro tracking, when done, effectively and correctly is the best alternative to restrictive dieting. Now, this might not be right for every individual, still tracking your macronutrients will help in maintaining a proper calorie intake for your diet goals. Also, it will change the body composition without feeling hungry and sluggish or being restrictive.
What Is Macro Dieting?
First and foremost, it is important to know what you count is super important. In short, a macro is a short form for macronutrients. Macronutrients are basically three categories of nutrients you consume. They provide you with most of the energy and the nutrients are carbohydrates, protein, and fats. When you are counting the macros, you are counting the grams of carbs, proteins, and fat that you are consuming.
Do you know that each of the macronutrients serves various purposes in your body? Let us check out –
Proteins or amino acids are necessary for building muscle tissues. They help in boosting our immune system and can make you feel full for a long time. There nine major amino acids the human body cannot produce on its own. It must obtain them from dietary sources, found in poultry, meat, legumes, fish, nuts, and eggs.
Each gram of protein is equal to four calories. As per various studies, it is stated that protein makes up to ten to thirty-five percent of your daily calorie intake. Here if you are consuming 2,000 calories each day, the protein will be 200 to 700 calories of your diet. This equals to somewhere around 60 to 10 grams of proteins.
For adults, it is mandatory to consume around 0.8 grams of proteins per 2.2 pounds of body weight each day. Most people need to consume between 1 and 1.2 grams of protein for 2.2 pounds of body weight. If you are weighing 160 pounds, you would be consuming 72 to 87 grams of proteins each day.
Carbohydrates are fibres, sugar, and starches that provide your body with the required amount of glucose. This is converted into energy. Carbohydrates come in two forms simple and complex. The simple carbs are found in white bread and high-sugary food items. Not only they provide quick energy, but they also provide less satiety.
Concerning complex carbs, they are present in fruits, whole grains, and vegetables. They provide high fibre and vitamins that help in digestion and keep your stomach full.
Lipids or fat consists of phospholipids, triglycerides, and sterols. Fats are divided into saturated, trans, and polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fats. Unsaturated fats are healthy fats, while unsaturated fats will increase one’s bad cholesterol; however, consuming them in moderation is fine.
Now trans-fat is man-made and not highly recommended for day to day dietary intake. Here the best sources of healthy fat are olive oil, fish, seeds, and nuts. Each gram of fat will be equal to nine calories. Also, it is recommended that 20 to 30 percent of your total calories need to come from fat sources.
Is Counting Calories Similar to Counting Macros?
Basically, counting calories is not like tracking your macronutrients. Also, the calories in, calories out approach (CICO) alone cannot be of any help in providing the details of the balance of carbohydrates, fat, and proteins present in the food that you consume.
Well, macros zero are based on the composition of your daily calories. You can easily alter each one of them for getting a healthful impact. For example, you might unknowingly gain 70% of your daily calories from carbs based on the CICO. This will make you feel much more different compared to the 70% that came from healthy fat. By tracking, you can gain the source of imbalance and even be able to adjust accordingly.
Individuals counting calories along will not be able to view the meaningful results, especially in their diet. If you are planning on tracking what you want to eat, start counting the macronutrients as it would be a productive approach for gaining your health goals. Also, by focusing on the quality of macros, you can increase the fat-burning potential along with naturally regulating the number of calories you can consume.
It Might Sound Like A Lot of Work, Is It Worth It?
This is up to you to decide. Macro counting is beat as it is not just a one-size-fits-all plan. Most commonly, it is termed as ‘flexible dieting’ as you are eating real foodstuffs, and they are not depriving your body.
Some people counting their macros would use the acronym like ‘IIFYM’ or ‘If It Fits Your Macros’. Here it means you can eat it if it is fitting to your macros diet. Now, can you cheat the system to have a bunch of cookies or anything else? Well, the answer is no. However, you have the option to have one cookie or two occasionally. Will you see success? Yes! You must realize that there are no ‘cheat’ foods especially when you are counting macros. Here you need to move some macros around to make it a fit one.
Counting macros can help you –
- Maintain lean muscle mass
- Lose stubborn fat
- Keep your body satisfied
However, just you are counting macros, it does not mean you are eating healthy. Frankly, this is the major downside that experts see in this so-called flexible diet method.
Of course, you are hitting your macro goals without adding a single veggie into your diet. Now due to this, you must make sure that you are focusing on what you are adding into your body and that too not in terms of numbers.
Health experts feel that focusing on macronutrients is a good place to begin. Every food that we consume is somewhat made up of a certain ratio of carbs, proteins, and fats. These are the building blocks providing and fuelling our lives.
Key Benefits of Counting Macros for Your Diet
Get to Learn More About Your Food
Some of you might not have tracking macros. Learning the ratios of proteins, fat, and carbohydrates in what you are consuming will provide you huge details regarding your dietary habits. Hence, after a few days, you would realize that you are just consuming carbohydrates or more amount of proteins that you need. Plus, adjusting their level will make you more energized all around the day.
Customization and Flexibility
Regarding macros, there is no one-size-fits-all plan. Based on various unique health goals, you would be able to manipulate them for gaining a different kind of effects. When special occasions come around, you can plan around them, ensuring that you participate in the various festivals without making your diet go off track. Such type of flexibility will help you stick to the long-term eating plan.
Getting More Balance to Your Diet
Now unlike certain restrictive diets, here counting your macros will not force you in removing the whole food groups. Rather it would help you to focus on getting the best balance of nutrients to amp the performance of yours.
When you have balanced macronutrients, you can overcome the issues with overeating in a single macro category like feeling fatigued after having too many carbs, feeling constipated from a lot of fat, and not having enough fibre.
Managing Medical Conditions
Certain research is suggesting that managing macros can assist individuals in handling various chronic diseases. Here even studies show the benefits of handling macronutrients for conditions like cancer, diabetes, and polycystic ovary syndrome. To gain the best results, it is better if you consult your healthcare team. They will assist you in finding out how to safely manage the macros and whether you have any kind of medical condition.
Difference Between Macros and Micros
The word macro comes from the Greek word macros, meaning large. In terms of nutrition, macros are measured in grams like a gram of proteins and fat. There are various macros-based diet that classifies macronutrients in three major ways –
- Carbohydrates –This is commonly found in food items like pasta, bread, and fruits, thereby providing four calories per gram.
- Fats – You can find fat in foodstuffs like nuts, oil, and meat. This provides nine calories per gram
- Proteins – Most of the proteins are found in fish, eggs, and tofu. They provide four calories per gram.
Certain diets classify alcohol as a macronutrient providing seven calories per gram. As alcohol has exceedingly small nutritional value compared to the other three major categories, certain diets won’t include it. Most of the time, micros are just smaller measured values in nutrition. Here micro comes from the Greek word micros, and this means small. You can easily measure micronutrients in micrograms or even milligrams.
There are various kinds of micronutrients present in the food that one eats. This is commonly found in vegetables and fruits that have plenty of minerals and vitamins. Here micronutrients are present in or the examples of them are –
- Vitamin B-6
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin C
Most of the macronutrient foodstuffs have various micronutrients. Most people will not utilize the micronutrient approach for dieting as it will be difficult for measuring and tracking.
How Does Macro Nutrient Works?
People are using various approaches when it concerns the daily consumption of macronutrients. Health experts and dieticians recommend the following categories for macronutrients –
- 45 to 65% of calories from carbohydrates
- 20 to 35% of calories from fat
- 10 to 35% of calories from protein
Now individuals counting the macros as a dietary approach would first begin on how much energy is required in terms of calories every day. After that, they would decide on what percentage of calories is available from each food group based on what they eat and goals.
For example, bodybuilders looking for creating muscles will eat a high percentage of protein, as they are the building block of muscles. Also, those people that are closely monitoring their blood sugar would consume carbohydrates at a low percentage as they are trying to maintain blood sugar.
Here most of the scientific research based on macronutrients consists of tracking the person’s diet and breaking it into macronutrients. Well, this is quite different from asking individuals to follow a kind of macronutrient and asking them to lose weight or achieve other goals.
Is Macro Real or Hype?
Frankly, there is not any long-term research done in terms of the specific macro diet. This is the same as the effectiveness of weight loss, glycemic index control, and weight control. Certain people are arguing that there is not any kind of specific macro diet, as such diets are simply based on the idea that macros are adjustable.
Basically, a keto diet is low in carbohydrates and even a low-fat diet is based on a two macros approach that has a different kind of daily food plan. With the assistance of a dietician, you can easily work for determining what might be the good ratio for macros, especially for the health goals.
Certain health experts would advocate the usage of a macro-based approach for dieting as it will not restrict from consuming certain food items in your diet. Here you must keep in mind that no food is forbidden. It would have to fit in the macro percentage that you are consuming.
Consult with Experts
It is great if you are going to follow a macro diet. At times if you really want to gain the desired results, you might have to consult your doctor or dieticians. A nutrition expert or dietician will recommend adjusting your macronutrient percentage of the diet. This will be based on your entire health as well as dietary goals. Therefore, you have more chances of gaining your health and diet goals with expert advice.