Macros. Counting macros. Tracking macro. Macros-based meal plans. Macronutrient ratios.
You may have seen these terms on social media or heard about them from a friend. But what in the world are macros anyway? And why do they matter?
“Macros” is short for “macronutrients”. The three commonly accepted macronutrients are carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Each type of macronutrient contains calories, so your total calorie consumption is split among these three. When you track or count macros, you’re trying to eat a specific number of grams of each macro per day, which adds up to a specific number of calories. Which macros you work to eat more or less of will depend on your current weight, body fat percentage, goals, and diet history. Each of the macros are important.
Protein! This is the missing piece for so many people who are trying to lose weight. When you say you want to lose weight, what you mean is that you want to lose fat…and retain your muscle mass. Protein assists in building and maintaining muscle, but it also helps keep you full…which is super important if you are restricting calories.
Carbs! This is the missing piece for so many people who are trying to lose weight. Oh, wait, that was protein, right? Yes…but carbs are important too. Low carb diets CAN work, but if eating low-carb is not sustainable in the long term for you, then don’t try to cut out those carbs. Instead you can manage your carbs to lose weight. Your body utilizes carbs as its most efficient source of energy, especially when working out hard! If you are an extremely active person, you’ll need more carbs and less fat.
Fat! We need dietary fat to aid in absorption of vitamins, hormone production, and more. Fats are not bad, but again, it’s a matter of balancing and managing them. Fat is easy to over-eat, because it’s calorie-dense without taking up much space in your stomach or on your plate. If you’re fairly sedentary, you’ll need less carbs and more fat.
Ready to try eating according to the numbers? There are a variety of online calculators that can assist you in setting your macros, or you can hire a health professional or nutritionist to provide you with custom macros.