What are macros?
Quite simply, “macros” are the macronutrients (protein, carbs, and fat) that make up our food. This is where your dietary calories (energy) come from.
When it comes to weight loss and the food you eat, calories only paint part of the picture. Sure, a sugary donut might taste delicious going down, but its lack of protein and fat (and fiber) will make your blood sugar spike and then crash and burn, leaving you hungry (maybe even hangry) later on. Losing weight is not about slashing calories, avoiding carbs, and eating “sad” salads. A balanced meal, including protein, carbs, and fat takes much longer for your body to digest, which keeps you satisfied longer than carbs and fat alone.
Basically, when building a healthy diet via macro tracking, your goal is to consume a ratio of carbs, protein, and fat that best fuels your body with the right amount of energy. Consuming an optimal macro balance can help you burn fat or build muscle, especially if you opt for nutritious foods over empty calories. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with eating “fun” foods on occasion. Macros actually give you the “food freedom” to enjoy your favorites while having a framework in place to keep your diet balanced to also work towards your goals.
All of the calories that we eat come from either carbohydrates, fat, protein, or alcohol.
There are 4 calories in every gram of carbohydrate.
There are 4 calories in every gram of protein.
There are 7 calories in every gram of alcohol
And, there are 9 calories in every gram of fat.
Aside from alcohol, the body needs all of these (carbs, protein, and fat) to function.
Protein is needed in the body in order to build and repair tissues, carry oxygen in the blood, and maintain a healthy immune system. It provides the building blocks for important hormones and digestive enzymes.
Protein is also important for blood sugar control and keeps you feeling fuller for longer periods of time. That is why it is recommended that every meal (and snack) should contain some form of protein.
Fat is needed in our diets in order to provide us with energy, make and balance hormones, form cell membranes, form our brain and nervous system, transport vitamins, and give us omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids that we can’t make on our own.
Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for our bodies. Carbs are organic molecules typically classified according to their structure: simple and complex.
However, all carbohydrates we consume are broken down into simple sugars before they’re absorbed by the body, regardless of whether the food source is a simple sugar cube or a high-fiber bowl of oatmeal.
Why should you track macros?
It helps you find out how much food is appropriate for your activity level.
It helps you find “food freedom” so you can stop feeling guilty about
It provides you with a framework for your diet instead of feeling like
you have no control.
It helps you ditch the idea that restrictive diets are the only way
for you to lose weight.
It gets a plan in motion since you have achievable goals to aim for each day.
It keeps you accountable and moving forward with a daily reminder of your goals.
It allows you to set new goals for yourself.