In recent years, the macro diet has gained a huge popularity, especially among people looking to lose weight. Before the diet, the traditional method through which people lose weight is to eat fewer calories than they burn every day, therefore creating a calorie deficit. But in the real sense, does counting calories tells us anything about how balanced our diet should be? No. it only focuses on cutting down our calorie intake even when those foods are not healthy for us.
However, fitness-conscious people have found a far better alternative to calorie counting – and that is counting macros. Whether what you want is to lose weight or build some body mass, you can tailor macro diet to fit your goals.
What exactly is the Macro Diet?
The word ‘macros’ is a short form of macronutrients, which comprises three categories of foods; protein, carbohydrates, and fats. Foods eaten are divided up into a combination of these three classes of foods, and that’s how calorie content is made in the first place.
While one gram of fat contains 9 calories, a gram of carbohydrate and protein both contain 4 calories. So whether you want to bulk up or shed some pounds, combining calorie counting with the macro diet makes it easier for you to get the optimum result.
Why Do You Need to Count Your Macros?
If your goal is to lose weight, it will be a great idea for you to count your macros. Weight loss is a game of calories, and when you take the step to count your macros, you are also excellently accounting for your calories, which thus results in easy and natural weight loss.
Following your macro diet plan to the letters also means you are creating a calorie deficit – which is how weight loss happens in the first place.
How Do You Start Counting Macros?
There are different ways available for you to count your macros. But whichever one of the available one you choose, one thing is certain, you will be doing some math and lots of it. Outlined below are three steps to help you demystify the whole process of counting macros.
- Determine your daily calorie requirement
There is a certain amount of calories you need daily for your body to function well and allow you to perform your daily activities. This is usually dependent on your weight, gender, and how active you are. In order to lose weight, you are required to eat fewer calories than you burn. This helps to put your body on a calorie deficit. At the same time, if your goal is to bulk up, you will need to eat more calories than you burn.
Not sure how much calories you need? There are several online calculators that can help you out. These calculators typically use your gender, weight, height, and activity level to calculate your daily calorie requirement.
When you know how many calories you need, then you can either add or subtract a certain amount of calories from it, depending on whether you want to lose or gain.
- Determine how you want to ‘budget’ those calories into macros
Again, you will need to consider your goal. Adults are recommended to try to get around 45-65% of their daily calories from carbs, 20-35% from fat, and 10-35% from protein. But if you are looking to lose weight, you are required to get about 40% of your calories from protein for obvious reasons.
However, even as you are expected to eat lots of protein to lose weight, it is recommended you focus on getting your protein from plant-based sources rather than from red meats.
- Convert your calories into grams and count
Since you know that one gram of protein and barbs contain 4 calories and one gram of fat is 9 calories, it won’t be difficult for you to convert your budgeted calories into grams. If you still don’t know how, simply divide your carbs and protein calories by 4 and your fat calories by 9. Then count the macros of every of the food you eat. You can do that using online calculators or do that on paper.
What Macros Should You Eat to Lose Weight?
If you want to lose weight, you will need to count your macros in such a way that you are also cutting calories. So, after determining your daily calorie requirement, then budget your calories into macros thus: make your daily calorie 40-50% protein, 10-30% carbs, and 30-40% fat.
You can then adjust this accordingly. For example, you may need to increase your carbs intake if you are the active type because you will need more energy to do your things. A typical example here: if you exercise 5 days a week, you will need to take around 450 grams of carbs every day.
What Should Your Macros Look Like to Build Muscle?
If you are going on the macros diet to build some lean muscles, you will be required to add to your overall calories. This is a good ratio to follow: get 25-35% of your daily calories from protein, 40-60% from carbs, and 15-25% from fat. While you need to eat lots of protein to build muscles and pack on some lean mass, overdoing fat can prevent you from gaining the muscles you want.
But going by way of counting macros, it is much easier to get the hang of how your foods are affecting your overall results.