Counting calories is a frequent way to fitness tracking because it can help you make sure you're getting the proper amount of food for your body each day. But there's something more to keep care of, whether you're trying to reach a fitness goal or just want to stay healthy: macronutrients. To genuinely have a balanced diet, you must consume a variety of nutrients that provide energy to your body and aid digestion. This can help you achieve your health objectives faster than focusing solely on calories.
For a variety of reasons, tracking macros rather than calories is beneficial. This approach of meal journaling can assist you in determining which foods make you feel good or unpleasant, which foods increase athletic performance, and which foods help you focus or drag. Counting macros can also aid in the long-term transition of your present eating habits to better ones.
For this technique, you'll need to learn how to read a nutrition information label, but the rewards far outweigh the effort it takes to comprehend the idea of a macro diet.
Which macronutrients are there?
Macronutrients are huge molecules that we require to simply survive, commonly known as the primary nutrients. Micronutrients, on the other hand, are compounds like vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes that are required in much lower amounts.
Carbohydrates, proteins, and fats are the three macronutrients. Regardless of fad diets, you require all three: You run the danger of vitamin shortages and sickness if you eliminate any one macronutrient.
Carbohydrates provide immediate energy. Whenever you consume carbohydrates, your body transforms them to glucose (sugar), which it either uses right away or stores as glycogen for later use, which happens frequently during exercise and in between meals. Complex carbs, such as starchy vegetables and whole grains, are abundant in dietary fibre and hence enhance digestive health.
Protein aids in growth, injury repair, muscle building, and infection defence, to name a few roles. Proteins are made up of amino acids, which are the basic building block of so many of your body's components. You need 20 different amino acids, nine of which are essential amino acids that your body cannot generate and must be received through diet.
Poultry, meat, fish, soy, yoghurt, cheese, and other dairy items are all high in protein. If you follow a plant-based diet, you can get protein from carbs, vegetables, and legumes.
Dietary fat is necessary for your body to perform its various functions. Fat is required to absorb fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K), as well as to insulate your body during cold conditions and to go long periods without eating. Dietary fat also protects your organs, promotes cell growth, and stimulates the synthesis of hormones.
What is the calorie content of each macronutrient?
Each macronutrient has a calorie value per gram that is as follows:
- Carbohydrates have a calorie count of four per gram.
- Proteins have a calorie content of 4 per gram.
- Each gram of fat contains 9 calories.
How many macronutrients should I consume?
This question has no definitive answer: Every individual is unique, and as a result, everyone's preferred macronutrient consumption will differ. The federal dietary recommendations, on the other hand, prescribe the following macronutrient ratio:
- Carbohydrate content ranges from 45 to 60%.
- Fats in the range of 20% to 35%
- Protein consumes the rest of the ratio
Carbohydrates are the body's primary fuel source and the easiest macronutrient for the body to convert from food to energy, according to the federal recommendation. You now have a better understanding of macro and micronutrients and their calorie content.
Your macronutrient ratio is determined by your overall health and wellness, as well as how your body reacts to different foods. Many people thrive on a low-carb diet, for example, but the idea of a low-carb diet makes me shiver. When I eat roughly 50% carbohydrates, I perform at my best.
Similarly, while you may thrive on a high-protein diet, someone else may develop stomach issues as a result of eating too much protein.
It's worth noting that some people, particularly those following the ketogenic diet, count net carbs rather than total carbs. Subtract the grams of fibre from the total grams of carbs to get net carbs. What's the point of counting net carbs? Fiber is not digested by our bodies; thus it is not absorbed by the small intestine and does not offer energy to the body. Fiber calories aren't really counted in this way.
How do you figure out how many macros you'll need?
You now have a better understanding of macro and micronutrients and their calorie content. You'll then need to do some math. Because your intake ratio is represented in percentages, while nutrition data is given in grams, this is the case. As an example, let's look at my macronutrient intake.
- You must first determine how many calories you consume (or desire) each day. I consume approximately 2,300 calories every day.
- Next, figure out what your optimal ratio is. I prefer a 50:25:25
- Multiply your total daily calories by the percentages you calculated before.
- Finally, multiply your calorie totals by their calorie-per-gram value.
Here's how I'd figure out how many calories I'd need for each macronutrient:
- Carbohydrates: 2,300 divided by 0.50 equals 1,150. Every day, I consume 1,150 calories in carbs (hello, extra slice of toast).
- Protein: 2,300 multiplied by 0.25 equals 575 calories, thus I receive 575 calories of protein.
- Fats: 2,300 divided by 0.25 is 575 calories. I also receive 575 calories from fat in my diet.
To get at the actual gram amounts, use the following formula:
- Carbohydrates (four calories per gram): 1,150 divided by four is 287.5 grams.
- 575 divided by 4 yields 143.75 grams of protein (four calories per gram).
- 575 divided by 9 equals 63.8 grams of fat (nine calories per gram).
Don't worry if you dislike arithmetic. There are a variety of macronutrient calculators available on the internet that will do the arithmetic for you.
To be healthy, reduce weight, gain muscle, or achieve any other health objective, you don't need to track macros. The only time you should track macros is if your doctor has advised you to do so.
In fact, recording every mouthful can be tedious and time-consuming, but it's
worth noting that if you make it a habit, you'll get very adept at eyeballing quantities.
Macro tracking can be beneficial for a variety of reasons, including preparing for a bodybuilding competition or improving sports performance. It's also useful if you want to practise "flexible dieting," which is eating whatever meals you choose as long as they fit into your macronutrient ratio.