What is Macro-Counting?
There's a decent chance you've heard the term macro-counting before, but maybe you don't know exactly all that means. Counting macros is a newer method of losing, maintaining or gaining weight based on counting macro-nutrients. The three macro-nutrients being carbs, fats and protein.
To be clear, this is not meant only as a means to lose weight, though many people that count macros are hoping to lose weight. It's a method also used by body-builders to build muscle, competitors to cut for competition and for people who just want to maintain a balanced diet overall but aren't necessarily looking to gain or lose weight.
The Three Macros
Carbs - Carbohydrates are probably my favorite macro because who doesn't love rice, beans and bread? Really though, the main reason I love carbs is they are 100% necessary for energy. A diet of primarily protein and fats will likely leave you feeling weak and dizzy.
Fats - Fats help your body absorb the necessary vitamins and micro-nutrients. This makes them very important to your overall health. That said, fats are about double the calories per gram compared to carbs and protein, so watch your fats if you're trying to lose weight
Protein - Protein is another energy-based macro but it also helps you build muscle. Someone hoping to bulk up for a competition might consider eating more protein than someone losing or maintaining weight. Protein is also essential and important for anyone sick or with blood sugar issues.
Why Count Macros?
There are a couple of reasons to count macros. My primary reason is to maintain a well-balanced diet. I tend to crave carbs and protein and wouldn't eat enough fats were I not paying attention to them. While this would be okay for overall weight loss, my body wouldn't be absorbing the necessary micro-nutrients.
Another reason to count macros would be to help aid in achieving your fitness goals. Macros can be adjusted according to your specific goals. For example, if you want to lose weight you'd adjust your macros based on an overall calorie deficit. I'll explain more on how to count macros next.
How to Count Macros
Food is made up of carbs, fats and protein. Not all food has all three, but most have at least two of the three. Ideally you'd use a scale to measure out and get the correct ounces of your food and from there you can determine the corresponding carbs, fats and protein depending on that foods' nutrition facts.
As a general rule, 1 gram of carbs = 4 calories, 1 gram of protein = 4 calories and 1 gram of fat = 9 calories. Based on your daily caloric intake you'd calculate based off of percentages how many grams of each you should be eating. As an example, take a 1500 calorie daily intake at 45% carbs, 30% fats and 25% protein:
Carbs = 675 calories or 169 grams
Fats = 450 calories or 50 grams
Protein = 375 calories or 94 grams
These are all based on example calculations. If you would like personalized macros it's important to consult with a health coach or nutritionist.
If you have any questions or would like any additional information on macro-counting email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.