You’ve probably already heard of calories and how lowering overall caloric intake can help you lose weight, but have you heard of counting macros?
Macros, formally known as ‘macronutrients’ – are essentially the building blocks of nutrition. Made up of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, they are what makes up your calories.
What makes up your daily caloric intake:
Total Daily Calories = Fat + Protein + Carbohydrates
Let’s break that down a little bit more, what do they really mean?
Fat : Contrary to popular belief, ‘fat’ actually does not make you fat. Good, healthy fats found in foods such as avocados, salmon, mackerel, nuts and olive oil actually helps with brain development and act as a protective layer for your bones and organs. However, unhealthy (saturated) fats such as ones found in ‘red meats’ such as beef and pork should be eaten in moderation, along with processed foods and dairy.
Protein : You’ve probably heard that consuming more protein allows you to gain muscle. This is definitely true – protein not just helps you build your muscles, but also repairs them! Consuming lean and healthy proteins such as meats, dairy, eggs and fish not just helps you look fit physically, but also repairs even your hair, blood and skin.
Carbohydrates: Carbs also get a bad reputation as well, but they are not necessarily bad for you. Carbohydrates are actually essential to having enough energy to get through the day, so don’t believe the zero carb diets out there. They are also essential to maintaining healthy hormone and metabolism levels.
How Do I Count Them?
There are many tools online that help you choose the right balance of fats, proteins, and carbs for your daily intake, such as online calculators that take your height and physical activity habits in consideration to help decide what is the best breakdown for you.
Once you get your breakdown of macros, it’s time to plan out your meals accordingly! A food application that is able to track what you are eating gives you a great overall look at your consumption habits and also keeps you on top of your goals. Myfitnesspal or Lifesum are two free mobile applications that are able to do so.
Depending on your goals, you may want to change up your eating habits and the quality of the calories you are putting in your body, rather than just increasing or decreasing them. Macros give a better insight into the breakdown of nutrients that will truly allow you to reach your desired physique.