Counting Macros for Weight Loss
Calories vs Macros
So what’s with this popular new phrase “if it fits your macros?” What does it mean? And how does it differ from just counting calories?
Counting macros is more or less the same thing as counting calories. Macronutrients are carbohydrates, fats, and protein, and they are the three nutrients in foods that provide calories. Vitamins and minerals are micronutrients, and although very important, they do not provide calories.
One gram of protein provides 4 calories, one gram of carbohydrate provides 4 calories, and one gram of fat provides 9 calories. Therefore, if you know how many grams of each of the three macronutrients you consumed, you can use your math skills to calculate the total calories it adds up to provide! Practice a few times with a food label by looking at the grams of fat, carbs, and protein and comparing your calculation to the calories listed. You will quickly realize how it works!
Why are calories important to monitor?
Calories are fuel. Energy. It is important to get enough but not too many. Also, it is helpful to understand and be able to figure out our calorie intake if interested in gaining, losing, or even maintaining weight. Total calorie intake affects weight in terms of body fat. However, many other factors come into play as well. For one, it is important to consume a balance of nutrients. Each macronutrient plays an important role in our bodies. By counting grams of macronutrients consumed, one can ensure a proper balance of the three as well as control/monitor calorie intake.
So what’s the verdict?
Each person requires individual energy needs based on a variety of things: height, weight, age, sex, metabolic rate, activity, etc. to name a few. From the total energy (calories) required, there are recommended percentages of fat, carbohydrate, and protein requirements to distribute where those calories come from, in terms of macronutrients. Counting grams of macronutrients will enable one to calculate calories, as long as all three macronutrients are accounted. Therefore, if macronutrient intake is known (grams of carbs, fats, and protein), the balance of macronutrients will be known and total calories can also be determined.