Are you ready to take calorie-counting to the next level? If so then you should consider the Macro Diet. Calorie counting was first popular in the 1920s so it’s been around for nearly a century. If you want to lose weight it’s important to create a “caloric deficit.” One way to do that is by counting calories so you consume fewer calories than you are now. In fact, there are some diets that only focus on reducing the number of calories you consume. The Macro Diet takes it to the next level by also considering the nutritional value of your calories by counting macros.
What’s it all about? This basically calorie counting 2.0 since you’re not only tracking your calories but also your carbs, protein, and fats. Another example is the keto diet that has a macro split of 70% carbs, 20% protein, and 10% carbs. Sometimes there are some tweaks but what’s important is you’re keeping track of the macronutrients contained in the various foods you eat. If you drink a can of Diet Coke, for example, you’re actually consuming 0 calories. However, there’s also basically 0 nutrients in terms of the macros. This diet makes you think about your calories AND macros.
What Are Macronutrients?
There are three macros: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
Carbs are important for providing you with energy for physical/mental activity. The two main types are simple and complex carbs. Carbs are also stored as blood sugar in the liver and in the muscles. You replenish your body’s carb stores when you eat a high-carb meal with “good” carbs.
Health experts generally recommend people consume 50g to 150g of carbs per day, while others say carbs should make up half of your daily calories.
It’s also recommended that your carbs be mostly complex carbs. That’s so they won’t cause your blood sugar levels to spike. Here are some sources:
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. There are 9 essential amino acids (EAAs) and 11 non-essential amino acids. The difference is you have to get EAAs from food sources since the body doesn’t produce them.
Protein has various roles. They’re important in structures including muscles, connective tissue, skin, and hair. Protein also functions as an enzyme, hormone, and antibody.
About 60% of the protein is stored in muscles. The macro doesn’t function as a direct energy source. It instead functions as building blocks for the body’s structures.
It’s recommended you daily consume 1g of protein/kg of body weight. You can boost that figure to 1.2g to 1.8g/kg of body weight if you want to build muscle mass.
Good protein sources include:
In recent decades low/no-fat diets were popular. However, that’s changed recently as diets have focused more on “good” fats like omega-3 fatty acids. This is compared to “bad” fats like saturated and trans fats.
Good sources of fats include:
- Fatty fish
- Full-fat dairy
- Olive oil
Health experts generally say about one-third of your calories should be fat. However, it’s nearly three-quarters in the keto diet.
What’s the Macro Diet?
That brings us to the Macro Diet. As the name suggests it requires you to count your carbs, protein, and fat. It’s similar to carb-counting but this time you’re breaking them down into macros. Thus, you can track the nutritional value of your meals.
It’s worth noting this diet is different from the fad diet known as the “macrobiotic diet,” which is based on Zen Buddhism. The goal of the Macro Diet is to keep you more conscious about the food you’re eating in terms of the carbs you’re getting.
For example, you could enjoy a large DQ hot fudge sundae at over 600 calories. A better option would be raw veggies with a low-calorie/carb dip like hummus. This is a better option in terms of calories, carbs, and overall nutrition.
There are various benefits of following this diet. For example, if you’re a diet newbie you can focus on your macros from the get-go. For example, if you’ve been eating a diet high in simple carbs and bad fats this diet will require you to start thinking about your macros.
The diet can also be customized for your body type and health goals. You can then make tweaks based on the results you’re getting. It provides a lot more flexibility than other diets.
This diet also requires you to focus on whole foods over processed foods. For example, you’ll be more likely to avoid processed foods when you think about empty calories, simple carbs, bad fat, and so on. Even foods like refined flour are a lot unhealthier than options like whole grains.
This diet claims it can help to reduce hunger, control sugar cravings, and balance energy levels. These are all benefits that help you lose weight and improve your overall health.
Finally, the Macro Diet has some similarities to popular diets like Paleo. However, it offers more flexibility.
Reasons to Use Macro Diet
In this case, it’s important to get enough calories to maintain your current weight. A good split is 40% carbs, 30% protein, and 30% fat. You could make some tweaks as needed depending on your particular situation. For example, you could tweak carbs by 10% or protein/fat by 3% as necessary.
Weightlifting and Bodybuilding
In these cases, it’s important to boost calories so you can build lean muscle mass. Try a macro ratio of 50% carbs, 30% protein, and 20% fat. The protein needed for bodybuilding is often exaggerated. It’s critical but in general, you should boost carbs and watch the fat.
You simply might want to prepare healthy and balanced meals for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. If so, then counting macros is an excellent option. You could plan an entire day’s or week’s meals in advance.
This can help you save time, effort, and money. It also helps to minimize how much junk/fast food you eat, as well as binge eating. That’s because you’ll be thinking about your macros for each meal.
This is one of the most popular low-carb diets today. This diet requires you to consume a low-carb and high-fat diet.
This helps to keep you in a state of ketosis so you get energy from stored fat instead of food carbs. For example, you could go with a macro split of 10% carbs, 20% protein, and 70% fat. While it’s important to keep protein mid-range you could drop carbs and boost fat.
This is one of the main reasons you might want to consider counting macros. It’s important to follow this process so you’re cutting calories.
You could do a 20% carbs, 40% protein, and 40% fat split. Then you could also make tweaks based on your physical activity. If you exercise most days of the week you could boost carbs while on the Macro Diet.