Macros: The importance of macronutrients

If you consider yourself part of the fitness community then you may have heard of counting macros or, “if it fits your macros” (IFFYM). If not, sooner or later you will hear the term in conversations with other gym goers. Counting macros has become very popular for reaching specific weight and health goals. Specifically for losing weight or putting on muscle mass. Let’s move on to what exactly it is and if you should count them.

Macros is a short term for macronutrients –the fats, carbohydrates and protein we consume to give us energy. Each macronutrient is measured in grams. Carbohydrates and protein provide 4 calories per gram, while fat provides 9 calories per gram. In order to successfully count macros it is important to understand the role of each macronutrient and why some people need different ratios to reach a weight goal.

Why Do I Need Protein?

Protein provide 4 calories per gram. It is an essential nutrient that our body needs to build new muscle tissue and to maintain muscle it already has. It is recommended that protein comprise 10- 30% of our calorie intake. However this can vary depending on our body composition, weight, age and goals.

Why Do I Need Carbs?

Carbs also provide 4 calories per gram. Carbohydrates are your body’s main source of energy. There are two types of carbs, simple and complex. Simple carbs include: candy, fruits, cookies, cakes etc. Complex carbs include: starches, beans, nuts, veggies and whole grains.

Carb intake is among the most hotly debated of all macronutrient recommendations, but major health organizations suggest consuming 45–65% of your daily calories from carbs.

Why Do I Need Fats?

Our bodies cannot make essential fatty acids (omega 3 and 6) so we have to consume them. Fat provides energy, regulates production of sex hormones, and helps keep our skin and joints healthy.

Typical macronutrient recommendations for fats range from 20–35% of total calories. Fats are found in foods like oils, butter, avocado, nuts, meat and fatty fish.

Should You Track Your Macros?

Counting macros can be confusing when you are first starting out but like everything else in life, the more you do it the easier it will be to track. A macro counting diet goes beyond counting calories. Depending on your fitness goals you can adjust how much protein, carbs or fats you need to consume.

If your goal is to lose weight, build muscle or maintain a specific weight then counting macros is a good fit for you.

If this blogpost answered your questions on what is a macronutrient please like and share this post. If you have any questions or comments on this topic please leave your comment below. Stay tuned for the next blogpost on how to start counting macros.

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