Chances are that you’ve heard about macro counting. Macros, short for macronutrients, are the carbohydrates, fat and protein that your body needs to function. Counting macros mean you track the amounts of carbohydrates, protein and fat you eat, and aim to keep them within a certain ratio and gram range. You can use an app or a food journal for keeping track and a scale to weigh your food.
Everyone has personal caloric needs and the target macro ratio depends on each person’s goals such as weight loss or aim to gain muscle mass. A bodybuilder has different target macros than a marathon runner. To determine your ideal macros you start by calculating how many calories you should be eating based on your energy expenditure, which depends on your age, sex, height, weight, and then adjust the number of calories depending whether you want to gain, lose or maintain your weight or change your body composition.
Counting macros can be very eye-opening to understand where the calories are coming from and looking at your macronutrient breakdown can help you better understand how your diet might affect you.Also it gives you freedom to eat a variety of foods, go to the restaurants and have flexibility with your diet.
However, the ideal diet isn’t just about macros. It’s about the quality of the food. It’s important to understand that are versions of each of the macronutrients that are healthier than others. For example, eating a big burger and fries will not provide you with the same essential vitamins and minerals as a piece of grilled salmon, leafy green vegetables and sweet potato, despite the fact that they may both be within your macro requirements for the day. While the focus is on macronutrients, it’s important to pay attention to micronutrients, as they are necessary for the body to function optimally. Micronutrients are vitamins and minerals that your body needs in smaller amounts than macronutrients.
Whereas hitting your macro target is important for reaching your goals, don’t aim for absolute perfection but rather for a specific gram range, as we cannot always know the calorie and macro content of the foods with 100% accuracy. Remember that health is not only about the gram of macros you eat but also about your whole lifestyle: physical activity, quality sleep, relationships, mental wellbeing and your environment.