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What are "Macros" anyways?

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So I have to admit I am quite uneducated when it comes to dieting, I have always had an extremely high metabolism, eating what ever and whenever I wanted with no consequences. But as I get older I can see that my metabolism is slowing down and I wanted to educate myself on basic nutrition concepts that I hear thrown around by the bodybuilders and elite fitness people. Yes I know, we have all heard what the best diet is for getting a shredded body, eat chicken and broccoli and then more chicken and broccoli, and when your done with that eat more chicken and broccoli. So I decided to start off figuring out what is meant when I hear people talking about counting "macros" and is it something I can do and would it benefit me, so I hope this summary of my findings helps anyone else that may be new to this type of stuff!

What is a macronutrient?

There are 3 different macronutrients, they are:

  1. Proteins
    • Help build muscle and prevent muscle loss. Causes you to feel fuller longer when compared to fats and carbohydrates. Requires the most energy to digest, which means you burn more calories
    • Good sources include fish, eggs, meat, dairy, and protein shakes
  2. Fats
    • Aid in hormone regulation, brain function, calorie storage and vitamin absorption.
    • Good sources include fatty fish (salmon), nuts and nut butters, meat, and oils (olive oil)
  3. Carbohydrates
    • Our bodies main source of energy, they are stored in the liver, brain, blood and muscles as glycogen.
    • Good sources include vegetables, grains, fruits, sugar

How many calories are in these macronutrients?

  • One gram of protein yields 4 calories
  • One gram of carbohydrate yields 4 calories
  • One gram of fat yields 9 calories

Sooooo, if you look at a nutritional facts label you would just have to do basic math to know where the calories are coming from! If your eating a protein bar and it has 20 grams of protein in it.... (20g protein X 4 calories/g = 80 calories), and you can do this for each macro to find out where the majority of the calories are coming from in the food you eat.

At this point your probably asking why does this matter, can't I just count calories and its the same thing!? Yes, counting calories is great and if your consuming fewer calories than your burning you will definitely lose weight, so why would I want to do more work and count these macros. The answer is because yes, although you may be losing weight, the quality of weight loss taking place can vary greatly!

  • For example, if your protein intake is minimal during a calorie deficit you will not only be boring fat, you will be losing muscle mass. Inadequate fat intake will negatively impact many of the hormones that help your continued weight loss. And inadequate carbohydrate intake can negatively impact training performance in many instances due to carbs being your bodies primary energy source.

    So, while it can be easy to lose weight by counting calories, the goal is not to just lose weight, we want a good lookin’, athletic, healthy body.

    For that, counting calories ain’t enough. You need to count your macros.

Thanks for reading, hope you learned or take away SOMETHING from this quick post, and will be starting a new post shortly about micros!

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