Macronutrients commonly referred to as macros are the ONLY WAY to lose or gain weight, through diet, if that is solely the goal. Yes, its counterpart, micronutrients are also important and I highly recommend looking into those but in terms of weight loss/gain you can focus your efforts on your macros. Plus, most people who eat a well balanced diet are most likely already hitting their micros. Although you don’t have to necessarily track your macros it will be beneficial to know what each macronutrient’s
role is in the human body.
Our first macronutrient up is probably the most demonized. The carbohydrate (carb) gives us 4 calories per gram and is super important. They are your body’s primary fuel source! Unless you are trying a specific diet, your carbs should make up most of your diet. Since this is a brief introduction to macros, I won’t go too much in depth but there are two types of carbs. One type is called simple carbs and the other
complex carbs. Complex carbs are considered to be the healthier carb because they are more nutritious. Carbohydrates are not bad and can provide great energy and tons of vitamins and minerals.
The second macronutrient is the one I find most important and that is protein. Just like a carb, a gram of protein yields 4 calories. Protein can do a variety of things but it mainly likes to build and repair. It’s highly recommended that protein should fall between 0.7g – 1.0g per pound of body weight on average if body composition is the main goal. I personally like people getting their protein intake from food but some individuals may need to take a supplement to reach “optimal” levels.
Coming up next is the macronutrient fat. Unlike carbs and protein, a gram of fat is worth 9 calories. Essential fats are required for us to survive so taking them out completely from a diet is a pretty bad idea and usually doesn’t last long. This macro is the foundation of many hormones. When dropped too low one can witness and/or feel the negative side effects. It is stated that fats should go no lower than 15-25% of total calories but unless for a specific reason, I don’t see the need to go to the lower end of that.
So there you have it! Next time when someone randomly says “I don’t know if that fits my macros” or “macros don’t count on the weekends” you will now have a brief understanding of what they mean. Macronutrients are our “big rocks” in terms of our eating. Most diets or lifestyle changes are based on adjusting them in some shape or form whether it’s adding, subtracting, or eliminating (hopefully not eliminating). Remember before trying anything new, one should seek advice from a medical professional or dietitian!
Written By: Eduardo Cruz
Follow Eduardo on the Gram @coach_emcruz_