Alioth Nutrition: MACRO's 101
You've heard nutrition talk forever. What to eat, what not to eat, when to eat, and everything in between. One of the popular methods of staying accountable for proper nutrition lately is tracking Macros. We're taking a look at the basics.... any questions you might have had about #MacroLife but were afraid to ask.
What are Macros?
'Macros' is a short name for macronutrients, and they are what make up for the caloric content of a food. The three categories of macronutrients are carbohydrates, fat and protein, to convert these into calories we do following,
- 1 gram of carbs = 4 calories
- 1 gram of fat = 9 calories
- 1 gram of protein = 4 calories.
Why not just count calories?
If we only count calories, there is a high chance that while you may hit your caloric goal, that you miss the proper nutrients you need to properly achieve your body composition goals- whether that is to lose weight, gain weight, gain muscle, etc.
By counting calories, we don’t really know what’s going into our body, and it will be easy to fill the whole days' calories with only two out of the three sources. But the body needs bits of everything to work properly. Getting the right amount of nutrients also helps avoid major cravings.
So how does it work?
Let’s say you are already eating 3,000 calories a day, now we will split that into the 3 sections.
How much of each macronutrient you need is very personal, and also comes down to what diet you are following.
I will take myself as an example here, I am eating a high carbohydrate diet, and my macros are basically 50% carbohydrates, 25% fat and 25% protein. This again is my example and is not necessarily the breakdown that you would need for your goals. But here's the breakdown:
If my total calories are 3,000, I need 1500 (50%) calories from carbohydrates, which, by using the above calorie/gram information) is 375 grams.
Then i need 187 grams of protein and 83 grams of fat, that will give me and caloric total of 2995.
These numbers don't seem as random when given the logic behind them.
Now a couple notes on macro prescriptions.
It doesn’t have to be forever!
A lot of people has no clue how many calories or macros are in the food they are eating. I have heard so many times people believing that 100 gram of potatoes = 100 grams of carbohydrates when it's actually only about 20 grams of carbs. That alone can be an accidental way you are undereating or not hitting your nutrient requirements.
This is simply an example of how counting macros is a great way to gain knowledge for yourself, to make it easier in the future to make good decisions for your nutrition. By weighing your food every day, you will also start to get a feeling how much rice/potato, etc. you have on your plate. Eventually, you will have a better idea of how to "eyeball" proper amounts. But starting with weighing your foods is a great way to start. That way you will understand the difference between 50 g and 150 g.
With today's technology, measuring macro's is even more accessible to do. All you need is a kitchen scale and an app. I use My Fitness Pal with my clients. There are additional apps now such as Trifecta System.
A lot of foods are thankfully already loaded in the app and you can even scan barcodes straight from products (most products) to find the important nutritional information.
Like I mentioned before, you do not have to do this forever. But a great way to better understand your needs and your intake is to track your macros for one month or more (we recommend at least 3) and go from there.
How do I know what my macros should be?
You can always play around with it yourself, but the best call is always to contact a nutrition coach that can guide you in the right directions. It can always be tough trying something out that you're not entirely sure about- so when in doubt, ask the experts!
You can contact me for a consultation as well by filling out the form below:
There is so much more we would talk about, I’m not even gonna get started with the micronutrients. But if you want to learn more about the subject, feel free to grab me any day in the gym!