Macro diet is a food eating habit that emphasizes on the amount of macros consumed by the person observing this diet rather than simply counting calories. Macros is short for macronutrients, which are primarily protein, carbohydrates and fat that each one of us need to live a healthy life. Our body needs all these three nutrients in proportions that depend on its requirements. Most food that we consume have these components in different proportions. Some food items also have more representation of one of these nutrients such as meat is heavy with protein, bread with carbohydrates and oils with fat.
Macro diet has recently surged in popularity, especially by people who have become bored of counting the amount of calories that they consume, counting macros is more like a puzzle that needs planning to be well played. The diet is also known as flexible dieting, as it allows to eat anything if it fits your macros (IIFYM) limit specified for the day. Proponents of this diet argue that this is a more healthy approach to weight loss as the nutrient needs are properly met while following this diet regime. To facilitate weight loss an individual needs to burn more calories than they consume. By following macro diet the same individual can even keep a track of the nutrients that they are able to consume and also the quality of food.
Keeping track of macros is not easy but at the same time it offers flexibility in the food choices that can be exercised. To successfully execute this diet one needs to initially calculate their macros need. This is based on the individual’s existing age, weight and activity level. Macro diet also helps with portion control as it makes one realize where the calories are derived from. It also helps in establishing good eating habits that go a long way than just losing weight. For instance one can consciously choose to eat whole food giving the same amount of calorie as that of a processed food, as this option is much healthier even though quantitatively it provides the body with same calorie.
Basic understanding Of Macros
As we know by know that all three macro nutrients provide us with energy in form of calories but they are also vital for us in other ways.
Carbohydrates: one gram carbohydrate provide us with four calories as they get broken down into glycogen and glucose. The former is consumed by our liver and muscles while the later gets consumed by our brain.
Protein: one gram protein provides us with four calories which is usually consumed to repair and maintain our muscle, bones, organs, tissues, enzymes and hair.
Fats: one gram fat provides us with nine calories and helps to maintain our nerves. They are also used for hormones production and are vital for our body to perform at its peak.
Use of Macros in Diet
Several studies have suggested that out diet needs to be balanced with all the three macro nutrients. A basic macro diet can be considered to consist four sections where the first three sections can consist of the macros while the last one needs to a mixture of all three. An ideal macro diet will have vegetables, fruits, whole grains, grass-fed meat, diary such as yogurt. One needs to keep in mind that the segregation of macros will never be completely independent of each other as each food ingredient will consist of more than one macro. This may cause trouble while calculating and strictly adhering to fixed amount of macros.
Calculating Macro In A Macro Diet
To begin with one needs to know their daily calories requirement which is dependent on gender, age, weight, activity level, muscle mass, metabolism and the goal one want to achieve. The requirement of macro nutrients need to be calculated on a day-to-day basis for which there are several online calculators available. However for beginners who want to try macro diet it would be appropriate to plan for a week and see the changes that they go through.
One needs to begin by “measuring” the macros in the food that they consume which can be accomplished using food labels and reference material commonly available. Next is “recording” the macros that one has consumed for any particular food item. This will help in making mental notes of the macros that one derives from the same food item instead of checking the reference every time one picks up an apple. This will be followed by holding oneself “accountable” for the calories that one is able to derive from the macros planned.
This all may seem more mathematical rather than metabolic during first few weeks. Once we get to know about the way our body functions and get familiar with the planning and accounting for our diets, macro diet will seem easy to follow through and help us in achieving our diet goals.