It seems like everybody these days that are trying to improve their physique is not dieting, but rather they are “counting their macros.” What does this mean? And does it work? I take a look at this dieting practice to see how easily it can be implemented, and if the results are worth all the meticulous calculation.
What is Counting Macros?
The reason why most diets do not work is that they restrict us to a low-calorie amount every day that just leaves us deprived, hungry, and reliant on calculating our carbs or calories on a daily basis.
Rather than starve yourself on a calorie-restricted diet, what if you were to take it to a higher level and eat as much food as you want but instead you count macros?
The goal of a macro diet is to be eating the right ratio of foods to help you achieve dietary goals or reach a certain body type. It is not just dieting for the sake of weight loss, as it can also be a beneficial practice if you are looking to gain weight or add muscle.
The concept behind it is calculating the right ratio of macronutrients to help you hit your body goals.
What Are Macros?
I mentioned the word already above, but macro is short for macronutrient. When it comes to having a healthy body, we rely on micronutrients like vitamins and minerals, as well as macronutrients which are proteins, fats, carbohydrates, fiber, and water (defined further here). While this type of nutrient counting primarily started with bodybuilders, who wanted to hit the perfect ratio to help them build more lean muscle and cut fat to stay shredded, it has been adapted to different ratios for the goals of weight loss as well.
Benefits of Macro Counting
The biggest advantage of counting macros, instead of lowering your calorie intake, is that it allows more flexibility in your meals. You won’t be eliminating entire groups of foods like other diets tend to do. It can be a much more sustainable diet to stick with as it provides so many options that are left out of many of the other popular diets.
Difficulty of Counting Macros
However, while it can be a more enjoyable experience, in terms of the kinds of foods that you eat, it is a much more disciplined practice and can be very tedious to keep track of. You not only need to keep track of the grams of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates you eat (in a certain ratio that is relative to your body goals), but you also need to take into account your height, weight, and activity level. There is no “one size fits all” calculation to make sure you are hitting the right ratio. It takes commitment to tracking your food intake, as well as planning your meals, to make sure that you are getting it right.
However, if done properly, it can be a highly effective way to reach your diet goals no matter what they may be. As written in this post, it is not so much about how much you are eating, the more critical component is what you are eating. If you get the ratios right, you will be well on your way to meeting your objectives.