What are Macronutrients and Why Should You Count Them?
If you are new to nutrition, then it is likely that you are a little unsure of what a macronutrient is, despite the fact that you have probably heard the term before. Whether you are at a restaurant, in a store, or at the gym, you probably hear people talking about counting their “macros” but what are macros and why are people counting them?
What Are Macros?
Macronutrients or macros are terms used to classify the nutrients that are most abundantly required in humans. The three classes of macronutrients are protein, fats, and carbohydrates. These are the calorie producing components of the foods we eat on a daily basis. Carbohydrates can also be further classified as fibre or sugar, which is where the popular term “net carbs” stems from.
Why Count Them?
While you may be familiar with calories counting, macronutrient counting may be new to you. However, it follows the same logic as calorie counting. Essentially, it allows us to take a deeper look into our diet rather than just simply counting calories. You may be wondering what is wrong with simply counting calories. Take for example if I eat 2,000 calories worth of carbohydrates and you eat 2,000 calories in protein. Do you think we are going to see the same results? Likely not. This is because a calorie is not simply a calorie and foods vary in their nutritional composition.
Counting your macros can be a great habit to get in to. It can ensure that you are including foods high in protein and healthy fats and eliminating foods high in sugar. There are many macro calculators out there that allow you to enter your information and calculate your calories and macronutrient recommendations based on your goals. You can then use applications like Myfitnesspal to track the food you eat in a day to make sure you are meeting this calorie count.
Counting macros may not be for everyone though. Some individuals may find that it is too stressful as they may find themselves getting caught up in tracking their daily food intake. It is worth noting that just because you start doesn’t mean you have to track your macros forever. Once you have been doing it for a while, you will get better at recognising the macronutrient makeup of foods, and you can be pretty accurate in estimating.