Do Macros Really Matter?
If you’ve heard of macros—you’ve HEARD of macros. Incessantly, someone is talking about macros. Macros is the Holy Grail of weight loss to some fitness groups…but is counting macros the reason or is it the method of being accountable that’s really the reason for weight loss?
Well, we aren’t here to start a macro war, but we’ll lay out some info and then you can decide.
In case you’ve only heard of macros, and have yet to know them personally, they are:
Carbs, Fat and Protein.
They make up your total food calories.
For counting purposes:
- 1 gram of carbs = 4 calories
- 1 gram of fat = 9 calories
- 1 gram of protein = 4 calories
So, how does that apply to how you plan your meals?
Well, macro fans believe that the TYPE of calories you eat impacts your results.
Additionally, they believe there are formulas to macro intake that will get you the results you want.
For instance, the average macro intake plan to build muscle is 35 percent protein, 45 percent carbohydrates, 20 percent fat.
The average macro intake plan for weight loss is 40 percent protein, 25 percent carbohydrates, 35 percent fat.
So, are they right?
We asked the guys in the white lab coats. Well, we didn’t really ask them, we just peeked into their research studies.
Macros and Their Impact on Weight
Obviously how many calories you eat matters. The Golden Rule for weight loss is consume less than you burn and you’ll lose weight. Fact.
So what does science say when it comes to the type of calories you choose? Can you eat 1,000 calories of junk food a day and still lose weight?
Science says the percentage of calories consumed from carbs, protein and fat do not matter in studies on weight loss. People can choose what and when they eat and they lose the same amount of weight as people who are on macro-controlled diets.
So the answer is no, macro counting won’t give you better results than eating the same number of calories with any food type.
But, it might help with results just because you’re actually required to count what you’re eating. It’s easy to forget a couple hundred calories. Not when a scale and calculator are required for meal prep.
So, if macros don’t really aid in weight loss, does the type of FOOD matter?
Yes, it does. Maybe not as much for weight loss—but for health.
Food Choice and Health
A diet high in protein has its perks. It takes more energy to break down protein which burns more calories, protein builds muscle, it is more filling and satisfying than other foods and helps you hold onto the lean mass you already have.
Couple that with a lower carb diet, and studies show improved cholesterol and metabolism are the results. It’s important to not indulge on the red meats for your protein source though. Chicken and fish are healthier for your heart.
If you’re a vegetarian, we made a list of great protein sources for you, too.
Aside from protein, a diet with good fats is also beneficial to health. Saturated fat can lead to a plethora of health problems that put your heart at risk.
That leaves us with one final category: Carbs. Not all carbs are bad. Complex carbs are great for you, but simple carbs like donuts and fries are not.
What do we have as a result? Food impacts health.
Food choice should not always be about weight loss, but health benefits, too.
Healthy Foods Can Help with Weight Loss and Health
Counting macros won’t increase your weight loss, but you might be more accountable if you’re counting calories.
Adults gain about a pound a year. While it’s a small number starting out—it adds up. Being proactive makes weight management a lot easier than weight loss after packing twenty pounds. If you found yourself with winter weight that won’t go away, start by reducing your caloric intake. Then start eating cleaner. If you’re going to get a hot bod, keep it alive longer by filling it with better food.
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