If you are looking out to lose weight, then you may have come across a plethora of weight-loss diets on the Internet. Some of these diets may work, while some may not work for you.
However, adhering to the strict schedules of these diets doesn’t necessarily have to be at the expense of your overall enjoyment and general health.
This is because people generally may not like to be told what they can or cannot eat. Moreover, the long-term stickiness toward a particular diet might even be an issue for many people.
Here comes the concept of the macro diet that aims at resolving all the obstacles of a strict diet.
Also referred to as the flexible diet or the IIFYM diet, the macro diet might be right for you if you do not feel the need to track your calorie intake.
This diet is quite in trend among bodybuilders and athletes nowadays. So, if you want to know all about the macro diet and how you could use it for weight loss, then this is the right place for you.
Though this diet might be a bit time-consuming and restrictive at times, it could significantly help you to focus on your weight loss process while staying within a specific calorie range.
Now let’s know more about a macro diet and what are macros.
What Is A Macro Diet?
The basic idea behind the macro diet is quite simple. It includes the three major elements, namely carbohydrate, protein, and fat, intending to help you to focus on getting all of these macronutrients.
Based on your particular goals and objectives, you can modify the amount of these macronutrients which you want in your diet.
At the same time, the macro diet will help you to maintain your weight, build muscle or even slow down while you stay within your calorie threshold.
But here you may think that what could be the benefit of a macro diet over a diet that focuses on counting calories.
Firstly, a macro diet could help you to be more nutritious by compelling you to focus on the quality of your food.
This could be substantiated by the fact that if you are following a calorie-counting diet and you have to eat 200 calories for your afternoon snack, then you could adhere to these 200 calories either with something healthy or even with something unhealthy.
On the other hand, if you are counting your macros, then you may need to choose a snack that is healthy enough to fit under your macros.
Counting macros could even have another benefit for people who are following a weight loss journey.
The major reason behind this is that the people who follow a macro diet may aim at eating more protein compared to other people.
As per this study, protein, besides helping you to feel full for a longer time, could even require more energy to digest and hence could help you to lose weight.
Apart from this, the biggest benefit of a macro diet could be its flexibility.
Following this diet may not just help you to focus on all the nutrient-dense ingredients but may even provide you with the flexibility to choose the foods that you like.
So sometimes you may even aim at indulging in something scrumptious and interesting because a monotonous diet might be difficult to stick to in the longer run.
How To Count Macros For Weight Loss?
Counting your macros for weight loss isn’t much of a daunting task. It just requires some basic math.
Now let’s look at the different steps which could help you to count macros for your weight loss.
- First of all, you will have to know the energy balance. For this, you should have an insight into the number of calories you consume and burn each day.
Different online calculators could help you to estimate the number of calories your body burns each day based on different factors like your gender, activity level, and weight.
- Once you have figured out your energy balance, you need to set a target calorie intake according to your weight goals.
Generally, when you aim at losing weight, the number of calories you consume should be approximately 10 to 15% below the number of calories that you burn each day.
- Now that you know the total number of calories you should aim at eating per day, you will have to learn about the number of daily calories that will come from the different macros like carbs, fat, and protein.
Here are different ratios of these three macros which you could consume according to your exercise regime.
- When you exercise for an hour or less regularly, then the ratio could be 30% protein, 40% carbs, and 30% fat.
- If you exercise for one to two hours regularly, then the ratio may be 25% fat, 45% carbs, and 30% protein.
- If you exercise for more than two hours, then you could consult a certified sports dietitian about the particular ratios.
Though there is no optimal ratio, you must choose an ideal ratio according to your particular circumstances.
However, you must make sure that you get protein in the required amounts because it is crucial to maximize the muscle and improve your body composition.
What Are Macros?
Also referred to as macronutrients, macros are crucial nutrients that may be required by your body for energy.
There are three macronutrients, namely carbohydrate, fat, and protein, and they constitute a crucial component of the foods you eat.
Different items of food may have different amounts of these macronutrients. Each particular macronutrient will provide you with a certain amount of energy.
Let’s have a look at each of the macronutrients which you could add to your diet by following a macro diet.
With the nine calories in just two grams, fat could significantly help to store energy in your body.
It also plays an important function in protecting nerves, maintaining body temperature, assisting in the nutrient absorption process, and regulating the hormone balance in your body.
The particular type of fat you consume could even have an impact on your body’s health. This is because some fats could be better compared to others.
Saturated fat, which is at room temperature might be consumed by people just in moderation.
On the other hand, unsaturated fat, which is liquid at room temperature, might be a better option.
Unsaturated fats like polyunsaturated fats or monounsaturated fats are healthy fats, and they could be found in food sources like nuts, seeds, fish, avocados, and so on.
The unsaturated fats might even provide you with a plethora of health benefits.
As you must know, protein is a crucial component required by the body for myriad functions like repair of the tissues, enzymatic reactions, immune function, and cellular communication.
Proteins could provide you with approximately 4 calories in just one gram. The different sources that are rich in protein may include eggs, nuts, meat, fish, tofu, and beans.
The amount of protein that could be consumed by a person varies depending on different factors like muscle mass, age, or the body composition goals of the individual.
Protein could play a crucial role in your macro diet because it assists in weight loss.
It is an essential part of staying healthy because once you eat protein, you will feel full for a longer time and hence evade any unnecessary snacking.
At the same time, a high protein diet might even help you to build lean muscle when it is combined with regular exercise.
So if you want to add protein-rich food items to your diet, then you could include salmon, potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, eggs, bees, chicken breast, etc. to your diet.
Made from fiber, starch, and sugar, carbohydrates are the major source of energy for your body.
Carbohydrates, also referred to as carbs could provide you with four calories in just one gram.
The energy which you could receive from carbohydrates might be essential in fueling up your brain as well as your body.
Due to this, some nutritious carb items might be an essential component of a balanced diet.
Moreover, carbs are high in fiber and hence they could even help you to remain full for a longer time and thus evade overeating.
However, you may make sure to reduce the consumption of less nutritious food items which have carbs in them like white bread and cookies.
The amount of carbs that could be consumed by you varies on different factors. Some people may require a diet that is higher in carbs whereas others may require a low-carb diet.
Some of the healthy high carbs food sources could include brown rice, oats, raisins, dates, lentils, sweet potatoes, beetroot, corn, bananas, mangoes, apples, and so on.
Thus this was all you need to know about a macro diet and losing weight.
While you focus on a macro diet, you must maintain the right balance between carbs, proteins, and fats while being flexible.
However, flexibility does not mean that you can eat whatever you want to. The quality of food matters and it will affect your weight loss journey.
Moreover, though there are benefits to counting macros, it might even have certain risks.
Due to this, it may always be recommended to first talk to your healthcare provider before starting your macro diet.
Working4Health prefers using primary and verified references. We have strict sourcing guidelines, and our primary references include peer-reviewed research, academic, and medical institution studies.
- Chrysi Koliaki, Theodoros Spinos, Μarianna Spinou, et. al. Defining the Optimal Dietary Approach for Safe, Effective and Sustainable Weight Loss in Overweight and Obese Adults. Healthcare (Basel). 2018 Sep; 6(3): 73. Published online 2018 Jun 28. doi: 10.3390/healthcare6030073
- Jaecheol Moon and Gwanpyo Koh Clinical Evidence and Mechanisms of High-Protein Diet-Induced Weight Loss J Obes Metab Syndr. 2020 Sep 30; 29(3): 166–173.Published online 2020 Jul 23. doi: 10.7570/jomes20028
- Catherine M. Champagne, Stephanie T Broyles, Laura D. Moran, et. al. Dietary intakes associated with successful weight loss and maintenance during the Weight Loss Maintenance Trial. J Am Diet Assoc. 2011 Dec; 111(12): 1826–1835. doi: 10.1016/j.jada.2011.09.014.
- Institute of Medicine (US) Subcommittee on Military Weight Management. Washington (DC). Weight-Loss and Maintenance Strategies. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK221839/
- Protein in diet. Date of Publication: August 6, 2021. Available from: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002467.htm
- Robert Oh; Brian Gilani; Kalyan R. Uppaluri. low carbohydrate diet. Date of Publication: July 11, 2022. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK537084/
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Alisha Matthew has been a practicing nutritionist since 2016. She holds a master’s degree in nutrition from the University of IOWA. She is a staunch believer in improving the human health index by educating people about nutrition and the importance of nutrition in leading a healthy and happy life. Her long-term goal is to keep educating people on general health and keep herself updated with the latest trends in the field of health.