What Are Macros?
Macronutrients, more commonly referred to as “macros,” have become an increasingly popular topic among nutritionists, athletes, fitness experts and dieters. If you’ve ever tried the keto diet or a similar carb-restricting trend, you’ve probably heard the term “count your macros.”
So what are macronutrients, how do they impact the body, and how can we use them to help achieve healthy weight goals?
What are macros?
Macronutrients refer to the three main nutrients that make up the building blocks of most foods - aka proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Conversely, micronutrients are the key vitamins and minerals that the body needs in smaller amounts to regulate immune health, hormones, brain function and more.
While each type of macronutrient comes with it’s own unique benefits, together all three macronutrients add nutritional value to the body and help us sustain energy.
Perhaps the most important macronutrient, protein is essential for maintaining a healthy diet. Protein promotes muscle growth, tissue repair, recovery from physical activity and satiety so that we stay fuller, longer. Healthy protein sources include:
- Meat (Poultry, Beef, Pork)
- Dairy (Yogurt, Cottage Cheese)
- Whey Protein Powders (Fun fact: we use whey protein in our BuzzFit protein coffee!)
Even though they get a bad rap, carbs positively impact everything from hormone production to brain function. In the right amount, carbs also give us enough energy to maintain our desired activity or fitness level. High-carb foods include:
The last of the macronutrients, fats also help with hormone balance and energy level. Balancing fat intake with a higher amount of proteins and carbs can help regulate weight gain and maintain a healthy body composition. Fats include:
- Nuts (Almonds & Peanuts)
- Cooking Oils
- Animal Fat
- Salad Dressing
Benefits of tracking macros
Now that we have a better understanding of what macros actually are, what are the benefits of tracking macros in your diet?
Tracking macros is beneficial for people looking to achieve a specific weight or fitness goal, or simply want to be more mindful of the types of nutrients they consume. Eating foods that give you the correct amount of quality macros based on your personal goals can transform your diet and aid in fat loss, muscle growth and energy production.
Understanding macros also gives you more ownership over your diet. By knowing the different types of macros and how they function, you now have the power to customize a diet that works for you. This can be extremely empowering and lead to long lasting results, especially for those who may have been unsuccessful with other fad diets in the past.
How to get started
Figuring out the right percentage of macros is determined by your age, gender, weight, body composition, and your intended results. Tailoring macros is unique to every individual and can vary from person to person.
Luckily, if you’re interested in courting macros, there are many easily accessible apps and planners to help you get started! Some of our favorites include My Fitness Pal and 1st Phorm - both of which have free plans.
It will probably take some time to get used to tracking your daily diet, so go easy on yourself for the first few weeks. Eventually, most people find that inputting their food choices becomes second nature. After a while, you’ll probably start to remember the general macro breakdown of most foods on your own.
As always, you should consult a nutritionist or physician before making any changes to your diet.