Which should you be counting??
There are two things that we all obsess about when it comes to eating right!
• How to replace carbs with proteins?
• How to ensure we stay within our daily calorie count?
The funny thing is that neither of the above should be your priority when trying to lose weight and/or get healthy! The thing that really matters is the Macronutrient count of the foods that you are eating!
Now what in the world are Macronutrients? Here comes the science bit!!
A CALORIE is how we measure energy in food. The more calorie-dense, the more energy-dense a food is. And while there’s only one type of calorie (though not all calories are created equal—more on that later).
MACRONUTRIENTS are nutrients we need in macro—or big—amounts. ‘Macro’ alludes to the fact that we need it in big amounts, and it also alludes to the fact that it gives us a substantial amount of energy.
There are three categories of macronutrients: protein, fat, and carbohydrates. Each macronutrient has a different amount of calories per gram. Protein is four calories per gram, carbohydrates are four calories per gram, and fat is nine calories per gram.
As we all know that all calories are not created equal. You can get 80 calories from an apple or 80 calories from half a candy bar—but they’re different types of calories. What you’re going to get from the fruit is more nutritious than what you’re going to get from the same amount of calories from the candy bar.
For this reason, counting calories alone is not a solid strategy if you’re looking for a balanced, nutritious diet. Instead, the focus should be on the quality, quantity, and type of food you’re eating. There’s been a shift. Before, in the ’90s and late ’80s, even in the early 2000s, people were still counting calories. Today, it’s more a question of WHAT are we eating?’ Not HOW MANY CALORIES are in what we are eating?
I do not encourage our members to count calories, and we also don’t suggest they track macronutrients—at least not too intently. I don’t want them counting gram by gram, just monitoring their eating, and make sure they’re eating a serving of protein, complex carbohydrate, and good fat at every meal.
Why does a balance of all macronutrients matter? It’s important for your weight, it’s important for your thyroid function, it’s important for your metabolic function, and it’s important for energy levels.
Wondering what the exact macronutrient breakdown should be? While it will vary for each person, if you’re eating the right type of complex carbohydrates—like fruits, vegetables, lentils, beans, legumes, or whole grains—I would say 30 to 40% complex carbohydrates, 30 to 40% protein, and about 20% healthy fat. That’s a good range, and then you have a five to 10% wriggle room.
Managing Macros for weight loss
If you’re trying to lose weight, increase protein, increase the right types of fat, and increase the right types of complex carbohydrates and decrease processed carbs. Any processed carbohydrates can go. Processed carbohydrates include anything white—white sugar, white flour, white rice, white bread.
Protein (plant-based or animal-based) is especially important if you’re trying to drop some pounds because it will keep your metabolism high.
A lot of diets will increase protein and decrease carbs for weight loss, but you can go overboard with that. What’s the real key? Balance. And once you learn what works for you, you’re set.
So how do I work out Macros if I wanted to?
Proteins, fats and carbohydrates make up the group of macronutrients. Let us take a moment to briefly look at each of these macronutrients to give you an overview of how counting Macronutrients works.
Carbohydrates: These are a major source of energy for our bodies and are stored in our muscles and liver for later use. Foods that contain large amounts of carbohydrates include fruits, grains (rice, oats, barley, etc) and roots (potatoes, yams, carrots, etc).
Carbohydrates provide 4 Calories of energy per gram.
Proteins: Our bodies use proteins to grow tissue and muscle, repair organs and to create hormones and enzymes; proteins are also used for energy when carbohydrates are unavailable. Foods that contain high levels of protein include poultry, fish, beans, dairy, nuts and legumes.
Proteins provide 4 Calories of energy per gram.
Fats: In order to absorb vitamins, our bodies need fats. Foods that contain a high percentage of fat include cooking oils, butter, nuts and cheese. Of the three macronutrients, fats contain the highest number of calories per gram.
Fats provide 9 Calories of energy per gram.
For further information on Macros or how to manage your Healthy Eating Plan, call us on 0559500094 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org