Have you noticed how many different health trends there are these days? Keto, intermittent fasting, gluten-free, paleo diet – with all these options how are you supposed to know what will work for you?
Tracking macronutrients (fats, carbohydrates, and protein) is a tried and true method for weight management and healthy living. By tracking macros you don’t need to eliminate any specific food from your diet! All you have to do is work within your guidelines for each macronutrient.
Ready to hear more? This article will explain everything you need to know.
What Are Macronutrients?
Macronutrients are carbohydrates, fats, and protein. All foods have a certain amount of each of these macronutrients.
Examples of foods high in carbohydrates are bread, pasta, and potatoes. Carbohydrates provide quick energy because they process sugar right away. Proteins like meat, poultry, and beans provide longer-term energy because it takes longer for the body to break them down.
Fats like butter and oil help absorb vitamins and protect your organs. Fats can be further broken down into monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat but those categories are not considered when counting macros.
How to Track Macronutrients
The first step to tracking macros is to determine how many total calories you should be consuming each day. For example, a moderately active 30-year old female may need about 2,000 calories per day. Next, you have to determine the percentage of calories that should come from each macronutrient.
Recommended percentages are based on your sex, age, weight, and activity level. You can also check out dietcypher.com for a personalized approach to macro tracking. The program recommends DietCodes like high protein, high fat, or high carb based on your genetics.
So, for a 2,000 calorie diet, a macronutrient breakdown might be:
- 25% carbohydrates
- 25% protein
- 50% fats
Every gram of carbohydrate and protein is 4 calories and every gram of fat is 9 calories. So for the example above that would translate to the following calorie breakdown:
- 500 calories from carbs
- 500 calories from protein
- 1,000 calories from fat
Once you have your percentages figured out you can use an app on your phone or computer to input the food you eat. It will generate the total calories and percent of each macro for each food and beverage.
After a few days, you will start to learn more about your diet and the foods you typically eat. You can then make the necessary adjustments to stick within your macro tracking guidelines.
Benefits of Tracking Macros
Tracking macros can help people lose or maintain their weight. It may also help people make healthier nutrition choices. Research suggests that tracking macros, particularly protein, can also help individuals maintain or increase their muscle mass.
Tracking Macros Toward Better Health
Everyone has a different health and fitness journey. But if you are looking to manage your weight and have struggled with diets in the past, consider tracking macros.
Enjoy the foods you love while still reaching your health and fitness goals! And if you’re looking for more nutrition and wellness advice browse through our other content.