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Macronutrients: What you need to know.

What are Macronutrients?

Macronutrients, a.k.a. macros, simply refer to 3 main categories of calorie sources: Proteins, Fats, and Carbs. Every food you eat contains some combination of these three macros. Each is needed for a healthy body, but depending on your fitness goals you should aim for a specific ratio in your daily food consumption. 

Calories are Macros

The total number of calories in a food is a sum of the 3 macros. The 3 macros contribute differently to calorie count:

1g fat = 9 calories
1g carb = 4 calories
1g protein = 4 calories.

This is why fats are often seen as a dietary evil, because they contain more calories. For example, a snack with 10g fats, 10g carbs, and 10g protein will have 170 calories. However, more than half of these calories are from fat. While dietary fat is good for you and eating fat does NOT make you fat, high fat snacks can easily contribute to a caloric surplus. With the exception of certain medications or health conditions, a chronic caloric surplus is what makes you fat. 

I reccomend using a tracking app like MyFitnessPal to learn about your habitual macro consumption.

Different diets play with different ratios of macros. For example, a keto diet supports only 5% calories from carbs, which means people will eat far more fats and proteins than what is considered conventionally healthy. To be clear, I do not recommend following a keto diet. 

How many of Each Macro Should I Eat?

Your exact macronutrient profile will change based on your training program and goals, but in most cases people need to cut down on carbs and/or fats while increasing their protein intake. 

For somebody trying to build and maintain muscle, you should aim for at least 0.8 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight [ACSM]. If you weigh 150lbs and you want to build muscle, you should aim for at least 120g of protein. 

Tracking your diet is a good way to learn more about where you stand and where you can improve. Understandably, tracking everything you eat can be a chore and for some people can become an obsession. However tracking for a few days will provide valuable insights on how you can improve your nutrition and work towards your goals.


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