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Why count macros VS calories?

In the most basic terms, weight loss (or gain) is achieved by consuming less (or more) calories than we burn over an extended period of time. By tracking macros, you’re also tracking calories. But if all you need to do is eat less or more than you expend, why bother worrying about hitting protein, carbs and fats? As much as a calorie is a calorie, eating a diet based around your specific macro needs is going to allow you to achieve your performance and physique goals more effective and efficiently.

Each macronutrient provides your body with something different, so let’s break down a reasons why consuming an appropriate amount of each is important.

Protein

  • Consuming a diet that is sufficient in protein helps support lean mass retention while in a calorie deficit.
  • Protein is the most satiating macro, so eating a higher protein diet will help curb hunger while aiming for fat loss
  • Protein contains essential amino acids that allow your muscles to repair and grow over time

Carbohydrates

  • Carbohydrates are the macronutrient that your body uses most readily for energy while training
  • For athletes that complete endurance or high volume training, carbohydrates help replenish glycogen stores that are depleted to fuel their workout, which supports better recovery

Fats

  • Fat soluble vitamins such as A, E, D and K need sufficient dietary fat intake to properly be absorbed by the body
  • Omega fatty acids like EPA/DHA helps support joint health, cardiovascular health, digestion
  • Keeps your hair and nails strong and skin glowing

Taking a closer look at your intake past total calories allows you to tailor a diet to your needs or goals. For example, take two athletes that are similar in terms of height, weight and body fat, but one is training for endurance versus the other who is a strength athlete. We know that an endurance athlete is going to have a higher carbohydrate demand than a strength athlete so calories can be partitioned to favor that.

If your goal is more general health, focusing on eating sufficient amounts of each macronutrient is also going to help you consume a variety of micronutrients so that you’re losing weight without denying your body the nutrition it needs to thrive. Eating a diet that’s very high in one macronutrient likely means you’re not consuming enough of another. Consuming meals that contain a balance across all three macros, and some fiber will slow down digestion and regulate blood sugar to keep energy levels from spiking and crashing.

In few words, tracking macros allows you to be more precise about eating for your goals by tailoring your nutrition to your needs!