Understanding Macros & Calories- Part 1
Updated: Nov 25, 2019
Many people get confused when it comes to Macros and Calories, we hope to shed a little light on the topic.
Calories refer the amount of energy contained in the food and drinks we consume which are then either used as fuel or stored as energy to (hopefully) be used at a later time. All calories come from either carbohydrates, fats, or proteins, and those are macro nutrients.
Macros is short for macro nutrients. If you have ever been confused about what macros are, your macros refer to what your calories are coming from, specifically the amount of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins you're consuming. So, when you're "tracking your macros" you're tracking the amount of fat, protein, and carbohydrates that you are actually eating which allows you to more accurately ensure you're fueling your body with the right amount of each so your body can function and/or gain or lose weight in an optimal way.
Why should you track your macros? Each macro nutrient plays an important role in your body's ability to function well. For instance, your body requires a minimum amount of protein to maintain it's muscle mass, which is super important to ensure a healthy metabolism and to burn more fat. Without enough protein you will slowly lose muscle which decreases your metabolism and fat burning potential. Speaking of fat, let's talk about it. Many people are afraid of anything with fat because they assume that it will make them fat. Fat doesn't "make" you fat, unless you eat so much that you actually eat too many calories (that just happen to come from fat), but that's a conversation for a different day. Fat is important! It is one of the primary ingredients your body uses to make all of its hormones, as well as needed to help your body absorb vitamins A,E,D, and K. So it's equally crucial that you are getting enough healthy natural fats or you will experience health issues and your body will not function optimally. Lastly, and even though many people today are afraid of anything carbohydrate related, those are important too! Because each of these macro nutrients are important, by tracking them we can make sure we are getting what we need and at the same time making sure we are not having more than what we need.
How do I find out the macros in my food? Easy! Turn your food packaging over, macros are listed on the back of all packages of food- in the case of it being raw or fresh food with no packaging you can just google it.
Now that you know that macros are the specific amounts of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins you consume, the next step is figuring out how many calories your body needs and how to break that number down into macros in order to achieve your desired goal (weight loss, muscle gain, or weight control/performance)... stay tuned for next week's post where we will talk about how all calories are not created equal.