What Are Macronutrients?
Macros and macro calculators are increasingly becoming popular in the nutrition and fitness realm. Scroll around fitness blogs, fitness social media pages, and nomination website, and you will likely encounter the terms “macros” and “macros calculators” as the new, flexible, and effective way of losing weight, gaining muscles, maintaining weight, or achieving any other fitness goal you might have in mind.
Macros is a short term for the word macronutrients. They are the major nutrients that the human body needs to carry out all the basic processes. In essence, these are nutrients that human being need survive. There are three major categories of macronutrients, including carbohydrates, fat, and proteins.
Macronutrients, Macros And Their Roles
We need macronutrients not only for the energy they supply but for the specific role that each macronutrient plays in the body as well. Since carbohydrates, fats, and proteins provide the body with the energy it needs to grow, repair, and develop, the body also requires large amounts of macronutrients daily.
However, aside from supplying the body with energy, carbohydrates will yield different effects compared to fats. The same case applies to proteins in relation to other macronutrients. For instance, carbohydrates are the primary energy source. As such, it provides more energy than any other of the macronutrients.
Protein, on the other hand, is an essential macronutrient used in regeneration and repair of the cells and body tissues. It also plays an essential role in the manufacture of hormones and the development and sustenance of the immune system. Fats are essential in brain development, cell functioning, and protecting the body organs from shock.
What Are Macro Calculators?
Macro calculators take the “if it fits your macros” approach. This approach to dieting is also called the flexible dieter approach owing to the flexible nature of the types of foods one can consume while on this diet. The basic premise of macro calculators is that it is not just enough to keep track of the net calories one consume, but it is also important to keep track of how the various macronutrients affect the body.
An IIFYM focuses mainly on meeting an individual’s macro goals. Importantly, this diet is designed to provide a consistent calories intake without having to stick to a strict diet and shunning some macronutrients to lose weight. The diet also allows its users to personalize their diets in a wide variety of ways they deem fit.
Differences Between Macro Calculators And Calories Calculators
Traditional dieting involves calculating calories with the goals of consuming a diet with a caloric deficit – consuming far fewer calories than your body uses to lose weight. That said, when calculating calories, one did not necessarily consider their macronutrients needs and macronutrient calculators. It is feasible for one to consume a caloric deficit while not meeting their macronutrients needs.
The type of food you consume will determine how full or hungry you feel, your brain activity, your metabolic rate, hormonal response, and much more. This, in turn, will influence how well you can stick to a diet on a long-term basis.
To illustrate this, consider an example of a doughnut versus broccoli. To consume 100 calories, you need about 4 cups of broccoli or a total of 340 grams. In this mass of broccoli, you also consume 8 grams of fiber. On the other hand, you need one and half medium-sized doughnut to get 100 calories.
While you end up with 100 calories, there is a difference in the effects both these foods have on the body. Three hundred forty grams of broccoli will leave you feeling fuller for longer when compared to the one and a half doughnuts.
Macro calculators take into account the number of calories you need to consume to achieve dietary goals as well as the sources of the calories. Not all calories are the same. As such, this diet form involves determining the amount of every macronutrient that you need to consume to achieve your goal.
Using Macro Calculators
You can use a macro calculator to achieve weight loss, muscle gain, or maintain your current muscle and or weight. Your particular goals and needs will determine your macro requirements.
Typically, for weight loss, you need to adjust your macro intake to achieve a 20% caloric deficit. This will help you achieve steady weight loss. Alternatively, you can go for a 10% calorie deficit if you want to lose a few pounds while building muscles.
For those interested in maintaining their weight, you can use macro calculators to determine the macro levels that will help you maintain your weight levels. For individuals interested in gaining muscle, you can calculate your macros to have a surplus in calories.
Avoiding Or Overcoming IIFYM Pitfalls
There are a few pitfalls you have to avoid when using IIFYM diets. The first being a lack of micronutrients intake. You should ensure you take adequate mineral and vitamins along with your macros. The other pitfall to avoid is not consuming the full range of amino acids. Try and consume protein sources with the full range of amino acids.