Just in case you’re not sure, let’s start by defining what macros, or macronutrients, actually are.
There are three major macronutrients: Protein, carbohydrates, and fat. (The fourth macronutrient is alcohol.)
Your body breaks down the macronutrients you eat into compounds used to help create energy, build body structures, create chemical reactions, and stimulate the release of hormones. Which means they can impact how you feel, perform, and even behave.
Each macronutrient provides a certain number of calories:
1 gram of protein = 4 calories
1 gram of carbohydrate = 4 calories
1 gram of fat = 9 calories
If you’re trying to lose weight, you might eat a higher proportion of protein, since it can help you feel satisfied longer after meals. Or if you’re a very active athlete, you might want a higher ratio of carbohydrates to meet your greater energy demands.
As a result, tracking macros means you’re automatically tracking calories. It’s just that you’re ensuring a certain number of those calories come from protein, carbohydrates, and fat, respectively. This is known as your macronutrient ratio.
For example, let’s say you eat:
30% of your calories from protein
40% of your calories from carbohydrate
30% of your calories from fat
Your macronutrient ratio would then be: 30:40:30.
By adjusting your macronutrient ratio based on your age, sex, activity levels, goals, and preferences, you can optimize your eating plan.
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