A “macro” is a short name for macronutrient and counting macros has become a popular method of losing, controlling or gaining weight.
What exactly is a macro and how do you count macros?
Macronutrients are the three nutrient categories that provide us with most of our energy. These are fats, proteins and carbohydrates. Counting macros involves counting the grams of fats, proteins and carbs that you are consuming in a day or set period.
A step further than counting calories, counting macros, by looking closely at the amount of each macronutrient consumed, helps a person understand exactly where calories are coming from and what their calories are made up of.
Why is it important to count macros?
Because counting macros gives us more information than simply counting calories alone, it can help ensure a healthy or appropriate diet is being followed. For example 200 calories from a slab of chocolate is not going to be as beneficial for the body as 200 calories from an avocado. Counting macros can allow you to look at exactly how you are fuelling your body and how your body reacts to the balance of fats, carbs and proteins. It can be useful to help keep the body satisfied, losing stubborn fat and maintaining lean muscle mass, and so can be helpful for those following a body building diet, especially a vegan body building diet, as well as those struggling to lose weight.
How do I count macros and how many of each should I be consuming?
The exact number and ratio of macros you should be eating will depend on a number of factors, including your age, gender, weight and BMI, and your activity level. Those wishing to lose weight would consume a different number and ratio of macros from someone following a vegan body building diet, for example, who would be likely to be focused on getting sufficient protein into their diet to build and maintain muscle mass.
As well as counting macros, it is vital to consider the nutrients you are consuming, so it is still very important to include fresh fruit and vegetables of all colours in your diet. Fats, carbs and protein play a vital role in our diet but do remember that vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytochemicals and other nutrients also play an essential role in our health and wellbeing.