A Nutritionist's Guide To Macros And Why You Should Be Counting Them | Men's Health Magazine Australia

A Nutritionist’s Guide To Macros And Why You Should Be Counting Them

The basic concept of dieting goes: cutting back on food will lead to weight loss. And yes, that’s somewhat true. But eating well is as much about what you gain as what you lose. It should help you harness more energy, build muscle and fuel your workouts.

That’s where macros come in: Whether you’re bodybuilding, on the keto diet, looking to lose weight or trying out IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros), counting calories and macros can help you make progress at a rate you’ve not seen before.

While the basic process is simple (stick to a certain amount of calories and you’ll either lose, maintain or gain weight), there’s actually a sweet science that can be tweaked and tuned to suit your training schedule.

To find out more, we spoke to James Halim, Nutritionist and Food Service Dietician at MACROS.

How do I figure out my macros?

The number of Macros required differs from person to person, it is very much dependent on your weight, height, age, level of physical activity, and personal wellness goals. For anyone starting out it is important to seek advice and guidance from your trusted nutritionist or dietician to ensure you are meeting your individual needs in the healthiest way possible.

What exactly are macros?

Macros is short for the term macronutrients. Put simply, these are the key nutrients our bodies need in large quantities for optimal functioning and energy levels on a day-to-day basis. It is important to understand how much, and from what food sources you are receiving your macros to ensure you are maintaining a healthy diet.

How do I calculate macros to lose weight?

If you aren’t losing fat it may be because you are eating too much of one of the macros.

Generally, a healthy balanced diet consists of mostly carbs, then protein, and an even smaller amount of fat. As a general rule of thumb, health specialists recommend that 45-65% of your daily macros come from carbs, 15-25% from protein, and 15-25% from fat.

Please note these figures may vary depending on your personal goals, but before embarking on a weight loss journey it is always best to speak with your trusted nutritionist or dietician.

What are the three types of macros?

Carbohydrates, protein, and fats are the three macronutrients, each supplying a certain amount of energy to your body based on the level of intake.

Carbohydrates provide the body with fuel after it breaks down into glucose for immediate energy or to be stored in the body for later use. Protein provides the building blocks for muscle repair as well as supporting optimal functioning of our nervous system, blood stream, and growth of hair, skin, and nails. Fat is oftentimes misunderstood but we do require this macro for insulation and protection of our vital organs, as well as optimal cell functioning. Additionally, fat allows our body to access and absorb a series of vitamins (fat-soluble vitamins A D E and K), only present in fat-based foods and/or fortified foods (ie. some breakfast cereals are enriched with the vitamins previously mentioned).

What are good macro foods?

Everything in moderation is a wonderful way to live life, but I do recommend you take notice of your diet now and again to ensure you are picking the best sources of macronutrients. For carbs this would mean whole grains, breads and cereals, legumes, and starchy and non-starchy vegetables. For protein you’re looking at lean meats, seafood, beans, and eggs. And for fats this would be your nuts and seeds, cheese, and full-fat dairy products.

Once you’ve figured out how to balance your macros you can make healthy, informed decisions about what to put on your plate for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

For those starting out on their macros journey it is important to seek guidance and advice from a trusted nutritionist or dietician. There is no standard number of macros one person should consume; this all depends on your height, weight, age, level of activity, and personal wellness goals.

Meal prepping is one way to stay motivated and ease into the routine of counting macros, especially if the idea of constantly tracking your protein, carb and fat intake feels a little tiresome or daunting to you.

Alternatively, if you’re seeking some meal inspiration and just don’t know where to start, why not try ready-made meal delivery services?

MACROS ready-made meals make healthy eating easy (and delicious) for those looking to count their macros. The meals are balanced, pre-portioned, and designed by dieticians to make your life a little easier. Delivered fresh to your door, this is one way to kickstart (or maintain), your macros journey, especially for the time poor individuals who crave healthy wholefoods.

Thinking about joining the macros movement? Consistency is key!

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