In today’s post, we’re getting real about macros – a trend that has surpassed calorie counting in many fitness circles. Counting your macros is a method of tracking the number of grams of protein, carbohydrates and fats you consume each day for the purpose of better nutrition versus simply restricting total caloric intake. Still, when it comes to macronutrients, there are a few things to consider.
1. Not All Calories are Created Equal.
100 calories of ice cream versus 100 calories of lean chicken breast does NOT impact your body in the same way. In fact, the foods we eat have a huge effect on not only the way we think and feel, but also the way we perform – regardless of their calorie count.
For example, protein is a combination of essential amino acids that support recovery and muscle growth throughout the body. Many foods high in protein also contain immune-boosting nutrients. An imbalance in the amino acid ratio can negatively affect immune response.
When it comes to carbs, the body’s primary energy source, they are your body’s preferred source of fuel. However, if you ask a fat burner, they will tell you, your goal should be to train your body to burn fat over carbs for fuel (but’s that’s another post!).
So what is the skinny on fat? For our purposes, we’re talking healthy fat, an essential nutrient necessary for many bodily functions. Generally, try to choose unsaturated fats such as nuts, seeds and fish, and avoid trans fats, which are often found in processed foods.
Healthy fats are crucial for cell signaling and communication in the body. They also allows your body to absorb vitamins, and they promote an optimal hormonal environment in the body.
2. Foods Have Different Effects on Satiety.
As mentioned, not all calories are equal – especially when it comes to satiety. According to a study in "The End of Overeating," protein is the most satiating macronutrient. It empties out of the stomach at a rate of 4 calories per minute.
So if you find yourself hungry all the time, try increasing your protein intake. #shake. If you find your energy lagging, you may want to try increasing your fats. Nutrition for fitness is part science and part knowing your body, so pat attention, track your macros and try different approaches.
3. When it Comes to Eating, Be Flexible.
A more flexible approach to meal planning, may in fact, boost your will and provide options so you don’t feel restricted. In fact, greater flexibility with your food options can fend off the feelings of deprivation.
Here is a general guideline for getting started with macronutrients. Stay tuned for expert advice and a deeper look into nutrient math.