Macros vs. Calories? The problem is that measuring calories alone can be pretty unhelpful when it comes to losing weight and seeing results in the long term. Consider these two popular diet staples: One gingerbread cookie has 150 calories while another has 130. They both have about the same amount of fat, sugar, and carbs, but one is obviously more wholesome than the other.
Which one should you choose? If you’re tracking your calories, they’re both equally good or equally bad depending on which number is greater (unless, of course, there are added artificial sweeteners — then neither would be very good. But if you know anything about nutrition, you’ll probably pick the 130-calorie cookie every time because of its whole grains and natural ingredients.
Both macros and calories are important for weight loss — but only if you know which numbers are better from a nutritional standpoint. Let’s take a closer look at each so that you can see which foods are worth keeping in your eating plan for life and which ones should be avoided at all costs!
What Are Macros?
If you’ve been following the fitness scene for any length of time, the term “macros” has probably come up at some point. But what exactly are macros and how do they differ from calories? Simply put, macros are nutritional building blocks that our bodies need to function properly.
Every single food we eat has a combination of these macros in it, even though they’re often found in different quantities. The government and experts recommend that we get 45-65% of our daily caloric intake from proteins, 20-35% from fats, and 10-35% from carbs. Once you calculate your daily caloric intake, you can then break down your daily macros to make sure you’re getting the right amount of each.
It’s important to note that the percentage of your daily macros that comes from proteins is lower for people who are trying to lose weight — but this is also where many people get confused and start to put a greater emphasis on counting calories.
What Are Calories?
As we mentioned above, calories are often confused with carbs, fats, and proteins, but they’re actually the amount of energy that’s found in all of these macronutrients. It’s important to get the right amount of calories each day to maintain your current weight and even lose a little bit of weight if you need to. You can do this by tracking your calories, which is the most accurate way to know exactly how much energy you’re taking in.
Calorie counting can be a great way to stay on track with your weight loss goals or to see how much energy you’re really taking in if you want to increase your activity level. However, there are a few drawbacks to counting calories as your only source of information. For starters, calories don’t take into account the type of food you’re eating. They don’t differentiate between a bag of potato chips and a bowl of oatmeal — they’re just measuring the energy content of the food. It’s not a bad start, but it’s definitely not enough information to make the best nutritional choices.
Macronutrients: Proteins, Carbs, and Fats
As we just discussed, the number of calories and the number of grams of each macro aren’t the same. For example, 100 calories of protein will provide you with a very different amount than 100 calories of fat or 100 calories of carbs. It may seem like calories are the most important part of a healthy diet, but it’s actually the macros that provide your body with the nutrients it needs to function.
Each macronutrient offers a different number of calories per gram and has a different effect on our bodies. Proteins are important for building muscle, maintaining a healthy immune system, and keeping our metabolism running smoothly. Carbs are our main source of energy and provide a small amount of protein and fiber as well.
Fats are important for healthy hormone production, energy production, and keeping our skin and hair healthy. The problem is that many people are getting too many calories from fats and carbohydrates and not enough protein. This macronutrient imbalance causes all sorts of health issues, including weight gain and an increased risk of heart disease.
How to Measure Your Macros
Tracking your macros is an easy way to see how your diet stacks up against the recommendations above. There are tons of online tools that will help you track your macros and set a daily goal. Just remember that the number of calories you’re taking in is important, too! You can’t just focus on one aspect of your diet and not the other.
If you’re eating the right amount of fats, proteins, and carbs, you should also be taking in the right number of calories. If you want to lose weight, you’ll need to consume fewer calories than you burn every day. If you want to gain weight, you’ll need to take in more calories than you burn. You can easily calculate your daily caloric intake by multiplying your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) by your BMR.
The BMR is the number of calories your body burns just to keep your organs running, so it stays the same no matter how active you are. Your TDEE is the total number of calories you burn in a day from a combination of your BMR and your activity level.
How to Measure Your Calories
If you’d rather track your calories instead of your macronutrients, there are also tons of online tools that will help you do this as well. The only downside is that you won’t know how many grams of fat, carbs, and proteins are in your food — meaning you won’t be able to make sure all your nutritional needs are being met. That said, it’s a great way to make sure you’re not eating too many calories and gaining weight.
If you want to lose weight, you’ll need to consume fewer calories than you burn every day. If you want to gain weight, you’ll need to consume more calories than you burn every day. The easiest way to track your daily caloric intake is to use an app like MyFitnessPal or DailyBurn. It’s important to note that calories do vary depending on the brand, season, and type of food, so you may find that your daily caloric intake varies from day to day.
The Bottom Line of Macros vs. Calories
To summarize, macros are important for providing the nutrients that the body needs to function, but calories are the amount of energy found in each of these macronutrients. The best way to track your macros is to set a daily goal for each one, such as 20-30% of your daily calories from fats, 35-40% from carbs, and 30-40% from proteins.
To track your calories, you can use a free online tool like MyFitnessPal or DailyBurn. No matter how you track your macros and calories, it’s important to stay consistent with your diet and not get too caught up in the numbers. It’s also important to remember that the numbers on the scale aren’t everything — you should also be focusing on your body fat percentage as well.