What Are Macros, And Should You Be Tracking Them?
The very first thing we check on the nutrition label of a food packet is the calorie count. However, looking at the macronutrients mentioned on the nutrition chart could give you a better picture of the nutritional value of the food.
What are macros or Macronutrients?
Macronutrients are nutrients present in our food that our body requires in large amounts. Micronutrients, on the contrary, are nutrients needed in much smaller amounts in our body. For example, vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes.
There are three macronutrients that we humans need to survive: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
Carbohydrates are the primary source of quick energy in the human diet. The carbohydrates we consume get converted to glucose (sugar) in our body, which is either used immediately or stored as glycogen in the liver and muscles.
Carbohydrates are found in plant-based foods like grains, potatoes, fruits, vegetables and legumes. Milk products also contain carbohydrates, but not as much as starchy foods do.
Proteins are the building blocks of our body; every cell and tissue of our body has protein as one of its main constituents. The protein we consume provides our body with amino acids, which help us grow, build muscle, repair injuries, produce hormones and enzymes, and boost our immunity. Seafoods, dairy products, nuts, seeds, and beans are some of the food sources rich in proteins.
Fats are essential for almost all of our bodily functions. Dietary fat helps our body absorb fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, E, and K) that we consume. Fat stored in our body provides protection and warmth, and acts as an energy storage compound. Fats can be categorised as saturated fats and unsaturated fats. Unsaturated fats are considered to be healthier than saturated fats.
Calories in Macros
Each macronutrient provides you with energy measured in calories per gram.
Carbohydrates are said to provide four calories per gram.
Proteins are said to provide four calories per gram.
Fats are said to provide nine calories per gram.
What is the best macro ratio?
As per Federal Dietary Recommendations, 45 to 60% of daily calories should come from carbohydrates, 20 to 30% of daily calories should come from healthy fats, and 25 to 30% from proteins.
Do you need to track macros?
Tracking macros can help people who want to lose weight, prepare for a bodybuilding show, optimise athletic performance, and build muscle. On the other hand, there’s no real reason for ordinary healthy people to track their macros. The components of a healthy diet are pretty simple:
- Try eating unprocessed foods.
- Stay hydrated.
- Get plenty of sleep.
Get some exercise for a few minutes every day.