‘If it fits your macro’ (IIFYM) has become a popular phrase among bodybuilders, bodybuilders, and some people on a weight loss journey. But is macro counting helpful for plant-eaters? Like almost anything in the world of nutrition, the answer is … it depends. Before diving into the pros and cons of macro counting, let’s talk a bit about the term “macros”.
What is a macro?
“Macros” stands for macronutrients, also known as macronutrients. There are four macronutrients – carbohydrates, proteins, fats and alcohol – and their main purpose is to fuel the body. Carbohydrates and protein contain 4 calories per gram, fat has 9 calories per gram and alcohol has 7 calories per gram. In general, recommendations are to eat 45-60% of calories from carbs, 15-25% of calories from protein and 20-30% of calories from fat.
Macro-trackers use their body weight and nutritional goals (for weight loss, muscle gain, etc.) to come up with an ideal daily macro ratio. A person hoping to build muscle mass may choose to eat a higher percentage of protein than an endurance athlete who focuses on carbs. A macro-tracking diet usually starts with a certain amount of carbs or protein and then identifies the remaining macros from there. Before starting to track macros, let’s take a look at the pros and cons.
What is the benefit of counting macros?
There are benefits to macro counting, such as:
- It helps you know where your calories come from and which macros make up the majority of your diet.
- For plant-eaters, macro tracking is a good way to gauge if you’re eating enough protein.
- Tracking macros can help you determine where you are putting in excess calories, which can be a useful weight loss tool.
What are the disadvantages of counting macros?
While some people may find macro counting beneficial, here are some downsides to keeping track of everything you eat.
- You really have to keep track of everything you eat. That means measuring and recording every portion of the food you feed into your body in a calorie tracker. Many people will find this difficult and overwhelming.
- You can become obsessed with macro tracking, which can lead to a disturbed eating tendency.
- Since you need to know what is in every piece of food you eat, it is very difficult to eat it all (how will you record it?).
- Just because you are working towards a certain macro goal doesn’t mean you need to eat healthy foods to achieve it. For example, you can eat carbs from fruits, vegetables and whole grains, or from candies, chips, and desserts. There are no rules about the quality of food.
Should I keep track of my macro?
Obviously, there are pros and cons to macro tracking. It can be a useful tool for very dedicated people who want to handle the amount of carbs, protein and fat they eat on a daily basis. That said, keeping track of everything you eat isn’t sustainable for years. Alternatively, without the help of a nutritionist, you can choose a macro range that is not ideal for you. If you want to keep track of your macros, seek advice from a Registered Nutritionist to do it safely and effectively.
What about micronutrients?
Because of this, people often focus on macronutrients and neglect micronutrients. Also known as micronutrients, micronutrients include more than 30 essential vitamins and minerals. There are more micronutrients than micronutrients, and they all have different recommended intake levels.
Some micronutrients, like Vitamin C and Vitamin A, are easily obtained in large amounts, while others, like Vitamin D and Zinc, are not found in many foods. The best way to make sure you get plenty of micronutrients every day is to eat a varied and colorful diet. Because some nutrients are more common in animal products, vegetarians are sometimes deficient in Iron, Calcium, Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D.