An In-Depth Guide on Counting and Calculating Macros
What Are Macros?
"Macros" is the shortened word for macronutrients, and macronutrients are nutrients that your body requires in a large quantity. There are three main categories of macronutrients: protein, fat, and carbohydrates.
Protein helps your body grow, build, and repair muscles and tissue.
Essential amino acids make up protein, and they are typically gained from eating food. Foods that are rich in protein include meat, cheese, nuts, beans, lentils, and eggs.
Protein should make up 10-35% of your diet each day.
Healthy fats are essential to proper bodily function. It helps your body store energy, create hormones, and protect your organs.
There are three kinds of fats: trans fats, saturated fats, and unsaturated fats. Unsaturated fats are commonly known as the healthiest fat because they help prevent heart disease.
Fat should make up 20-30% of your diet each day.
Carbohydrates are the leading source of energy that your body needs to function properly. There are two different types of carbs, and your body reacts to each of them differently.
Simple carbs take less time for your body to use to produce energy. Sweet foods like fruit, yogurt, and table sugar contain simple carbs.
Unlike simple carbs, complex carbs take longer for your body to use to produce energy. They are found in foods like whole grain bread, peas, and corn.
Carbohydrates should make up 45-65% of your diet each day.
Macro counting has many health benefits. By tracking the number of macronutrients you consume through a food diary or fitness tracking app, you can see how well you are nourishing your body and any gaps in your nutrition.
Counting macros can even help you reduce the risk of certain diseases like heart disease and Alzheimer's disease. Keeping track of your macronutrient intake can also help you lose weight and maintain a healthy weight.
If you are wondering how to count macros, you've come to the right place.
You do not need to be a food scientist to know how to calculate macros.
The best way to calculate macros is to determine your daily caloric needs and then decide on the macronutrient percentages best suited for your body.
Determining Your Caloric Needs
The recommended amount of calories that you should eat each day varies from person to person. Your specific caloric needs are based on things like sex, weight, height, activity level, age, and overall health.
To calculate your caloric needs, you will need to calculate your basal metabolic rate (BMR). There are tools to help you calculate your basal metabolic rate.
It is vital to note that the caloric needs based on BMR are just a suggestion and do not take your lifestyle into account. To include your lifestyle and activity levels, you can multiply your BMR result with an activity factor.
Little to no activity: BMR X 1.2
Light exercise a few times a week: BMR X 1.375
Moderate exercise three to five times a week: BMR X 1.55
Intense exercise six to seven times a week: BMR X 1.725
Intense exercise twice a day: BMR X 1.9
The combination of these two numbers, your BMR and activity factor, will give you an estimated recommendation of the number of calories you should consume each day.
If your macro counting goal is to gain or lose weight, you should also adjust your caloric intake to meet your weight goals.
Choosing Macronutrient Percentages
When you determine the percentage of your diet that should be taken up by which macronutrient, you can use a macro calculator, or you can do the math yourself.
When determining your macro calculation, it is important to know how many calories each macronutrient has per gram. Protein has four calories, carbohydrates have four calories, and fat has nine calories.
There are two equations you will need for calculating macros.
- Daily Calories Per Macro: total calories per day multiplied by the percent of calories that will come from the specific macronutrient per day
- Daily Grams Per Macro: calories of the macronutrient per day divided by calories per gram of the macronutrient
Here is the protein consumption for a person with a 2,000 daily caloric need:
- 2000 total calories multiplied by .20 of the calories from protein = 400 calories from protein
- 400 calories from protein divided by four calories per one gram of protein = 100 grams protein per day
Here is the carbohydrates consumption for a person with a 2,000 daily caloric need:
- 2000 total calories multiplied by .50 of calories from carbohydrates = 1000 calories from carbohydrates
- 1000 calories from carbohydrates divided by four calories per one gram of carbohydrate = 250 grams of carbohydrates per day
Here is the fat consumption for a person with a 2,000 daily caloric need:
- 2000 total calories multiplied by .30 of calories from fat = 600 calories from fat
- 600 calories from fat divided by nine calories per one gram of fat = 67 grams of fat per day
Your specific macronutrient percentage ratio will be based on these equations.
Foods to Fuel And Fit Your Macros
Macronutrients are key elements to having a healthy diet. By calculating macros, you can maintain a healthy weight and balanced lifestyle.
The foods you eat that fit those macros calculations don't have to be boring "diet" foods, though!
Shop our products for a wide selection of high protein, low sugar, low carb, and gluten-free nut butters that will fuel your body and fit into your macro calculation well.