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Macronutrients comprise protein, carbohydrates, and fat, which are present as four, four and nine calories per gram respectively. Thus, it is the main tenet of any diet to meet one's daily intake of macronutrients for successful weight loss. And while it has been seen that all macros are made up of calories, we need to note that the body puts the different types to use in different ways. The body also needs precise amounts of each type of macronutrient to fuel workouts, repair muscle damage, grow stronger and shed fat. They also play a very important role in providing the body with energy to produce new tissues, enzymes, cells for growth and development, regulate metabolism and keep all systems functioning smoothly. Thus, counting macronutrients is the key to successful weight loss, but sadly, the most ignored.
One of the key inferences of the survey by The Food Analysts showed that the main reason for not counting macronutrients is the lack of understanding of the significant differences between them and calories. The main difference being- the counting process and the food being consumed. In a regular diet, keeping track of calories, as opposed to what makes up those calories can be harmful to the body, despite the weight loss.
Calories are seen as units of energy for the body, and how they are used, depends largely on its source. The human body can either use these calories or store them as fat, the latter being the source of weight gain. Mere calorie counting fails to take any other factors into consideration for weight loss, and often creates misleading thoughts such as that of extremely sugary foods having the same effect on the body as vegetables of the same calorie amount. Not all calories are created equal. For example, calories contributed from 10 medium French Fries and one ounce of nuts is same, but the way body processes and responds to it differs. Nuts contain fiber and fat that need more time to digest, and this makes your stomach feel full and you feel satiated for a longer time so you eat less in your next meal. As compared to French Fries, cooked starch is quickly broken down by the body, causes a spike in sugar in the bloodstream that in turn spikes insulin, leading to hunger pangs which makes you eat more into your next meal.
Why macronutrients are important
While counting macronutrients, one is fully aware of the foods going into their body and coupled with calorie counting gives people the flexibility to eat what they like and does not dictate what they can and cannot consume, or cut out complete food groups, like the Keto diet. By counting macronutrients, you are avoiding restrictive diets and can enjoy a dinner with friends, as long as you have factored it in to your daily or weekly targets. In fact, it has been likened to earning a salary and budgeting to meet your requirements.
For a long time, the general consensus has been that if one has to lose weight, they need to consume fewer calories, and burn off more, thus creating a calorie deficit. Simply counting calories too doesn't tell one how balanced their diets should be. For example, if one consumes 1,500 calories a day, they could either eat four slices of chocolate cake or 375 strawberries, neither of which is healthy.
Ideal way to lose weight
While simply eating a combination of carbohydrates, fat, and protein will definitely keep one satiated, energized and on the right path to weight loss, it is not as simple as it sounds. Different goals require different distribution of macronutrients, and while most nutrition labels list carbohydrates, protein and fat in terms of grams and not calories, one must identify what best suits their bodies for optimum results.
Although calorie counting is an essential part of any diet, knowing the source of calories is most important. This makes the macro counting approach the most viable no matter what your weight goals are, to enjoy the best possible results.
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