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Question #1: How useful is it to stick to macros and how can we do it?

Sustainable Health

Watching macros is another way of ensuring that we eat right. The term ‘macros’ refers to macro-nutrients, i.e Proteins, Fats and Carbohydrates, so named because our bodies need them in relatively larger quantities as compared to our other requirement, micro-nutrients.

On one hand one school of thought recommends the counting of calories for weight loss. While this is a sure shot way to weight loss, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the practitioner is eating the right components of food in the right proportions. These proportions vary from individual to individual with the base ratio said to be 50% carbohydrates, 30% proteins and 20% fats though you’ll have to figure out what works best for your body. This base ratio is altered and tweaked for different body types and objectives. 

The advantage of watching your macros or following a macro diet is twofold. Firstly, we have a natural watch over calories, given that we know carbohydrates and proteins to deliver 4 calories per gram and fats to deliver 9 calories per gram. Therefore, watching our macro-nutrient consumption will naturally result in knowledge of calories consumed and if regulated, is likely to result in weight loss [1]. Secondly, what pure calorie counting doesn’t deliver, counting macros does – the consumption of food in the right proportions. For example, we could eat our entire daily quota of calories with breads or proteins or fats, each of which can be unhealthy for us. Watching our macros ensures we don’t do that. I’ll say it again, there’s no obvious slot for vegetables in this system and that doesn’t mean we don’t need any.

Does counting macros ensure optimal consumption of micro-nutrients? The jury is still out on that one.

References:

  1. Comparison of Weight-Loss Diets with Different Compositions of Fat, Protein, and Carbohydrates
    https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa0804748
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