How to calculate and track your macros

id=”article-body” class=”row” section=”article-body”> Macronutrients are carbs, fat and protein. Your body needs these nutrients to keep you healthy, strong and energized.

Getty Images Traditionally, to lose weight and be healthy, we’re told to watch our calorie intake, and it’s true that counting calories can be an effective way to lose weight. Weight loss is all about energy balance, after all: calories in versus calories out.

But there’s another method you should look to if you have health goals to meet: macronutrients. Learning how to calculate and track your macronutrients might help you reach your health and fitness goals faster than focusing on calories alone. 

Plus, tracking macros over calories is helpful for so much more than just weight loss: This method of food logging can help you understand which types of food make you feel good or bad; which foods improve your athletic performance; and which foods help you focus or make you drag. Counting macros can also help you shift your current eating habits to healthier patterns for the long-term.

You’ll need to learn how to read a nutrition facts label for this approach, but the benefits far outweigh the time you’ll spend grasping the concept of a macro diet.  

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What are macronutrients?

Macronutrients are molecules we need in large amounts, also known as the main nutrients we need to simply survive. Micronutrients, in contrast, are substances required in much smaller amounts, such as vitamins, minerals and electrolytes.

The three macronutrients are carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Despite fad diets, you do need all three: Cutting out any one macronutrient puts you at risk for nutrient deficiencies and illness.


Carbohydrates give you quick energy. When you eat carbs, your body converts them to glucose (sugar) and either uses that sugar immediately or stores it as glycogen for later use, often during exercise and in between meals. Complex carbohydrates — like starchy vegetables and whole grains — also promote digestive health because they’re high in dietary fiber.


Protein helps you grow, repair injuries, build muscle and 스위피게임 fend off infections, to name a few functions. Proteins are made of amino acids, which are the building blocks of many structures in your body. You need 20 different amino acids, nine of which are essential amino acids, meaning your body can’t produce them on its own and you must obtain them from food.

High-protein foods include poultry, beef, 릴게임 야마토 fish, soy, yogurt, cheese and other dairy products. If you stick with a plant-based diet, some starches, vegetables and beans are also good sources of protein.


Dietary fat is required for your body to do its many jobs. You need fat to absorb the fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K), to insulate your body during cold weather and to go long periods of time without eating. Dietary fat also protects your organs, supports cell growth and induces hormone production.

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Each macronutrient corresponds to a specific calorie amount per gram: 

Carbohydrates have four calories per gram

Proteins have four calories per gram

Fats have nine calories per gram

How many macros should I eat?

There’s really no answer to this question: Every person is different, and as such, every person’s preferable macronutrient intake will be different. However, the federal dietary recommendations suggest this macronutrient ratio:

45 to 60 percent carbohydrate

20 to 35 percent fats

Remainder from protein 

The federal suggestion is based on the fact that carbs serve as the body’s main fuel source, and are the easiest macronutrient for the body to convert from food into energy. The metabolic processes for fat and protein are much more complex and take longer, which wouldn’t serve you well when you need quick energy.

Your macro ratio depends on your health and fitness goals, as well as how your body responds to particular foods. For example, many people thrive on a low-carb diet, but the thought of a low-carb diet for myself makes me shudder. I perform at my best when I eat about 50 percent carbohydrates.  

Similarly, you may do well on a high-protein diet, while someone else might experience digestive discomfort from consuming too much protein.

Note that some people, especially those on the keto diet, count net carbs instead of total carbs. To get net carbs, subtract the grams of fiber from the total grams of carbs. Why count net carbs? Our bodies don’t digest fiber, so it doesn’t get absorbed by the small intestine and does’t provide your body with any energy. In that sense, calories from fiber don’t really count. 

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