“To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art.” (François De La Rochefoucauld) A matter of fact, it’s true that eating food is something people have to do on a regular basis. However, many struggles to find a healthy balance in order to reach their physical goals of either losing or gaining weight.
Even though trying to maintain can face struggles and many are on the quest for the best diet. And in that quest, it’s nearly impossible to not hear the word “macros” with everyone having their own advice on what is the best diet to follow.
What are the main macros? There are three main nutrients that are referred to in nearly every nutritional guide. The trifecta that needs to be considered in a regular diet are: protein, fats, and carbohydrates. Minerals, vitamins and such are also important elements but are part of the micro-nutrient profile that can be considered but first, one has to get the majors in control first before worrying about the minors.
To do this, a macros calculator is available and many sites have advice on the ideal macros. Some specific diets have their own preferred quantities. Low carb, such as Atkins or the popular keto approach are higher in fats and protein and very low in carbs as an example. Others have a more rounded approach and the rare few put carbs above fat and protein.
Don’t use percentages, such as 40/40/20. This is a common approach and even the diet site Myfitnesspal has its macro system based on having a certain percent for protein, fat, and carbs. However, this isn’t the ideal approach. The body doesn’t consider whether or not a certain percentage of a meal or day is consumed in protein or in fats, so it can be less confusing if a different approach is taken.
Instead, for a generally balanced approach take the advice of finding certain minimums and letting the rest be guided by the overall calorie goal depending on the overall desired results.
For most active adults, there are minimums for two of the macros and each with their own reason. While some fear fat (the thought that eating fat is what makes one gain weight was proven inaccurate) the truth is that particular macro nutrient is necessary for hormone health and mineral/vitamin absorption. A common recommendation is to get at least .4 grams as a minimum.
So, at a weight of around 100 one would get 40 grams a day. Protein is recommended at around .7-1 gram for the minimum (70-100 grams a day using 100 lbs as the base weight). This goes up and down a little depending on bodyweight and preferred diet. Some find protein more satiating and others need a higher amount of carbs for their workouts.
With the different numbers and goals, it can become confusing. However, there are online macros calculators to the rescue. The calculator takes into consideration personal data like height, current weight, and gender, along with the different goals of gaining, losing or wanting maintenance calories plus desired macros.
Having the formulas calculated can also give a more personal, tailored result for bodybuilders and those of varying fitness levels. This is a much better approach than the generalized 40/40/20 percent approach.
Finding the right method is a matter of just a little research with many options available in order to help reach an individual approach to health. Because in truth, when it comes to dieting and nutrition, there isn’t a one size fits all solution.