With time, counting macros will become quite easy. Once you learn what type of low carb diet plan you want to follow, you can learn what type of low carb foods to eat. Then, you may not even bother counting macros because you know what you can eat to get satisfied. At this point, I do not count macros because I have a really good idea of what to eat in given scenarios.
Eventually, you may start to implement multiple low carb diet plans from one week or day to the next depending on your energy needs. Where weight loss is concerned, the whole point of being on a low carb diet is to reduce the amount of fat being stored while allowing the body to use stored fat for some of your energy needs. Therefore, we should always eat enough food to satisfy your energy requirements. Any more than this will result in fat storage (weight gain).
What are macronutrients?
Macronutrients are carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. These three nutrients are needed to sustain human life. However, the body can convert some macronutrients from one kind of nutrient to another as needed. Like the conversion of excess carbs to fat.
Traditional weight loss diets often have you counting calories. A calorie is a unit of energy provided by the combination of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
- Carbohydrates provide 4 calories per gram. So, 2 g carbs = 8 calories
- Protein provides 4 calories per gram. Similarly, 2 g protein = 8 calories
- Fat provides 9 calories per gram. In this case, 2 g fat = 18 calories
Calories, carbohydrates, proteins, and fats are recorded on the food nutrition label. All packaged foods are required to have a nutrition facts label similar to the one seen below. So, let’s practice counting macros!
So, whatever this high carb food may be, the serving size is 2/3 a cup. According to the label, each serving provides 230 calories. This container of food has a total of 8 servings. Therefore, if you ate the entire container, you will have eaten 1840 calories. Let’s start counting macros…
8g fat x 9 calories = 72 calories
37g carbohydrates x 4 calories = 148 calories
3g protein x 4 = 12 calories
72 + 148 + 12 = 232 calories (230)!
(most nutrition labels round calories down, not up)
So, now that you understand counting macros, you can use a macronutrient calculator to calculate the percentage of carbohydrates, proteins, and fat that you will need in grams.
Whether calories are provided by carbohydrates, proteins, or fats, they supply the same quality of energy. Therefore, with regard to energy, a calorie is a calorie regardless of the source. With carbohydrates being our primary source of fuel, our creator has provided us with an abundance of fuel (carbohydrates) to sustain our lives.
Sugar, honey, nectar, and syrup are carbohydrates. Therefore, most fruits and many vegetables are rich in carbohydrates. Starchy vegetables like corn, potato, rice, and beans are some of the highest in carbohydrates. Next, we have grain and grain-inspired foods like oatmeal, crackers, breads, pastas, and pastries – carbs, carbs, carbs.
Nuts provide us with a source of fat and protein. However, we must eat a variety of nuts to get all of our required amino acids. Low carb vegetarians are often very familiar with foods needed that provide their necessary amino acids. For meat eaters, meats and most dairy products provide us with a complete source of protein.
However, with a low carb diet, you are primarily concerned with reducing your carb intake. This is because, it is very easy to eat (or drink) too many carbs. This is especially true when we are eating fatty and/or sugary carbs like fried potato chips, cakes, cookies, and fried pastries like donuts. Then, when eaten in excess, carbohydrates are converted and stored as fat.
Counting macros is not hard. Although, it may not be necessary on a low carb diet. With a basic low carb diet, you will primarily focus on counting macros related to carbohydrates. So, once you learn how many carbs you can have in a day to lose weight and keep it off, you may end up looking at the total carbohydrate grams, not the calories.
Nevertheless, depending on the low carb diet plan that you choose, you may also be interested in counting macronutrients related to fats and proteins. If you have any questions, please let me know. Next, you will learn how to determine your daily calorie requirements. That all for today!
This concludes part of our macronutrients series – counting macros.