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Calories vs. Macros.
Most people think counting calories is the exact thing as counting their macronutrients. But! It’s actually the opposite way around! If you count your MACROS you are counting your CALORIES (well, you’ll hit your recommended calories).
So what’s the deal? What’s the difference?
A calorie is: an amount of food having an energy-producing value of one large calorie.
A macronutrient is: a type of food (e.g., fat, protein, carbohydrate) required in large amounts in the human diet.
Can you spot the difference?
No? Okay, no problem! Let’s get into it!
Calories “live” in everything we eat. It provides our body with energy. So by eating calories, it means you are giving your body one unit of energy to place in your body.
When we break it down, each individual (depending on age, height, weight, over all health and activity level) requires a different amount of calories to function throughout the day. This is called you BMR (basic metabolic rate).
There is more that goes into calculating how many calories your body needs to either maintain, gain or loose weight as well. fitBITE can help you with that by clicking here!
How are calories in foods calculated?
Well, when you add up the macronutrients (proteins, carbs and fats) in a specific food, it will total the amount of calories per serving. A plain rice cake from Quaker, for example, has 7 grams of carbohydrates and about 1 gram of protein. This totals to 32 calories per rice cake. How did we get this number? Keep reading!
If you count the correct calories your body needs to reach YOUR goal, yes you may see some results (since it is all about calories in vs. calories out), however it’s not going to happen from eating McDonald’s and Pizza Hut every day. You need a well balanced diet.
This is where your macros come into play.
A macronutrient is a type of food. It breaks down into three categories; proteins, carbohydrates and fats.
Your body needs a specific number, in grams, of each of these to either maintain, gain or loose weight.
Your body is made up of amino acids, a crucial protein. When you eat protein your body breaks it down repairing your muscle tissue. The important thing to know is that it is the ONLY essential macronutrient. This is why it is crucial for your body to have the antiquate amount it needs to function.
This macro is your body’s preferred source of energy. What’s a carb? Pretty much a vegetable, fruit, starch, grain and sugar - which your body breaks down into glucose. Sometimes our body does’t agree on the matter of using this macro as it’s preferred source of energy, so it is very important to eat the right amount, and fiber, so that your body can burn without storing excess fat.
Between the “low fat” and “high fat” diets, this macronutrient gets a bad rep. No matter what you eat, your body is going to put it to work in different ways, so don’t be afraid!
Your body will use fat as energy when there is not enough carbohydrates coming in. They are used to form cholesterol, which is a good thing, and fatty acids. Fats help to make sure that your body is moving along that protein you’ve eaten! It also helps with insulating your organs and sending messages via hormones and neurotransmitters throughout the body! Remember though, not every fat is created equally, so be mindful of those trans and saturated fats!
Each gram of macronutrient contains a specific amount of calories.
1 gram of protein and carbohydrates equals 4 calories, while 1 gram of fat contains 9 calories
So as mentioned earlier, if you eat the correct macronutrients you will hit your recommended calories for the day. Each individual needs a specific number to fit THEIR GOALS, so no set of number is the same! You can take two people, exact age, height and weight and they can have totally two different numbers! It’s all about what your body needs, how your body puts those calories to use.
Have you been having trouble loosing weight? Try counting your macronutrients instead of counting calories. You may be surprised on how your body reacts to the change!
The bottom line is, focus on the content of what you are eating instead of how much you are eating.
Taking the Flexible Dieting approach may be your best option. You can still enjoy ice cream and pizza while getting the nutrient based macros your body needs to hit your goal!
To lean more about macronutrients, calories and flexible dieting
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