Before I get started,
If you do not know what macronutrients are: macronutrients are nutrients required for energy, growth and bodily functions.
For us to function optimally, we need appropriate ratios of all three macronutrients; proteins, carbohydrates and fats.
I think it is very beneficial to learn about the macronutrient profiles of the foods you are consuming.
Proteins contain 4 calories per gram.
Carbohydrates contain 4 calories per gram.
Fats contain 9 calories per gram.
When I believe tracking your macronutrients can benefit you:
I think it is very important to learn and therefore be more aware of what appropriate portion sizes look like.
By learning more about macronutrient profiles, you may start to gain some insight on how certain foods and their quantities affect you.
When looking to reach a goal, tracking your macronutrients is an easier way to determine what is working, what isn’t working and what needs to be changed as there are less determining variables.
Some issues that I have with tracking your macronutrients:
Creating a negative relationship with food
Although I believe it is beneficial to learn about the macronutrient profiles of the foods and be aware of the amount you are consuming – I believe that constantly weighing and tracking every bite of food that enters your mouth can create a negative relationship with food.
Who knows your body best? An online calculator or you?
If you are currently counting your macros, you probably figured them out by typing in your height, weight, age, gender and activity level on a macronutrient calculator on the Internet.
This calculator likely did not ask you about your stress levels, current/past diet history, current/past medical history, blood type, sleep patterns etc.
I believe that when we are constantly tracking our macronutrients, we are continually silencing what our bodies actually want; putting us out of tune with our own bodies.
For me personally, I think tracking macronutrients is stressful and planning out what I am going to eat everyday in my phone or on an app does not work for me.
Diets too high in processed food
I believe that being more aware of macronutrient profiles and the amount of the foods that you are consuming can be very beneficial.
I also believe that counting your macronutrients in order to fit as much processed foods into your daily diet to still maintain a lean physique, is wrong.
Having visible abs with a flood of hormonal and metabolic issues isn’t healthy.
Incorrect nutrition labeling
It is easy to figure out the macronutrient profile of 100 grams of asparagus.
Protein: 2.2 grams
Carbohydrates: 3.9 grams
Fat: 0.1 grams
This is pretty much a guarantee.
When it comes to processed foods; that is where things can take a turn.
Nutrition labels on processed foods should be used as a rough guide, not a guarantee.
The law allows a margin of error when it comes to food labeling – for the value stated versus the actual value of nutrients.
By minimizing the processed foods and eating more whole, minimally processed foods – you might be surprised with the results you can achieve (without even having to track your macronutrients).
Take home message: At the end of the day, you need to find what works best for you.
I definitely believe there is a time and a place for tracking your macronutrients – but I think more importantly; putting less emphasis on caloric intake and actually listening to your body’s needs and being more aware of the signals it is giving you is the key to a happier, healthier life.