One of the most common questions I get is whether one should count macros or calories to facilitate weight (fat) loss or muscle gain. The answer? BOTH!!! The reason is because macronutrients (or macros) convert to caloric values! At the end of the day, each of us has a set amount of calories that we require to maintain , lose, or gain weight. So your macro needs will be a reflection of that particular caloric range. Remember, for weight loss, you need to create a consistent caloric deficit that is less than your body’s maintenance caloric needs and muscle gain should incorporate caloric intake that is slightly above weight maintenance calories.
For example, you are trying to lose weight and watch your fat intake at the same time. The general recommendation is typically 40% carbohydrate, 30% protein, and 30% fat – note all these percentages add up to 100%😊. So on a fat “conscious” diet you may want to choose 40% carbohydrate , 35% protein, and 25% fat. You may have noticed that the decreased fat percentage of 5% means that extra five percent of calories needs to be added to protein or carbohydrate percentages so that your percentages always equal 💯 . For this example, the extra 5% went to protein. Here’s where calories come in. Each gram of macro has a caloric equivalent. So if you are also consuming 1600 calories per day to create a deficit below maintenance calories (say your maintenance is 2200), you have to make sure your macro targets are aligned with caloric targets. Here’s the math. 1 gram of protein or carbohydrate yields 4 calories. 1 gram of fat yields 9 calories. Using the 40, 35, 25% target example above for dietary fat limitation goals, the calculation looks like this:
40% carb =
0.40 x 1600 calories = 640 calories ; 640 calories /4 calories per gram of carb = 160 grams of carbs per day
35% protein =
0.35 x 1600 calories = 560 calories; 560 calories/ 4 calories per gram of protein = 140 grams of protein per day
25% fat =
0.25 x 1600 calories = 400 calories; 400 calories / 9 calories per gram of fat = 44.4 grams of fat per day
Now that you know the basic concepts above, you can customize your dietary goals as your needs or goals change!! Note: different starting body weights (fat vs lean mass) and individual energy expenditure will dictate different caloric needs to meet daily goals for calories . You can calculate total energy expenditure (TEE) needs through various tools online. Time to customize your plan for results!!
For personal questions about this concept or other health questions, contact Dr. Kris at: email@example.com