What Are Macros Anyways?

My macros are 300 C, 80F, and 215P…

If you are totally lost as to what that means, you are not alone!

Without any messing around, let’s just dive right in.

Macronutrients – or Macros for short – are the energy-containing compounds in our diets that make up the calories (energy) in our diet. We also consume micronutrients, which are vitamins and minerals, and while these are essential, they do not contain any energy.

The three macros are carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Alcohol is also sometimes included because it does contain energy. I use the word “contain” lightly because the energy/calories (used synonymously here) application is actually the amount of energy it takes to burn these nutrients. Confused yet?

  • 1 gram of carbs = 4 calories
  • 1 gram of protein = 4 calories
  • 1 gram of fat = 9 calories
  • 1 gram of alcohol = 7 calories

When it comes to fat loss or weight gain (this includes muscle) – it comes down to the number of calories we consume, and the source to some extent.

For simplicity sake, let’s say you burn 2500 calories per day – all things included your metabolism, exercise, thermic effect of food (the calories you burn digesting food) and your general movement, or NEAT.

If you eat 3000 calories per day, you will gain weight. (A surplus)

If you eat 2500 calories per day, you will maintain your weight. (Maintenence)

If you eat 2000 calories per day, you will lose weight. (A deficit)

What contributes to these calories, is our macros.

What if you ate PURE sugar, 100% carb goodness and nothing else? Remember, carbs are 4 cals per gram. So if we want to lose weight on PURE sugar, you could eat – 2000/4 = 500 grams of carbs per day. BUT nothing else.

Obviously, this is highly unsafe, and not realistic, but the math is there to prove a point.

So back to my macros, which I have adjusted almost every 2 weeks, based on my personal goals, etc.

Where they are right now:

  • 300 grams of carbs x 4 cals per gram = 1200 calories from carbs
  • 215 grams of protein x 4 cals per gram = 860 calories from protein
  • 80 grams of fat x 9 cals per gram = 720 calories from fat

Those macros make up 2780 calories. Which for me, is a slight deficit. (I was cutting down a bit for vacation – you know, beach bod ready 🙂 

So what are sources of carbs, protein, and fats?

Glad you asked! Here is a pretty solid list of what contributes to what.

Mostly Carbohydrates:

  • Bread
  • English muffins
  • Tortillas
  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Cereal
  • Bran
  • Oats
  • Potatoes
  • Popcorn
  • Pancakes/waffles
  • Bananas
  • Frozen berries
  • Seasonal veggies
  • Jello or pudding
  • All non-starchy veggies don’t really count for carbs (green and other colored veggies)

 Mostly Protein:

  • Egg whites
  • Chicken breast (or sliced from the deli)
  • Turkey (breast, patties, or bacon)
  • White fish
  • Lean ground beef
  • Non-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • Non-fat cottage cheese
  • Non or low-fat cheese
  • Whey protein

Mostly Fat:

  • Egg yolks
  • Avocado
  • Nut butters
  • Nuts
  • Oils
  • Olives

These are examples of foods that are made of MOSTLY one macronutrient. There are few grey areas to cover though…

Carbs/Protein:

  • Beans
  • Whole grains
  • Quinoa
  • Nonfat sweetened Greek yogurt
  • Frozen yogurt
  • Fair Life skim milk
  • Peas
  • Protein bars (most have around 7g fat)

Fat/Protein:

  • Eggs
  • Bacon
  • Steak
  • Tofu
  • Whole fat milk
  • Whole fat yogurt
  • Full fat cheese
  • Chia seeds

Fat/Carbs (These are mostly things that you should eat as little of as possible)

  • Donuts or other breakfast desserts
  • Fancy coffee drinks
  • Pizza/other heavy dishes
  • Most mixed dishes at restaurants
  • Anything deep fried
  • Desserts
  • Most things that come in vending machines

These lists are not exhaustive but should give you a general idea of what contributes to what when it comes to figuring out where you macros are or should be coming from.

Are you still confused or want to know more about macros, how much YOU need, what ratios or gram intakes are optimal? Check out the link below for online coaching and take yourself out of the driver’s seat.

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Stay healthy my friends,