Whats A High Quality Protein
One often hears of proteins being separated into categories of high or low quality. This refers to the sources content of amino acids, the building blocks of protein: animal sources contain all nine essential amino acids, meaning the ones the body cant make on its own. Vegan sources of protein typically dont, with the exceptions of soy, quinoa, buckwheat, and a few others.
Generally, people worry about this more than they should. Research suggests that if youre eating a varied diet, youll effortlessly get all your amino acids throughout the day, which is more important than getting them all at every meal. Its also easy to combine plant-based proteins like legumes and rice, an extremely popular combination throughout the world and this forms a complete protein on its own.
The Ultimate Guide To Counting And Tracking Macronutrients
Want to lose weight, feel more energized or gain muscle? Tracking macros may be more important than tracking calories.
Macronutrients are carbs, fat and protein. Your body needs these nutrients to keep you healthy, strong and energized.
Eating healthy is more than just counting calories. To truly have a balanced diet, you have to have a variety of nutrients that give your body energy and help your digestive system work. The best way to keep tabs on what you’re eating, whether to lose weight or just to stay healthy, is to track macronutrients. Doing that can help you reach your health and fitness goals faster than focusing on calories alone.
Tracking macros over calories is helpful for so many reasons. This method of food logging can help you understand which types of food make you feel good or bad, which foods improve your athletic performance and which foods help you focus or make you drag. Counting macros can also help you shift your current eating habits to healthier patterns for the long-term.
Get the CNET How To newsletter
You’ll need to learn how to read a nutrition facts label for this approach, but the benefits far outweigh the time you’ll spend grasping the concept of a macro diet.
Why Do Calories Matter Isnt A Keto Macronutrient Calculator Useless If I Am Already Limiting Carbs
After hearing about the keto diet and how it helps you burn fat, you may be wondering why we even have a keto calculator. According to many low carb diet proponents, all that really matters when it comes to losing fat is cutting the carbs Isnt this true?
High-quality research studies have been published on this specific topic, and the data clearly shows that regardless if you are on a high carb or low carb diet you will lose weight if you are in a calorie deficit and gain weight if you are in a calorie surplus. For a closer look at the research and why calories matter, check out this article.
Due to the irrefutable importance of calorie consumption for weight loss and weight gain, a keto macro calculator is one of the most valuable tools that you can use to increase your chances of diet success.
Read Also: How Do I Find Out How Much Protein I Need
Calculate Total Macro Calories
You can calculate the amount you are eating by using the nutrition facts label. It really is that simple, anything that has a nutrition facts label also has macronutrients listed. In fact, this is exactly what the FDA uses to calculate the number of calories in your food.
For example, the nutrition label for a half-cup serving of whole-grain cereal says it provides 3 grams of fat, 13 grams of carbs, and 3 grams of protein. You can calculate the calories for each macro by multiplying each by their designated macronutrient calorie count.
- 3g of fat x 9 calories per gram = 27 calories
- 13g of carbs x 4 calories per gram = 52 calories
- 3g of protein x 4 calories per gram = 12 calories
These calorie amounts combined should equal the number of total calories for the food – 90 calories per serving!
Does Your Calculator Have A Fiber Intake Option
Our keto calculator will only tell you your suggested carb, fat, and protein intake. The general recommendation for fiber intake is 14 grams per 1,000 calories consumed. The simplest way to meet your daily fiber needs are by eating more low carb vegetables, having some keto bread with your meals, or taking fiber supplements.
If you find that your fiber needs are difficult to meet with your current net carb limit, then simply eat enough fiber so that you have regular bowel movements one or more times a day.
Read Also: What’s The Best Tasting Protein Shake
What Are The Health Benefits Associated With Tracking Macros
Tracking macros can help you lose weight, improve your body composition, and make better food choices. It helps those who simply want to live a healthier lifestyle, want to learn more about nutrition, or need to monitor their diet due to health concerns such as heart disease or diabetes. It not only gives you an accurate snapshot of how much you are eating but brings awareness to what is in the food you’re eating.
How To Configure Cronometer
If youd rather use an app that tracks your net carbs, micronutrients, and is much more precise and accurate, then Id recommend using Cronometer.
Heres how to set it up:
First, you must download the app and set up an account.
Once you end up at the following screen, you are ready to set your macronutrient and calorie goals.
Recommended Reading: What Snacks Are High In Protein And Low In Carbs
Why Are Macronutrients Important
Your body breaks down macronutrients to perform specific jobs in the body.
- Proteins break down into amino acids, which can affect our muscle composition, and are involved in creating mood-regulating neurotransmitters.
- Carbohydrates break down into sugars, which give us energy for immediate use, but also storage.
- Fats break down into fatty acids, which help form certain structures of our body, like our brain, nervous system, and cell walls.
So, in addition to impacting your body weight and composition, macronutrients can impact how you feel, perform, and even behave.
How Do I Figure Out Macros
“Counting macros means that you are simply adding up the total number of grams of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins of the food items that you are consuming per meal or per day,” says Andrea Marincovich, RD, registered dietitian and founder of The Realistic Dietitian.
To start counting macros, you need to figure out your caloric needs and set your ideal macros distribution. Once you set your calorie and macro goals, then you can start paying better attention to where their calories are coming from.
Don’t Miss: Who Sells Premier Protein Clear
What Are Macros And How Do You Count Them
When it comes to weight loss, some people have traded old-school calorie counting for counting macros. Macrosshort for macronutrientsinclude carbs, proteins, and fats. Simply put, counting macros involves tallying up how many grams of each macronutrient type you consume each day, aiming for specific targets. The method is a key component of eating plans like the keto diet.
While fans of the approach say that counting macros helps them lose weight, boost their intake of healthful foods, and generally feel their best, the method requires daily math that others may find complicated and time-consuming, says Zoe Griffiths, RD, global director of nutrition at WW. Wondering if its worth the effort? Read on for a step-by-step guide to counting macros, along with expert insights on whether this technique can help you reach your wellness and weight-loss goals.
Welcome To The World Of Iifym
At face value, the very thought of being able to trade sweet potatoes, lean turkey, and avocados for potato chips, fatty ground beef, and cookies
… and doing so in a way that allows you to lose fat or build muscle should be enough to pique your interest.
Before diving more into how to build your IIFYM diet, were going to backtrack a few steps, to help you to better understand how all of this works in such an efficient and flexible way.
First, the topic of energy expenditure.
All weight loss and weight gain, in its simplest form, comes down to calories in vs. calories out.
Makes sense, right?
If you take in more than you burn off, youre going to retain more each day causing weight gain.
However, if youre burning more than youre taking in every day, youre going to see a calorie deficit resulting in weight loss.
A calorie can be defined as:
The amount of energy required to heat up one kilogram of water one degree celsius.
When your objective is to lose weight , you need to feed your body less calories than it burns every day.
When this happens, your body must get the energy it needs from another source.
That source is the bodys fat.
So, for the sake of discussing fat loss: a calorie is a calorie, regardless of where it comes from.
Which means, yes you could literally lose fat, effectively, by eating nothing but Hostess cupcakes, Little Debbie snacks, Doritos chips, sugary cereals and Oreos.
Dont believe us?
Don’t Miss: Is Boost Protein Drink Good For You
How To Calculate Your Macros
If youre eager to get your personalized macros plan, a heads up before you start:
Once you get your macro numbers, youll want to stick to them for at least two weeks.
It takes that long to determine whether any changes you notice are due to your plan working , or just regular body fluctuations.
After two weeks, you can evaluate how things are going, and adjust your calories / macros up or down as needed. All of the methods below provide estimates of your daily calorie and macro needs, so in most cases, it takes some experimenting before you find what works for you.
Ok, lets crunch those numbers.
Macro Tracking Apps Vs Keto Apps
Macro tracking apps allow you to log and monitor protein, carbs, fats, calories, and many other key stats like fitness, mood, sleep, and water consumption. Many of these apps are typically broad in scope and not tailored to a specific diet, allowing users to customize the features and tracking tools to fit their needs.
Keto apps, on the other hand, are designed to support the Keto lifestyle. They typically include Keto/low-carb meal ideas, food plans, and recipes. While this is a handy tool for people following that program, it might not be the best choice if youre looking for an app that tracks macros and exercise for general nutrition and diet goals.
What’s The Difference Between Calories And Macros
Most food plans work by cutting calories it’s an approach that’s worked for many people but as we said before, it’s not just about how much you’re eating every day but what you’re eating.
On a CICO diet, eating 20 calories of kale would be equal to eating 20 calories of chocolate. An extreme example but one that paints a picture.
Let us elaborate. On a calorie focused diet you could consume solely “junk” or nutrient-devoid food and still stay under your assigned calorie amount. However, you’d most likely be protein deficient and most probably eat much more fat than necessary.
Research published in the journal Engl J Med, found that what you’re eating, as well as how much, is important for both fat loss and general health. By tracking your macros, you’ll be able to make sure you’re not only prioritising nutrient-dense foods but eating them in the amounts your body and training needs.
And, by counting your macros you can optimise your diet so that you’re fuelling your body from the right sources by keeping your carb, fat and protein intake in balance.
Plus, it can help with keeping your nutrition balanced between foods that fuel you and “fun” foods. For example, if you have a hankering for a white chocolate mini-magnum , you can add it into your daily macro allowance and work the rest of your meals around it. Easy as.
Pros And Cons Of Carb Manager
Carb Manager is tailored specifically for anyone tracking net carbs, which makes it a great app for low-carb and keto dieters. Though it looks a bit different than Cronometer and MyFitnessPal, it has the same functionality of both apps. In fact, the app mitigates many of the cons mentioned previously.
Unfortunately, Ive noticed several inaccuracies in the macronutrients of certain foods and Ruled.me recipes. This makes me more skeptical of the data on Carb Manager than I would be with Cronometer.
Heres a quick list of the pros and cons for Carb Manager:
- Tailored to the needs of the keto dieters, with net carb tracking and a keto grading system for foods.
- Allows you to track your progress, ketone levels, insulin, and blood sugar over time
- Access to keto information and a forum with other keto dieters
- Option to add recipes directly from your favorite keto recipe websites
- Must pay a monthly subscription to track micronutrients
- Some recipes and food items are not accurate
Don’t Miss: What Can You Eat For Protein Besides Meat
How To Track Your Net Carbs With Carb Manager
Tap the white plus sign at the top right on your daily log, and you will be brought to the Find Foods window:
Their search function works a lot like the MyFitnessPal app, allowing you to find foods and recipes from one search bar. To find your favorite ruled.me recipe, for example, type in Ruled.me followed by the recipe you are looking for.
Fortunately, you wont have to do any extra math to track net carbs . After you log each item, your net carb count will automatically update themselves, giving you a clear picture of your macros for the day.
How Can I Start Counting Macros For Weight Loss
If youre wanting to be more mindful of the number on the scales, then you may be curious as to how counting macros for weight loss can benefit you.
It is likely that you have considered either doing a low-fat or low-carb diet to facilitate your weight loss. However, research has been conducted over the years to evaluate the best way of counting macros for weight loss.
A 2018 investigation examined 609 adults aged 18-50 for 12-months, half of which followed a low-fat diet and the other a low-carb diet. Participants were to reduce their total calorie intake by an average of 500-600 calories per day.
The results showed that after 1 year, neither group lost significantly more weight than the other. The average weight loss in the low-fat group was 5.3kg/11.7 pounds with the average weight loss in the low-carb group being 6kg/13.2 pounds. The difference in weight between either group was 0.7kg/1.5 pounds.
In summary, the research suggests that if youre wanting to understand more about counting macros for weight loss, you should consider reducing your daily calorie intake by 500-600 calories while opting for a macro split as recommended by. The below percentages indicate a recommended macronutrient split.
- Carbohydrates: 45-65% of total daily calories
- Fats: 20-35% of total daily calories
- Proteins: 10-35% of total daily calories
Recommended Reading: How To Get Protein If Your Vegetarian
Why Should You Track Your Macros
We’ll go right out and say it
…counting your macros is more effective than counting calories.
Sure, cutting 500-1000 calories out of your diet may help you lose weight.
But, if you load up on fats and carbs in those calories that you can still eat, your weight loss efforts will be very tedious and slow.
A calorie counter will tell you if youve eaten 400 calories, while a macro-counter will help to decipher whether those 400 calories were from a piece of pizza or from a bowl of fruit.
Counting macros is much more specific than calories.
In fact, counting macros is what all those magazine articles and internet ads that claim, Eat all your favorite foods, while still losing fat every week! come from.
How Do I Quantify My Exercise
In using the calorie, portion, and macro calculator above, youll see the terms gentle, moderate, and strenuous. These describe the intensity of your activity.
Use the guide below to gauge your activity levels. When in doubt, its better to underestimate your activity rather than overestimate it.
Moderate to Strenuous Activity
- Team sports
- Group classes and bootcamps
Read Also: What Is The Best Protein Bar On The Market
So How Do I Use This Information
Now that you know the optimal split between calories from protein, carbs, and fat, its time to calculate the actual amounts you need in grams.
Start by calculating your daily calorie need, using the guidelines from this post. Lets say that you calculated a daily need of 2.000 calories. With a 40/40/20 energy split of protein, carbs, and fat, you would need:
- 800 calories from protein
- 800 calories from carbs
- 400 calories from fat
To calculate the amounts in grams, you divide by how many calories there are per gram in each macronutrient .
For a 2.000 calories diet, your daily amounts would be:
- 800 calories from protein / 4 = 200 g Protein
- 800 calories from carbs / 4 = 200 g carbs
- 400 calories from fat / 9 = 45 g fat
And there you have it! It may seem a little complicated at first, but when you do it step-by-step, its actually quite easy to calculate exactly how much protein, carbs, and fat you need in your diet.
Suggested next posts:
Tip #: Set Your Daily Carb Limit
Setting your daily carb limit depends on what you want to achieve as well as the type of diet you are following.
If you are unsure of how many carbs you should be eating per day, consider the following categories of carb levels. Generally, a low-carb diet is considered to be:
- < 100g/day = moderate low-carb
- < 50g/day = low-carb
- < 20g/day = keto
Many readers like to begin by simply reducing their carbs to a level that is sustainable and weight loss still occurs.
Don’t Miss: Are Pure Protein Bars Keto Friendly