What is Macro Tracking?

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Did you know that each bite of food we put in our bodies contains one or more macronutrients? The macronutrients include carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Together, these keep our bodies nourished and optimized for success. With a tool called macro tracking, you can enhance your nutrition for success!

Countertop full of food | What is Macro Tracking?

What exactly are macronutrients and why are they important?

Carbohydrates, protein, and fat are the three macronutrients that you need to live. Our bodies cannot rely on just one macronutrient alone, as each nutrient functions separately.

For example, carbohydrates are your brain’s preferred source of energy [1]. Without enough carbohydrate intake, your brain function (think: memory, mood, problem-solving) can suffer greatly and you may experience other health concerns. It’s also your preferred energy source for red blood cells, which impact every part of the body [2].

On the other hand, protein is often called the “building block of life,” because proteins are able to build and repair every single cell in the body [3]. As an added bonus, protein provides energy, helps build lean body muscle, and even boosts your immune system [4]. 

Lastly, fat is important for a wide variety of functions. Most notably, it is useful in the digestion and absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, which include vitamins D, A, K, and E [5]. Without adequate fat in the diet, you may risk vitamin deficiencies that can lead to negative symptoms or worsen pre-existing conditions.

Whenever you eat a balanced meal, you consume a combination of carbohydrates, protein, and fat. This is key as our bodies rely on all three for the functions listed above – and more. As well, just the combination of all three macronutrients is also important. 

Research shows that when consumed alone, carbohydrates can spike your blood sugar – leading to inflammation, feelings of “hanger”, and the potential for more serious disease [6]. But, if we combine carbohydrates alongside fat and protein these potential issues lessen and we benefit from the properties of each.

Each macronutrient is important to consume, especially alongside one another, so you can optimize your health for long-term success. 

plate of food being served

Where do carbohydrates fit in?

When you think of carbohydrates, you may think of processed, sugary foods and drinks. And it’s true – soda, ice cream, candy, and baked goods do contain carbohydrates… and a whole lot of extra sugar. 

But, they’re not the healthiest sources of carbohydrates in the diet, and not every carb is made equally! 

Complex carbohydrates are the preferred kind to consume. This includes foods that contain healthy levels of carbohydrates alongside fiber and other vitamins and minerals to balance out. When a carbohydrate is combined with fiber, it actually helps slow your blood sugar response and provides you with longer-lasting energy. Do you ever feel hangry or shaky when hungry? This can be a sign that your blood sugar is unstable and you may need to consume more complex carbohydrates in your diet, rather than simple sugar foods.

Complex carbs include:

  • Whole grains such as oats/oatmeal, rice, quinoa, and beans
  • Whole fruits as compared to juices or fruit concentrate
  • Starchy vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, and squash

And, like clockwork – complex carbohydrates will also help you with energy to fuel your workouts, get the kiddos to school on time, and even assist in your brain function [7]. Carbohydrates aren’t unhealthy in the diet – but the type of carbohydrate you consume matters most.

woman chopping vegetables

What about protein?

Protein can be found in both animal and plant sources, although it is typically easier to consume adequate amounts of protein through animal sources such as meat, poultry, fish, and dairy. Eggs can provide large servings of protein in smaller packages, making them convenient and useful in meeting your protein goals. 

There are some plant sources of protein that you can include in your diet, such as soy and soy-related products (tofu, edamame) as well as quinoa.

plate of different proteins

Are all fats the same?

Similar to carbohydrates, there are both more and less ideal sources of fat to eat.

Ideal sources of fat are important in the diet as they can contribute to your health in a multitude of ways. From supporting healthy cholesterol and lipid levels to assisting in brain function, improving your skin, and much more – fat is certainly important [8].  

Healthy sources of fat in the diet include:

  • Olives and olive oil
  • Avocado
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Salmon and other seafood
  • Cheese, in moderation

Other fatty foods may include fatty cuts of meat, fried foods, processed meats, and high-fat dairy products. These fat sources are not as ideal and should be enjoyed in moderation.

seed mix, avocado and olive oil

How many macronutrients do I need in my diet?

Calculating macronutrients is a simple task that can help you achieve your nutrition goals for the long term. By taking a few minutes to learn about your macronutrient needs, you can begin making choices that best serve your goals and health. 

First, it is important to determine your caloric needs. While there are a few calculations needed to do this, the “quick” method is a great place to start. First, you determine your weight in kilograms. To do this, divide your weight in pounds by 2.2. This is a rough estimate. For example, a 150-pound individual is approximately 68 kilograms. Next, you’ll simply multiply your weight in kilograms by 25. This should give you a simple estimate to determine your potential caloric needs per day. This 150-pound individual may require about 1700 calories per day, before considering any exercise or health goals. 

If you are trying to gain muscle or weight, adding extra calories will be important. On the other hand, if you are trying to lose weight, you may consider subtracting calories (10% – 20% in a good estimate, depending on your goals). 

Next, you can determine your macronutrient needs. 

A good range to target is 50% of your calories coming from carbohydrates, 30% from protein, and 20% from fat. Once you have your total calorie needs, you can multiply that by the percentage of each macronutrient to find your desired amount of each macronutrient in calories. 

For example, someone consuming 1700 calories per day will require 850 calories from carbohydrates, 510 calories from protein, and 340 calories from fat.

To go one step further, divide your calories from each macronutrient so you can determine your grams needed per day. 1 gram of both carbohydrate and protein is equal to 4 calories. On the other hand, 1 gram of fat is equal to 9 calories. 

That being said, this individual’s needs would include 213 grams of carbohydrates, 128 grams of protein, and 38 grams of fat per day. 

Calculating your calorie, macronutrient, and gram needs is an important step in getting started on your nutrition journey to optimizing your health.

woman shopping for fresh vegetables

What is macro tracking a useful tool for meeting my goals?

When we think about a healthy, optimal diet, it includes a balance of all three macronutrients. If we consume too much fat, then we may not consume enough carbohydrates for our brain or red blood cells to function properly. On the other hand, if we rely on carbohydrates alone, our muscles may not get all the nutrients they need. 

Macro tracking is a tool you can use to reach your nutrition goals and find balance in your diet. Macro tracking helps you determine your patterns of nutrition, and it can be useful for achieving your goals without excess structure or rules. With macro tracking, you can still enjoy dinner out with friends, grab takeout on the run with the kids, or enjoy a date night – guilt-free. 

At Nutriology.Io, we customize your macronutrient needs based on you and your goals, making it easier for you to track macronutrients. No need to weigh your foods, determine your macronutrient breakdown, or start from scratch – we do the heavy lifting for you. 

We’ll teach you exactly how to break down your food intake so you can find balance and long-term success in your nutrition habits. No need to cut out a food group or macronutrient – we provide resources so you can learn what’s best for your body with a few simple tips and tweaks.

woman sharing a photo of her food on social media

Who should use macro tracking?

While anyone can utilize macro tracking, adults who are aiming to learn more about their diet and optimize their nutrition can benefit most from macro tracking. This is because macro tracking allows you to see exactly what you are putting into your body and how you can make simple changes to meet your goals. Whether you’re trying to lose fat, gain muscle, or even just feel better about the foods you consume – macro tracking can help you get there.

How can I get started on tracking my macronutrients?

Get your FREE weekly planner from Nutriology.Io here so you can dive into macro tracking yourself! 

If you’re ready to dive into more personalized, customizable nutrition to meet your needs – look out for the initial launch of our meal and fitness planning app so we can help you learn more about nutrition and fitness, as well as implement sustainable, healthy habits for life!


Citations

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3900881/#:~:text=Glucose%20(Glc)%20is%20the%20main,vagal%20nerve%20as%20well%20as
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5649962/#:~:text=Glucose%20metabolism%20plays%20pivotal%20roles,affinity%20modulation26%3B%203
  3. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002467.htm#:~:text=You%20need%20protein%20in%20your,%2C%20teens%2C%20and%20pregnant%20women.
  4. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/functions-of-protein#:~:text=Protein%20has%20many%20roles%20in,proper%20pH%20and%20fluid%20balance.
  5. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S2212267214014683
  6. https://www.mdanderson.org/cancerwise/how-to-avoid-sugar-spikes.h00-159537378.html#:~:text=In%20the%20long%20term%2C%20repeated,feeling%20in%20fingers%20and%20toes.
  7. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/carbohydrates/#:~:text=Foods%20high%20in%20carbohydrates%20are,bodily%20functions%20and%20physical%20activity.
  8. https://blog.bioticsresearch.com/9-benefits-of-healthy-fats

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