Tracking calories is nothing new. But have you ever tried to track your macros? Many experts support tracking macronutrients which is the ratio of protein, fats, and carbohydrates in your diet. Some people even focus on the ratio of macronutrients in single meals or snack, rather than the day as a whole. Instead of reaching mindlessly for a bag of chips, aim towards balancing high quality protein, fiber-rich carbs, and healthy fats to help keep you satisfied longer and improve your macros further.
Find Your Fit
Everyone’s macro percentages can vary depending on your lifestyle. The USDA guidelines suggest allotting 45-65% of your daily caloric intake to carbs, 10-35% for protein, and 20-35% for fat. These are some ratio recommendations from the American Council on Exercise (ACE) for different fitness goals:
- Active individuals – 45-65% Carbs, 10-15% Protein, 25-35% Fat
- Moderate to high intensity training (1-2 hours per day, 4-6 days per week) – 55-65% Carbs, 20-30% Protein, ~30% Fat
- Weight loss or to decrease body fat – 45-50% Carbs, 25-30% Protein, 20-25% Fat
It’s All About Balance
It is important to understand the purpose each of these nutrients serves to help make healthier eating choices. Carbohydrates serve as fuel for the brain and during high-intensity exercise. Protein’s main functions are to build and repair muscle tissues. The body’s energy reserve is made up of fats. They protect vital organs and provide insulation for the body, and are used for energy after all carbohydrates have been used. When too much fat is depleted, the body will eventually resort to protein as a third source of energy. The key is to find the right balance of all three macronutrients to achieve your intended results.
Written by GUADS intern Joe with contributions from acefitness.org