If I take my macros for fat loss, does it matter what foods I eat?

  • In general, macros and calories are more important for fat loss and muscle maintenance, said diet coach Nick Shaw.
  • However, prioritizing nutritious foods keeps you full and can make it easier to reach your goals.
  • However, don’t cut out any foods you enjoy, just try to eat them in moderation.
  • Read more Working here.

Dear Rachel,

I started counting my macros with the goals of losing fat, maintaining muscle, and just staying healthy. However, I wonder how much it matters what kind of food I eat. For example, if I eat the same amount of carbohydrate from oatmeal or cookies, or the same amount of fat from avocado or bacon, will it have a different effect on my body? Essentially, if I can include all foods in my macro goals, is it okay to do as much as I want?

— Macro counter

Dear macro counter,

The approach you are describing is commonly known as “if it fits your macros” or IIFYM.

Macro tracking is sometimes considered a step up from calorie counting.

There are three macronutrients (or macros): protein, carbohydrates, and fat, and these make up all of our foods in varying amounts. Protein and carbohydrates have four calories per gram, and fat has nine.

“Food is not made up of a single nutrient, there is often a combination of macro and micronutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, found in food products,” Rhiannon Lambert, registered dietitian nutritionist and author of “the science of nutrition”, he told Insider.

While some people enjoy tracking their macros, reaching my goals has always seemed unnecessary to me: I’m more concerned with just calories and protein, and have found these to be the most important factors for performance and physique changes.

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I let carbs and fat fall into place, but I generally prefer to eat more carbs. Although we are all different.

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“Each of the macronutrients is required in relatively large amounts every day to support your body, however, the amount you need depends on your individual needs, such as gender, weight, age, and physical activity levels,” Lambert said.

Nutritious foods keep you full

When it comes to fat loss and muscle maintenance, the most important thing is total calorie and macro intake.

“Technically speaking, the amount of food you eat in terms of calories and then the macronutrient breakdown matters more than the quality of the food when it comes to losing weight and body fat” – Weightlifter, Bodybuilder, Diet Coach and Trainer staff at RP Strength Nick Shaw he told Insider.

But for the best results, you need to consider the quality of the food as well as the total quantity, he said.

While you could just eat desserts and bacon to reach your carb and fat goals, that would likely leave you feeling under-full or satiated, and could lead to more intense cravings, she said.

This is not helpful when trying to maintain a calorie deficit for fat loss.

“The best idea is to use food quality as a means to more easily control food quantity,” Shaw said.

By prioritizing whole food sources like lean protein (like chicken), fruits and vegetables, healthy fats (like avocado and olive oil), and carbohydrates (like sweet potatoes or whole grains), you’ll feel fuller, you will have fewer cravings and will continue to eat. hit your macros, he said.

Don’t forget your health in general

Comparing two foods based on their macronutrient content alone doesn’t provide a complete picture, and two foods with similar macros can affect your body and performance differently, Lambert said.

While bacon and avocado may contain similar amounts of fat, bacon is higher in saturated fat, which has been linked to


heart disease

and contains fewer micronutrients, Lambert said.

“Avocado, on the other hand, contains monounsaturated fats, which have been linked to several health benefits, including a lower risk of heart disease and


diabetes

and a much higher amount of micronutrients like vitamins C, E, K and B.”

Don’t overly restrict the foods you enjoy

While eating mostly nutritious whole foods will likely make it easier to meet your calorie and macro goals, denying yourself anything you fully enjoy isn’t a good strategy either, as restriction often leads to future overeating.

For this reason, I favor the 80/20 rule: I try to eat about 80% whole foods and 20% “soul food.”

Cake, pizza, and chips may not be the most nutritious foods, but I enjoy them, so by occasionally including them in my diet and not putting them on a pedestal or demonizing them, I can enjoy them in moderation without feeling the urge to overeat. .

“Having a balanced and varied diet ensures that you include a range of these macro and micronutrients that support a happy and healthy lifestyle,” Lambert said.

Experiment a bit and see which balance of foods makes you feel better, both mentally and physically.

Wishing you all the best,

Raquel

As a Senior Health Reporter at Insider and a self-described fitness fanatic with a Nutrition Association-certified nutrition course under her belt, Rachel Hosie is immersed in the wellness scene and here to answer all your questions. hot. Whether you’re struggling to find the motivation to go for a run, confused about light and heavy weights, or not sure if you should worry about how much sugar is in a mango, Rachel is here to provide you with sensible answers and advice you need, strictly no fad diets in sight.

Rachel has a wealth of experience in fitness, nutrition and wellness, and has the best experts at her fingertips. She regularly speaks with some of the world’s most renowned and knowledgeable personal trainers, dietitians, and coaches, making sure she’s always up to date with the latest science-backed facts she needs to know to live her happiest, healthiest life.

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