SHOULD YOU EAT WITHIN A CERTAIN MACRONUTRIENT LEVEL?
Are you confused about whether you should eat within a specific macro level and if it is right for you? I have tried just about every way of eating, including within a specific macro level. I was always confused about whether I should be eating this way and teaching my clients about macronutrient ratios as well.
Lots of people are getting results from eating this way, but the math and planning can be challenging and time-consuming. I hope I can help you once and for all decide what is right for you based on your goals.
WHAT ARE THE MACRONUTRIENTS AND THEIR IMPORTANCE?
Macronutrients are something our body needs a lot of which is why they are called macronutrients and not micronutrients. This includes proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Many diets focus on reducing any one of these nutrients to almost nothing. The latest trend seems to be eating a set amount of each of the three macronutrients combined rather than focusing on only one.
Our bodies need all three nutrients to be healthy. Carbohydrates provide our bodies with energy and fiber, which is essential for our cardiovascular and digestive health. Protein helps build muscles, healthy tissue, hormones, and enzymes. Fats are necessary for our cells, nerves, and brain function. By significantly reducing any single one of these nutrients, we are missing out on their health benefits.
Including all three macronutrients helps us obtain our micronutrient needs as well. Proteins provide iron and zinc, carbohydrates provide fiber and b-vitamins, and fats provide omega-3 fatty acids and aid in the absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins.
WHAT DOES IT MEANS TO EAT WITHIN A SPECIFIC MACRONUTRIENT LEVEL?
I believe that following a set macronutrient style of eating can benefit anyone who is willing to put in the time and effort and wants significant results. Think bikini models and bodybuilders. Please note I am not saying that this way of eating is only for bikini models and bodybuilders, but many of them use this style of eating because of the results some people claim they get from it.
The AMDR (Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Range) recommendation for adults is 45-65% calories from carbohydrates, 10-35% from protein, and 20-35% from fat. For weight loss, aim for 50% Carbs, 25% protein, and 25% fat to begin with and adjust as needed.
Eating this way requires a lot of math and planning every single day and not realistic for the long-term. For example, if you plan on eating 50% carbs, 25% protein, and 25% fat, you have to first figure out how many calories you want to consume every day. If for example, you plan on eating 1500 calories per day, you need to split these calories up between each macronutrient. 50% carbs would be 50% of 1500 which is 750 calories. Then 25% protein equates to 375 calories, as well as fats.
Then you need to convert the calorie into the number of grams for each macronutrient. Protein is 4-calories per gram. Take our 375 calories for protein and divide that by 4 which equals 93.75 grams. You need to do this math for each macronutrient and then use MyFitnessPal or another food tracker to plan your meals each day to fit the desired number of grams for each macronutrient. I’m exhausted just thinking about it and remembering my experience. This way of eating can get old REALLY quick.
MY PERSONAL TAKE ON IT
For me, an easier method to follow is including one serving of carb, protein, and fat with every meal and snack. Another technique is dividing up your plate with ½ vegetables, ¼ protein, and ¼ carbs, with healthy fat included. You can even find plates online with guides to serve your food on. See link below. Both ways are excellent and more realistic for the long-term. If you would like to learn more about eating within certain macronutrient levels, I can write a blog post or make a video teaching you more in-depth how to eat this way. Let me know in the comments section below if you would like this. Otherwise, I prefer teaching a more realistic way of eating for the long-term.
WHAT DO THE STUDIES TELL US ABOUT MACRONUTRIENTS
In a one-year study, researchers studied 600 overweight people and split them between a low-fat and a low-carb group. The low-fat group ate 20-grams of fat per day while the low-carb group consumed 20-grams of carbs per day. After 2-months the groups were told to slowly increase their carbs and fats back up to a level they believed they could maintain while still reducing their intake by 500-600 calories per day. At the end of the study, the low-carb group lost an average of 13.2lbs, and the low-fat group lost 11.7lbs. This is a different of 1.5lbs over one year.
Another study split up 645 overweight people into different macronutrient ratios, and in the end, they all had similar results after two years. Their results are likely from the reduction in calories.
FOR MY HEALTHCARE PRACTITIONERS
I am sure we would all like to be able to prescribe a specific diet for our clients, however, only Registered Dietitians are legally allowed to do this. We may teach about healthier food options like whole wheat bread instead of white bread and other similar healthier swaps, as well as refer our clients to the USDA’s Choosemyplate.gov website about healthy eating. I do not agree with some of what the USDA promotes, however, teaching our clients to make healthier options can make a big difference in your client’s health. Here are some ideas that you can teach.
Beef Burger to Chicken Burger
Dairy Milk to Almond Milk
Fruit Yogurts to Fresh Fruit in Greek Yogurt
Ground Beef to Ground Turkey
Ice Cream to Banana Ice Cream
Mashed Potatoes to Cauliflower Mash
Noodles to Zucchini Noodles, Spaghetti Squat, Shirataki Noodles
Pork Bacon to Turkey Bacon
Tortillas to Lettuce Leaves
White Bread to Whole Wheat Bread
White Rice to Brown Rice or Cauliflower Rice
CALL TO ACTION
I’m curious if you have tried eating within a specific macronutrient level and what your results were like? If you haven’t tried eating this way, would you consider doing this? Share in the comments below. Also, if you enjoyed this post, please share it on Facebook. It would mean a lot to me.
PORTION CONTROL PLATES
For information about the portion control plates mentioned above, see my resources page.