Following up on my last post about flexible dieting, today we are going to talk a little bit more about macros or macronutrients. When we use the term macros in respect to flexible dieting we are talking about the basic and essential nutritional components of our diet: carbohydrates, protein, and fat.
What Role Do Each of These Macros Play in Our Diet?
Carbs are your body’s main source of fuel. Your body converts carbohydrates into glucose which is used as energy by cells, tissues, and organs. Carbs provide 4 calories per gram.
Proteins are large molecules made up of amino acids. Protein is important for building and maintaining body tissues and can also be used as a fuel source. Like carbohydrates, proteins also provide 4 calories per gram.
Fats are a group of organic compounds composed of fatty acids. Fats can be used as an energy source for the body or stored for later use. Fats play an essential role in maintaining healthy cell function. They are also important for healthy skin and hair. Fats provide 9 calories per gram.
In summary, all 3 macronutrients are important for your health. You can play around with different macro ratios when it comes to flexible dieting to elicit different results but none should ever be omitted completely.
When it comes to flexible dieting, figuring out your total calories for the day is only the first step. As I mentioned in the last post, calories in vs. calories out is ultimately what determines whether you will lose weight or gain weight BUT playing with the ratios of the three main macronutrients can help your body reach specific physical or aesthetic goals.
Fat Loss or Cutting
Fat loss is the most popular topic people ask me about when it comes to flexible dieting and macros so we will talk about this one first. Fat loss is generally easier to achieve with a higher protein intake, lower carbs, and moderate fat. For example: protein should make up 40-50% of your daily calories, carbs 15-25%, and fat 25-35%
Muscle Building or Bulking
To support muscle growth you will need adequate protein coupled with higher levels of carbs. Naturally, because flexible dieting is all about give and take, this means that fat intake will be a little lower. For example: protein 25-35% carbs 40-60% and fat 15-25%.
Maintenance or Balanced
If you aren’t sure where to start, don’t have a particular goal, or just want to give flexible dieting a try I highly recommend starting with very balanced macro nutrient ratios. In this case you will not want to favor any one macronutrient over the others and your ratio will be very balanced. For example: protein 25-35% carbs 30-50% and fat 25-35%.