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Macros - What are they?

Macros, or Macronutrients are those components of our diet that are required in relatively large quantities and are essential to provide nutrition to our body. The 3 main macros which make up our diet are Carbohydrates, Proteins and Fats. Chances are, this isn’t news to you and you have probably heard it a lot of times. But it is still essential to know about the basic definitions of components that make up our diet.

First, the basics.

Let’s dive into the fundamentals and let me explain to you what these are.

1. Carbohydrates

These are molecules made up of Carbon, Hydrogen, and Oxygen and act as a source of energy for humans and other animals. Carbohydrates or carbs form an essential part of our diet, as they are the easiest to break into energy by our body to perform its functions and activities. Carbs, get converted by our body into glucose, which is stored in our body cells to provide energy,when required. Whether you have a sugary drink or a whole wheat bread, both get converted into glucose. However, the time required by our body to do so varies. From the point of view of our diet, Carbohydrates can further be classified into 2 categories, Simple carbohydrates and Complex carbohydrates.

1.1 Simple Carbohydrates -

Carbohydrates which can be quickly broken down into glucose by our body are known as simple carbohydrates. Generally, sweet in taste, they act as an instant source of energy.
Table sugar or fructose( naturally occuring sugar in fruits) are some of the examples of simple carbohydrates.

1.2 Complex Carbohydrates -

Some carbohydrates are made up of simple carbohydrates chained together into a complex structure. Because of this, our body requires more time to break these carbs into glucose.

The carbs present in whole grains, vegetables, oats are some of the examples of complex carbohydrates.

2. Proteins

Proteins are the component of our diet which are responsible for the growth and repair of our muscles and also to build new cells. Proteins are present naturally in a lot of foods and there are ways to extract them from these products which are then sold as protein powders. The units of molecules which combine together to form proteins are known as amino acids.

3. Fats

Fats are natural oils which are found inside our body. They get deposited under the skin and also around vital organs, which are known as visceral fats. Fats can also be further categorised into 3 categories depending upon where they came from.

3.1 Saturated Fat -

The fats which are generally found in animal products as meats, dairy are known as saturated fats. Apart from animal products, saturated fats are also present in some vegetable products as coconut oil, chocolates etc. The distinguishing feature about saturated fats is that they exist as solids at room temperature

3.2 Unsaturated Fat -

Fats which are generally found in certain fruits as avocados and nuts and vegetable products like olive oils are known as unsaturated fats. Certain meat products also contain a amount of unsaturated fats. Unlike Saturated fats, Unsaturated fats exist in liquid state at room temperature.

3.3 Trans Fat -

Some fats do not occur naturally in nature and are produced artificially. Processed foods, added with preservatives, fast foods contain a lot of trans fats. Among the 3 , Trans Fats are harmful to our body and major health organisations recommend that the consumption of trans fats should be limited to negligible amounts.

Unlike popular opinion, all fats are not harmful for our body. Infacts some of the fats (known as essential fatty acids) are essential for our body to properly function. So all fat is not bad, you just need to know which of them to consume and which are to avoid.

The Basic Mantra of a Fat loss diet - Calorie In vs Calorie out

(A calorie is nothing but a unit of energy, which is the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of 1 kg of water by 1 degree Celsius)

Every type of food we consume contains a certain number of calories.

Many of us have heard to count the calories present in our food. While everyone wants to lose weight to get their desired look, a majority portion of people don’t want to count the number of calories consumed.

View our body as an engine. The food we eat is the fuel. Just as an engine can’t work properly if we do not pay attention to the fuel, we can’t lose fat if we do not pay attention to the amount of food.

Calorie In < Calorie Out

The Calorie in solely depends from the food consumed, which can be easily tracked through our online macro calculator.

Calorie Out depends on 2 factors, Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) and the calories burnt during physical activities.

BMR - Basal Metabolic Rate is the minimum number of calories burnt by our body to function all the activities, irrespective of the number of physical activities. It depends on genetics and varies from person to person.

If we consistently give our body less amount of calories than that requires, its starts to take energy from the fat stores and gradually, the body loses fat.

It is the fundamental principle and it comes first before all the other factors when it comes to losing or gaining fat in our body.

When we eat food, the insulin in our body goes up, glucose levels also shoot up. The excess energy is stored in the form of fats. This is known as the fed state.

After it gets over, the body takes energy from its fat stores. This is known as fasted state. Body oscillates between fed and fasted states multiple times in a day.

And at night, body is in a fasted state for a time-stretch and we burn a lot of fat during our sleep.

It does not matter whether you are on a high carb diet or a low carb diet as long as weight loss is concerned. As long as the energy in is less than energy out on a consistent basis, you will lose fat and vice versa.

It will not matter where that energy comes from, as energy balance is the key point here.

If you maintain a calorie deficit, no matter how you get your calories from, weight loss will happen.

Where do Macros come in the Picture?

Counting where your calories come from,(i.e, Counting your Macros) is important in respect to your body composition. Your body composition is the proportion of bones,muscle, fats and water.

When you want to build muscle mass and lose fat, attaining your ideal body, Macros are essential. And as far as counting macros based on your age and body, we have got you covered.

All the 3 components are important for building your dream body. Eating less protein will lead you to lose muscle.

If you consume less carbohydrates than required, you won’t have much energy left and you’ll not be 100% during your workouts.

Also not consuming enough fat will lead to hormonal changes in your body which are harmful in the long run

The Golden Rule

Count your calorie intake and the overall macros intake on a schedule that works best for you.

It does not matter when you consume your calories. Infact, having a flexible customised eating schedule with which you are comfortable with is the best thing you can do with yourself.

Fad Diets are a Myth

Count your calorie intake and the overall macros intake on a schedule that works best for you.

Next time you hear about a new trending diet, you can give it a skip. You now know the basic fundamentals which work underneath your body schedule. Just work towards maintaining a flexible diet plan with the type of foods and the timings which you are comfortable with. The key thing is just to keep a check on the calorie count and macronutrient breakdown.