Many people who have chosen a healthy lifestyle and eating knew about calories and would diligently calculate them. But do they care that much about their macronutrient intake? The answer is, “not that much as for calories.” Although the calorie and macronutrient intakes are interconnected, they focus on different aspects of nutrition. Counting macros is connected with the recommendation that nutrition should be balanced. Knowing how much protein, fat, or carbohydrate your body needs will help you plan your meals wisely, without under- or overeating a particular macronutrient.
Now that you know the gist of the article, let’s further focus on the methods of calculating macros in your meal plan.
What is Macro Calculator?
Known as a macro calculator, a macronutrient calculator is a tool that allows you to count the amount of each macronutrient your body needs. The macro calculator takes primarily your physical activity into account. This tool enables you to delve into the details of your nutrition and eating habits. With a macro calculator, you will make your meal planning easier, adjusting it to your body transformation goals. Whether you want to lose or gain weight, a macro calculator will assist you.
Macro Calculator: The Basics
A macro calculator is a complex tool that involves calculating not only the number of macronutrients you need but also the Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE), which indicates how much calories you spend throughout the day. Undoubtedly, this measure depends on your lifestyle, work, and habits. However, before calculating your TDEE, you need to know your Resting Energy Expenditure (REE), which is the amount of energy you spend on performing the essential tasks, such as breathing, eating, etc. REE does not take into account your energy expenditure when you are physically active.
To calculate your REE, use this formula:
For women: 10 x weight (in kg) + 6.25 x height (in cm) – 5 x age (in y) – 161 = REE
For men: 10 x weight (in kg) + 6.25 x height (in cm) – 5 x age (in y) + 5 = REE
Furthermore, to be able to calculate your TDEE, you need to identify the level of your activity first.
First, if you think that you have a sedentary lifestyle, you have to multiply your REE by 1.2. You spend your energy mainly on speaking and walking/commuting to work.
Second, if your level of activity is light, you should multiply your REE by 1.375. Examples of light physical activity include dancing, swimming, or stair climbing for up to 30 minutes.
Third, which is REE x 1.55, is designed for moderately active people, who engage in jogging, aerobics, and cycling for about 1 hour.
Lastly, the fourth formula is aimed at calculating the TDEE of very active people and looks like this: REE x 1.725. Very active people tend to do HIIT workouts, run fast upstairs, or exercise with a jumping rope at a high pace for about an hour.
Overall, by using these formulas, you will find out the number of calories necessary for performing your daily tasks. In case you intend to lose weight, you will need to get 20% fewer calories than your TDEE. Similarly, to gain weight, you will need to get 20% more calories than your TDEE.
Three Macronutrients: The Pillars of Healthy Nutrition
Macronutrients are responsible for providing you with calories and energy, ensuring your body functions properly. To put it simply, macronutrients are nutrients that you consume in large amounts, just as the macro prefix suggests. The three macronutrients are protein, carbohydrate, and fat.
Protein is a macronutrient that combines essential amino acids and facilitates the growth and recovery of cells and muscles. It is a basic constituent of nails, bones, hair, skin, organs, and muscles. 1 gram of protein, which can be found in eggs, fish, meat, milk, soy, etc., provides 4 calories.
Fat is a macronutrient that is hard to underestimate. Fat enables the communication between the body parts and the nervous system and accelerates the absorption of vitamins. Likewise, fat maintains the ideal hormonal environment in your body. Such products as oil, butter, nuts, and some fishes abound in fat. Additionally, fat is the most caloric macronutrient, providing 9 calories per gram.
Saturated and Unsaturated Fats
Saturated fats are considered detrimental for one’s health, as they stick to the sides of arteries. Consequently, this makes saturated fat molecules clot arteries, which can be catastrophic for cardiovascular health. For example, clogged arteries block the way for oxygen to the blood and make the blood pressure increase. On the other hand, unsaturated fats are deemed beneficial for human health.
Concerning the sources of both of the fat types, saturated fats can be found mainly in animal source foods, such as dairy, meat, and others. Conversely, unsaturated fats abound in plant-based foods (e.g., olive oil) and some fishes (e.g., salmon and mackerel).
Carbohydrate is the key energy source, which facilitates muscle- and brainwork. Among the foods that contain carbs are pasta, potatoes, cookies, pastry, etc. Eating 1 gram of carbs will give you 4 calories, just like protein.
After ingestion, carbs break down into glucose that serves as an energy provider for cells, reaching them with bloodstream. However, not always does your body demand glucose, subsequently storing it in the form of glycogen in the liver or skeletal muscles. In fact, this storage plays a vital role in giving you energy during physical activity, whether performing a workout or doing house chores. In case the glycogen in your body is depleted, you should eat foods high in carbs to renew your energy source.
Nonetheless, it is crucial to control your carb intake because too much of it is not good for anyone. Indeed, consuming carbs in large amounts can make the glycogen in your body saturated. In response to that, your body will start turning the surplus of glycogen into fat, ultimately resulting in weight gain. In general, consuming too many carbs is associated with malnutrition, as it undermines the macronutrient balance. In other words, eating too many carbs leads to decreased protein and fat intake.
Likewise, eating few carbs can be deleterious for your health. If your body runs short of carb reserves, it begins to use protein as a source of energy. As a result, you will lose muscle, which can jeopardize your overall well-being. Additionally, too little carbs can entail bad breath, constipation, kidney failure, and other health problems.
It is incorrect to say that one macronutrient is more important than the other two. You need all the three to stay alive. Protein, carb, and fat perform a unique role in the body, and in combination, they grow even stronger. Accordingly, macronutrient intake should be balanced.
Good and Bad Carbs
Good carbs are foods including more complex carbohydrates, among which are sweet potatoes and oatmeal. It takes complex carbohydrates longer to break down, which means blood glucose levels increase more slowly. Correspondingly, it is recommended to consume good carbs to slim down.
As for bad carbs, they are made up of simple carbohydrates. You can find bad carbs in foods that are generally considered unhealthy. In other words, these are sugary drinks and foods with added sugars, such as white bread, cakes, cookies, etc. Unlike complex carbs, simple ones break down quickly, meaning they raise blood glucose levels much faster. The rapid increase in sugar levels spurs an insulin response aimed at decreasing the surplus of blood glucose. As a result, it is converted into fat, leading to the so-called “sugar crash,” which can cause fatigue and mood swings. Furthermore, eating simple carbs hardly curbs your appetite, making you want to eat more. Subsequently, you overeat and gain weight.
How to calculate your daily macronutrient intake?
If your lifestyle is mainly sedentary, your daily protein intake should make up 0.8 grams per 1 kilogram of your body weight. On the other hand, if you are active, you will need 1-2 grams of protein per 1 kilogram of bodyweight. Furthermore, you should get 10-35% of calories from protein to stay in the right range. If you want to see a scale change, you should eat more protein and receive more calories from it.
To calculate the number of proteins you need per day, you just need to multiply your weight by the above-mentioned coefficients indicating the protein intake per kilo of bodyweight. So, the formula looks like this:
Bodyweight (in kilos) x protein intake per kilo of bodyweight (in grams) = your ideal daily protein intake (in grams)
For example, if you spend practically all day long in a seated position and weigh 60 kilos, your formula will be the following:
60 kg x 0.8 g = 48 g
Consequently, your ideal daily protein intake is 48 grams, which you can easily convert into calories. Knowing that 1 gram of protein equals 4 calories, you can multiply it by your ideal daily protein intake:
4 calories x 48 g = 192 calories
There is no unanimous opinion as to how much fat you need to consume daily. Many experts agree that the number should be about 20-35% of your TDEE.
For instance, if your TDEE is 2000 calories, the formula for calculating your daily fat intake can look like this:
2000 calories x 20% = 400 calories
Considering the fact that 1 gram of fat provides 9 calories, you can convert the above calories into grams:
400 calories / 9 g = 44.4 g
According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the carb intake should make up 45-65% of the total number of calories you consume. Besides, you should cut down on added sugars, limiting their intake to 10% of the TDEE.
Calculating the number of carbs your body needs must be the easiest, as you just need to subtract the caloric values of your protein and fat intake from your TDEE. Let’s use the values previously mentioned as an example to calculate the ideal daily carb intake:
2000 calories – 192 calories – 400 calories = 1408 calories
Just like earlier, you can convert the caloric value into grams by dividing it by 4:
1408 calories / 4 calories = 352 g
A macro calculator is definitely a must for every person who wants to eat and live healthily. This tool calculates the number of proteins, fats, and carbs you should consume every day. Each macro plays a vital role in your well-being, and it is not advisable to ignore or overestimate any of them. You need to reach balance in your macronutrient intake, which is where macronutrient can assist you.
Macronutrient calculator can determine the number of both grams and calories you can eat with proteins, fats, and carbs. In fact, fats prove to be the most caloric macro among others, providing 9 calories per 1 gram. Which is why your fat intake should be the smallest out of all.
Overall, it is recommended to use a macro calculator to plan your meals properly, with much care for your body. If you eat insufficient proteins, fats, or carbs, you are likely to experience short- or long-term health problems. Accordingly, calculating macros is the best option for those who want to maintain a healthy weight and be healthy in general.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!