What are macros? Are they useful?


I get asked this question from time to time: what are “macros”? What is a good “macro” to have?

Macros stand for macronutrients: carbohydrates, protein, and fat. When you see people talking about tracking macros, they are frequently talking in terms of percentages of how many calories come from each macro.

There are 4 calories per gram of carbs and protein, and 9 calories in 1 gram of fat. Fat is more calorically dense, hence why it’s an often talked about macro in terms of weight loss.

There really is no magic macro percentage which will get everyone the results, and not all macros will work best with everyone. It’s best to give a moderate one a go first before figuring out if you need to tweak it. If you’re tracking, I recommend a basic 50-25-25 carbs/protein/fat ratio.

For some, reducing carbs works best while for others eating a high carb, low fat diet works well for them. It all depends upon the person and their fitness goals, and there is no one size fits all macro. Fats will NOT make you fat, and carbs are not the root of all evil. Any diet which vilifies any of the macronutrients, steer clear. The truth is that all of them are good for you in moderate doses and you can’t do without any of them. Both carbs and fat help to provide energy and protein is what helps to build and repair muscle. Here’s a good article on the interplay between carbs and fat for exercise.

Some of the best online tracking tools for macros and food intake include MyFitnessPal.com and cronometer.com.


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