What are macros? And How Do You Count Them?

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If you’re looking to lose weight and maintain an optimal metabolic health, then you’ve probably heard about ‘macros’ or ‘macronutrients’.

In this article, we examine what it means and how you can use it to achieve your health goals.

Macros is a simple term for macronutrients.

They’re nutrients that are needed in large amounts by your body to produce energy. And they can be divided into three categories; Carbohydrates (a.k.a., carbs), proteins, and fats.

Each of these macronutrients provides calories needed for energy – which is vital for your day-to-day activities. And they do it in different amounts.

However, because they’re the most needed nutrients in the body and they’re found in the most common foods, it’s easy to overload on them – causing unnecessary weight gain.

So, if you want to achieve your health and fitness goals faster, then consider tracking your macros. The rest of this article explains how you can do that.

First, let’s look at each of these macros.


Proteins are vital macronutrients for growth and recovery.

They contain amino acids – which help in building muscles, cause chemical reactions in the body, transport nutrients, prevent illnesses, and many other functions. They also repair cells and make new ones – promoting proper growth.

The most common source of protein is animal products and dairy products like fish, beef, chicken, fish, milk, cheese, yogurt, and eggs.

You can also get plant-based protein from seeds, soybeans, nuts, and peas.

They’re also present in small quantities in some fruits and vegetables.

Carbohydrates (Carbs)

Carbs on the other hand are broken down in the body as sugar or fiber.

They fuel your brain, kidneys, heart muscles, and central nervous system.

Carbs in the form of fiber keep your blood cholesterol levels in check, they also help in digestion and help you feel full – which is the signal that tells your body to stop eating to avoid unnecessary weight gain.

They’re found naturally in grains, fruits, vegetables, and plants generally. But you can also get them in large, unhealthy amounts from your pastries, soda, and candy.

And talking about sugar, if you’d like to monitor your body’s sugar level and see which foods are healthy for you, then check out this in-depth article about blood sugar.


And lastly, fats insulate our nervous system, help our bodies absorb vitamins, and build cell membranes.

They’re broken down into fatty acids. And you can find them in animal products and plant-based products.

As stated earlier, each of these macros provides calories needed for energy. And they do it in different amounts.

How Do You Count Your Macros To Achieve Your Health And Body Goals?

According to information from the National Library of Medicine, a recommended distribution range for macros is 45%-65% of carbohydrates, 10%-35% protein, and 20%-35% fat. (1)

Of course, there’s no one size fits all. This could change depending on your body type, your level of physical activity, and your health goals.

You should talk to your doctor to figure out what’s best for you.

Here’s the calorie value for each category of macros:

Macros (per gram) Calories
Proteins  4
Carbs  4

Once you have a total calorie goal, you will then need to eat a certain amount of grams per day to fill that calorie need.

For example, if your calorie goal per day is 2000 calories, then you have to make sure the total of whatever you eat stays within 2000 calories.

If you exceed that range, you may gain more unwanted weight.


Counting macros is a proven strategy for losing or gaining weight. But due to individual health issues, body type, and eating habits, it’s not recommended for everyone.

It’s always best to work with your doctor to figure out what’s best for you.

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  1. pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

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