Ask the Expert: Should I Be Counting Macros on My Plant-Based Diet? – The Beet

Posted: November 12, 2020 at 12:55 pm

'If it fits your macros' (IIFYM) has become a common phrase among keto followers, bodybuilders, andother hard-core dieters. But is counting macros helpful for someone trying to eat plant-based? Like most things in the nutrition world, the answer is... it depends. Before delving into the pros and cons of counting macros, lets talk a little about the term macros.

Macros is short for macronutrients, otherwise known as large nutrients (as opposed to micros, the smaller nutrients). There are four macronutrients: Carbohydrates, protein, fat, and alcohol. Their main purpose of each of these macronutrients is to provide energy to the body. Carbohydrates and protein contain 4 calories per gram, fatcontains 9 calories per gram and alcohol contains 7 calories per gram. Generally, the recommendation is to eat 45 to 60 percent of calories from carbs, 15 to 25 percent of calories from protein, and 20 to 30 percent of calories from fat.

If you want totrack macros, you need to calculate yourbody weight and nutrition goals (to lose weight, gain muscle, etc.) in order to come up with an ideal daily macro ratio. A person who hopes to build muscle mass may choose to eat a higher percentage of protein than an endurance athlete, who focuses on refueling with carbs. A macro tracking diet usually starts with a certain number of carbs or protein and then determines the remaining macros (fat and alcohol) from there. Before jumping feet first into tracking macros, consider the pros and cons.

There are benefits to macro counting, such as:

While some may find macro counting beneficial, here are some downsides to tracking your macros.

It may be a useful tool for very dedicated dieters or athletes who want to get a handle on the number of carbs, protein, and fat they eat each day. That said, tracking everything you eat is not sustainable for years. Without the help of a nutrition professional, you may choose a macro range that isnt ideal for you. If you want to track your macros, I suggest you seek out the advice of a Registered Dietitian to do it safely and efficiently and achieve your goals.

So often people focus on macronutrients and overlook micronutrients. Otherwise known as the small nutrients, micronutrients consist of over 30 essential vitamins and minerals. There are many more micronutrients than macronutrients, and they all have varying levels of recommended intake.

Some micros, like Vitamin C and Vitamin A, are easy to get in large quantities, while others, like Vitamin D and Zinc, arent in as many foods. The best way to ensure youre getting plenty of micronutrients on a daily basis is to eat a varied and well-balanced diet with plenty of colors. Because some nutrients are more prevalent in animal products, vegans sometimes miss out on Iron, Calcium, Vitamin B12, and Vitamin D. If youre concerned about your micronutrient intake, ask your doctor to do a simple blood draw to see if youre deficient.

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Ask the Expert: Should I Be Counting Macros on My Plant-Based Diet? - The Beet

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