Weight loss means eating less energy than the body needs on a daily basis. While watching your calorie intake is a proven way to lose weight, there are other methods that allow more flexibility. An example of this is the popular diet "If it fits your macros "(IIFYM).
As opposed to watching the calories a person is consuming, IIFYM gives the person more flexibility while still promising the same results. In this diet, the daily intake of macronutrients such as fats, carbohydrates and proteins counts. Many people like this diet because it allows them to consume any food as long as it meets their daily macronutrient needs.
However, as of now, no research has specifically examined whether macronutrient counting is as effective as other diet methods. Previous research has examined the effects of eating low-fat and low-carb diets, comparing four different diets with different proportions of protein, carbohydrates, and fats.
Ultimately, both diets don't have a significant difference in how much weight they help people lose weight, and both are difficult to maintain in the long run. That said, it's hard to tell if counting calories is better than counting macronutrients as you lose weight.
Weight Loss: Is Calorie Counting Better Than Macronutrients?
Which One Is Best For Weight Loss?
The hard part of weight loss is figuring out your energy needs. But whether someone on a diet is counting calories or macros, they will need this to stay within their goals. However, actual energy needs still depend on how active a person is. However, the requirements for macronutrients are set out in the state guidelines.
Counting macros ensures that essential nutrients are included in the diet instead of just focusing on calories that nutrients don't take into account.
Even if a person ate seven bars of chocolate, which equates to 1,596 calories, hypothetically, a person would still lose weight if their total energy expenditure was around 2,000 calories per day.
Macro calculations are estimated based on height, weight, and activity levels, which can be adjusted to the desired weight. While macro counting allows flexible food choices, it is a time consuming dieting method that can be difficult in the long run as the person always has to keep track of the macro intake.
Whichever diet method is used, the person must continue to read the food labels and keep a record of all the foods and liquids consumed in a day. Online nutritional databases and applications can be used but are not always accurate. Additionally, there is a chance that a person may not get all of the nutrients on the list of food labels.
In addition, neither diet guarantees that a person will meet all of the nutritional requirements. For example, the macronutrient count only focuses on carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, which can overlook vitamins and minerals that are essential to good health.
Neither method is a long-term solution to weight loss unless combined with dietary recommendations to make permanent changes to a healthy and balanced diet.
Also read: Losing weight? Experts say timing your meals is the best way to go
On the other side of weight loss, some people are also trying to gain muscle. These people would need a daily protein of around 1.2 to 1.7 grams per pound of body weight to repair micro-damage from extensive strength training, which is essential for building muscle.
Aside from that, they would also need energy and carbohydrates to make sure the body had enough fuel to exercise. This makes counting macros more effective than counting calories to ensure that all of the body's energy and carbohydrate needs are being met. Research also shows that the timing of macros is important for muscle growth.
Which method is ultimately used to change body weight and composition still ultimately depends on the person's goal and how tech-savvy they are.
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