Ask the expert: What are macros, and why should we care about them?

Looking to kick-start your 2020 diet plan? We asked Lauren Jacobsen, Kcal’s Nutrition Director, about the importance of macros and why we should be considering them when setting fitness goals for the coming 12 months.

“Macros are macronutrients, which are proteins, carbohydrates and fats. These three key nutrient groups are what make up your daily calorie in-take. Understanding your calorie needs can determine if you lose or gain weight, while the proportion of macros can determine the amount of lean mass versus fat mass you carry on your body. Once you know your specific calorie needs, you can break those calories down into the right macronutrient ratios based on your goals. Use an online calorie calculator to determine your needs.  It will use a standard calorie equation that will take into consideration your age, height, weight, activity level and gender.

“Protein not only helps with development and maintenance of muscle, it also helps stimulate metabolism, and can help control appetite. Protein includes lean beef, chicken, whole eggs, dairy and fish.  Carbs are the energising macronutrient. If you’re looking to burn off extra fat, the best way to do that is by limiting carbohydrate intakes – specifically simple carbs and switching to high fibre carb options such as green vegetables, root vegetables, fruit and whole grains. This forces your body to access fat preferentially. Last but not least is fat, which can make up the remaining of your calories once you determine the other two. Fats can come partially from protein, but can also come from other foods such as nuts, seeds, avocado, olives, olive oil, dairy, and eggs. Balanced macronutrient ratios of 40% protein, 30% carbs and 30% fats are ideal for weight maintenance and even weight loss if you’re super active. If you’re looking to lose weight, lower the carbs and up the protein. Want to gain weight? Lower the protein and up the carbs! Consider this as a starting point. It is important to keep these ratios within 5 to 10% of a balanced ratio. Remember, our bodies need all three macro nutrients to function optimally.”

Details: To learn more about Kcal and its meal-plan offerings, click here