What Are Macros And Micros?
Matt Paterson (B.Ex & Sport Sci)
It's never too late to get healthier. You may have been exercising regularly for your entire adult life but are finally interested in figuring out what diet could potentially improve your health. You may also have always eaten healthy, and are finally interested in taking the next step regarding weightlifting or exercising a different way.
If you want to take your diet seriously, you will have to understand the difference between macronutrients and micronutrients. This is essential, and it's better to understand as many nutrients as possible. What is the difference between these two? How are they different? How can they help you with your specific diet or fitness goals? How much of each do you need?
Let's take a look...
Macros vs Micros
Okay, so you may have heard the term "macronutrients" before and wondered what it meant. You might also be aware of "macro" diets, where individuals figure out how to "count macros" to eat a certain way. The best way to describe macronutrients is to think of them as big picture nutrients, such as carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. This shouldn't come as much of a surprise since "macro" usually refers to "large" in English, and "micro" means "small."
Carbohydrates are a type of macronutrient. Popular examples of carbohydrates include things like bread, pasta, and fruits. These foods usually are about 4 calories per gram. The fats, another macro, found in oils and nuts have 9 calories per gram. And protein, the final macro, that’s found in foods like fish or eggs provide 4 calories per gram.
Micronutrients are usually smaller nutritional categories. For example, a vitamin may count as a micronutrient. When an individual is referring to a micronutrient, they are generally referring to something like calcium, zinc, or B-6.
There are so many nutrients that could be classified as a micronutrient. However, you will probably come into contact with these micronutrients more than others. Here is a following list of micronutrients: Vitamin C, Vitamin E, calcium, folate, iron, and zinc. It should be noted that this list is much longer, and micronutrients are not limited to JUST these nutrients.
A Word On Alcohol
There's one category that some call a macronutrient: alcohol. If you don't drink alcohol, this might not apply to you. However, it's important for those who drink regularly to think about it as a macronutrient with 7 calories per gram. Is this supposed to suggest that alcohol is healthy? Of course not - but if you do drink, you should consider these caloric measurements.
If you are serious about getting in shape, you may want to consider cutting out alcohol altogether. If this isn't possible, you might want to schedule your drinking for certain days where you eat fewer macronutrients during the day. Of course, if you are binge drinking regularly, it is safe to say that this will not help your diet whatsoever.
Okay, so you have a basic understanding of macronutrients and micronutrients. You may have already understood what foods you want to eat more of or the specific goals you want to achieve. That is great, but what exactly are you going to do in terms of your diet? Will you be preparing and planning every meal and counting the macronutrients needed? Do you plan on purchasing vitamins to get your healthy share of micronutrients?
You will probably want to explore some popular diets that take both macronutrients and micronutrients into consideration. There are thousands of different types of diets out there, but what are some of the most popular diets that think about macronutrients and micronutrients? Which diet makes the most sense for you, and how are they different?
One of the most popular is the ketogenic diet. The ketogenic diet, also known as the "keto" diet, focuses on high-fat foods and low-carb foods. This is a great way to get the macronutrients that you need, but it does take a significant amount of effort to monitor the foods you eat. The main goal here is to replace carbohydrates with fats, and it might take some time to adjust to eating specific foods.
The keto diet is also known to lower blood sugar and insulin levels. It's also important to recognise that there are many different types of keto diets, and it would be best for individuals to do some research before choosing one. Consider also consulting a nutritionist or your doctor. With the keto diet, your body enters "ketosis", which means that your body enters a metabolic state where you begin burning fat for fuel instead of carbs.
The paleo diet is also quite popular, and the premise is quite simple: you will be eating food that human beings have been eating for a long time. The diet's name refers to the "Paleolithic era", and it includes lots of fish, fruits, lean meats, vegetables, and more. The diet has a lot of macronutrients and is richer in protein than fats.
You might be used to taking particular vitamin supplements, so it isn’t hard to get your fill of micronutrients. It's also straightforward to eat specific fruits or vegetables to get your share of specific micronutrients. For the most part, people should focus on counting macronutrients when it comes to their diet.
There are also many different reasons to get into shape. You might be trying to eat more macronutrients to bulk up, and because you want to become a bodybuilder. There are other situations where micronutrients may also help give you more energy throughout the day. Ensure that you are keeping your goals in mind when sorting through micronutrients and macronutrients and establishing your exercise routine.
It will take a considerable amount of time and effort to adjust the way you eat, and it's also important to have measurable goals concerning your diet. You also may need to manage any hunger cravings, and your personal preferences will undoubtedly play a role in shaping your diet. If you can't find foods that you like with particular micronutrients or macronutrients, try to find a different food that you do enjoy with those particular nutrients.