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An assortment of nutrient rich foods like Grains, Seeds, Fruits, and Spices

Pros and Cons of Tracking Macros

Macronutrients, more commonly referred to as ‘macros’ are the three main components of food which include protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Tracking macros is a great way to keep a record of your nutrition and how the food you eat affects your body, however it’s also essential to consider the downside too.

Protein is essential for a number of reasons. It helps with muscle growth and repair, boosts immunity, and helps maintain healthy skin and hair. Your protein intake needs to be prioritised if you want to build muscle or lose fat.

The main function of carbohydrates is to provide fuel for the body. They can be classified into two categories: simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates include sugars and refined starches, while complex carbohydrates include fibre, whole grains and starchy vegetables. They also help to maintain blood sugar levels, regulate moods and promote healthy digestion.

Fats are also a source of energy though have different properties. While fats have more calories per gram than carbs, they also provide essential fatty acids and are categorised into saturated or unsaturated.

Saturated fats are solid at room temperature and come mostly from animal sources like meat and butter. Unsaturated fats come from plant sources like oils and nuts, however some animal foods like fish also contain unsaturated fats.

A woman pouring a green smoothie into a glass

Tracking your macros allows you to understand your performance and body composition while recognising where those calories are coming from and how they might affect your body. It enables you to make informed decisions about your food intake according to your personal goals.

What’s not often discussed is the downside to tracking macros. Aside from being time-consuming to set up and maintain, it also requires a lot of discipline when it comes to following. One thing to be mindful of is holding a good relationship with food.

What might start out as a healthy goal, could turn into obsessive overthinking and creating unhealthy habits around reading food labels, and weighing food, all the way to the extreme of developing an eating disorder..

Bowls of salads and other macronutrient rich foods

As nutritionist Blake McKenzie explains:
“People need to understand that we need to strive for progress within ourselves, rather than perfection.”

It’s also easy to fall into the habit of letting tracking consume you when going out to eat or being social. Some people like to reserve or bank calories if they’re going out for dinner which could be the start of creating an unhealthy habit.

Everyone needs to have a social life, however it’s just about being consistent day in, day out with the food you consume. Make conscious choices instead or pre-plan by going to a venue that provides the breakdowns on their menus.

With so much nutrition information readily available, it can be quite overwhelming so be sure to speak to a coach to create a meal plan suited to your health, goals and lifestyle.

Collaboration with Coach & ISSN Sports Nutritionist Blake Mckenzie @coach_blake_lgtfitness