The Pros And Cons Of Macro Tracking
For many people, macro tracking can be the key to the door of their goals. For others, not so much. If you’ve come to this article, you’re probably wondering if macro tracking is for you, and how to decide if it is or isn’t, right? Let’s dig into the pros and cons of macro tracking so that you can make a decision for yourself.
What Are Macros
Macro is short for macronutrients which are protein, carbs, and fat. Macronutrients are what makeup calorie totals. For example, both carbohydrates and protein have 4 calories per 1 gram and fat has 9 calories per gram. Macro tracking is simply keeping a count of all the protein, carbs, and fat that you eat on a daily basis to achieve a health or aesthetic goal. By changing the ratio of macros, you can change your body composition. For example, an athlete may have followed a high carb, high protein macro split with low fat to optimize muscle growth and reduce body fat. An averagely active individual looking to lose weight might have a more balanced macronutrient ratio of protein, carbs, and fat.
Macro Tracking vs Calories
Macro tracking is designed to help optimize body weight and composition. Instead of focusing on the calories, you’re going to focus on the macros that make up those calories. Attention to detail, reading nutrition labels, and accurately measuring your food is important with tracking macros.
Calories on the other hand are a great introduction to weight loss and weight gain. Counting calories brings attention and focus to how much you’re eating, whereas macros bring attention to how much and of what you’re eating. While tracking macros ins’t for all, we’ve broken down the pros and cons for you to see for yourself if it might be a good fit and something worthwhile to try.
PRO: You Know What You’re Eating
This can be useful in understanding exactly how much and of what you eat on a daily basis so that you can make the necessary adjustments to work towards your goals. Without doing this, you might mindlessly eat and be on the ‘mental hamster wheel’ of not understanding why you’re not making progress
CON: Added Stressor
For people who eat a lot of different things, who don’t plan their meals or their snacks, and who don’t prioritize their time to log, macros and macro tracking can be an added stressor. If you’re not willing to stop and think about what you’re eating, how much you’re eating, and log it, macros probably aren’t the best fit for you.
PRO: Understanding Food & Nutrients
Tracking macros helps you better understand how specific foods make you feel and what areas you’re over or under in. You might think you eat a high protein, low-fat diet, however, after tracking, you might find just the opposite. You’ll get good at reading nutrition labels, finding foods you enjoy, and reducing the intake of foods that you don’t.
CON: Lacking Nutrients
Often with macro tracking people can get so focused on the macronutrient itself (protein, carb, fat) that they forget about the quality of the food and the micronutrients that make it nutritious. Sure, anything can go into the macros, but that doesn’t mean pummeling Oreos because they fit your carb category is a good, or very healthful, way of going about things.
Macro tracking can help you make better, more conscious choices about the food that you’re putting in your body. There’s a lot of satisfaction with being in control of your food intake and knowing that when you hit your numbers, you’re taking another step closer to your goals. You feel more satiated and understanding of your hunger cues, which can come in handy down the road when not tracking.
CON: Obsessive Tendencies
Unfortunately, macro tracking can turn into obsessive and restrictive behavior, and this is a no-go zone for us. Sometimes knowing too much can be a bad thing, leading to obsessive calorie counting, weighing, and disordered eating. If you have these types of tendencies, macro counting probably isn’t for you.