Calorie counting has long been the staple measurement and monitoring technique for those looking to lead a healthy lifestyle. Straightforward and easy to calculate, calorie counting has remained unchallenged in the mainstream health and fitness world over the past few decades, until the recent emergence of macronutrient counting. Macro counting has long been popular in bodybuilding and competitions circles, however, in the last few years it has come more to the forefront.
If you’re just starting out on your health, nutrition and fitness journey, deciding whether you should count calories, macros or anything at all can be a little confusing. So we thought we’d look at both sides for you! But first a few definitions:
What are macros?
Macros (short for macronutrients) are the three basic components required for any diet – carbohydrates, fats and proteins. A healthy, balanced diet requires specific amounts of each macro for distinct bodily functions. The amount of macros a person should be consuming in order to lose weight is calculated based on age, weight and gender.
What are calories?
Put simply, a calorie is a unit of energy which can be derived from any food source, whether fats, proteins, carbohydrates or sugars. The daily recommended calorific intake to maintain weight is 2500 for a man, and 2000 for a woman.
What are some of the benefits and drawbacks of counting macros?
Benefit – It’s much more specific
With macronutrient counting, you know exactly what’s going into your body, so you know you’re getting the right amount of protein, the right amount of fat and the right amount of carbohydrates to meet your specific goals. This is particularly beneficial if you’re training for a competition, for example or if you have a specific weight/fitness goal in mind.
Drawback – Macro Counting Can Be Time consuming
If you’re counting macros yourself, this requires you to measure each component of your meal individually to ensure you’re consuming the right amounts. For someone who is new to dieting, this may be a daunting task, whilst for even the most experienced and dedicated fitness fan this may be bit too tedious.
With a Pura Meal Plan however, all your macro weighing and food prep is done for you, allowing you to focus on other aspects of your health and fitness journey!
What are some of the benefits and drawbacks of counting calories?
Benefit – Calorie Counting Is Easier
One key difference between macro and calorie counting is that the latter is much easier. Almost all food labels specify how many calories are contained in a serving, whilst calories are increasingly being included on restaurant menus. In most cases, putting the required information into an app will tell you how many calories you need, and you can also track your meals in the same place.
Drawback – Calorie Counting Isn’t Specific
One issue with calorie counting however, is that it doesn’t take into account exactly what you’re eating. For example, if you’re on a diet which requires you to eat 1800 calories a day, you may be eating meals which are high in saturated fat (fast food for example) and still reaching your recommended daily calorie intake. As such, although you may be reaching your target, you may be doing so eating the wrong foods.
In the long run, macronutrient counting has been found to provide far better results in relation to fat loss, muscle building and overall body composition. In comparison to calorie counting, macro counting gives you the best shot at controlling your body in order to achieve your desired outcome. In a world where much of the food on supermarket shelves is heavily processed, macro counting is one of the few opportunities we have to manage exactly what we’re putting into our bodies.
To find out how Pura’s macronutrient counted meal plans work, click here