When you’re new to the journey of Health and Fitness, the experience can be a bit overwhelming at times. Especially when you’re consuming most of your free time watching videos online, reading magazines, and keeping up with your favorite Instagram accounts. By now you’ve probably come across the topic of “macros”, and like most health and fitness buzzwords, you’re not quite sure what they actually are.
Macronutrients, also known as “macros”, are what make up the calories in your foods. There are three categories of macronutrients: carbohydrates, protein and fat.
Here’s how the calories work for each macro group (table 1):
- 1 gram of carbohydrates = 4 calories
- 1 gram of fat = 9 calories
- 1 gram of protein = 4 calories
Let’s use bacon as an example.
The label in the photo states that one slice of bacon contains a total of 43 calories.
These calories are created from the following grams of fat, carbs, and protein (table 2):
Total Fat: 3.3 g
Total Carbohydrate: 0.1 g
Total Protein: 3 g
To get the number 43 in calories, we multiply the calories of each macro group (table 1) by the total number of grams of each macro (table 2).
Here’s the break down:
Total Calories from Fat:
9 calories x 3.3 grams of fat = 29.7 calories
Total Calories from Carbs:
4 calories x 0.1 grams of carbs = .4 calories
Total Calories from Protein:
4 calories x 3 grams of protein = 12 calories
Total Calories in Bacon from Macros = 42.1
As you can see, the nutrition label rounded up by one number, but that is normal as the total number of calories is always listed as a whole number.
Once you get the hang of the concept and equations for macronutrients, you can then move onto finding how much of each macro you should consume for energy, weight loss, muscle repair and growth.