Calories and Macros 101
Here's your basic introduction to calories & macros.
- A CALORIE is the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water by 1 degree Celsius. A kilocalorie, or Calorie, is the equivalent of 1,000 calories, and is the unit used to discuss the nutritional value of food.
- MACRONUTRIENTS, or macros, are nutrients that your body require in large amounts. There are three primary macros, though technically alcohol is the fourth.
- PROTEIN is important for muscle building, plus other processes such as aiding in DNA repair, catalyzing biomechanical reactions, and more. They can be found in meats, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products, and also plant sources such as tofu and lentils. 1 gram of protein has 4 Calories.
- CARBOHYDRATES are the body's primary energy source, and the more physically active you are, the more carbs you may benefit from. We can live without carbs, but many will find that life is more fun with some carbs in their diet. Potatoes, grains, fruits, and vegetables are sources of carbs. 1 gram of carbohydrate has 4 Calories.
- FATS are crucial for regular hormone function and helps improve blood lipids and reduce cardiovascular disease risk, among other things. You can find them in oils, butter, nuts, seeds, and more. 1 gram of fat has 9 Calories.
- ALCOHOL is obviously not in any way required by the body, but they're included here because they contain Calories. 1 gram of alcohol has 7 Calories.
Many foods consist of predominantly one macronutrient, though most will consist or two or three (e.g. eggs are protein and fat). If you want to calculate your Calories, then, simply multiply the number of grams of each macronutrient by its Calorie count per gram. So if you track your macros, then you're automatically tracking your Calories.
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A Personal Fitness Trainer in Fitness First Middle East and an ex-Military Fitness Coach in the UAE, Mark is a REPs UAE Level 3 and IFPA Certified Personal Trainer with remarkable experience in fitness training, bodybuilding, boxing, circuit training, and group fitness. Mark loves to share his insights about fitness, bodybuilding, and healthy living.
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