Lets recap, macros are proteins, carbs and fats. Macros make up the caloric value of all the foods we eat. Different foods with different calories can have huge variance in terms of food volume as well as nutrient density and macro nutrient make up. Knowing the macros of foods can help make dieting easier since we are able to make smarter decisions on how much we are eating and what makes up the food. So how much of each macro do we need? This answer is highly variable on many factors and the answer can be highly individualized based on lifestyle, preferences, activity level, type of activity and many other facts, in this post I will be going over very general guidelines for someone who weighs 180 pounds and maintain their weight at 2500 calories a day
Proteins are the essential building block for muscle and as such they serve to repair muscle that is damaged from exercise, as well as used to build new muscle mass. Because of this it is critically important that we eat enough protein during the day to ensure we are building and repairing muscle instead of losing muscle over time. The general recommendation for individuals who are active is 0.7- 0.8 grams of protein for pound of body weight. Some athletes may consume higher amounts based on their activity as well as other factors listed earlier.using the sample person, this would mean that they would need to eat on the low end, 126 grams of protein or 144 grams of protein on the high end. This equates to a range of 504 calories to 576 calories towards the daily total intake.
Next are fats. While fats have been demonized in recent times, they are an essential part of the human body. We need to consume fats to have healthy cell membranes, hormone levels among other things. Because of this, there is a minimum threshold of 0.25g per pound of bodyweight for dietary fats in our diet. So what’s the different types of fat mean? There’s trans fat, saturated fat, polyunsaturated fat, and monounsaturated fats, that’s a lot of fats. Simply put, trans fats are terrible for you, saturated fats are ok, but don’t just consume saturated fats, and try to get an abundance of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, such as the ones found in extra virgin olive and coconut oil, salmon and avocado. Using the example from before, the 180 pound person should have a minimum of 45 grams of fat in their daily diet, this equals out to 405 calories on the low end. What about the high end? Typically the recommendation is 20 to 30% of total calories from fats. Using more lovely math, we can calculate this person’s fat intake should range somewhere from 500 calories or 56 grams of fat to 750 calories or 83 grams of fat per day.
Finally, there are carbs. Carbs are a little special, in the case of human survival, proteins and fats are considered essential and necessary, but there is no such thing as an essential carbohydrate. That being said, when low carbs are eaten it can lead to issues of discomfort, headaches, and for someone who is participating in physical activity a lowered rate of performance. Due to this reason, to avoid these pitfalls, the lowest amount of carbs one should consume, even in cases of extreme fat loss should be around 0.5g per pound of bodyweight. This means the 180 pound person should eat a minimum of 90g of carbs, equally 360 calories. But in the case of maintaining body weight, carbs can simply fill out the rest of the caloric needs. So, we can take the total number of calories allotted to protein and fats, for the sake of this article let’s say they are eating higher protein at 0.8 grams per bodyweight and 25% of their total calories from fats, this means 576 calories (from 144 grams of protein) + 625 calories (from 69 grams of fats) = 1201 calories used up, leaving us with 1299 calories or 325 grams of carbs alloted to the daily diet.