Written by Tony Risling
WHAT’S MORE IMPORTANT?
Calories or Macros?
The answer isn’t as simple as one over the other but more so looking at the big picture. The one macro that is truly paramount is protein. Regardless of the goal, achieving the body’s protein requirement should be the first focus! The remaining calories for the day, can be split between carbs and fats.
I say this because proteins and the amino acids they are made up of, are the building blocks for muscle, enzymes and the immune system. Also overeating on protein will not cause you to gain fat as long as you are active. The more active you are, the more protein your body needs!
Let’s use 2000kcal as a base number, my recommendation for people is to get an absolute minimum, 1g of protein for every kilogram of body weight. So a 75kg person would eat a minimum 75g of protein daily, which equates to 300kcal (4kcal/g). For anybody that is active, especially strength training, I will recommend a baseline of 1.25-1.5g/kg of bodyweight. Using the above 75kg example this equates to 94-113g (375-450kcal) of protein.
If a person is looking to lose weight (fat), then eating a bit less than their 2000kcal baseline would help. The reason for this is that for the body to lose fat, there must be an energy/caloric deficit. Exercise will help to increase this deficit, but ensuring you don’t eat more to compensate the added expenditure is critical not to sabotage progress (ie that 400kcal sugar filled Starbucks).
OTHER NUTRIENTS TO CONSIDER
The other thing to ensure you consume is adequate amounts of Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs). These come from both plant and animal/fish sources and saturated fats are also needed. These EFAs are needed for the body to produce various hormones like testosterone. Also they are needed for the health of the cells of the body. The one many people need to eat more of is Omega 3. Our diets are sufficient in Omega 6 but the balance between Omega 3 & 6 leans towards excessive omega Omega 6. We can get Omega 3 from fish, fish oil supplements and certain plant sources.
Once these 2 bases are covered, macros are essentially irrelevant! The catch is as long as the total caloric intake remains below daily expenditure to promote fat loss. The reason low carb, keto, low fat style diets work for fat loss comes down to they promote a calorie deficit. Remember the more activity you do, the more protein you need. This will only help to build strong, shaped, sexy muscles and further promote fat loss, even in a slight caloric surplus!