Posted by Dayne Hudson in Weight Loss
Estimated reading time: 5mins
The first issue with just tracking calories is that it doesn't necessarily set you up for a decent level of satiety.
Weight loss is likely to be more successful the fuller you feel.
If you're not full, you might overindulge, and when you do that, you can gain weight!
So why does tracking macronutrients help this?
Because it prioritises the intake of dietary protein, which should be the macronutrient you consume the most of during a weight loss diet (more on why in a moment).
Recent recommendations are to consume 2.3-3.1 grams of protein per kilogram of fat-free mass when fat loss is the goal.
So, if you know you have to consume 1500 calories, but don't know where to start with your macros, well, start with protein!
So, if you're 85 kilograms and 15% body fat, it means you have 72.25 kilograms worth of fat-free mass.
So, multiply that by 2.3 and you get 166 grams of protein. So, you need to eat 166 grams of protein per day.
But how many calories is that?
Well, because protein has 4 calories per gram, we multiply 166 by 4 and get 664 calories.
That means three things:
Now working out our carbohydrates and fat too are beyond the scope of this article, but the point is, protein is the priority for a fat loss diet, and here are the reasons why:
Why dietary protein is critical for a fat loss diet
Protein is prioritised because:
So, protein will keep us fuller, which prevents overeating as we touched on!
But what also has to be addressed is proteins ability to support and preserve our muscle growth and recovery.
Resistance training is a great way to build muscle mass, giving your body a "fit" and "strong" look, that is amplified by a reduction in body fat.
If you're not doing it already, we'd definitely recommend you give it a try! Resistance training obviously also burns calories, which works towards a calorie deficit in a weight loss diet.
And protein supports all of this.
Many people lose weight simply by tracking calories but don't protect their muscle mass by consuming enough dietary protein.
This puts them at risk of developing the "skinny fat" look -- a loss of body fat but with muscle loss too.
Whilst we acknowledge resistance training might not be for everyone, for your best-looking physique in terms of muscle mass to fat ratio, it's the best option for us all.
The danger of just tracking calories means we can prioritise certain macronutrients, without getting enough essential vitamins and minerals, or the other macronutrients at all. For example:
By focusing on tracking all three macronutrients, we're also probably more likely to get a better balance of micronutrients in our diet, as opposed to simply eating anything that makes up our daily calorie amount.
The bottom line is that tracking macronutrient is better than tracking calories when it comes to losing weight. It takes into account the importance of protein as the cornerstone of a successful weight loss diet. Because protein keeps us fuller, it should be prioritised.
Moreover, it supports our muscle growth and recovery, critical after the exercise we do in order to lose weight in the first place.
Also, tracking macronutrients might mean we get a more balanced diet in micronutrients, as opposed to eating anything that makes up our daily calorie amount. Lastly, it can help us preserve muscle when we diet, which can prevent us from developing a "skinny fat" look.