A week and more into the low carb diet, I bumped into the term called ‘Macros’ and everyone over the internet was talking about macros this and macros that. After a bunch of google search I finally found out that macro was a short form of ‘Macronutrients’ and keeping count of such nutrients is really essential as you tend to indulge in a weight loss plan.
So, what are the best Macros for a low carb diet? The right macros for weight loss are the low carb keto macro breakdown which comprises of 5% carbs, 20% protein, and 75%fat which means you should take 25-grams Carbs, 100-gram protein, and 166-gram fat within all meals every day.
When you switch on to a low carb diet, it is very important to know your daily consumption of nutrients, so that you can properly keep track of your fat loss plan. One should always understand that a 100 calorie of fat (avocado) is always better to consume than a 100 calorie of carb (cookies).
There are about 93 macros in your day to day diet which contribute to your well being but only some of them play a major role in weight fluctuation.
The Main Macros for Weight loss
The main three macros that should be taken into consideration for a healthy body weight or fat loss are Carbohydrates, Proteins and fats. The amount of carbs, protein, fats are the basic macronutrients you should be careful about while keeping in account your body weight. For choosing the best macros, Keto diet is preferred by many individuals who have set on a low carb diet. The three major macros
- Carbohydrates (Consume minimum)
Carbohydrates are the only nutrients or macros that are not actually required for survival of a human body. It’s working can be easily replaced by fat and that’s what a whole lot of low carb weight loss diet do i.e. replacing carbs by fats.
Although fiber is also counted as carbs, but it is excluded from total carbs, so it is not counted under the starch and sugar providedby carbohydrates.
- Proteins (Consume Moderate)
Protein is an essential macronutrient for overall body growth and proper immune functioning. As proteins are the building blocks of our body, they should be included in the food in adequate amount so as it initiates proper growth and functioning of the body alongside weight loss.
Proteins should only be consumed in adequate amount or it can hamper the kidneys and can affect your low carb mechanism simultaneously.
- Fats (Consume maximum)
Fats are the energy giving macro nutrients and are considered as a replacement for carbs to promote weight loss while on a low carb diet. Carb can give you enough calories to perform your daily activities without the presence of carbs.
The low carb diet especially allows you to calculate your intake of macros in gram so that you stay conscious of what you ate all day long and what food to choose next so that it does not hamper your weight loss strategy.
There are various macros breakdown schemes in a Ketogenic diet among which you can choose the most feasible one that works well with your body’s working mechanism.
Types of macro breakdowns
In low carb diet, one should always focus on reducing the carb intake by adding on to the fat and protein intake, fat being the most consumed nutrient. Cutting carbs from your diet can be done under various macro breakdowns about a ketogenic diet as it is the benchmark for the low carb diet.
- Extreme low carb non-veg breakdown
The intake of minimal carbs i.e. only 1% in your diet is what extreme low carb carnivore diet means. You must be consuming eggs, dairy and other food which makes you maintain the following macros.
Protein- 20-30 %
Carbs- ~1 % (under 5 grams of carbs everyday)
Fat- 65-70 %
This is a approximately a 0-carb diet if you track your macros properly and is extremely effective for weight loss if you are a physically and mentally healthy individual who can undergo extreme diet breakdown.
Non-vegetarians are the ones who are mostly likely to switch onto this diet as protein and fat can be consumed along by the meat and dairy products. Similarly, the consumption of sugar is null i.e. 0 and the consumption of salt is according to the taste in this type of macro breakdown.
- Basic low carb Keto breakdown
A basic Ketogenic diet usually contains about 5% of carbs within all the meals in a day. This is also considered as one of the best healthy low carb macro breakdowns for initiating weight loss.
You must be consuming the following range of macros within a day if you want to maintain a basic low carb macro breakdown.
Protein- ~15 %
Carbs- < 5 % (under 20 grams of carbs everyday)
Fat- 80 %+
So, it promotes the consumption of digestible fats as a substitution of carbs which means that the mechanism of your body and calorie burning would fully depend on your fatty nutrients rather than carbs.
- Basic low carb non-keto breakdown
Alongside the macros you have for an extreme body weight loss, you should always consider your body condition before getting into any kind of diet. If you feel more secure cutting starchy carbs (potatoes, rice etc.) and want to depend on fresh vegetables than depending on the macros in a fully traditional keto diet.
The content of macros contains medium amount of carbs and has low intake of fat in comparison with the traditional Keto
Carbs- 10-15 % (under 75 grams of carbs everyday)
Fat- 55-75 %
Avoiding just the intense carb containing food would be fine for people who involve in a lot of physical work to prevent any type of physical breakdown. If you don’t want to indulge in a heavy extreme strict Keto, you can be flexible with your macros and add a little amount of protein to boost your metabolism.
- Moderate-carb Paleo breakdown
If you want to maintain your healthy body weight i.e. maintain your current weight to some extent, this macro breakdown is for you. If you are a healthy human being and just looking for some healthy intake of food to avoid weight gain you can just count your macros accordingly.
Carbs- 10-15 % (under 150 grams of carbs everyday)
Fat- 55-75 %
This macro breakdown guide is best suitable for extremely active workers, teenagers or even for the pregnant women.
- Carb cycling Breakdown
No one likes to cut off their favourite food, even when you feel like it’s time to shed some weight. It’s difficult to turn down any food item that you wanted to eat for that long, so for the people who’d like to cheat occasionally despite being on a low carb diet, this macros breakdown is for them.
The macro intake consists of:
Carbs- Depends based on the day/time
Fat- Depends on carbs intake
The timely breakdown of the macronutrients makes it easy to acquire. There is a certain specified time to follow the chart while one or two day in a week, you can just cheat on your diet.
Factors that affect the macro intake
You must consider a lot of factors before you decide your best macro breakdown for a low carb diet. You cannot just randomly choose the best macro guide based on what others take in for their weight loss plan. Every human body is different, so you need to keep in mind various factors before you choose your optimum macro intake.
- Record your Physical Status
To decide your macro breakdown and orderly consumption of various nutrients, you must first take an account of your own body. The choice of macros differs from a person to another.
If you are a healthy human being just looking to maintain your weight take in moderate carbohydrates and fat and protein accordingly. Else if you are slightly overweight, then you can choose a more intense macro breakdown which has low consumption of carbs. Choose your nutrients wisely and as per the need of your body.
Similarly, make sure you are not suffering from any kind of physical or chronic illness which can worsen if you mess with your macros and their intake.
- Record your Mental Status
You need to make sure that you are mentally aware that you will be depending on different macros than you usually consume. Make sure you are mentally sound to adapt to all the changes that will occur alongside your change in diet.
A healthy mind can only workout a healthy body. So, make sure to be determined enough to accept all the challenges that come in the way of choosing the low carb diet and becoming healthy.
- Specify your goal
Deciding whether you want to lose weight or just want to maintain your weight is really very important before deciding the macros you will need.
Take a note of your weight and fitness goal and then decide what you need to consume to attain that goal. Rather that deciding on eating a set of nutrients first, determine what do you want to achieve and set the macros accordingly.
- Determine the types of macros you need
Now, after you have taken account of your physical and mental status and you possess a determined goal, choose the nutrients in your plate. Finally, add the macros you need to fulfill your goal.
Deciding macros after breaking down the macros will specify your capability of reaching your desired goal. Suppose, if you are obese and if you choose an extremely strict low carb high fat/ protein diet than you can see changes within a small timespan.
- Switch into the resultant diet
Switching into a specified low carb diet can be slightly difficult for people who have a strong dependency on food and carbs. This is like going rehab for consuming a lot of carbs. It is going to temp you a lot and it depends on how much you can resist your urge to break the diet.
Your resistance and dedication will bear fruitful results as you stick on to the low carb diet and healthy meal plan simultaneously.
Carbs Vs Fats
‘Carbs vs fats for weight loss’ is one of the most debated topics in this era regarding weight loss and fitness. Carbs give enough energy to a physically fit individual as it carries metabolic advantage whereas fat itself being associated with energy and more calorie raises more questions.
The thing is if one tends to follow various forms of macro controlling diets than carbohydrates are terms as the most unnecessary macronutrients required by the human body excluding the fibre contained in it.
Similarly, fats have their own advantage of giving more energy and can replacing carbs easily by burning enough calories due to which one can shed excess weight. Fat can fulfill the energy requirement can cutting carbs can increase the urge to eat more reducing your appetite.
As the debate continues, one must always keep in mind that it is not the question about what you should consume low-fats or low-carbs, rather it is the question about what your body can consume to achieve a certain fitness goal.
As it is suggested to follow a low-carb diet, the advantages of high-fat low-carb diet over the low-fat diet are
- Prevents various diseases
Reducing the content of carbohydrates in your food can result into prevention of type-2 diabetes and many more diseases. Replacing carbs with fats can control blood sugar, heart diseases and most important of all reduces obesity.
Similarly, it’s not the nutrient fat that accumulates in your body directly for weight gain, but it is the fatty and processed food that can contribute a lot to weight gain and heart problems such as cholesterol.
- Reduces your appetite
Replacing carbohydrates with fat increases the resistance of your body and you can easily keep a gap between your meals as your body undergoes ketosis due to low-carb intake. Fat satisfies your hunger as it fills up your stomach for a longer period.
Carbs are just responsible for increasing your temptation to consumer more high-carb foods whereas fat despite consisting more calories can fill your appetite with a low amount along with satisfying your hunger.
- Promotes overall weight loss (Consume fat not fatty foods)
The macronutrients called fats i.e. found in natural products such as avocado, almond and many more, is responsible to give your body energy and promote weight loss whereas the fatty processed food are responsible for weight gain.
One should not be confused between these two terms and increase the intake of natural fat in order to be healthy and promote weight loss as you stick to the low-carb high-fat diet.
Counting Macros vs Counting Calories
The number of calories you consume totally depend upon the weight of the macros contained in your food intake. It means that if you eat 1 gram of a single nutrient then it will give you a certain amount of energy to do work and burn the calories.
For the nutrition labels,
- 1 gram of Carbohydrate is equal to 4 calories
- 1 gram of Protein is equal to 4 calories and
- 1 gram of Fat is equal to 9 calories
The thing is you should always be careful as you consume your calories as low-calorie consumption can also result in weight/muscle loss. It is very important to know what macro to consume in what amount to intake calories enough for your body to use.
Especially, when you are under a Ketogenic low carb diet, it is crucial to know the amount of carbs you are taking in rather than taking care of other macros like fat and proteins. You just need to simply add the amount of fat, protein and carbohydrates you consumed in a day.
So, when you count the macros you should always keep in mind about the calories you are consuming alongside the nutrients.
How effective is a low carb diet in losing the body fat? According to a low carb Keto diet, it is extremely effective if you do everything and strictly follow a Keto diet. The low carb high-fat diet makes sure to replace the carb calories by the fat calories so that fat is burned effectively, and no carbs stick around and contribute to your body weight.
If I have a Chronic illness, will the extreme low carb macro breakdown affect me? Yes, if you tend to choose an extreme low carb macro breakdown i.e. maybe a 5 % or even a 0 % carb diet then it can adversely affect your health depending on what disease you are suffering from.
Therefore, it is suggested to take a good look at your physical and mental condition before choosing your macros for weight loss. You should always stick to what you realize is good for your health rather than randomly following what everyone thinks or does.