You must have heard the phrase “count your macros” if you’ve been following or even considering a ketogenic diet.
Well, yes your macro intake plays a very crucial role and even affect your basal metabolic rate and energy expenditure. But before going further, let’s check out what macros actually are?
What Are Macros?
A “macro” or macro-nutrient, is what your food is made up of and the nutrients that your body needs in large quantities. They are part of your food that directly converts into energy to fuel your body and daily activity. The calories in the meals that you eat all come from one of the three macro-nutrients; fat, protein, or carbohydrates.
So, basically, macronutrients, or macros, are the three ways our bodies produce energy.
Why Do They Matter?
If you are following a keto diet, it’s very important to find the right balance of carbs, protein, and fats to get into ketosis, stay in ketosis, and turn your body into a fat-burning machine. Macros work together, so the percentage of protein, carbs, and fat is the focus of many diet plans. That is determined on the basis of several factors such as age, weight, body type, fitness goals, daily activity and gender. But, generally, the keto diet macros vary within these ranges:
60-75% of calories from fat (or even more),
15-30% of calories from protein,
5-10% of calories from carbs.
Carbs are made up of sugars and starches. They are the go-to energy source for the body and help with the central nervous system, muscles, kidneys, brain, and immune system among many other functions.
But to reach ketosis in the keto diet, you need to limit your carbohydrate intake. Because as long as your blood has glucose from carbohydrates to work with, it won’t switch over into fat-burning mode.
Proteins are considered to be the building blocks of the body. It plays an important role for healthy skin, hair, eyes, organs, and nails along with repairing muscle tissue and cells. It has a vital role in almost all biological processes and is very important in making essential hormones and enzymes. No doubt, protein is absolutely necessary for vital bodily functions but its intake should be low enough to force the body to use fat as its main energy source.
Protein, the most satiating type of food helps boost metabolism and build lean muscle.
So, if you are trying to lose weight while building muscle on keto, the protein will help you reach your diet goals.
Fat helps in maintaining healthy tissues and cells and also plays a great role in hair and skin health. It helps in the production of hormones, protection of organs and ensures proper nerve and brain function. Also, it increases the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins.
On a keto or low-carb diet, fat is the primary energy source, so fueling your body with healthy satisfying fats and eating the right amount is important. Dietary fat is satiating, so on the keto diet, you can naturally avoid overeating due to its satisfying nature.
By Dr Seema Nanda
Refer to her blog for more updates on Health and Wellness.