If you are a keen follower of all things to do with diet and weight loss, you may have seen many people promote the benefits of ‘IIFYM’ which stands for ‘If It Fits Your Macros’. It’s an eating regime particularly popular with those involved in CrossFit or weightlifting, though its use for normal weight loss has also grown in recent years.
What are macros?
Foods are composed of both macronutrients (protein, fat and carbohydrate) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). Macro’s is the shortened term given to macronutrients, which are the nutrients we need in large amounts. This diet emphasizes eating a certain percentage of calories from carbohydrates, fat and protein to maximize health.
There are many calculators online to work out your macros, however it is best to go to a registered dietitian to work out your macros to ensure that you are meeting your body’s specific needs.
Some people believe counting macros is more flexible, and that it helps them have an overall more balanced diet as they can fit in less healthy items, therefore avoiding an ‘all or nothing’ approach. For example, they can tailor their food around having a treat such as a chocolate bar, and still meet their diet goals.
The diet is also good for showing that eating all macronutrients is good for you. After coming through years of low fat and low carbohydrate diets, a diet including all macronutrients may be much healthier than previous restrictive practices. Similarly, it may provide a healthier basis for choosing foods in comparison to regular calorie counting, where dieters can end up choosing very processed and unhealthy foods just because they are low in calories.
Counting macros can be seen as another form of dieting, which we don’t believe in here. Viewing foods in terms of their protein, fat and carbohydrate alone ignores the other beneficial components of food, like vitamins and minerals. The belief that you can eat whatever you want if it fits your macros doesn’t emphasize eating nourishing foods for good health. It is very possible for people to meet their macro goals using unhealthy foods which are high in sugar, salt and unhealthy fats, therefore eating based on macro content can lead to an unhealthy diet.
It depends on the individual. If counting macros helps you to achieve your goals, then there is nothing wrong with it, however care should be taken to view your diet overall for balance. To ensure you are meeting your nutrition needs fully, consider speaking to a registered dietitian for specific advice.