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Macros for Fat Loss: Breaking Down the Essentials

by Mara Welty November 11, 2023 7 min read

 macros for fat loss

 Carbohydrates, proteins and fats are the essential building blocks of a well-balanced diet. Our bodies require large amounts of these macronutrients to function, thus the prefix, “macro.”

Primarily, macronutrients give your body energy. When you consume a salmon sandwich, for example, the food travels through your digestive system to be broken down. Carbohydrates are used immediately, which is why some athletes will carb load before a big competition. Then, your body will resort to fats stored in the body, which can help facilitate fat loss.

Understanding the correct ratio of carbohydrates, fats and proteins can help you identify the number of macros for fat loss that you need to meet your fitness and weight loss goal. 

The Science Behind Fat Loss

Everyone has something called a basal metabolic rate (BMR). BMR refers to the amount of energy your body uses (i.e. how many calories you burn) when your body is at rest and fasting. In other words, if you were to lie in bed all day, your body would still burn calories to fuel various biological processes, like:

  • Breathing
  • Circulating blood
  • Regulating body temperature
  • Repairing cells

Of course, most of us are active throughout the day. Athletes require energy to propel them across finish lines, teachers require energy to stand in front of a classroom and play with children and even near-sedentary office workers expend energy when typing away on their computers and speaking during meetings.

All of these actions require calories. If you eat the exact amount of calories your body burns throughout the day, you will maintain your weight. If you eat fewer calories than your body burns (i.e. create a calorie deficit), you will most likely burn body fat and lose weight naturally

You can calculate your BMR using a calculator online and inputting your age, sex, height and weight. While this will be a rough estimate, you can use it as your baseline.

So, let’s say your BMR is 1,500 calories, but you also go to the gym daily after work and burn off 300 calories on the treadmill. Your body would then burn 1,800 calories a day. To lose weight you’ll need to eat no more than 1,799 calories a day — although, in that case, your weight loss journey may be especially slow. Instead, you may want to opt for 1,600 calories a day to facilitate fat loss.

Your body will burn all of the calories you consume, using the ready-to-go carbohydrates to fuel your body by breaking them down into glucose. Once your body runs out of carbohydrates, it’ll turn to fats, then proteins. Once those are used, it’ll turn to your body’s fat stores for more energy. This is the stage where body fat is burned. 

The Optimal Macro Ratio For Fat Loss

When creating your diet plan, it’s important to consider what makes you unique. That is, your body weight, health status, weight loss goal and food preferences. 

Generally, it’s recommended to distribute your macronutrients accordingly:

  • Carbohydrates: 45% to 65% of your daily calorie intake
  • Fats: 20% to 35% of your daily calorie intake
  • Proteins: 10% to 35% of your daily calorie intake

The exact ratio will depend on your individual preferences. Don’t be afraid to experiment with your distribution of micronutrients. For some, eating a larger amount of proteins throughout the day may benefit weight loss.

Research has found that eating protein can decrease hunger levels and help you feel full and happy throughout the day. In one study conducted by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers discovered that participants who increased their protein intake to 30% of their total calories ate 441 calories less per day on average. The body also requires more energy to digest proteins, thus burning more calories throughout the day. 

Reducing the amount of carbohydrates you consume may also expedite fat loss. As previously touched upon, without carbs, your body burns fats and proteins for energy. 

How to Count Macros

Once you’ve identified your ideal calorie intake to lose fat and determined your macro ratios, you’ll have to do a little bit of math. Since macros are measured in grams, you’ll need to convert your percentages.

It’s a general rule that carbohydrates have 4 calories per gram, fats have 9 calories per gram and protein have 4 calories per gram.

So, if you’re eating 2,000 calories a day that consists of a 40% carbohydrate, 30% protein and 30% fat ratio, you can calculate your macro needs in the following manner:

  • Carbohydrates: (2,000 calories * 0.40) / 4 = 200 grams
  • Proteins: (2,000 calories * 0.30) / 4 = 150 grams
  • Fats: (2,000 calories * 0.30) / 9 = 67 grams

To keep track of your food intake, use an online or paper journal to outline the amount of grams you eat per meal. As the weeks go on, monitor your progress and adjust your macro ratio accordingly. Perhaps you’re noticing you’re getting hungry at night. You can try to increase the amount of protein you eat each day to keep you satiated. Or maybe you’re experiencing hair loss and dry skin—consider increasing your fat intake. 

Generally, when it comes to counting macros for fat loss, it’s critical to stay consistent and maintain a calorie deficit, no matter your ratio. 

Why are Carbohydrates Essential?

Carbohydrates provide the body with fast-acting energy in the form of glucose. This sugary fuel is used to support physical activity and various biological processes. That said, not every carbohydrate is healthy and good for the body.

Unhealthy carbohydrates include, typically, highly processed breads and pastries. Oftentimes, they’re laden with sugar or salt, making them especially delicious — and more likely to be eaten in excess. Since carbohydrates are so easily broken down, high consumption can lead to weight gain, unhealthy blood sugar levels and heart problems.

Fortunately, there are many healthy carbohydrates that you can add to your diet. These include:

  • Whole grains, such as oats, 
  • Pseudocereals, such as quinoa and buckwheat
  • Vegetables, such as sweet potatoes and beets 
  • Fruits, such as apples, grapefruit, blueberries, oranges and bananas
  • Legumes, such as kidney beans, chickpeas, peas and lentils
  • Low-fat dairy products, such as milk, yogurt and cheese

In addition to providing your body with energy, carbohydrates can also protect your body from illness, particularly if they’re whole grains that are high in fiber. Carbohydrates' high fiber content can also help support weight loss, since fiber — like protein — can help you feel full and satiated, meaning you’re likely to eat fewer calories throughout the day.

Why are Proteins Essential?

Protein serves many functions within the body. In addition to providing your body with energy when carbohydrates and fats are scarce, protein also plays a critical role in the growth and maintenance of your cells. 

Amino acids, the building blocks of your body’s tissues, bones and cartilage, comprise proteins. When an injury occurs, such as a tear in the muscle, amino acids flock to the area to repair the tear and restore the muscle.

Proteins can wear many different hats. Sometimes they’re enzymes, like lactase and sucrase, which help to break down sugar during digestion. They can also be enzymes that support blood clotting and muscle contractions. Some proteins are fibrous — like keratin, collagen and elastin — to provide tissues like tendons and ligaments with structure.

Other times, they’re hormones that communicate messages between cells, organs and tissues. Such hormones include:

  • Insulin – Controls sugar intake
  • Glucagon – Controls glucose breakdown
  • Human growth hormone (HGH) – Stimulates tissue growth
  • Antidiuretic hormone (ADH) – Triggers the kidneys to absorb water
  • Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) – Releases cortisol, which is essential to metabolism

In effect, proteins play a role in:

  • Food digestion
  • Hormone production
  • Skin, hair and nail health
  • Increasing muscle mass
  • Immune function

Why are Fats Essential?

Like proteins, fats support the body in a variety of ways, despite previous weight loss myths having claimed they cause weight gain. Besides giving the body energy, fats support cell function, protect your organs and help regulate internal body temperature.

That said, there are four types of dietary fats:

  • Saturated fats – Solid at room temperature, saturated fats can be harmful to your heart health and cholesterol levels. Saturated fats include beef, lamb, pork, poultry, butter and cream and palm oil. They’re also present in some bakes and fried foods. It’s recommended that you eat no more than 13 grams of saturated fat a day.
  • Trans fats – Trans fats, which are found in fried foods, baked goods and margarine are very harmful to your health. They can raise your cholesterol levels and blood sugar levels and harm your heart health.
  • Monounsaturated fats – Monounsaturated fats, like those found in olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil, safflower oil and sesame oil, are beneficial to your health when eaten in moderation. These healthy fats may positively impact cholesterol levels, heart health and vitamin intake.
  • Polyunsaturated fats – Polyunsaturated fats are also good for your health in moderation. They’re present in soybean oil, corn oil and sunflower oil, as well as walnuts, sunflower seeds, tofu and soybeans.

Ratio Your Protein With INVIGOR8

While there are various macro ratios you can implement into your meal plan, the key to fat burning and weight loss is ensuring that you create a calorie deficit.

That said, if you’re wondering how to use protein powder for weight loss, INVIGOR8 has you covered with its organic superfoods powder. This delicious shake is crafted with  premium protein powder ingredients, including a variety of vitamins, minerals and nutrients to ensure you’re maintaining a well-balanced (and delicious) diet, while empowering you to achieve your fitness and weight loss goals. 

If you’re looking to take your weight loss journey one step further, you can also check out our entire weight loss kit, which includes our superfood shake, as well as our signature appetite control support supplements and unflavored collagen peptides.

 

Sources:

  1. Healthline. The Best Macronutrient Ratio for Weight Loss
  2. Everyday Health. How to Count Macros: A Detailed Beginner’s Guide
  3. Healthline. 12 High Carb Foods That Are Incredibly Healthy
  4. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Carbohydrates
  5. Mayo Clinic. Carbohydrates: How carbs fit into a healthy diet
  6. Healthline. 9 Important Functions of Protein in Your Body
  7. American Heart Association. Dietary Fats 

 

 

About the Author

 Mara Welty
Mara Welty

Mara Welty is a copywriter who specializes in health, wellness and CBD topics. With a background in journalism, she aims to deliver engaging, research-based content that builds trust and engages readers through informative storytelling.

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