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Food Trends: Macros Misconstrued

Oh Macros, how I love thee. You are the foundation of my nutrition recommendations. You should be individualized and different for everyone although you are "prescribed" routinely the same person to person. You are scientific, there is not a one size fits all, and frankly you are misunderstood.

A couple of years ago Macros started to become more popular in the www world when a brilliant someone decided to market magical macro percentages to induce weight loss, body massing, and everything else under the sun. The thought process is to start with grams of protein needs dependent on body weight, to then look at range of fats between 25-35% dependent on goals and body type, and to provide the remaining of your macro goals from carbohydrates.  How easy, especially since everyone has the same protein needs, insert sarcasm here.
A food label providing grams of fat, carbs, and protein

Right away many bought into this bullet proof hope and we now have too many folks determining and "prescribing" ratios for people who aren't qualified and more importantly aren't licensed to do so.  Does this mean it doesn't work? Absolutely not as most of the time any change provides results BUT it does mean you may need to tweak things significantly multiple times as you move through the guessing game, especially when their is no scientific assessment made prior to your "prescription".

Dietitians and dietitians only are experienced, licensed, and protected from a liability standpoint to assess current lifestyle, activity, body type, co-morbidity's, and exercise regimens and provide specific calorie goals.  Based off of a dietitian's trained assessment and potentially additional equipment such as a Resting Metabolic Rate or Body Fat machine,  they come up with recommendations for calories to maintain, gain, or lose weight. The calories are then made up specifically of % or grams of the macronutrients Carbohydrates, Protein, and Fat.

So many clients come into my office nowadays with their own research. Most come in telling me they follow a 40/30/30 macro diet or that they have been prescribed macros from My Fitness Pal. The fact of the matter is that the generic diet you have been prescribed comes from a generic calculation that doesn't take your body type, exercise regimen  lifestyles, or co-morbidity's into account. Most of these clients have some success to start but reach what they fear is a "set point" fairly quickly.

This is the problem. When you work off of a generic macronutrient percentage you are learning nothing about food, fuel, or your body's reaction to food. You are simply allowing yourself more flexibility to come up to a calorie number that someone prescribed from a generic calculation. Does it really make sense to eat 1 teaspoon of butter or some jelly beans at the end of the night just to hit your ratios?

Speaking of ratios, there is so much more to the generic macro ratio.  You really need to also look at the Carbohydrate to Protein ratio which is different for weight loss, weight gain, and maintenance, It is also different for my Runners & Triathletes and my Crossfitters and Body Builders, combine any of the two and boy are we getting complicated.

My point is macros are important but is the Macro diet the end all be all? It could be if you are working with the right person but most likely it's a means to provide more attention to your food and maybe that's all you need to do.

Bottom Line: Macros aren't Miraculous. Don't buy into the nonsense, especially if it's from someone who's not qualified to provide the recommendations.

In Good Health,

Amy







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