Making the commitment to lose weight will be the first step in a long process. The next step is determining a daily calorie allowance that will elicit weight loss desired. This is where things can become a little murky. It would seem like simply reducing the number of calories that are consumed during the day would be the most logical and effective strategy for losing weight, but beware of the “calorie trap”.
The Calorie Trap
The calorie trap refers to the idea that simply stripping the number of calories out of a diet, with no regard for macros, is the best way to lose weight. Many individuals will do better with diets that focus on lower carb intake like the ketogenic diet.
On the other hand, one may find the low carb diets to be extremely energy depriving and need to keep their carbs and their fat intake to a minimum. None of these two scenarios could be recognized and adjusted without tracking macronutrients for weight loss.
Another issue that arises when only following a calorie restriction diet is that, oftentimes, the right foods are not being eaten. Cutting out the wrong macros, at the wrong time, can cause feelings of hunger. This can be the downfall of many dieting attempts. Not understanding the pivotal role that macronutrients play in a healthy diet could be detrimental to weight loss, lean muscle mass, and physical appearance.
Daily Caloric Allowance
It is widely believed that an individual’s daily caloric allowance (DCA) should be determined and followed to lose undesired fat, and it’s true that a calorie deficit is required in order to lose weight. However, there is a more efficient way than just burning more calories than you consume in a given day. Your physical appearance, your health and how you feel from day to day are based on from what foods you consume in this process. The human body has a hormonal response to food, and getting the correct balance of macronutrients to make up the daily calorie count makes a huge difference.
What Are Macronutrients?
Macronutrients are nutrients that the human body requires in large doses, hence the prefix macro. Protein, fats, and carbohydrates are the three macros that humans will get the majority of their calories from and are assigned specific caloric values:
- Protein = 4 calories per gram
- Carbs = 4 calories per gram
- Fat = 9 calories per gram
Understanding the relationship between macros and their respective caloric value will help clear things up for those who are attempting to lose body fat; especially those who are simultaneously looking to maintain as much lean muscle mass as possible.
Lose Body Fat Like a Pro
There are few athletes in the world that have benefited from counting macros, versus counting calories, as much as the competitive bodybuilder. They have dialed in the techniques of losing body fat and preserving muscle mass better than anyone. Remember that the more muscle mass you have, the more efficiently your body burns fat.
Bodybuilders know that a calorie deficit is essential to losing body fat. They also know that cutting the wrong calories could make them lose muscle mass and appear “flat”. Getting too few carbs can make it difficult to train properly, while too many can add excess body fat.
Protein consumption is also a key element in building and maintaining muscle, especially during periods of weight loss. Bodybuilders that don’t count their macros are likely to fall short with their protein intake.
Weight loss can be a challenging process that may not be as simple as just cutting a few calories out. Be sure to consider what is being taken out of a diet and how taking the wrong macros out, at the wrong times, can actually make things worse. So, focus on getting the correct macronutrients in your diet and the calories will be managed in a healthy manner.
In my book, Fat Burning Secrets, I go into detail about macronutrients. I also have a body fat calculator on my site that will help you determine how many macronutrients of each type you should be eating on a daily basis based on your ideal body weight and amount of daily exercise you perform.
As always, I encourage you to be a part of the discussion. Share or comment.
Good Health is the Greatest Wealth,
- Healthline: The Ketogenic Diet 101: A Detailed Beginners Guide
- Vitals: How to Count Macronutrients Instead of Calories For Better Diet Success
- Natural Balanced Foods: What are Macronutrients & Micronutrients?
- My book: Fat Burning Secrets
- Live Strong: How to Calculate Macros in Bodybuilding
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