The macro diet, also known as IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) is a diet plan where you count your macronutrient intake instead of calories. But does it work?
First of all, what is a macro diet?
There are three macronutrients: protein, carbohydrates and fats. Most of the food you eat contains all three macronutrients, but some foods are mostly high in one type of macronutrient. Let’s say meat is full of protein, while bread is made up mainly of carbohydrates, while olive oil is predominantly fatty. In order for your body to function, it needs all three macronutrients in a certain capacity.
Unlike most traditional diets, you do not have to count exactly how many calories you eat per day, or exclude your favorite foods. In theory, you can eat anything you want as long as it fits into your macro plan.
How do you know how many macronutrients you need?
Calculating your macronutrients requires some basic math. If you do not want to calculate on your own, IIFYM.com offers a macro calculator using your current weight, target weight and activity level.
If you want to calculate for yourself, first find out your “energy balance”, ie how many calories you consume and talk about per day. To lose weight you need to burn 10% -15% fewer calories than you burn. After determining the total number of calories you need to eat per day, you will need to find out how many of your daily calories should come from fats, carbohydrates and proteins. Some IIFYM sites and blogs advocate a strict 40% protein, 40% carbohydrate and 20% fat, but no optimal ratio. Some bodies respond well to fewer carbohydrates, some to less fat. It all depends on the individual.
But in general, the scientific literature is very clear that getting adequate amounts of protein is the most important thing to maximize muscle mass and improve body composition.
Can you really “eat what you want”?
Some nutritionists are in favor of this flexible diet because it does not restrict food choices as long as the right ratio of macronutrients is ingested.
However, this diet is not an excuse to eat what you want. The quality of your diet is still the most important factor. Vegetables, which are full of antioxidants and fiber, will always be a better choice for you than chips or cookies, which are basically empty calories.
How to get started?
Compared to diets that eliminate whole food groups or prescribe complicated and specific food combinations, IIFYM looks far more relaxed.
Simply order your favorite piece of meat with rice today. Here you go!