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The term “macros” is short for MACRONUTRIENTS in the context of nutrition and the keto diet.
Macronutrients are the energy-giving components of food that fuels our body. They include carbohydrates, protein, and fat; this is where your dietary calories come from.
Grasping the concept of macros is important for the keto diet because you need to find the right balance of carbs, protein, and fats to get into ketosis, stay in ketosis, and turn your body into a fat burning machine.
Carbohydrates are the only macronutrient that is not essential for survival. There are essential fatty acids and amino acids (the building blocks of fats and proteins), but there is no such thing as “essential carbohydrates”.
Fiber is also considered a carb, but it doesn’t count towards your total carb tally. The reason for this is that we can’t really digest fiber so it has a minimal impact on your blood sugar.
Carbs provide about 4 calories per gram, so if we are shooting for a limit of like 20 net grams of carbs per day, then only about 80 of our total calories per day are coming from carbs.
Does that sound crazy when you are looking at your total calories for the day? It won’t, because keep in mind that most of your calories are coming from fat.
Protein is important for growth, tissue repair, immune function, making essential hormones and enzymes, energy in the absence of carbohydrates, and preserving lean muscle mass. As you can see, protein plays a vital role in almost all biological processes. Proteins are considered the building blocks of the body.
The body breaks protein down into amino acids, 9 of which cannot be made by the body. As a result, these essential amino acids must come from the food you eat.
A deficiency in protein or any of the essential amino acids may result in malnutrition, kwashiorkor, and other health conditions.
For a ketogenic diet, you will need to eat enough protein to preserve your lean body mass.
You ONLY want to work on preserving or GAINING muscle; you do NOT want to lose your lean body mass. I know many of you just want to “lose weight”, but “losing weight” often means losing muscle in addition to fat.
Your goal should really be to lose fat and save all the muscle mass you’ve got. This is really important for a healthy metabolism and
Stop saying you want to lose weight. You want to lose fat; shift your mindset.
On the other side of the coin, you don’t want to consume a crazy amount of protein. Too much protein has the potential to be damaging or stressful to your kidneys and can kick you out of ketosis.
This is why we go for MODERATE amounts of protein.
Protein provides 4 calories per gram.
We need adequate amounts of fat in the diet for energy, growth
Fats provide 9 calories per gram.
Dietary fat is broken down into fatty acids and glycerol. There are two types of fatty acids that our body can’t synthesize, so you have to make sure you include them in your diet.
Because dietary fat is so sating, we often times find ourselves eating MUCH LESS than we were eating on those low-fat diets. Think of all those low fat diets you’ve tried in the past and how hungry you were all the time.
Now imagine fueling your body with satisfying fats, being full all day, and still losing weight… that’s keto! Awesome, right?!
As your body changes with fat loss, body fat percentage decreases and exercise increases, we will work on adjusting your daily macronutrient targets to help you burn fat, while feeling the BEST you’ve ever felt – woo!
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