Calories vs Macros: The Great Debate

5 min read.

If you spend any time on social media in the health space, you'll start to notice two camps of people. 

On one hand, you'll find people that say, calories are calories regardless of where they come from, and if you want to lose weight, you just have to eat less calories than you consume. 

The other camp screams "MACROS!" which is short for macronutrients. There are three macronutrients, carbs, fats, and proteins. 

All food is made up of one or more of those three macronutrients and they all carry a different amount of calories per gram. 

Fat has 9 calories per gram. 

Carbs have 4 calories per gram. 

Protein has 4 calories per gram. 

The macro people believe that calories aren't created equal and that to hit your health goals, you have to focus instead on the macros you consume. 

So which party is right?

That's what we'll dive into in this blog post! 

The Calorie Argument

A calorie is unit of measurement of how much energy is in food.

Food is literally fuel for our bodies and each person has a different calorie requirement each day. 

The common argument among the calorie camp is that once you figure out how many calories you need to maintain your weight, you just have eat less than that amount to lose weight or more than that amount to gain weight. 

For example, if you need 2000 calories per day to maintain your current weight, if you eat 1800 calories worth of donuts each day and maintain that, over time you'll lose weight. 

Does this work? 

It can, but it also depends on the person and few other factors. 

The calorie camp ignores some important aspects of macronutrients and one other thing that seems to govern weight loss/gain.

Hormones.

The Macro Argument

The macro camp believes that not all food is created equal, and they're right. 

It's obvious to pretty much everyone that 2000 calories worth of spinach and grilled chicken is very different than 2000 calories worth of donuts.

That being said, the argument here isn't what's better for you, it's whether it matters where your calories come from to lose or gain weight.

That's where hormones come in. 

When you eat simple carbs aka. sugar your blood sugar spikes. 

High blood sugar can damage your body, so the body produces a hormone called insulin to regulate your blood sugar levels.

When your blood sugar spikes, insulin pours into your body to get it back to normal. 

There are hundreds of studies that cover this in depth, and one good book we'd plug if you're interested called "The Obesity Code" but in short, it seems that when insulin floods the body frequently, it causes weight gain.

So, advantage macro camp right? 

Seems to be so. 

Satiety ---> Success

There is one other point to be made in favor of the macro camp. 

Satiety. Satiety refers to how full you feel after eating. 

Macros have different levels of satiety. 

Protein is the most satiating, fats come second, and carbs come last. 

So, by eating more satiating macronutrients like proteins and fats you're going to feel more full and therefore, be less likely to eat too much.

Now this isn't necessarily an argument for whether or not it matters where your calories come from as long as you eat the correct amount, but in the real world, it's going to help a lot to stick with your goal if you eat satiating macros that keep you feeling full.

Who Takes the Cake?

It stands to reason that the macro camp takes the cake in this argument. That being said, we're not necessarily suggesting you go and track your macros.

That can be a good plan for some people if you're up for it, but it's not easy!

For most people, just understanding which foods to grab when you're in a hurry will help keep you on track for your goals.

Get in the habit of looking at the nutrition label of foods you eat, you might be surprised what's in them.

It's always good to eat unprocessed meats and vegetables as well as healthy sources of fat like avocados and nuts. 

Most importantly, and this won't come as a surprise, avoid sugar!

The more you can avoid spiking your blood sugar and flooding your body with insulin, the better. 

Protein Plug!

Usually protein drinks are milky choco/vanilla and we got tired of that so we made a refreshing hydration drink infused with protein!

We called it, ProLoco and it's a totally Loco (Crazy in Spanish) Hydration + Protein drink for people looking to maintain a low sugar lifestyle, get more protein, and kill cravings! 

To check it out, CLICK HERE!