Count Your Macros to Lose Weight, Build Muscle and Increase Energy

This story is part of Health by the Numbers, CNET’s deep dive into how we quantify health.

Tracking what you eat each day can be helpful for many who are trying to lose weight or reach certain nutrition goals. Trying to track every single calorie might not be your best bet, though. Instead, consider tracking your macronutrients — the nutrient groups that your body needs in large amounts each day, including fats, carbohydrates and protein. 

There are many benefits to tracking macros instead of calories. First, you’ll have a more balanced diet by focusing on eating a variety of nutrients that give your body energy and help your digestive system work. Not only can this practice help you reach your health goals faster than focusing on calories alone, this method of food logging can also help you understand which types of food make you feel good or bad, which foods improve your athletic performance and which foods help you focus or make you drag. Counting macros can also help you shift your current eating habits to healthier patterns for the long-term.

You’ll need to learn how to read a nutrition facts label for this approach, but the benefits far outweigh the time you’ll spend grasping the concept of a macro diet. 

Read also: What’s in a Calorie, and Why That Matters More Than the Number

What are macronutrients?

Macronutrients are molecules we need in large amounts, also known as the main nutrients we need to simply survive. Micronutrients, in contrast, are substances required in much smaller amounts, such as vitamins, minerals and electrolytes.

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