When it comes to choosing which diet and lifestyle are right for you, we believe in bio-individuality. After all, everyone is different and what works for one person may not work for another. That means listening to the feedback from your body and aiming to get the most nutrition from high-quality foods rather than focusing on your macro count. We’ve teamed up with Leanne Ray, MS, RDN to better understand why you may want to reconsider counting macronutrients and why you should focus on listening to your body instead.
What are Macronutrients and Micronutrients?
Macronutrients are substances that are needed in large amounts for the growth and health of a living organism. Carbohydrates, fats, and proteins are all considered macronutrients. On the other hand, micronutrients are elements or substances that are essential in small amounts to promote the growth and healing of organisms. Micronutrients are things like calcium and Vitamin C. According to Ray, counting macronutrients can certainly be helpful for some individuals, but it might not be the most beneficial route holistically.
Why Macro Counting Misses the Mark
Tracking macros often becomes extremely tedious and time-consuming. Choosing the right type of food for each and every meal can be stressful and hard to maintain, especially over a long period of time. It’s not always sustainable. When macro counting, you miss out on a variety of nutritious and satisfying foods that are teeming with micronutrients, which is why it’s important to look at more than just macronutrients. Other important factors to consider include ingredients, micronutrients, taste, and even convenience. When we focus on eating wholesome foods rich in antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins, we ultimately nourish our bodies from the inside so we can reach true, optimal health.
Listen to Your Body
When macro counting, many people end up neglecting their own inner wisdom and the body’s intuitive voice that directs and guides them in their daily food choices. This wisdom helps us build balanced plates and make mindful choices that allow our bodies to receive a variety of vitamins and minerals necessary for proper health, but when we macro count, this outer wisdom is easily clouded by outside sources.
Maria Zamarripa, MS, RD at FoodFarmacistRD.com agree that counting macros can cause us to intentionally ignore our internal hunger and fullness cues. She notes, “Instead of relying on our own biological hunger and fullness cues, we begin to rely on external cues, (i.e. our macro numbers) to tell us whether or not we should eat. This can eventually lead to habitual tendencies to overeat or fall into the harmful ‘restrict then binge’ cycle.” Instead, when we focus on eating high-quality foods and not restricting, we are setting ourselves up for a lifestyle that is much more enjoyable and sustainable.
As Leanne reminds us, “It’s not so much of the calories that make up a man as it is the minerals phytonutrients and vitamins they contain.” Food is more than just macronutrients. Food is about eating meals that nourish you, your body, your soul and yes, even your tastebuds. When it comes to eating meals, remember to tune in to your body’s natural cues and inner wisdom and really listen to it. It will help you discover what works best for you and your body.