When you want to lose body fat and become leaner, counting macros can be the ideal way to get you to your goal. A cutting diet can help set you on a path where you know exactly what you need to eat. Macros or macronutrients consist of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Exactly how many macros for cutting diets are needed is a question that needs further examination.
Do calories count on a cutting diet?
Many people will follow a diet that counts calories. In general, these types of diets have limited success, mostly because no one tells you what kind of calories you need to consume. It is suggested that the average woman eats about 1500 calories per day, and the average man, 2000 calories per day, in order to lose weight. What these low-calorie diets don’t take into account is that some foods will impact you and your body more than others. For example, if you eat donuts all day that total up to 1500 calories, it is highly unlikely you’ll find yourself losing weight. On the other hand, if you eat 1500 calories worth of protein in a day, you’re pretty likely to see some weight loss. But, the bad news there is that living on protein alone is not very healthy. That’s where macros come in. Calories do count on a cutting diet, but what really matters is the type of calorie you’re putting in your mouth.
How much protein, carbs, and fats do I need on a cutting diet?
If we use the generalization that a woman seeking to lose one pound a week needs to consume 1500 calories a day, and a man seeking the same rate of weight loss needs to eat 2000 calories a day, there are some simple ways to determine how much of each macro is needed.
For protein, you use your body weight to determine how much you need every day. For example, a man weighing 190 pounds will need to eat 190 grams of protein. Likewise, a woman weighing 160 pounds will need to take in 160 grams of proteins per day. Proteins have 4 calories per gram, so in our example, the 190-pound man will be consuming 760 calories of protein per day (4 grams x 190 pounds). The woman will need to eat 640 calories of protein a day. (4 grams x 160 pounds). This is the ideal calorie intake of the macro, protein, when on a cutting diet.
For fat, there are differing opinions on what the intake should be but the general consensus is that fat intake should be at 25% of your total calories for the day. For example, the man needing to lose one pound per week needs to eat 2000 calories per day, and the woman, 1500 calories. For the man, fat calories need to be at 500, and for the woman, fat calories need to be at 375. Because of the macro, fat, contains 9 calories per gram, we would take the needed calories and divide by 9. In our example, the man will be eating 55.5 grams of fat every day. The woman will be consuming 41.6 grams of fat.
Carbohydrates are the easiest to calculate because your calorie intake of this macro is whatever is left over. Continuing our example:
Male: 2000 calories per day for cutting diet
Protein calories: 760
Fat calories: 500
Total calories so far: 1260
Remaining calories: 740
Female: 1500 calories per day for cutting diet
Protein calories: 640
Fat calories: 375
Total calories so far: 1015
Remaining calories: 485
In our example, the man needs to eat 740 calories of the macronutrient, carbohydrate every day, while the woman needs to eat 485.
Consuming macros in these proportions works best for the cutting diet. If we want to figure out the macros (grams of the macronutrients we need to eat), we need to divide the calories by the number of grams in each macro. Protein and carbs are both worth 4 calories per gram, and fat is worth 9 calories per gram. So in our example, the man would have daily macros as follows: Protein: 190 grams (760 divided by 4), Fat: 55.5 grams (500 divided by 9), and carbs: 185 grams (740 divided by 4).
The cutting diet
As you can see, we’ve made full circle here. We are still counting calories but the difference is that we have regulated our macros in specific proportions. By managing the proportion of macronutrients that go into your body, you are optimizing weight loss and cutting out fat. In reality, we are counting and measuring macros rather than calories.
The cutting diet is a system that makes sure your body is getting needed nutrients. We’ve all heard about diets that cut out fat, or diets that restrict the intake of carbs, but the cutting diet recognizes that all the macronutrients are essential for health, and yes, even for weight loss.
The average macros for cutting diets
Throughout our examples, we’ve been using averages, and those averages can be a good starting point for your cutting diet. The average calorie intake for a man wanting to cut fat is 2000, and for a woman, it is 1500. Translated into macros, our average man needs to consume 190 grams of protein, 55.5 grams of fat, and 185 grams of carbs. Our average woman needs to consume 160 grams of protein, 41.6 grams of fat, and 121.5 grams of carbs.
Fortunately, all food packaging details out the grams of each macro on the label, so it is relatively easy to figure out how much of each macro you’re getting. For foods without labels such as meat and fruit, macronutrient information can easily be found on the internet.
As you progress on your diet, you may need to make certain adjustments. For instance, if you find yourself losing more than 2 pounds in a week, you probably need to up your required calorie intake. Rapid weight loss may have you thinking you’ve found the keys to success, but it is never good for your health and is unsustainable. On the reverse side, if you find yourself losing no weight in the first couple of weeks, you’ll need to reduce your calorie intact and recalculate your macros.
People have had great results balancing macros on the cutting diet. You will likely be pleasantly surprised at the fat loss and energy you feel. Find the formula that works for you, and then stick with it! Your leaner self will be here sooner than you can imagine.