The go-to system for dieting has long been calorie counting. However, the practice of counting macros, which has been used by bodybuilders for years, has gained recently popularity among the general public. So what’s the difference? Which one is better? It depends on the person and their lifestyle. The following comparison will help you determine which is best for you.

Counting Calories

Calorie counting is an easy, one-step system. Determine the number of calories you need to eat per day and simply keep track of your daily intake.

The general guidelines for determining the number of calories you should be consuming in order to lose weight is based on your age, weight, and the average amount of physical activity performed daily.

Tools to Help

Various websites and apps have been created to generate calorie data for users, as well as help keep track of daily food and exercise. A very popular app among dieters is My Fitness Pal, which is free and can be accessed through phones and computers.

Counting Macros

Macro-nutrients are made up of three parts; proteins, carbohydrates, and fat. Counting macros is typically split into a 40/40/20 concept – 40% protein, 40% carbs, 20% fat.

The amount of macros a person should be consuming in order to lose weight is calculated based on age, weight and gender. The number of protein, carbs, and fat allowed per day are converted into grams. To accurately count your macros, it is recommended to use a kitchen scale. It can be done without a scale, although it is not as precise.

Tools to Help

The free app, DailyBurn, is popular among macro-counters. The app, MyMacros+ is also a popular choice for its accuracy and easy-to-use set up, however there is a minimal charge.

What’s the difference?

The two significant differences between counting calories and counting macros is the counting process and the food being consumed.

Calorie counting is a simple tactic and generally shows positive results. Unfortunately, it can also be misleading. Keeping track of calories, as opposed to what makes up those calories, can be harmful to your body despite the weight loss.

Macro counting is the opposite. You are fully aware of what is being put in your body, and it is generally well-balanced foods, however, it is not nearly as easy as calorie counting since you are keeping track of very precise numbers of nutrients. Say goodbye to eating out with friends and impromptu coffee shop pit stops. Most meals will have to be pre-planned and from your own kitchen.

Which is Right for You?

Counting calories, paired with fresh foods, is the go-to diet for most people. It’s easy and it’s reliable. Counting macros is a great way to feed your body exactly what it needs, however, it is not necessarily feasible for the average person.

If you are looking for a diet that is not time consuming and requires minimal calculations, counting calories might just be the diet for you! Remember though it is not all about cutting calories, you need to create a balanced healthy lifestyle in order to reach weight loss goals – which means combining eating healthy with exercise.

Micah Larsen

Micah is a traveling swim coach and personal trainer, depending on the season. She is also currently working on her Master of Science in Athletic Administration and Coaching. Micah loves to live an active lifestyle, whether she is competing in open water swims, running a road race, practicing yoga, or biking with her dogs. The main objective in her career is to... Read More

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