Use this macros calculator to easily figure out your ideal daily macro breakdown to lose weight.
What are macronutrients?
“Macros” is short for “macronutrients,” which are the three primary nutrients your body uses for energy: protein, carbohydrates, and fat.
Macronutrients are essential to keep your body’s systems working properly, so it’s not recommended to severely restrict any one macronutrient.
Let’s break down each of the three macronutrients and why they are important:
Protein plays an essential role in repairing and building new cells and tissue. There are more than 10,000 types of proteins found in your body including in your organs, muscle tissue, bones, skin, and hair.
Protein is crucial for your hormones, regulating your metabolism, and repairing your muscle tissue, so it’s important to eat enough protein in your diet. Although how much protein your body needs depends on the person, it is recommended that approximately 10% to 35% of your calories come from protein. For example, if you’re eating 2,000 calories per day, that’s 50 to 175 grams of protein a day.
Some examples of protein sources include:
- Lean meat (beef, pork, and lamb)
- Poultry (chicken, turkey, and duck)
- Fish and seafood (salmon, tilapia, crab, prawns)
- Dairy products (cheese, yogurt, milk, cottage cheese)
- Legumes (black beans, lima beans, chickpeas)
Carbohydrates (aka carbs) are your body’s main source of fuel. Carbs are broken down into glucose, which your body uses as the primary energy source to fuel bodily functions like breathing and digestion as well as physical activity.
There are three types of carbohydrates: fiber, starch, and sugar.
However, carbs get a bad rap because there are different types of carbohydrates, and not all carbs are created equal. Complex carbohydrates are higher in fiber, which fills you up more quickly and is important for healthy digestion.
Some examples of complex carbohydrates include:
- Whole grains (brown rice, barley, millet, oatmeal)
- Whole wheat bread, pasta, or crackers
- Fruit apples, berries, oranges, pineapple)
- Vegetables (carrots, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts)
- Potatoes (Russet, sweet potatoes, and Yukon Golds)
Refined carbohydrates, on the other hand, have been stripped of their natural fiber and nutrients. Two main types of refined carbs are refined grains (like white bread and white flour) and refined sugar (such as table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup.)
Refined carbs are higher on the glycemic index, which means they spike your blood sugar, and can lead to weight gain when eaten in excess.
Some examples of refined carbohydrates include:
- White bread
- White pasta
- Pancakes and waffles
- Pizza dough
For weight loss, choose complex carbohydrates as often as possible to get more fiber, which will fill you up, and provide you with more sustained energy (and prevent that afternoon crash).
Dietary fat is a building block for all cells in the body, and it’s essential to protect your organs. Fat is also key in some hormonal functions and helps the body absorb certain vitamins and nutrients.
However, some fats are healthier for your body than others. The three types of dietary fat are:
- Unsaturated fat: This is typically considered a “healthy fat”—partly because it can raise our good cholesterol (HDL). Olive oil, fatty fish, avocados, and nuts are all high in unsaturated fat.
- Saturated fat: While saturated fat has historically been linked to an increase in bad cholesterol (LDL), it’s unclear whether saturated fat increases the risk of heart disease. Recent studies have shown conflicting findings, so for now, moderation is best. Examples include red meat, butter, bacon, cream, and cheese.
- Trans fat: These are artificially made fats and have been linked to heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Although trans fats were found primarily in highly processed food, it has since been banned in the US by the FDA.
Fat has 9 calories per gram, while protein and carbs each have 4 calories per gram, so foods high in fat have high calorie density (the number of calories in the specific weight of a food).
While low-fat diets were popular at one time, eating dietary fat, especially unsaturated fat, is essential for a healthy diet.
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How this macros calculator works
This calculator first determines approximately how many calories to eat in a day to lose weight, based on age, height, current weight, sex, and basic activity level.
From there, it defaults to a macronutrient breakdown of 40% of your calories coming from carbs, 35% from protein, and 25% from fat.
However, you can adjust these percentages based on your caloric and macronutrient needs. It’s best to consult with a doctor or registered dietitian to determine the best macro breakdown for you and your goals.
What is the right macro ratio for weight loss?
The macro ratio you decide to eat will depend on your goals. This macro calculator defaults to 40% carbs, 35% protein, and 25% fat.
The Food and Nutrition Board of the Institutes of Medicine recommends that people get 45% to 65% of their calories from carbs, 10% to 35% of calories from protein, and 20% to 35% calories from fats.
However, you may want to adjust these recommendations based on your goals. If you want to build more muscle mass, you might want to increase the amount of protein you eat. Some people do well on a lower-carb diet, like those who are diabetic or insulin-resistant and want to keep their blood sugar stable. Others may prefer a higher-carb, lower-fat diet. It’s best to speak to your doctor or a registered dietitian to find the right macro breakdown for you and your goals, especially if your goal is weight loss.
Ultimately, the best macro ratio for weight loss is the one that you will stick to. Severely restricting one macronutrient (going super low-carb or super low-fat) is harder to stick to and is generally not recommended.
Is macro counting right for you?
Tracking your macronutrient intake can benefit weight loss and is especially helpful in training and building muscle. Taking in the right balance and type of macronutrients is vital in developing muscle and properly fueling progress on your fitness and health journey.
If your only goal is weight loss, tracking macronutrients may be more complex than necessary; focusing on the caloric density of your food instead could be easier and more productive.
Regardless of your goals, macronutrients are foundational to how our bodies work and their overall health.
How Noom Weight can help you lose weight
Noom Weight does not do macro tracking, but instead focuses on caloric density for progress. Foods with lower caloric density fill you up with fewer calories, as opposed to foods with high caloric density, which take more consumption to feel full.
Typically, foods with low caloric density also have more water, fiber, and nutrients. Noom believes there’s no “good” or “bad” foods, just knowing better which foods and portions are the most beneficial for your needs.
Generally, understanding caloric density makes it easier to track and leverage your food for weight loss by knowing which foods best alleviate hunger and which foods will fill you up the least.
Noom Weight helps you realize the caloric density of foods with an easy-to-use, color-coded system. Noom will also help keep you on track with a structured program that combines psychology-based lessons and other tools needed for long-term weight loss.