We probably all heard this at least once in our life. You can eat this or that if it fits your macros. I'm seeing this all over my social medias: ''influencers'' telling their followers it is okay to eat bad food such as donuts, white bread, cookies, etc. because it has the same amount of calories or macros as a good food like chicken, sweet potatoes, etc. Eating what you want because it fits your daily intake seems a great way to not feel bad about it. It seems logical right? Seems perfect too! Well, no. Let me tell you why.
P.s.: If you want to follow a diet, get one customized for you. I don't believe in ''One diet for them all'', point.
What is ''If it fits your macros''(IIFYM)?
IIFYM is kind of a flexible diet, allowing the person who follows it to eat what they want if it fits their daily macros (protein, carbohydrates and fat). The person has to calculate what their needs are according to their goals first and then track it and meet their daily intakes goals. People usually choose to follow this diet because it looks easy, enjoyable and not restricting. But it only looks...
Every body is different
First thing first, every. body. is. different. This applies for everyone and every diet out there that is not customized for you! We all have different genetics, different metabolisms, we all digest macros in different ways, we all have different hormones level. Let's take me and my sister for example.
Our parents have two very different genetics: our dad has no problem loosing fat, he is strong, he can jog for long periods of time but he has more problems putting muscles size on. Our mom, however, has more problem loosing fat, she is strong, she is a really good sprinter and has no problem putting muscles size on.
So my sister is like my dad, she even has a 6 pack almost all year round even if she eats like crazy. Me, I have the best of both. I have no problems loosing fat and I put on strenght and muscles really fast. I cannot run like she does and she canot lift like I do.
I'm telling you this because it's the best kind of example. One diet for me would not fit my sister's and vice versa. We have two different types of genetics, way of living, metabolisms, hormones, etc.
Macros... but there's so much more!
Not all carbs are created equals
Let's take carbs first: 1g of carbs = 4 calories. Apples, sweet potatoes, oatmeal, broccoli.. all carbs. Candies, white bread, pop-corn, bagels, cookies... all carbs too! What is the difference now: their glycemic index.
The Glycemic Index (GI) is a relative ranking of carbohydrate in foods according to how they affect blood glucose levels. Carbohydrates with a low GI value (55 or less(like the 4 first examples)) are more slowly digested, absorbed and metabolised and cause a lower and slower rise in blood glucose and, therefore insulin levels. Carbohydrates with a higher GI are therefore digested faster, and cause your insulin levels to spike (4 last examples).
The glycemic index (or GI) is a ranking of carbohydrates on a scale from 0 to 100 according to the extent to which they raise blood sugar (glucose) levels after eating. Foods with a high GI are those which are rapidly digested, absorbed and metabolised and result in marked fluctuations in blood sugar (glucose) levels. Low GI carbohydrates – the ones that produce smaller fluctuations in your blood glucose and insulin levels – is one of the secrets to long-term health, reducing your risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. It is also one of the keys to maintaining weight loss. Here is the evidence.
So if it fits your macros, 1g of carbs would be 1g of carbs therefore 4 calories. ERROR. Good carbs vs. bad carbs is not bullshit. It is a fact.
not all fat are created equals, too
There are two groups of fats: unsaturated and saturated. Within each group are several more types of fats:
Unsaturated fats are the good fats. Good for you. It include polyunsaturated fatty acids and monounsaturated fats. Both mono and polyunsaturated fats, used to replace saturated or trans fats when eaten in moderation. It can also help lower cholesterol levels and triglyceride levels and reduce your risk of heart disease.
Saturated and trans fatty acids are the bad guys. Both can raise cholesterol levels, clog arteries, and increase the risk for heart disease. Some researches exist which prove the evidence that saturated fats have an effect on increasing colon and prostate cancer risk.
Avocados, nuts, nuts butter (almond butter, peanut butter, etc), salmon, egg yolk, vegetable oil, chia seeds, seeds, etc. These are good guys.
Butter, bacon, whole milk, milk, cream, cheese, meat, etc. These are the bad guys.
So if it fits your macros, 1g of fat would be 1g of fat therefore 9 calories. Nope, it doesn't work this way.
Now onto the protein
Good and bad protein is directly linked to your source. There is no good or bad protein, only good and bad protein sources. Red meat has been linked to cancer and diabetes and contains more bad fat then white meat for the same amount.
Ground Beef: 100g - 250 cals - 26g Proteins - 0g Carbs - 15.5g Fat
Chicken Breast: 100g - 151 cals - 29g Proteins - 0g Carbs - 3g Fat
You can also get your protein from plants sources like nuts, seeds, beans, soy products and whole grains. Beans are not only a good source of protein but they also contain fiber, making them a filling choice.
Because you get your protein intake doesn't mean that you are going to get to your final goal, like losing weight. You have to eat clean, healthy.
My FINAL THOUGHTS
Don't believe everything you see and hear. People will always try to take advantage of you and your lack of knowledge in certains domains. Food is not different. It is something we need to live, that we see and talk about everyday, but no one really knows the truth and science behind it.
IIFYM can work for some, but it is also hard to always keep track of what you eat and always writing it down. Losing fat isn't magical, it takes discipline, hard work, sacrifices.
Don't follow a diet that is not customized for you and for your goals and get educated on what you eat, on your body, on your health.