If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM), or Flexible dieting, is a diet trend that involves meeting daily macronutrient intake targets.
A macronutrient is a food that is required by the human body in large amounts. There are 3 macronutrients that our bodies need: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. All of these are crucial in the regulation of metabolism and all the functions in our bodies.
The amounts of macros we need are based on many factors including sex, age, height, weight, and physical activity. You can ask a dietitian to do a nutritional assessment and get these calculations for you or… oh yeah, there’s an app for that.
Does it matter where I get my macros from?
Absolutely. I have heard people say “a calorie is a calorie no matter where it comes from”. This may be true if you only look at the numbers.
A 100 calories coming from a cookie and 100 calories coming from carrots is still 100 calories. But what’s important to point out is the composition of the foods we consume.
100 calories in a cookie is basically empty calories, in other words, there are no nutrients in it. It is all sugar and fat and chemicals.
100 calories of carrots, on the other hand, is full of fiber, antioxidants, and minerals. Not to mention that you would get way more volume consuming the carrots, which would translate in more satiety throughout the day.
The same thing goes for grams of macros. The source is very important: e.g. grams of protein from bacon vs. grams of protein from chicken breast.
But…I can still lose weight if I hit my macros regardless of what I eat.
Ok. But what are the consequences of feeding your body junk food? If you only ate a certain amount of chocolate (based on your own calories or macros for weight loss) for days, you could lose weight. What is the point?
You are depriving your body of calories AND essentials nutrients which have no long term benefits. If you want to follow numbers, make sure you are also looking at the nutrient content of the foods you consume.
It has been well researched that consuming higher amounts of wholesome foods like fruits, vegetables, legumes, and seeds is beneficial for our health; more so if you are a professional athlete or compete in body building.
So what’s the verdict? A dieticians thoughts on If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM)
The truth is that there isn’t one diet that is good for everyone.
If you find that counting and measuring macros is working for you; because you feel healthy, strong, and not deprived while also paying attention to the quality of foods that you consume; I say keep at it.
If you want to avoid the counting and measuring, then focusing more on quality may be a good deal for you. Remember that portion sizes and reading labels is key to knowing exactly what we put into our bodies.
Either way, I think that the most important thing is to focus on consuming wholesome foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, lean proteins, and whole grains the majority of the time, and maintaining an active lifestyle.
Food is meant to be enjoyed as well as used for fuel. Having a healthy balance and the right amount of different foods will promote energy and wellbeing.