Calories And Macronutrients: Protein, Carbs and Fats Explained

If You Can Understand Calories & Macronutrients, Your Will Conquer Your Diet With Ease.

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Calories In Vs Cals Out With Protein, Carbs And Fats

Understanding Calories and Diets can get very confusing. We will start simple here and go into more detail as we go along.

The easiest way to think about a diet is that it is Calories in Vs Calories out. This refers to your caloric deficit to maintain your body compared to how much calories you are consuming

The fundamental rule being, that if you eat less calories than your body needs to run or maintain at its current level, then you will lose weight. The current level referring to multiple attributes at your current state.

What To Consider When Calculating Calories

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Height
  • Weight
  • Body fat percentage
  • General day to day living activity level
  • Fitness Activity Level, which varies depending on the sport

Your Body Needs Energy To Run

Your body needs to use energy to make it run. Think of it like a car. The car needs petrol to run, so energy is the fuel for your body

For your body to run normal bodily functions such as; your muscles moving, your heart bumping, the blink of an eye or even breathing. Your body is doing hundreds of different things all at once. But, it is also adapting to the different activities you carry out throughout the day

Five jars of almonds, sunflower seeds, other nuts and grans

Energy And Calories vs Kilojoules

Energy is what your body is fueled by. It repairs, builds and maintains body tissue and living cells. It also fuels your body to be able to carry out your day to day physical activity requirements

Your body facilitates a process of turning food into energy by the digestive system. Energy is measured in Calories or Kilojoules.

What Are Calories?

Calories or Cals are what your body uses as energy to fuel the body. They can be broken down again into Macronutrients called Proteins, Carbohydrates or Fats. And even further broken down into Micronutrients such as Sodium or Salt.

Calories are the most used measurement for nutrition labels around the world.

What Are Kilojoules?

Kilojoules (KJ) are the Australian measure of energy. kJ are similar to Calories in that 1 kJ is equal to 0.2 Calories (Cals), or 1 Calorie = 4.2 kJs. 

They still work the same, only the conversion values are different.

How Many Calories In Macronutrients; Protein, Carbs And Fats?

If you take a look at the table below, this shows the amount of calories in Carbs, Protein & Fats that your body converts from macronutrients to energy to run.

  • Protein has 4 calories per gram.
  • Carbohydrates (carbs) have 4 calories per gram.
  • Fats have 9 calories per gram.
  • Alcohol has 7 calories per gram.
grains pouring into a container to be measured nutritional value on food scales

Calorie Calculators And The Meaning Of Activity Level Explained

When figuring out a good calorie intake on an online calorie calculator, have you ever been confused about the activity level question? Don’t worry, you’re not alone.

The main confusion people have is around the calculator you are using, your everyday living requirements and the amount or type of exercise you do.

If your job is not very labor intensive, but you work out a lot regularly, then you can still be considered active. Just like if you do have a labor intensive job such as a builder, but you don’t workout very much, then you can also still be very active. It comes down to the average amount of calories you burn in a day to day basis doing your regular activities.

What Does Sedentary Mean?

Sedentary is referring to a person with a lifestyle tends to be very inactive and sits for a lot of their time. This would also include everyday activities, such as; driving everywhere instead of walking

Someone who does less than 30 minutes of exercise a day with an intensity level less than 4 mph (6.4km/h) of an average adult is considered sedentary. Their job might be as a bank teller or a desk job.

What Does Lightly Active Mean?

A lightly active person is someone who exercises the equivalent of walking for 30 minutes at an intensity level of 4 mph (6.4 km/h). This is 130 to 160 calories a day from exercising.

Your general day to day activities might include shopping, cleaning, watering plants, taking out the trash, walking the dog, mowing the lawn and gardening. For work you might be a teacher or a fast food clerk.

What Does Moderately Active Mean?

If you’re an active person, your daily exercise amount would be equal to walking for 1 hour and 45 minutes at a 4 mph (6.4 km/h) intensity level for an average adult

Or, for work you need to walk around a lot throughout the day, such as a waitress or a mailman. This will come to around 470 to 580 calories coming from extra regular activities each day.

What Does Very Active Mean?

If you’re a very active person, your daily exercise or activity level will burn 1150 to 1400 additional calories a day. This is like walking for 4 hours and 15 minutes at 4mph (6.4 km/h) for an adult

Or, if you work in an area where you spend most of the day doing heavy physical activity. such as; a bike messenger or a builder. You could also be someone who restocks shelves with heavy products.

Exercise & Extra Calories Out Used By Weight Loss Programs

After you learn about how calories are effected by exercise for weight loss. You should have a good idea of how you can do exercise to help assist with burning more calories if you want results faster

If your weight doesn’t fluctuate much, and you are only dieting at the moment with no exercise. By doing any exercise at this stage at all, this should show results quickly.

If you are doing varied exercise already, then this will take a little bit longer to fine tune. There will be a smaller gap with changes to the calories you will burn in the time you use for exercising

The fundamentals are the same, you want to adapt your diet with exercise over time until you are healthily losing a consistent amount. From there, you can measure and understand differences small changes make to you and your body.

Exercise efforts vary a lot every time you train depending on what type you do. For example, each muscle is a different size and needs different energy requirements. They are used differently for every exercise. You don’t go to the gym and train just your back every day. You work different body parts on different days. You might also do a few cardio sessions each week

It best not to get too deep in it and just focus on what exercise you enjoy. Because, unless you measure your heart on the exact same machine and do the same cardio exercise every time, then you will get different measurements. And, if you don’t enjoy it, the chances are you won’t keep doing it for long.

 If you are losing more weight than you would like to, increase your calorie intake slightly and re-check your results again in 2 to 3 weeks. Repeat these steps until you have your weight management under control.

Macronutrients 101: Carbohydrates, Protein & Fats Explained

Macronutrients refer to the 3 main areas you will have heard most people talk about when it comes to dieting. That is, carbohydrates, fats, and protein. Almost every food has a combination of macronutrients, but the difference lies in the composition of how they make up the food you are eating

The macronutrient that has the highest percentage in each food will determine whether it is going to be categorized as a protein, carb or fat.

What Is Protein

Proteins are essential nutrients for the living organisms in your body tissues such as muscle, hair, enzymes & antibodies. They are one of the building blocks of body tissue and also serve as a fuel source. Proteins provide as much energy density as carbohydrates, this being 4 calories per gram.

There are many different types of ways you can eat and drink food to get the requirements your body needs. It can come from food sources directly or supplements, with different benefits from either.

Solid Food Protein Sources

Liquid Sources Of Proteins

Protein From Powders And Supplements

Research into protein effects on the body has come a long way in the last 20 years. With technology advances and the fitness industry boom, commercializing protein and refining and improving its effects has been a major focus point

Because of this, Protein powders have now come as far as not only providing a condensed meal replacement. But also refining it as far as its broken down form, so it is easier and faster to digest and consume. In turn, it promotes faster or more optimized recovery for muscle growth.

How Fast Does Protein Digest & Absorb In The Body?

Your body can absorb between 1.3 to 2 grams of protein per kilo of body weight. Women are around 30% lower than men. This should equate to 5 to 10 grams per hour, or between 100g to 200g per day. It would depend on quality and digestion rates of the protein source you decide to eat.

How Much Protein Should I Eat For Weight Loss Or Muscle Growth

Be careful, Protein can still store as fat just like carbs or fats. Actually surprisingly, despite what a lot of diets you might try or magazines may tell you, your body can only absorb around 100 to 200 grams of protein per day. As we mentioned, your body can absorb between 5 to 10 grams of protein per hour. If The protein sources come from high quality and lean sources, then you will absorb between 8 to 10g per hour. Nutritionists and health specialists recommend having 1g of protein per lbs (2.2g to 2.4g per kg) of your bodyweight. this should be around 20 to 30% of your of your daily calorie intake

The type of protein you are consuming can effect the amount absorbed and the digestion rates before it is absorbed into the body.

For example, if you were to drink a protein shake with whey isolate or whey protein concentrate, it will take your body around 1.5 to 2 hours before the digestion process finishes. Your body will then start processing and absorbing it through your body at 8 to 10 grams per hour. This is as fast as your body can process it. If you compare Whey to Casein protein, Casein can take around 6 to 9 hours to digest before your body will then absorb around 6 to 8g of protein per hour.

Try using this handy protein list with digestion guides to help make the best choices for every meal

A great benefit from higher protein diets is that it can help control the hunger pains, as it takes longer to digest, you feel more full for longer.

The Best Protein to build muscle

Protein Powders coming from dairy have been the longest leading and best quality proteins for building muscle. They are sold in different categories depending on the filtration process. The best protein proven for muscle growth from this process is called L-leucine. It’s a branch chain amino acid that mainly comes from dairy, so if you drink milk, you will be consuming a little already. It is also the main Branch Chain that is in BCAA products that are sold today.

Because L-leucine is already broken down into an amino acid, this speeds up the digestion process significantly. Your body should begin to start absorbing it almost straight away. Your body will then continue to absorb up to 10 gram of protein every hour.

If you have ever bought BCAAs, this is the main protein out of this group that you want to use. Most studies show that this is the only conclusive branch chain to promote protein synthesis, which is when biological cells generate new proteins for repairing and building muscle.

The next is Whey Protein Isolate (WPI). WPI is whey protein filtered and dehydrated down to its finest whey powder form, before breaking it down further into BCAAs through another process. It also has the highest L-leucine contents if you don’t want to buy BCAAs directly. Taking only 1-2 hours for digestion, having a protein shake with L-leucine or WPI and a fast absorbing carbohydrate directly after training can help boost muscle repair.

What Are Carbohydrates & How Fast Do They Digest

Carbohydrates are the sugars, fibers and starches found in fruits and vegetables, dairy products and also grains.

They’re the body’s preferred source of energy. The body converts them in glucose which is a form of sugar. The sugar is then transported around the body to be used as energy. If you don’t eat enough carbs you will be malnourishing your body.

You can increase the risk to your immune systems and get sick, or even exhaust yourself. In some cases to the point of chronic fatigue. On the other hand, an excess of quickly digested carbohydrates in the diet can lead to weight gain and increased risk of adult-onset diabetes.

Carbohydrates are widely misunderstood in the fitness industry, even among athletes. Although improving, media claims in the fitness industry around carbs are still probably doing your body more harm than good.

The common questions you read are “are carbs bad for you?” or “do carbs make you fat?“. The answer is yes and no, it depends how much you have.

What you may not have known, is that protein stores as fat faster than carbohydrates do. So by having a low carb, high protein diet, not only are you starving your body of fuel, you are storing more fat, the opposite to what you overall goal.

What Are Fats & How It Affects Dieting

Fats help the body use vitamins and also help with maintaining healthy skin. They are also the main way the body stores energy. Foods have different types of fats, such as saturated, polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, unsaturated and trans fats.

To maintain your cholesterol and lipids (triglyceride) at normal levels, the National Diabetes Association recommend to limit the cholesterol & saturated fat intake in your diet.

How Long Do Fats Take To Digest & How Much Fat Should I Eat?

Fats take the longest time to digest, they can take between 24 to 72 hours. According to the National Dietary Guidelines, adults should get 20 to 35 percent of their calories from fat. They also recommend that saturated fats should be limited to less than 10% of total caloric intake. The amount of dietary cholesterol should be limited to 300 mg/day.

For a person on a 1500 calorie diet, this would mean 300 to 525 calories coming from fat. That is 33g to 58g per day with 3.3g to 5.8 coming from saturated fats.

Macronutrients vs Micronutrients And Where You Find Them?

Micronutrients are nutrients that your body needs in micro amounts so it can properly function. Although, they are only needed in small amounts, their deficiency or if taken in excessive amounts can both lead to critical health problems. This is why it is best to eat all things in moderation.

A Balanced Diet Is Always Overlooked

A Balanced Diet is often overlooked when choosing a diet to try. It’s strange too, as it still has amazing benefits, and mentally, it’s one of the easiest and most enjoyable.

We are believers, in that if everything is done in moderation it should usually be ok for you. It’s when we start going to extremities, and often doing things wrong, that we do more harm than good. Not just to our bodies, but also our mentality, and the way we will think about and approach dieting in the future.

A Balanced Diet is about aiming to always choose the healthier option if you can. Only, with much less restrictions than Other Diets. It’s about trying to have an even ratio of macro’s, while staying under, on, or above our calorie deficit depending on what our goal is. Read a Full Review of the Balanced Diet with Free guides, shopping lists, and cheat sheets to boost start your plan.

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