The Good and the Bad of Counting Macronutrients


For the last two years or so, many people have tried a new diet called IIFYM or counting macronutrients. The concept behind this diet is that if a person stays within certain macronutrient counts for a day; it will lead to weight loss. It has also been called flexible dieting. Macronutrients tracking is counting up the number of grams consumed in the big three nutrients: protein, carbohydrates, and fats. So technically you can eat any food you want as long as you can keep your macronutrient numbers within a specific range (eg. 100 grams of protein, 200g of carbs and 40 grams of fat).


There are good things about this style of a diet, but just like any diet, there are some of the bad as well. Let’s break these down and start a conversation about this diet strategy.



The Good

  • People will generally stop worrying about calories. One of my favourite things about this diet is that individuals often stop counting calories, because they don’t have to. A hundred grams of protein, 200 grams of carbs and 40 grams of fat a day will yield the exact same amount of calories everyday regardless of what you eat.
  • People become more aware of what they are eating. As a by-product it shows people how many fat/carbs are in the foods they eat.
  • It gives room for persons to have junk food in moderation. If a person decides they want that muffin with breakfast? That is okay! They just adjust their intake in their foods the rest of the day
  • The focus is on macronutrients instead of calories. Often we get fixed on that number. This allows us to focus, at least at a cursory level, on WHAT is in the food we eat.


The (Possible) Bad

  • Can lead to too much of the bad and not enough of the good. It may be true that your body doesn’t care at a cellular level between carbohydrates from a donut of from whole wheat bread, but it absolutely matters during absorption of the nutrients. When we have too much of the junk food calories, we may still be in our macros but we are likely going to start missing a lot of the vitamins and minerals that our body relies on to function the way it should.
  • Long-term health can suffer. When you only count food nutrients and don’t worry about the food source you often sacrifice longer-term health for short terms goals. This isn’t everyone who does IIFYM, but you can get into that trap.
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Nick Prevett

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