CICO and Macros?

I'm still new here and have seen these terms come up in the forums and there seems to an awful lot of debate over them and what's most important to success. Which is it?

Replies

  • DevotedToDASH
    DevotedToDASH Posts: 60 Member
    So, macros have no effect on the rate of weight loss?
  • stanmann571
    stanmann571 Posts: 5,728 Member
    So, macros have no effect on the rate of weight loss?

    None, Protein intake above a certain threshold helps with fat loss vs muscle loss, as does engaging in a quality strength building/maintenance program.
  • rachelleahsmom
    rachelleahsmom Posts: 442 Member
    You could lose weight eating only ice cream and potato chips as long as you burn more calories than you consume. It certainly wouldn't be the healthiest way to live, but you'd lose pounds.
  • CaptainJoy
    CaptainJoy Posts: 257 Member
    edited July 2017
    For weight loss, CICO is most important. I used a kitchen scale to weigh solid foods and measuring cups for liquids when I was losing weight. This is how I calculated the CI part. I used a fitness tracker to measure my activity for the CO part.

    For health, a combination of CICO and macros is important. If you have high cholesterol, you can choose to track cholesterol and saturated fats. If you're diabetic or borderline diabetic, tracking sugar and carbs would be wise. It's always a good idea to keep your protein up while losing because it helps you avoid too much muscle loss. The only time macros would have an effect on weight loss, as far as I know, is if you're on a keto or low carb high fat type diet. I do not believe macros would have any effect on the rate of loss.
  • Old_Cat_Lady
    Old_Cat_Lady Posts: 1,193 Member
    I'm also on the DASH diet and loving it. The only macro I watch is my Protein. The minimum for women is 46 grams a day. I try to reach at least 70 grams protein daily.
    I also watch my sodium intake (of course). I also track potassium and calcium. I always try to eat more potassium daily than sodium to at least a 1:1 ratio. Ex: If I eat 2,000 of sodium, I make sure I eat more than 2,000 potassium. Eating fast food and frozen meals kills me on this. I think the DASH diet is the best out there. You will be successful here. Hope you have a food scale.
  • rybo
    rybo Posts: 5,424 Member
    So, macros have no effect on the rate of weight loss?

    In the absolute sense, no. But in the practical application, some people find that eating in a particular break down helps them feel more satisfied and able to maintain their eating habits more easily.
    Others ( like me) pretty much pay 0 attention to what the breakdown is and do just fine.
  • lporter229
    lporter229 Posts: 4,907 Member
    edited July 2017
    So, macros have no effect on the rate of weight loss?

    Not directly, but your macro profile can determine your success. If you are restricting calories, you want to eat in a way that is going to provide you with adequate energy and keep you satisfied, so that you can sustain the calorie deficit as long as you need to. You also need to get adequate nutrients.

    There is a lot of debate on how your macros should be distributed, but I think most people here have come to agree that it is different from individual to individual and you have to figure out what works best for you.

    ETA: For example, my body tends to utilize my carb calories quickly, so I get those energy spikes and crashes that carbs are often associated with. When I crash, I start to crave more carbs to restore my energy, so I am always hungry. I have found that if I eat mostly protein and fats earlier in the day, I have a constant, steady supply of energy and I feel less hungry. I tend to eat my carbs later in the evening because the crashes don't affect me, I just go to bed. Of course, many people find he opposite to be true, so, like I said, you just have to figure out what works best for you.
  • jessiferrrb
    jessiferrrb Posts: 1,758 Member
    edited July 2017
    So, macros have no effect on the rate of weight loss?

    No. They have everything to do with weight loss.

    For example, my macros are 60 grams of protein, 20 grams of fiber, 40 grams of fat.
    Protein is 4 calories per gram, so 60 grams of protein is 240 calories.
    Fiber is 4 calories per gram, so 20 grams of fiber is 80 calories.
    Fat is 7 calories per gram, so 40 grams of fat is 280 calories.
    Total of 600 calories per day + the added carbs that make up a 1200 calorie diet.

    If I stay within those macros, if I eat fiber, protein, and good fat before I eat anything else, then I am full. I do not need or even want to eat anything else.

    If I eat 1200 calories of sugar and other non-nutritional foods, I only want to eat 1200 more calories of those things. This is ... an alternate reason they are called "empty" calories. They add no nutritional value, plus the do not fill you up.

    Eat your macros first. then eat snacks.

    first, satiety is pretty individual, you may feel full on fiber and protein, others may feel full on fat and starches. fiber isn't actually a macro either, fiber comes from carbs.

    second, there aren't empty calories, there's no such thing as empty calories. empty of what?
  • stanmann571
    stanmann571 Posts: 5,728 Member
    lporter229 wrote: »
    So, macros have no effect on the rate of weight loss?

    Not directly, but your macro profile can determine your success. If you are restricting calories, you want to eat in a way that is going to provide you with adequate energy and keep you satisfied, so that you can sustain the calorie deficit as long as you need to. You also need to get adequate nutrients.

    There is a lot of debate on how your macros should be distributed, but I think most people here have come to agree that it is different from individual to individual and you have to figure out what works best for you.

    ETA: For example, my body tends to utilize my carb calories quickly, so I get those energy spikes and crashes that carbs are often associated with. When I crash, I start to crave more carbs to restore my energy, so I am always hungry. I have found that if I eat mostly protein and fats earlier in the day, I have a constant, steady supply of energy and I feel less hungry. I tend to eat my carbs later in the evening because the crashes don't affect me, I just go to bed. Of course, many people find he opposite to be true, so, like I said, you just have to figure out what works best for you.

    That's what's known as personal preference.
  • janejellyroll
    janejellyroll Posts: 25,763 Member
    So, macros have no effect on the rate of weight loss?

    No. They have everything to do with weight loss.

    For example, my macros are 60 grams of protein, 20 grams of fiber, 40 grams of fat.
    Protein is 4 calories per gram, so 60 grams of protein is 240 calories.
    Fiber is 4 calories per gram, so 20 grams of fiber is 80 calories.
    Fat is 7 calories per gram, so 40 grams of fat is 280 calories.
    Total of 600 calories per day + the added carbs that make up a 1200 calorie diet.

    If I stay within those macros, if I eat fiber, protein, and good fat before I eat anything else, then I am full. I do not need or even want to eat anything else.

    If I eat 1200 calories of sugar and other non-nutritional foods, I only want to eat 1200 more calories of those things. This is ... an alternate reason they are called "empty" calories. They add no nutritional value, plus the do not fill you up.

    Eat your macros first. then eat snacks.

    ...all my snacks contain macronutrients.
  • DevotedToDASH
    DevotedToDASH Posts: 60 Member
    Still confused.

    This would appear to be true if CICO is true -
    You could lose weight eating only ice cream and potato chips as long as you burn more calories than you consume. It certainly wouldn't be the healthiest way to live, but you'd lose pounds.

    This would appear to be preferential but irrelevant.
    No. They have everything to do with weight loss.

    For example, my macros are 60 grams of protein, 20 grams of fiber, 40 grams of fat.
    Protein is 4 calories per gram, so 60 grams of protein is 240 calories.
    Fiber is 4 calories per gram, so 20 grams of fiber is 80 calories.
    Fat is 7 calories per gram, so 40 grams of fat is 280 calories.
    Total of 600 calories per day + the added carbs that make up a 1200 calorie diet.

    If I stay within those macros, if I eat fiber, protein, and good fat before I eat anything else, then I am full. I do not need or even want to eat anything else.

    If I eat 1200 calories of sugar and other non-nutritional foods, I only want to eat 1200 more calories of those things. This is ... an alternate reason they are called "empty" calories. They add no nutritional value, plus the do not fill you up.

    Eat your macros first. then eat snacks.

  • WinoGelato
    WinoGelato Posts: 13,455 Member
    No I think you've got it. For weight loss - CICO is immutable. In order to lose weight you must be in a calorie deficit. How you achieve that deficit is largely up to the individual.

    Some prefer to focus on a particular macro split (carbs, fat, protein) and track those three (or some of those three) as a supplement to tracking calories. Some people follow a particular diet or way of eating that works for medical reasons or that they find satiating, or that they just really enjoy.

    For me in particular, I focus on calories first and foremost and then aim to find a balance of foods that provide me nutrition (both macro and micro nutrients), satiety, and enjoyment. I try to get 80-100 g of protein and the rest I just let shake out.

    Good luck.
  • lemurcat12
    lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886 Member
    So, macros have no effect on the rate of weight loss?

    None, Protein intake above a certain threshold helps with fat loss vs muscle loss, as does engaging in a quality strength building/maintenance program.

    This.

    What matters for weight loss is calories. Adequate protein and strength-based exercise can help protect against muscle loss. For this, I'd recommend about .65-.85 g/lb of healthy goal weight as a good protein goal (more is fine).

    HOWEVER (the rest of this is my spiel and not directed at stanman's post), what you eat may make it easier to hit the calories or stay committed long term or have the energy to workout (and so to be able to eat more calories).

    If you choose a way of eating that leaves you starving, OF COURSE you will not be successful. I assume that everyone realizes this, so if they are starving they will naturally change what they are eating, but because sometimes people claim this means macros matter for weight loss it is worth addressing.

    Exactly what macros (and food choices) leave someone hungry varies a lot between people. I am not hungry no matter what my macros so long as I get a reasonable amount of protein and mostly eat a healthy diet (which is what I naturally do anyway). However, I've found over time that I feel more satisfied and committed to staying on plan when I eat somewhat higher fat than the standard MFP macros would allow for, and so I've gravitated to eating lower carb to allow for that, and to reflect personal preferences. While that is easier to me, it does not mean that macros matter for weight loss -- I would lose on any macros if calories were right. Also, many other people find different macros satisfying than what works for me, you need to experiment.

    Health is important too, so that's why it's also good to eat a generally healthful diet. Saying calories (or CICO) is what matters for weight loss rather obviously is not intended to deny this.