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Question re: MFP macro calculator

MarcusM777MarcusM777 Posts: 4Member Member Posts: 4Member Member
Hello all,

Just started using the MFP macro calculator.

I only care about total calories for the day - and maintaining 40% protein, 30% fat, 30% protein (for muscle gain).

The problem is, MFP takes calories from a variety of sources - fiber, sugar, saturated fat and so on.

And it seems virtually impossible to get the right balance - total calories while maintaining the % of each macro you want.

No matter how I swing it, there ends up being too many carbs, not enough fat, or too much protein, not enough carbs and so on. And don't get me started on the vitamins.

It's sort of like a puzzle that you just can't beat lol. It is quite frustrating though.

Can anyone relate? Anyone have any advice? Is there any way to customize the tool so it only takes into consideration the macros I actually care about?

Replies

  • Nony_MouseNony_Mouse Posts: 5,144Member Member Posts: 5,144Member Member
    Protein, fat, and carbohydrate are the macros (plus alcohol). Fibre, sugar, sat fat etc are components of them. They're not counted separately for calories, they make up part of the calories. IE, MFP is already only taking into account the macros that you want. It can take a while to get your macros dialled in, that's a food choice thing, but you don't need to hit them bang on.

    Also, and particularly if you are adding exercise or have a fitness tracker synced to MFP, your percentages for each macro will go up as your calories go up. It's far better to think of macros in terms of grams, with protein and fats being minimums, based on your weight (or ideal weight, if you are losing). I set my macros so that the percentages are roughly what I want to be hitting at my baseline cals, if I have extra cals from exercise, the baseline number is still what I'm aiming for as my minimum, and I ignore the adjustment.
  • MarcusM777MarcusM777 Posts: 4Member Member Posts: 4Member Member
    Nony_Mouse wrote: »
    They're not counted separately for calories, they make up part of the calories. IE, MFP is already only taking into account the macros that you want.

    Yeah that's what I assumed it would do. Maybe it did at one time. However, that doesn't seem to be the case now.

    The reason I say that is. Once I've hit all the targets for protein, carbs and fat, I still have around 150 - 200 calories more to hit my total calories target.

    Which seems strange?

    The reason seems to be because I haven't hit the sugar, fiber, saturated fat and other targets.

    It's quite annoying b/c I don't care about those lol.

    And when you try to mix and match to hit all the targets, it's very hard to get the right balance.

    EG you can hit the sugar target but you're way over your carb target. Or you can hit the saturated fat target but you're way over the protein target and so on.

    But yeah man I hear what you're saying, thanks for your reply.
  • Nony_MouseNony_Mouse Posts: 5,144Member Member Posts: 5,144Member Member
    MarcusM777 wrote: »
    Nony_Mouse wrote: »
    They're not counted separately for calories, they make up part of the calories. IE, MFP is already only taking into account the macros that you want.

    Yeah that's what I assumed it would do. Maybe it did at one time. However, that doesn't seem to be the case now.

    The reason I say that is. Once I've hit all the targets for protein, carbs and fat, I still have around 150 - 200 calories more to hit my total calories target.

    Which seems strange?

    The reason seems to be because I haven't hit the sugar, fiber, saturated fat and other targets.

    It's quite annoying b/c I don't care about those lol.

    And when you try to mix and match to hit all the targets, it's very hard to get the right balance.

    EG you can hit the sugar target but you're way over your carb target. Or you can hit the saturated fat target but you're way over the protein target and so on.

    But yeah man I hear what you're saying, thanks for your reply.

    Check the database entries that you're using for accuracy. The database is largely user-generated, and the quality of a lot of entries are less than stellar. There's also a bit of a rounding effect (eg if something has 10.3 g of protein, for example, it will go through as 10 on your diary, but the calories will be whatever they actually are).

    So, verify whole foods against the USDA database. If you're using the barcode scanner, check that the nutrition label on the package matches up with the info in the MFP database, etc.

    Those other things, aside from fibre, aren't targets. You don't need to try to hit them, for sugar and fat they're recommended amounts to stay under (the sugar doesn't really work though, it should be for added sugar, but counts all forms of sugar, eg from fruit, milk, vege, etc). Fibre is a minimum for good health.

    I'm not sure why you're worried about going over on your macros though? As I said, protein and fat should be treated as minimums anyway. It's the calories that matter for weight management, and hitting your minimum protein for muscle gain.
  • deannalfisherdeannalfisher Posts: 5,371Member, Premium Member Posts: 5,371Member, Premium Member
    Nony_Mouse wrote: »
    MarcusM777 wrote: »
    Nony_Mouse wrote: »
    They're not counted separately for calories, they make up part of the calories. IE, MFP is already only taking into account the macros that you want.

    Yeah that's what I assumed it would do. Maybe it did at one time. However, that doesn't seem to be the case now.

    The reason I say that is. Once I've hit all the targets for protein, carbs and fat, I still have around 150 - 200 calories more to hit my total calories target.

    Which seems strange?

    The reason seems to be because I haven't hit the sugar, fiber, saturated fat and other targets.

    It's quite annoying b/c I don't care about those lol.

    And when you try to mix and match to hit all the targets, it's very hard to get the right balance.

    EG you can hit the sugar target but you're way over your carb target. Or you can hit the saturated fat target but you're way over the protein target and so on.

    But yeah man I hear what you're saying, thanks for your reply.

    Check the database entries that you're using for accuracy. The database is largely user-generated, and the quality of a lot of entries are less than stellar. There's also a bit of a rounding effect (eg if something has 10.3 g of protein, for example, it will go through as 10 on your diary, but the calories will be whatever they actually are).

    So, verify whole foods against the USDA database. If you're using the barcode scanner, check that the nutrition label on the package matches up with the info in the MFP database, etc.

    Those other things, aside from fibre, aren't targets. You don't need to try to hit them, for sugar and fat they're recommended amounts to stay under (the sugar doesn't really work though, it should be for added sugar, but counts all forms of sugar, eg from fruit, milk, vege, etc). Fibre is a minimum for good health.

    I'm not sure why you're worried about going over on your macros though? As I said, protein and fat should be treated as minimums anyway. It's the calories that matter for weight management, and hitting your minimum protein for muscle gain.

    this - you have entries that have incorrect macros or calories

    can you open up your diary - so someone can take a look (if it isn't already)
  • earlnabbyearlnabby Posts: 7,741Member Member Posts: 7,741Member Member
    MarcusM777 wrote: »
    Nony_Mouse wrote: »
    They're not counted separately for calories, they make up part of the calories. IE, MFP is already only taking into account the macros that you want.

    Yeah that's what I assumed it would do. Maybe it did at one time. However, that doesn't seem to be the case now.

    The reason I say that is. Once I've hit all the targets for protein, carbs and fat, I still have around 150 - 200 calories more to hit my total calories target.

    Which seems strange?

    The reason seems to be because I haven't hit the sugar, fiber, saturated fat and other targets.

    Sugar is calculated in your carb count because sugar is a carb
    Fiber is calculated in your carb count because it is a carb
    Saturated fat is calculated in your fat count bcause it is ft.

    All of these are subsets of a macro and are included in the macro.

    You will never be 100% because of rounding. While 1 gram of protein may be 4 calories, you may log anywhere from .5-1.5 grams that get counted as 1 gram.

    I double checked my diary and 151 grams each of protein and carbs plus 58 grams of fat equals my daily 1730 calories. Yesterday I ate 127 g. of carbs, 119 grams of protein, and 60 grams of fat. 127+119 x 4= 984 calories. 60 x 9= 540 calories which totals 1524 calories. Add in 1 glass of Shiraz for 134 calories of alcohol and I totalled 1658 for the day. MFP says I ate 1620. That is a reasonable margin of error. I do double check my entries, then use the same one whenever I eat a similar food.

  • MarcusM777MarcusM777 Posts: 4Member Member Posts: 4Member Member
    Thanks all, some great comments. Good point about the incorrect macro entries, I suspected that.

    Anyway, this is just a tool to help me get results (bulking) so I guess the proof will be in the pudding.

    And I can adjust as necessary based on the actual gains.

    Thanks again!
  • Nony_MouseNony_Mouse Posts: 5,144Member Member Posts: 5,144Member Member
    Hit your protein goal (as in, that's the minimum amount of protein you eat, fine if you're over), get adequate fat for hormone regulation, vitamin absorption, etc, hit your calorie goal. Anything else is just noise, really :)
  • MarcusM777MarcusM777 Posts: 4Member Member Posts: 4Member Member
    Nony_Mouse wrote: »
    Hit your protein goal (as in, that's the minimum amount of protein you eat, fine if you're over), get adequate fat for hormone regulation, vitamin absorption, etc, hit your calorie goal. Anything else is just noise, really :)

    Thanks, makes total sense. And that helps. Cheers
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