Low carb. It is the word I hear most from my clients. Clients struggling, losing weight only to gain it back plus more. And I keep asking myself..

How is this fad still here? Why are we so focused on macros?

According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) Evidence Analysis Library (EAL):

“For weight loss….as long as the target reduction in calorie level is achieved, many different dietary approaches are effective. There is strong and consistent evidence that when calorie intake is controlled, macronutrient proportion, glycemic index and glycemic load of the diet are not related to losing weight.

“For weight maintenance….as long as the target reduction in calorie level is achieved, many different dietary approaches are effective. A moderate body of evidence provides no data to suggest that any one macronutrient is more effective than any other for avoiding weight re-gain in weight-reduced persons. Strong and consistent evidence shows that glycemic index and glycemic load are not associated with body weight and do not lead to better weight maintenance.”

This recommendation is rated as Strong, and Imperative based on the evidence evaluation.

Also of note from the same source – check out the list of eating plans effective for weight loss:

“Several dietary approaches were shown to be effective for weight loss, however the nutrient adequacy of these diets was not evaluated:

-Dietary patterns that are low in dietary energy density
-Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI): 20% to 35% of calories from fat, 45% to 65% of calories from carbohydrate and 10% to 35% of calories from protein
-European Association for the Study of Diabetes Guidelines, which focuses on targeting food groups, rather than the formal prescribed energy restriction while still achieving an energy deficit
-Higher protein: 25% of total calories from protein, 30% of total calories from fat, 45% of total calories from carbohydrate; with provision of foods that realized energy deficit
-Higher protein ZoneTM-type diet (five meals per day, each with 40% of total calories from carbohydrate, 30% of total calories from protein, 30% of total calories from fat) without formal prescribed energy restriction but realized energy deficit
-Ovolactovegetarian-style diet with prescribed energy restriction
-Low-calorie diet with prescribed energy restriction
-Low-carbohydrate (initially less than 20g per day carbohydrate) diet without formal prescribed energy restriction but realized energy deficit
-Low-fat (10% to 25% of total calories from fat) vegan style diet without formal prescribed energy restriction but realized energy deficit
-Low-fat (20% of total calories from fat) diet without formal prescribed energy restriction but realized energy deficit
-Low-glycemic load diet, either with formal prescribed energy restriction or without formal prescribed energy prescription but with realized energy deficit
-Lower fat (less than 30% fat), high dairy (four servings per day) diets with or without increased fiber and low-glycemic index or load foods (low-glycemic load) with prescribed energy restriction
-Macronutrient-targeted diets (15% or 25% of total calories from protein; 20% or 40% of total calories from fat; 35%, 45%, 55% or 65% of total calories from carbohydrate) with prescribed energy restriction
-Mediterranean-style diet with prescribed energy restriction
-Moderate protein (12% of total calories from protein, 58% of total calories from carbohydrate, 30% of total calories from fat) with provision of foods that realized energy deficit
-Provision of high-glycemic load or low-glycemic load meals with prescribed energy restriction
-The AHA-style Step 1 diet (with prescribed energy restriction of 1, 500kcal to 1, 800kcal per day; less than 30% of total calories from fat; less than 10% of total calories from saturated fat).”

Every one of the eating plans/diets above were linked with weight loss. Every single one. Why? They are energy restricted. Not because of the macros.

So, why do I use macros in my practice, then?

Two words: NUTRITIONAL ADEQUACY. I want my clients to have a realistic idea of what macronutrient blend will support their nutritional needs best, reflect their preferences, prevent/treat chronic disease, and how to adjust trackers if they are using them – as a part of all the other evidence based practices I use.

Stop wasting your money on a program that tells you what macros you need for weight loss. Start working with a trained nutrition expert (Registered Dietitian Nutritionist) that can help ensure you are getting enough nutrition and the right energy to optimize your eating plan.

*Disclaimer – Opinions are my own professional ones, and are evidence based.

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