Calories and Macros



What makes up calories? What is the difference between Calories and Macronutrients? Are they the same?

A calorie is a measure of energy.

It’s a measure so you can keep track. (eh?) A calorie is not just a calorie though. Just like how a flower can’t just be one kind of flower. There are many kind of flowers, while there are only 3 kind of calories. You can find the name of each one on most Nutrition Labels. When teaching people about calories and macros, I love using a Nutrition Label to get the point across, because not only does it teach you how calories and macros are similar, but it teaches you how to count calories in general.

Take at look at the Nutrition Label below:

Skippy Creamy Peanut Butter Nutrition Label:


Notice the calories at the top. It says 190 calories. How did they get 190 calories?

Those calories come from Fats, Carbohydrates, and Proteins, which are called Macro-nutrients. How much of each macro make up the 190 calories? Keep looking and you’ll notice the Fat is at 16 grams, while the Carbohydrates and Protein are both at 7 grams.

16 + 7 + 7 does not = 190. So what’s the deal?

That’s because a little math needs to be done first.

For every gram of Fat you multiply by 9.

9 x 16 = 144 calories

For every gram of Carbohydrates you multiply by 4.

7 x 4 = 28 calories

For every gram of Protein you multiply by 4.

7 x 4 = 28 calories

144 + 28 + 28 = 200 calories. It’s not exactly 190, because companies will either round up or down, but now you see how to get that top number!


Your Maintenance Limit is a product of 3 different macronutrients. How do you find each amount? There are equations and etc, but the best way is to use the same website you used to find out your Daily Calorie Needs. (click here)

If used the website I provided, all you have to do is plug in your Goal Calories. Example:

If we plugged in 2,300 calories it would give us the following:

Fats: 63g

Carbohydrates: 258g

Protein: 172g

****Don’t click anything else except Calculate, the other options don’t pertain to your beginning stage goals.

When you track your calories you will actually be focusing more on the macro content than the overall Goal Limit. That’s because if you hit each macro limit, you will inevitably hit your Goal Limit.

You can now see the relationship between calories and macros!

P.s: Remember in the article “When and Why to Adjust Calories” where I said to increase or decrease your calories a second time by 250 if you aren’t seeing results within 2 months? (if not, read here). After reading this article, you now know those 200 calories must come from either Carbs, Fat, or Protein. The answer is Carbs. How many grams of carbs equal 250 calories? 250 divided by 4 is 63 grams. So when tracking your calories, make sure you add or subtract 63g of Carbohydrates if after 2 months you aren’t seeing results.

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