What Is the Difference Between Macronutrients and Calories?

By: moklesur@bringtheshreds
September 15, 2020

Changing the composition of your body is tricky business. We all have our own unique bodies and it takes a whole lot of effort, great deal of knowledge and a lot of experimentation to get you on the track where you feel certain that you’ll attain all your goals.

On this journey, many people find themselves around this one common questions, what do I count? Macros or calories!

The answer to this well-complicated question is easier than you think only if you will know where to look.

Here is our entire run-down on macronutrients and calories, what are their differences and which one you need to count.


Whenever you’ll visit a nutritionist, the only thing they’ll be saying to you is “calorie this and calorie that” but have you ever thought about what calorie really is? Let us break it down for you.

A calorie is basically a unit that is used to measure energy such as in USA, you use inches to measure length and KGs to measure weight, calories are a way of measuring energy.

Whenever you eat anything whether it’s that delicious steak or a bowl of celery with your favorite dressing, every single item contains calories. Eating one calorie means you’re giving your body a single unit of energy to be used anywhere your body deems fit.

Depending on your age, weight, height, overall health and day-to-day activity, you will need a certain amount of calories to consume every day in order to perform well in all your chores. The minimum number of calories that your body requires every day is known as your basal metabolic rate (BMR).

This means even if you don t do anything physical the entire day and just stay on the couch binge watching your favorite Netflix TV-show, you will still burn calories and that will be your BMR>

However, most of us do more than sit in front of our laptop and watch our favorite TV-shows. In this case, we will need to know how much energy we spend every day which is denoted as (TDEE).

If you want to figure out your TDEE, we recommend that you make use of the Harris Benedict Formula which is a simple but widely praised formula that is dated back to 1919.

Once you have your TDEE, you will know how many calories your body burns in a single day which varies from person to person.


This factor is also influenced by a number of factors such as blood pressure, heart rate, overall health and the body composition. Depending on your activity and fitness goals, you will either subtract calories from or add calories to your TDEE in order to achieve your goals.

Calories in Vs Calories Out!

While most of the diet plans come and go, one thing that has always remained consistent is the fact that if you want to lose weight, you will need to eat fewer calories than what you’re burning. This is the biggest reason why a healthy diet and a sustainable exercising regime has been the biggest source for a person who intends on losing weight.

However, to be fairly honest, this may seem simple as hell but it isn’t.

Yes, if your goal is to lose weight, you need to take lesser calories than what you’re burning but if you want to gain weight; you will need to eat more calories than what you’re burning in such a way that your muscle mass increases and not your weight.

But these calories cannot come from anywhere. You need to keep a strong check on your macros and eat a healthy diet.

What Are Macronutrients “Macros”?

Macronutrients or Macros aren’t easy to understand and there’s a lot more to them than you can possibly imagine. The only thing you need to know is that there are three different kinds of macronutrients such as carbs, proteins and fat and your body uses each one differently.

  • Carbs – The Preferred Source of Energy

Carbs are the primary source of energy for your body. When you eat carbs – think: veggies, fruits, starches, whole grains, sugar – your body breaks them down into glucose. Glucose is basically the fancy name of blood-sugar and it is the driving force of a number of processes taking place in your body.

For ever gram of carb you eat, you will attain four calories. Since your body loves using carbs for energy, the excess fats will be stored in your body in case it requires energy later.

You just need to ensure that you’re taking carbs in the right amount so that your body doesn’t store them in the form of excess fats.

  • Protein – The Major Acid Present in Your Body

Your entire body is made up of crucial proteins that are known as amino acids. When you take in protein, your body breaks it down in several amino acids and then uses it for anything from transcribing DNA to repairing muscle tissue and creating digestive enzymes.

Just like carbs, for every protein you eat, you take four calories. Your body doesn’t really store protein directly like carbs but it does break it down into several formations which can be stored. However, this is only done when needed.

The only thing to know here is that protein is the only essential macro-nutrient that you need to take in. While your body can potentially use carbs, protein, or fat for energy, your body absolutely needs protein specifically to form amino acids and all the cells in your body.

  • Fat – Not Always the Bad Guy

Don’t be afraid, eating fat isn’t always a bad thing. In fact, fat is important for your body because your body breaks down fat to use for several purposes.

Fats can be used as a source of energy if you’re lacking carbs and it is used to form cholesterol and fatty acids which is a good thing. They ensure proteins are doing their job efficiently and also insulate your organs and act as messengers.

For every gram of fat you eat, you get nine calories which makes fat the most calorie-dense macronutrient. You just need the right amount of fat in your body to keep you going all day long.

Final Verdict

As you have read, all the three macro-nutrients are made up of calories but your body uses them in different ways. In fact, your body needs all the three types of macronutrients to keep on performing its daily tasks.

We hope this has been helpful and now you truly know the difference between macro-nutrients and calories. For any queries, feel free to get in touch with us in the comments below.



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About Louis

Bring The Shreds was founded by Louis Ha. Louis is an online fitness coach and entrepeanuer based in the Bay Area. Read more of OUR STORY

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