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Calories and Macros, What are They Exactly?

How to handle all those calories

Quick notes

Macros (short for macro nutrients) are proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Technically, alcohol is also a macro!

Calories: a measure of energy

Calories are stored in all foods, when we eat our macros, we bring in different amount of calories:

- 1 gram of protein has 4 calories

- 1 gram of carb has 4 calories

- 1 gram of fat has 9 calories

- 1 gram of alcohol has 7 calories


After you’ve chewed your food, what happens to it in your stomach? Where do the calories go? What happens if we eat too much of a certain macro (protein, carb, fat)?

Although I understood early on the role that macros play in performance, it took a while to understand what the journey from solid food to fuel looked liked like. Another issue that confused me was where do the calories go? For me calories were just a measure of potential energy and I was having a tough time understanding how eating something like that helped us lose or gain weight.

1. Calories

Let’s answer the calorie question first and then we can go to the macros. First of all, what is a calorie??? Why is it important to check how many calories we eat?

A calorie is simply the amount of energy required to raise one gram of water 1 degree Celsius. When we talk about food, we actually use kilocalories which means the amount of energy required to raise 1000g (a kilo) by 1 degree Celsius. But that's just a technicality...

Here’s the example that helped me understand this. You have 100g of oatmeal. After a quick search you notice that it has 68 calories. That means that if you were to take a lighter to those oats and burn all of them, they could heat up 68 kilos of water by 1 degree. Don’t use oats to heat your bathtub apparently.