MACROS, MACROS, MACROS
Hillary Cecere MS, RDN
Hi Bros! I wanted to finally address some of the frequently asked questions we get on the calories and macros of our meals. See below!
WHAT ARE MACROS?
Macro stands for macronutrient. Macronutrients are a nutrient that is required in large quantities from the diet. The macros that makeup calories consist of carbohydrate, fat and protein. Micronutrients are nutrients required in smaller amounts, like vitamins and minerals.
WHY ARE MACROS ON THE WEBSITE CHANGING?
Our macros are changing because EVERY. SINGLE. MEAL has been reanalyzed and some have even been reformulated since I joined Eat Clean Bro. This has been months of work! I could not have completed this project without so much help and support from the kitchen and the entire ECB team. We all worked super hard to make sure the meals are analyzed correctly. We did a lot of weighing, inspecting product labels, reviewing recipes, checking for accuracy and checking again. I want to give a big shout out to Allison for her meticulousness and her handling my constant questions and requests without frustration.
HOW DO YOU ANALYZE THE MACROS?
I use a professional nutritional analysis software program to analyze the meals. This program utilizes a nutritional database and allows me to insert the nutritional information of the specific products we use if they are not in the database. Nutrition analysis is a multi-step process. For example, sometimes it meant first analyzing Chef John’s marinara recipe and inserting the nutritional profile as an ingredient into the database that I can add to other dishes, such as the chipotle chili. I analyzed our meals by analyzing each component of the meals such as protein, sauce, starch and vegetable. This way we have the information available if a meal is modified or a certain component is not eaten.
HOW DO YOU MEASURE INGREDIENTS?
We measure ingredients on a food scale primarily off raw weight. For liquids, like lemon juice or extra virgin olive oil, we use volume measurements.
WHY DO YOU USE RAW WEIGHT?
We use raw weights because it is the most accurate way to analyze foods. For example, a raw 8-ounce chicken breast will shrink about 25% after cooking. A lot of this loss is just liquid, and the nutrients will stay the same. Therefore, an 8-ounce raw chicken breast which has 50 grams of protein might shrink to 6-ounces after cooking but will still contain 50 grams of protein. Alternatively, a potato that is boiled might weigh more after cooking. We can’t precisely account for how much a food will shrink or expand during cooking so utilizing the raw weight is the most accurate!
DO YOU ACCOUNT FOR DIFFERENCES IN MEAL SIZE?
YES! We understand that cuts of meat or even scoops of starches and veggies can differ a little. I did the analysis off raw weights but also did A LOT of weighing of the cooked individual components of multiple meals and took an average to compare. Please understand we do our very best to standardize our meals but there will be some variance.
WHY DO YOUR NO CARB MEALS CONTAIN CARBS?
Our no carb meals do not contain a starch like rice or potatoes, but carbohydrates are also found in other foods like vegetables and beans. So, the no carb meals will be lower in carbohydrates but still contain some carbs because of the veggies and legumes!
WHAT ARE NET CARBS?
Net carbs are carbohydrates that are absorbed by the body. To determine net carbs, fiber and sugar alcohols are subtracted from total carbohydrate. For example: if a meal contains 30 grams total carbohydrate and 5 grams of fiber, the net carbs would we 25 grams.
WHAT ARE THE MEAL BADGES?
Those cute little images found on the photos of our meals on the website provide a purpose. They’re called meal badges and they show if meal is dairy free, grain free, gluten free, vegan, low carb, keto friendly and/or paleo friendly. We made sure these are accurate and even standardized them to the following:
Dairy Free: Free all milk products
Grain Free: Free of all grains such as wheat, rice, barley, rye, oats, corn kernels
Gluten Free: Free of products or ingredients that contain gluten (the protein found in wheat)
Vegan: Free of all animal products
Low Carb: Contains less than 30 grams of total carbohydrates and 25 grams of net carbs
Keto Friendly: Contains 15 grams or less of net carbs and contains fat (most of our keto friendly meals contain less than 10 net carbs!)
Paleo Friendly: Free of dairy, grains and legumes (beans, lentils, peas, peanuts, soy)
SHOULD I BE TRACKING MY MACROS?
Nutrition is a very individualized approach. What works for me, might not work for you and what works for you, might not work for your best friend. For me, counting calories or macros does not work, but a focus on nutritional quality does. The best general nutritional advice I can give you is to eat more whole foods and make vegetables a staple in your diet. This will indirectly improve your macronutrient and micronutrient intake. I think me, you and even your best friend can all benefit from that.
Still unsure about the macro process? REACH OUT TO US!