Intermittent fasting has been hailed as one of the best ways to lose weight and improve health. One study is even examining if this style of eating can reduce a person’s cancer risk. All the popularity is generating a ton of questions, even from those experienced with flexible dieting and macros – the holy grail of weight loss nutrition plans.
So which is better: intermittent fasting or macro tracking?
The answer is fairly simple. If you were tasked with picking just one nutrition approach to follow for achieving your fitness goals, macro tracking is by far the better option! Intermittent fasting is a great tool to aid your weight loss journey so our official stance on this question is why not use both?
Macro Tracking + Intermittent Fasting = Match Made In Heaven
Intermittent fasting is a great tool for appetite control, but when used by itself, intermittent fasting doesn’t control your total macronutrient and calorie intake. If you’re trying to lose weight and eating over your maintenance value of calories, you’re going to find yourself getting pretty frustrated with a lack of results. You must consume fewer calories than you burn on average from week to week in order to see fat loss take place. There’s simply no getting around this.
There are plenty of people who could fit more than a day’s worth of dieting calories (2,000 is the average) into their eating windows, even if that window is as small as just one meal! But if you are not burning MORE calories than you are eating, you’ll end up gaining weight even if you only eat one time per day. And for those skipping entire days of eating, as is done for example when doing an alternate day fasting approach, it’s also still possible to overcompensate on the days you do eat. In that case, you’d end up eating more on average throughout the week than you burn.
This is the main reason intermittent fasting should be pair with a macro tracking tool. This way you’ll make sure to stay in a caloric deficit.
If you’re tracking macros, you can be sure that you are indeed getting the right amount of protein, carbs, and fats to give you optimal results with your goals whatever they may be. Plus, tracking macros is not just for losing weight and body fat either. It’s also a great way to help people get the best results possible when building muscle, or even maintaining peak performance and body composition! By tracking what you eat, you take the guesswork out of the equation and can rest easy knowing that you’re doing what it takes from a nutrition standpoint in order to achieve your goals. Adding tools like intermittent fasting to this approach helps to make your diet fits into your lifestyle, not the other way around.
Can Intermittent Fasting Be Used Without Macro Tracking?
It can, but your results may be limited.
The biggest downside to not using a macro tracker when fasting is there’s a good chance that you’ll wind up falling short of your optimal macro needs. For starters, a lack of protein can stall your progress, especially if you are looking to gain muscle. Protein not only is crucial for repairing muscle tissue after exercise, but it’s also a core component in the generation and health of other tissues and organs. People can experience other problems when their carb or fat intake is out of whack. Too little fat can lead to hormonal imbalances, and too much can lead to uneasy stomachs and poor quality workouts.
Final Thoughts On Macro Tracking
For those asking if macro tracking or intermittent fasting is better, our advice is to look at the bigger picture. By themselves, macro tracking is superior but when both are combined, it is an efficient and effective way to get the best results possible.