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The Shortcomings of Macro Counting

As I've expressed in previous posts, I am quite opposed to macro counting. I believe it to be a very shallow way to view nutrition.

Nutrition is the food we eat, not the numbers we see on the back of a label.

To let just three nutrients (protein, fat, and carbohydrates) shape your nutritional worldview is an ideal that is elementary and down right unsafe.

Let me explain.

Mitochondria, which are teeny tiny energy-producing machines located within our cells, are not just important to human health, they're everything to human health. The origin of various deleterious health circumstances like under-functioning immunity, reproductive complications, cancer, and autonomic dysregulation all share one thing in common: dysfunctional mitochondria.

As incredibly powerful as mitochondria are, they're also kind of like a high maintenance girlfriend: needy and vulnerable. Needy in the way that mitochondria require 22 vitamins and minerals to generate energy and vulnerable in the sense that mitochondria are easily damaged.

Let's say that you are deficient in thiamine or selenium, two of the nutrients that mitochondria necessitate for energy production. When these two nutrients are scarce, mitochondria are incapable of performing up to your body's demands, and soon, become overworked and undernourished. This initiates a downward trend of disease and tainted athleticism.

Furthermore, and as I said before, mitochondria are easily vulnerable to damage by toxic compounds such as pharmaceutical drugs, synthetic fertilizers, and (drum roll please)....seed oils!

I'm not making this stuff up! It's true, a diet high in polyunsaturated fatty acids (seed oils), has been shown to impair mitochondria energy capacity.

To all the athletes reading, trust me when I say this: you want strong and healthy mitochondria. A great way to protect mitochondria from damage would be to cut out The Hateful Eight oils from your diet.

Okay, now back to macro counting.

As I've just testified, mitochondria are everything to health and athleticism. By perceiving food as just three macronutrients, your mitochondria are going to get overlooked.

Moreover, genuine health and wellness isn't always a lean body that macro counting promises. You can have a fantastic physique and still be undernourished. Don't get me wrong, I'm definitely not an advocate of the poisonous body positivity movement that's ruining the minds of Americans by telling us it's okay to be overweight. Health doesn't come in all shapes and sizes.

I'm just trying to combat the macro-counting champions who are convinced that their nutritional approach is flawless because their clients get leaner using their method.

Additionally, the macro counting methodology fails to acknowledge the importance of macronutrient quality. For example, say your fat allowance each day is 90 grams. The macro counting approach downplays the consequences of consuming certain fats. You can get 10 grams of fat from butter or from canola oil. With one having anti-cancer properties and the other being an inflammatory nightmare, the body's response to these two foods are quite different.

So instead of being paranoid about if certain foods fit your daily macro allowance, cook wholesome, nourishing, and delicious food.

Read the Running On Butter Food Pyramid for more info on which foods to prioritize.


Cavaliere, Gina, et al. “Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids Attenuate Diet Induced Obesity and Insulin Resistance, Modulating Mitochondrial Respiratory Uncoupling in Rat Skeletal Muscle.” PLOS ONE, vol. 11, no. 2, 2016, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0149033.

Klein, Katherine, et al. “Role of Mitochondria in Cancer Immune Evasion and Potential Therapeutic Approaches.” Frontiers in Immunology, vol. 11, 2020, doi:10.3389/fimmu.2020.573326.

“Mitochondria in Health and in Sickness.” Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, 2019, doi:10.1007/978-981-13-8367-0.

Neustadt, John, and Steve R. Pieczenik. “Medication‐Induced Mitochondrial Damage and Disease.” Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, vol. 52, no. 7, 2008, pp. 780–788., doi:10.1002/mnfr.200700075.

Nevad., Marrs, Chandler (founder, Hormones Matter, Henderson. Thiamine Deficiency Disease, Dysautonomia, and High Calorie Malnutrition. Elsevier Science Publishing Co, 2017.

Zong, Wei-Xing, et al. “Mitochondria and Cancer.” Molecular Cell, vol. 61, no. 5, 2016, pp. 667–676., doi:10.1016/j.molcel.2016.02.011.

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