When it comes to losing fat, calories are your first priority. However, food quality also matters. So even if you're hitting your macros while consistently shoveling burgers, fries, and ice cream into your face, pay attention.
First off, food composition and quality affects a number of different things. Highly palatable, highly processed foods are going to be digested faster and increase ghrelin production a lot more than nutrient dense, less processed foods. In other words, you'll be hungrier and have more cravings with junk macros.
Not only that, but sugary, processed carbs like ice cream, bread, and other packaged foods are going to spike insulin a lot more than things like veggies, potatoes, rice, and other sources of carbs that are closer to their more natural state.
And while spiking insulin isn't a bad thing if it happens around your training sessions, consistently spiked levels of insulin can create insulin resistance and make building muscle and losing fat more difficult.
Lastly, eating high-quality foods greatly decreases the risk of f*cking up your diet. As shocking as it is, nutrition labels in the United States are legally allowed to be off by as much as 20% (1).
That means that if you're eating something that, according to the label, has 300 calories, it could actually have as much as 360 calories. And the more ingredients or complex a food is, the greater the chances of it being off.
The simpler you keep your foods, the less likely you are to add in extra calories without knowing it.
- Freuman, Tamara Duker. "When Nutrition Labels Lie," U.S. News & World Report, 21 Aug. 2012.