What Mix of Carbs, Fat & Protein are you targeting?
I have been tracking my food by calories only and I am starting to look closer at the mix of Carbs, Fat & Protein percentages. How are others using this information to increase fitness and optimize weight loss? What percentages are you targeting for each area? Are there certain foods that you utilize and stay away from others? For instance, Peanut Butter provides protein but a very high fat percentage--is this a food that I should start limiting?
I am targeting 30 protein, 30 fat, and 40 carb. A few years ago I got a personal trainer for a few months at the gym, and this was my goal. I lost a couple of inches around from sticking with this as well as working out consistently. Now, I am at home and working out with the 30 Day Shred. So far I have lost 4 lbs (in two weeks), but I noticed my protein was very low and my carbs were too high. To combat this, I have decided to "replace" my lunch with a protein shake and will continue to eat all other meals and snacks. Including the protein shake definitely seems to have corrected the issue I was having.
Thanks for the advice. I have been wondering the same thing. I'm noticing that it's so easy to get too much fat. I'm going to eliminate the mayonaise today to bring it down a bit. Protein shake sounds like a good idea. Or maybe a yogurt and fruit shake will be good enough. I'm not sure if yogurt is a high enough protein.
I have found the fat calories increasing when I have tried to increase my protein intake as well. Nice to know others have seen this issue. I have resorted to eating alot of fish until I come up with more good protein sources that have little to no fat. I am targeting the same 30/30/40 balance as KrissyTaps. I just don't get as hungry when I keep my carbs to 40%...sounds odd but it is true.
The best discussion I have found on nutrient balance, and how we are all different, is included in Jillian Michaels' books, "Winning By Losing" and "Making the Cut" (written for those trying to get rid of the last 10-20 lbs). She calls it oxidation. I am sure you could find her books at the library for a quick read of that topic.
Michael Thurmond's "6 Week Body Makeover" seems to be based on the same thing, although his material doesn't explain it as well--just uses it to "customize" your eating plan...and the approach works (in my experience). The South Beach is based on balancing nutrients also, only it targets a specific balance, instead of discussing the different approaches. It works well for those whose bodies like that specific balance of nutrients.
Seems this nutrient balance thing is where we all vary, and could easily be the reason some plans work for us and others don't.
About 2 yrs ago I became a diabetic. I saw a diabetic counselor who advised that I stick to a range between 135-180 g of carbohydrates per day and exercise daily. So for the last year and a half I have been paying attention only to carbs, and nothing else, and noticed that I was only maintaining my weight. So almost two weeks ago I started looking around at different variances between calories, fats, carbs and proteins to try to guestimate a good starting point. I calculated this with the number of carbs that had been suggested by the diabetic counselor and modified the other percentages around that. What I came to was a figure like "37-29-34", representing carb-protein-fat. Looking at a calorie calculator I gathered that I probably needed to consume roughly about 2200 calories to maintain my weight, and decided that a target of 1500 cal/day may help me to shed pounds. I continued daily exercise, and monitored other activities like housechores, food prep, etc. After one week I discovered I had dropped 2lbs. I think I might be onto something here.
The first of this year my husband and I started eating more Paleo-like (caveman is the best way to describe it I guess). As i track what I've eaten I'm noticing my average protein intake is 50-60% of my calories with fat and carbs being 20-30% each. I try to keep carbs between 75 and 100 grams and coming from milk, fruits and vegetables. My husband has lost 30 lbs doing so and I have lost 15. I have a lot of energy and eating so much protein keeps me pretty full. We don't eat peanut butter, I don't think peanuts aren't that great. I make my own butter with almonds, pecans or hazelnuts and limit myself to a TBSP serving when I eat it. Chicken, Turkey and Salmon are my staple foods. Every now and then I'll eat some protein powder or muscle milk. It's really sweet so I have it more as a desert.
I think this is something that is very individualized and you have to find what works for you, like rockymountainsavvy stated. It may take some trial and error.
Most days I personally have about 50-25-25 or 50-20-30 (carb-fat-protein). Some days (maybe a quarter to a third of the time) I am 60-20-20. I think must metabolize carbs very well; if I go below 50%, I am hungry and cranky. I have read all the articles on how carbs convert to sugar and are therefore "evil", but I have lost weight steadily and had bloodwork done last month with triglycerides at 43 (supposed to be below 150), so I don't think this ratio is hurting or hindering me, unless there is some aspect I'm not aware of. I try to make sure they are whole grains and fruits.
I really don't have a taste for high fat foods so some days I have to think about how to get my good fats up there (usually nuts or Larabars). I have been working on weight training so I am trying to be more conscious of the protein lately.
You can find anything on the internet or in a book or journal to support any position, but at the end of the day, you have to do what works for you and your body, or you won't stick it out.
"If you drop an egg, you don't say, 'Oh, shoot' and drop the other 11, do you?"
-Source unknown, but obviously brilliant
Reached goal 4/16/2010...but kind of afraid to look these days
Cassie - I agree with your observations. It is true that you can find all sorts of support for any nutritional approach or "diet" plan, and most will work for some part of the population, but not for others. If a plan worked for everyone, there wouldn't be so many legitimate options (ignoring the more bizarre claims).
We are all different, and trying to assume I would have the same success as someone else on a particular plan can be the very thing that could keep me fat...because it can strip my self confidence and undermine any efforts that I make to become more healthy. If my body reacts differently than someone else, that could mean that I REALLY AM much more hungry, and my biochemistry is making things harder, not just my lack of willpower or inability to follow directions. That's where this site is so valuable, with the food journal, mood indicators, weightloss graphs, activity logs, and general journal, all working together to draw attention to exactly what was happening when we see periods of success or challenge. I am glad I found Fit Day, as it is sooooo much easier than what I was tracking on my own.
A person really needs to pay close attention to their own body when making these decisions. Even very good doctors may not have the best answer for your biochemistry, without the partnership WITH you, to find out what does work. When I ate the way one heart doctor insisted that I eat (special K for breakfast, spaghetti with meatless fat free sauce, no eggs, etc), I put on 30 lbs in 4 months, was emotionally unstable, and my skin looked bad. When I went back to my preferred food items, the weight began to come off again, and I just felt better. We found I don't react well to processed carbohydrates at all. I am much better if I only eat unprocessed carbs in natural form, like steel cut oats, not cherrios. I must eat whole grains themselves in original form, not things made from whole grains (no bread or pasta)...and whole fruits and vegetables, not juices or other processed items.
Small things can make a big difference. I discovered that I lost weight more easily after I switched vitamins...apparently there was something critical to my own biochemistry that I was not getting before.
When I read someone else's experience, it gives me other variables to try in fine tuning my own approach. I really appreciate reading all your experiences and opinions. You are all helping me alot. THANKS!