The Zone and Tony Horton's Power 90 program both suggest a 40-30-30 ratio. 40% carbs, 30% protein, and 30% fat. I tried this for awhile, but it really just seemed to be too much of a pain in the butt to keep track of.
Right now, I stick to 1200 calories. When I've reached my goal weight, I plan to switch into a muscle gaining regiment and will consciously increase my protein. But I've lost 77lbs so far without really paying attention to percentages and worrying more about total calorie intake.
All that being said, I also know that most health professions recommend less than 40 grams of fat per day.
I am targeting 40 carb, 30 protein, and 30 fat. 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.
This is my first post, but I've doing the nutrition thing for a while (FitDay for a little over a week).
When presented as XX/XX/XX, it does go carbs, protein, fats.
I am sticking to the 40/40/20.
The ratio will depend on your activity level, and I think overall calories will be what you are looking at. If you are extremely active, 50/30/20 might be a good place to start. Your body will need the extra carbs to draw energy from, especially for a long, sustained run.
My advice would be to find the number of calories that you want to consume each day and work backwards from there. Meaning, have a number in mind, divide that into each category using the 4/4/9 ratio and see how many grams of protein you're looking at. From there, see how you can meet your protein goal first, because honestly, fats and carbs are easy to come by...protein is a little tricker. With most protein sources, you get a little fat and a little carb. So you may be surprised out how quickly those two categories can outpace protein if you're not careful....
You want to consume 1500 calories on a 50/30/20 plan.
1500 * 0.3 = 450
450/4 = 112.5g of protein
Do the same thing for fat and carbs and you'll have a good base to start from. Hope that helped and wasn't a meaningless ramble...
I think the easiest ratio to follow and the most common is 50/30/20. It's easier to see this on a plate. Here are the basics:
1 - Carbs should make up 2/3 of what's on your plate - veggies or salad w/brown rice (1/2 C) or sweet potato - and the rest protein.
2 - Fat can come from your salad dressing and 1/2 avocado in salad, oil for stir frying veggies or a little (tsp) butter w/yogurt (2%) on sweet potato.
3 - Use a dinner plate for lunch and a salad plate for dinner with same ratio as discussed in #1.
4 - Another trick - split your biggest meal into two and eat each half 2 hrs apart to keep insulin stable which will help burn more fat and keep metabolism going.
Keep in mind that good fats will help you burn fat - I have 1/2 avocado every day in a sandwich (your liver cleanses itself w/good fats) and also satisfy you for longer. Butter is a natural food w/vitamins - as long as you keep the serving small, it will not hinder fat loss. Also keep in mind that no-fat products like yogurt have more additives so it's best to choose one like 2% b/c it hasn't been overly processed.
I don't really have a ratio goal, I just try to keep fat around 30%, and get over 120g of protein each day. If you really want a ratio this usually comes out around 45% carbs, 25% protein, 30% fats. There is no reason for this ratio, I just eat clean and this is how it ends up.
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 40/30/30 balance. 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.
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 50-30-20 (carb-protein-fat). 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.
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, weight loss 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 a lot. THANKS!
Last edited by VitoVino; 02-02-2012 at 04:20 PM.
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