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FitDay's Best of Series: Macronutrients (Carbs/Protein/Fats)


FitDay's Best of Series: Macronutrients (Carbs/Protein/Fats)

Old 03-11-2010, 09:22 PM
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Default 40/40/20

This is always such a loaded question! I agree with a lot of you--there really is no one size fits all. In my case, my best physical results have come from eating around 1500-1600 calories, aiming for 40/40/20 (carb, protein, fat). I lift weights regularly so that's why I try to keep the protein on the high side. Now...can I comfortably keep that up long term? No. And I honestly don't believe it is healthy for me to stay at such a low energy intake and high protein intake beyond 2 or 3 months.

Maintenance mode for me should be around 1800-2100 calories, 40/30/30.

I have not met anyone yet who has maintained their goal weight long term without regular cardio and strength training.

We have begun a weight loss "challenge" at our gym and have a dietician helping our group. What I like about her philosophy is she stresses individual differences between people. But there are some universal "don'ts" or use sparingly: saturated fat, sugar laden foods, and processed foods. The universal "do's": lots of veggies and fruits and moderate whole grains. Nothing new there.

FitDay is such a wonderful tool to use. Any time I am logging energy intake, I consider it a success (even if I make a mistake with my nutrition). Awareness is the secret. It's hard to not make progress if I am daily entering my food choices.

Good luck in finding what works best for you!

Last edited by VitoVino; 02-02-2012 at 03:24 AM.
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Old 04-08-2010, 03:48 AM
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Default 35/25/40

There is no magic ratio that will make you lose weight. But there are some factors that the ratio reflects that will. Higher protein intake will help you maintain muscle while dieting. This is important because you want to lose stored fat not muscle. A certain amount of fat is needed for your body to operated efficiently. In addition fat is easier for your body to use as energy than to store as fat, and it provides a feeling of fullness when consumed. If you never fell full you will probably cheat on your diet. Carbohydrates are also needed to supply the energy your body needs. However simple carbohydrates like refined flour and refined sugar are actually easier for your body to store as fat deposits than to convert to energy. Since most of use here are trying to lose the fat these should be the foods that are consumed at a minimum.

I have been tracking my diet since January 2010 and my Carbs/Protein/Fats ratio is 35/25/40. However my caloric deficit is in the 500-600 range daily. I have lost 18 pounds since I started tracking. My Fat sources are all good, Olive Oil, nuts, eggs, and whole milk. The whole milk is one reason my fat ratio is higher than some others. I have it almost daily for breakfast and I believe it helps me to feel fuller so I can avoid those pesky (and high in simple carbs) doughnuts that always seem to show up at work. After having milk with breakfast I drink only water and coffee the rest of the day. My carbs are mostly from fruits and vegetables or complex carbs like whole grain bread. (Although I will have a pasta dish once a week.) Protein is from Protein bars, Whey shakes, eggs, nuts and meat. Keeping your calories in the 500-600 deficit daily will allow you to lose 1-1/2 to 2 pounds a week.

Last edited by VitoVino; 02-02-2012 at 03:28 AM.
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Old 04-08-2010, 05:47 AM
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Cool 60/15/25

From what my 6 dietitians and nutritionists have said the best thing to do is when you input your food into the FitDay tracker-you get a pie chart.

They say the pie chart should be 60% carbs, 15% protein, and 25% fat.

I've been doing it since March 2 and have lost 10 pounds.... hope this helps!

Last edited by VitoVino; 02-02-2012 at 03:31 AM.
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Old 04-13-2010, 03:36 AM
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Default 50/30/20 or 40/35/25

I'm not a nutritionist at all, but I also am trying to lose 124 pounds. So far I'm down 64 pounds, so a little better than 1/2 way. I started off not paying any attention to the ratio, I was just watching my calories. Then one day I ate waaayyy more than I was allowing myself and yet I weighed less the next day. This of course was cause for some further investigation of those calories.

So I did a little studying of what I had eaten and realized that I lost more weight on the days when my carbs were less than 50%, proteins around 30% and fats around 20%. So then I started playing with that and found that if I kept the carbs around 40%, proteins at 35% and fats at 25%, my weight loss is even better. Provided I keep the calorie burn higher than my intake I'm almost guaranteed a tiny bit of weight loss everyday.

Everyone is a little different, so give yourself a little time to get it figured out for your own body.

Last edited by VitoVino; 02-02-2012 at 03:33 AM.
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Old 04-13-2010, 03:50 AM
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Default 20-30/20-30/50

Ultimately, you'll have to tweak ratios to fit your own body chemistry (no two people are the same, unfortunately), but I have had the best luck on around 20-30% carb, 20-30% protein, 50% fat. Might sound counterintuitive, but I try to minimize carbs instead of fat. Reasoning is that at least for me, eating fat serves as kind of a fuse to light up all the fat that's sitting around my body. Carbs just interfere with that process.

The reason for the variation above is that it's hard to peg down exact ratios without getting monotonous with food choices.

Good luck!


Last edited by VitoVino; 02-02-2012 at 03:35 AM.
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Old 04-13-2010, 03:53 AM
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Default 55/25-30/15-20

I can add to that, attesting to the differences!

I experimented with different ways and feel best on 55% carbs, 25-30% protein, and 15-20% fat. I feel best with that and it's also been successful to getting me to my goal. Your body is so individualized that it will take some trial and error.

The FitDay logs will help keep track of the proportions on any given day; you might want to jot down how you feel physically and try to match it up to see if there are any patterns.

Last edited by VitoVino; 02-08-2012 at 03:34 AM.
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Old 04-28-2010, 04:13 AM
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Default Question about how many carbs

Originally Posted by amylee32
How many carbs a day are you guys eating? I am SO confused! I thought I had it all figured out, but now I am reading articles that say conflicting amounts. Some articles say absolutely no more than 20-60 a day, some say no more than 100 a day, some say eat as many as you want as long as it is "good carbs". Typically, I eat about 120. I do not eat white bread or rice, don't eat pastries, chocolate, cake, etc. My carbs come mainly from fruit, veggies, and yogurt. (I read an article saying that if you eat 3 yogurts a day, it helps with belly fat. I also eat it for the calcium, which I lack).

So..how many carbs a day do you guys eat? How many calories?

Hi Amy,
Your experience is pretty common and way too annoying. All these articles that claim to have the magic keys to success. First, any diet or food combination that claims to melt fat with no effort on your part is to be viewed with skepticism. Secondly any diet that claims that a single food item (either eaten or not eaten) will be the key to success is also bogus.

As to carbohydrates - they are essential for your body along with protein and fats. As we all know the bottom line is burn more calories than you consume and you will lose weight.

Some people have success with very low carbohydrate diets that run for a few weeks. These would prescribe 20 to 50 grams of carbohydrates. Starving your body of carbs does make your body use fats and protein for energy. However, many folks end up losing more muscle (protein) than fat. Plus eating no breads, crackers, pasta, (regardless of whole grain content), cereals, peas, corn, potatoes, pineapple, among others, is too difficult to maintain for very long for many people.

The next approach is to keep a balance of carb-protein-fat percent. Somewhere around 40 to 50% of your calories consumed as carbohydrates is a pretty normal presciption. This would mean if you are on a 1200 calorie diet you would eat somewhere around 120 grams of carbohydrates. Since "carbohydrates" include both simple sugars (the sweet tastes) and complex carbohydrates (as in grains and flours) you want to lean toward getting carbs from fruits, veggies, and whole grains rather than cake, candy and cookies.

So really it comes down to the quality of carbohydrates. 100 to 150 grams of whole grains, vegetables, and fruits is a great choice. 100 grams of cookies, candy, and Little Debbie snack cakes isn't such a good choice.

Then, make sure that you eat the same high quality foods in the protein and fats catagories. Lean meats and dairy, and oils high in unsaturated fats.

And never stop looking for diet information and reading the latest information - just beware that not everything you read is true - a little critical thinking can go a long way.


Last edited by VitoVino; 02-02-2012 at 03:39 AM. Reason: added quote
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Old 04-28-2010, 08:34 AM
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Default Listen to your body, not your brain

Originally Posted by amylee32
How many carbs a day are you guys eating? I am SO confused! I thought I had it all figured out, but now I am reading articles that say conflicting amounts. Some articles say absolutely no more than 20-60 a day, some say no more than 100 a day, some say eat as many as you want as long as it is "good carbs". Typically, I eat about 120. I do not eat white bread or rice, don't eat pastries, chocolate, cake, etc. My carbs come mainly from fruit, veggies, and yogurt. (I read an article saying that if you eat 3 yogurts a day, it helps with belly fat. I also eat it for the calcium, which I lack).

So..how many carbs a day do you guys eat? How many calories?

This question is a little like asking what are the right hours to sleep. As others have said, it depends on what works for your body. I do best at about 50-30-20 (carb-protein-fat). I went through the experimental phase also and it's my belief that you really can tell when you hit on what works, and what doesn't. But it's important to listen to your body, not your brain, which is going to tell you that you need cupcakes.

The only caveat would be if you have any medical conditions and need to reduce carbs or fat in order to improve triglycerides, cholesterol, etc. In that case, ask your doc.

Last edited by VitoVino; 02-02-2012 at 03:42 AM. Reason: remove siggy
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Old 06-17-2010, 05:54 AM
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Default WEIGHT GAIN GOAL: Ratio of Carbs, Protein, and Fat

Originally Posted by Creaton
Edit: I am not trying to lose but to gain weight! Sorry if I posted this in the wrong section.


– Based on "The Skinny on Fats" by Enig & Fallon I now know that the recommended number of polyunsaturated fat in percent of the calories consumed (through the fat) should not be more than 4%. It seems like most people are above that (I had 9% yesterday).
– The intake of saturated fat should be less than 7% (Source: WHO, vide Wikipedia) (I had 10% yesterday).
– The majority should come from monounsaturated fat, which is relatively healthy.

Further, I came across the ratio of 50%-30%-20% for carbs, protein, and fat. This ratio is for people who lift weights frequently (in my case 3-4 times a week). If I calculate the daily intake of protein needed for me, personally, based on my weight, why is that ratio important at all? Should I use it as an approximate guide and no more?

Whereas I live quite healthily, I still consume too much (unhealthy) fat. This is mainly due to weight lifting; I'm trying to build up muscles and eat a lot. I always stayed away from protein shakes but I am now reconsidering this and asking for your advice.

Protein shakes would allow me to decrease the fat consumed (e.g. I wouldn't eat as much cheese, which contains a lot of saturated fat) and keep up the high level of protein for the muscles.

But caloriecount shows me that these shakes contain a lot of cholesterol, which seems contra-productive. Is it "bad" cholesterol?

To sum it up:
1) What do you make of that ratio?
2) Do protein shakes make sense in my case?

Many thanks in advance.

The ratio suggested is just a guide. Everyone is unique and while this works for many you may need to experiment to find what works best for you. If you are trying to gain muscle then the number of grams of protein consumed may be the most important number in your macro-nutrient counts. You may want to plan for your protein goal and let the carbs and fat fall where they may. (Of course sticking to your caloric goals.) Bodybuilding forums usually recommend 1.0g to 1.5g of protein per pound of LEAN body weight. (See Bodybuilding.com for more info.)

Protein is the only macro-nutrient that can build muscle. Carbs and fat are great as fuel for muscles but they lack the building blocks for muscle building. That is why protein should be your main concern when building muscle. Since you will be in a caloric surplus while bulking (and I assume you want to minimize your fat gains) you will want to keep your simple carbohydrate intake low (as Tandoorichiken does). This is because it is easier for your body to convert simple carbs into fat stores than to convert fat into fat stores.

Tandoorichicken makes a great point about leucine promoting protein synthesis. You need to be able to get all the protein you consume absorbed into your muscles.

FAT: As long as you are burning it as fuel and not storing it the type does'nt matter much, in my opinion. I would worry more about this after you are done bulking up and start cutting fat stores.

CHOLESTEROL: Unless you have high cholesterol already this too does'nt matter. A little known fact is that no study has ever linked eating high cholesterol foods with high cholesterol levels in your body. In fact I have seen reports that showed no correlation between intake and blood level measurements for cholesterol.

PROTEIN SHAKES: Protein shakes are a efficient way to increase your protein intake with a minimum of calories. I don't think you can maximize your muscle gains while minimizing your fat gains without them.

Last edited by VitoVino; 02-02-2012 at 02:36 AM. Reason: added title
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Old 06-28-2010, 06:12 PM
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Default What kinds of foods to make up the macronutrient ratios?

What foods should you eat daily?

You need a variety of food to provide fat, carbohydrates and protein.

Again contrary to popular opinion fat is not bad for you. Fat does contain 9 calories per gram compared to 4 calories per gram for carbs and protein. So a small amount can add calories quickly. Fat is needed for essential bodily functions and without it you will have health problems. A minimum of 20% of your calories should come from fat. Fat has also been shown to have the ability to satiate hunger which is always important when dieting.

Good sources of healthy fats(mono- and polyunsaturated):

Nuts (I like unroasted almonds, natural peanut butter, walnuts)
Olive oil (I use extra virgin almost exclusively)

Carbohydrates come in two varieties complex (also called good carb) and simple (also called bad carbs). Simple carbs are not necessarily bad for you. The problem with simple carbs is that they are digested quickly. The good thing about simple carbs is they are digested quickly. Think of sugar. It is great for a quick short term energy boost and when your glycogen levels (the energy source for your muscles) are low, like after a workout, simple carbs are a great way to replenish your glycogen supply. But if your glycogen levels are full because you have been sitting in front of your computer, the carbs get stored as fat. Complex carbs take longer to digest so they provide a longer lasting energy source. Because they take longer to digest your body has a chance to burn off some of your glycogen supply before it tries to store the complex carbs as glycogen or fat. You should limit your simple carbs to the morning (after you haven't eaten for 6-8 hours and your glycogen supplies are low) or after a workout when your glycogen need refilled.

Complex carbs:

Whole Wheat/Whole Grain bread
Sweet potatoes

Simple Carbs:
white flour (including white breads)
Fruit Juice
Alcohol (including hard liquor, wine and beer)

Protein is the only nutrient that has the chemical building blocks to repair and build muscle. Protein is very important when dieting. Weight loss from diet without exercise will be 50% from burning fat stores and 50% from catabolizing muscle. Losing muscle is a bad thing as muscle drives your metabolism when you have less your body burns less calories.

Protein sources:

Meat (Beef, turkey, tuna, fish, chicken, pork)
Beans (lentils, navy beans, pinto beans, soy beans,etc.)
Dairy (milk, cottage cheese, yogurt)

Water (Not really a food, but essential just the same)

You should strive to get a minimum of 20% of your calories from fat, 30% from protein and the rest from carbohydrate (limiting simple carbs).

Last edited by VitoVino; 02-02-2012 at 03:47 AM.
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