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Carbs VS Protein excess for better health

by (583)
Updated March 14, 2014 at 9:16 PM
Created March 12, 2014 at 8:55 PM

Speaking strictly from a health/longevity standpoint (not aiming for weight loss/gain, don't care)...

Would it be better to get more carbs than necessary or more protein than necessary?

I find that it's pretty difficult to fulfill micronutrient needs on a really low carb AND low protein diet.

So, just hypothetically, consider the following P/C/F ratios:

would it be better to get 12/33/55?

Or maybe better to get 33/12/55?

A little background:

I'm no athlete, but do regular exercises such as intermittent walk/sprint for about 3 miles about 3 times a week after work, usually some random form of exercise on the weekend, and some yoga-ish stretching and body weight strength exercises every morning. Personally, I tend to not do well on VLC and just love all the safe starches and am a big fan of fruit, but don't let that part affect your answer. The goal is to live a long, healthy life, period.

Be157308a0438e382b88d9db4c12ab30
0 · March 14, 2014 at 9:16 PM

If you can hit 200% of the vitamin C RDA with uncooked salad, you're definitely good to go. I just use lemons because they are extremely cheap and convenient and require no preparation. It's actually very low in carbs for a fruit (only 6 grams of net carbs per 100 grams of fruit)....but yes green veggies would also be a great way of obtaining vitamin C.

Be157308a0438e382b88d9db4c12ab30
0 · March 14, 2014 at 9:07 PM

Go for it, there's no harm in it. Potassium chloride enriched salt taste basically the same as regular sodium chloride salt and has zero detrimental effects. I use it because I like my food super salty so I figured I might as well get some potassium while I'm at it.

De1095b2ba29c1035f00428cbfe3cc7c
0 · March 14, 2014 at 7:36 PM

I didn't realize lemons had much vitamin c, the nute tracker i use doesn't give it much. I do love lemon even though ive actually had a reaction to to the carbs from lemon juice in tea when i was super sensitive to sugar! Marinated in fatty food is fine. I think i get enough vit c from green veggies & peppers, i hear going LC means the vitamin c has less glucose to compete with, and it may recycle itself in our system, so you actually need less, so if i hit 200% my rda with salad then that should be enough. No reason to take ascorbic acid until i crap like i hear i should

De1095b2ba29c1035f00428cbfe3cc7c
0 · March 14, 2014 at 7:25 PM

I may get some potassium salts myself, i can get plenty magnesium with fish & nuts, but i am pretty much always low on potassium. I only upped my salt in the last fortnight, been mostly LC for over a year and never really thought about salt until i read Phinney & Attia talking about it being so crucial to LC

Be157308a0438e382b88d9db4c12ab30
0 · March 14, 2014 at 5:42 PM

Olive oil only has 10% PUFA by weight, the remaining 90% is SFA and MUFA (http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fats-and-oils/509/2) so it's not exactly high in PUFA. Avocado oil, only 13%, hazelnut oil only 10% and macadamia oil only 2%, butter only 4%, and lard only 11%. Funny how olive oil, hazelnut oil, and macadamia oil all have even less PUFAs than lard, which is already very resistant to oxidation. You're stressing minute amounts of PUFAs. It's not like I'm chugging corn oil here (54% PUFA) or soybean oil (57%). I average less than 10% fat from PUFAs, so I'm not really worried.

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0 · March 14, 2014 at 3:17 PM

I know it's weird to accept one's own answer but I wanted to put it at the top in case anyone needs a summary or happens to appreciate my opinion, and I wanted to show my thanks to several contributors...

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0 · March 14, 2014 at 2:54 PM

Nothing is wrong with fish. It just seems like you justify a fairly high omega 6 intake by eating plenty of fish. I hope you do have your PUFA's in order as well as you seem to think. Olive oil, avocados, egg yolks, and nuts are all rich in omega 6, just for starters.

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0 · March 14, 2014 at 2:48 PM

I'm not particularly interested in emulating the diet of our ancestors... though I do find such accounts interesting, even useful.

Be157308a0438e382b88d9db4c12ab30
0 · March 14, 2014 at 1:06 PM

What gut flora issues? Man you are making up imaginary problems here. My "gut flora" is just fine thank you. If salt with potassium is "supplementation" then all salt is technically a supplement since it provides sodium. My sodium+potassium salt makes my food delicious and has 0 carbs, what's the problem? I don't see how almond butter gets you so high in carbs, no one is saying get all the magnesium from almonds; one simply has to eat a varied diet which includes nuts. Other foods will have magnesium of their own, like ahi tuna for example (an 8oz steak has 113mg) which I eat often.

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0 · March 13, 2014 at 10:45 PM

I like the Eaton article. Not for the part on carbs, but for his perplexity over the low level of protein (12%) recommended in modern diets. He's not unfriendly to paleo diet concepts, though he's at the low end of % meat consumption range compared to the study I referenced. If 50% meat is closer to correct, protein and fat go higher and carbs go lower.

B82f2515ba5a800bed018c9536f9108d
0 · March 13, 2014 at 10:27 PM

I just don't see it. Getting the Mg RDA in almond butter gets you to 9% carbs. A lemon is another 3%. Surely there is a salt with all minerals somewhere out there, but one has to wonder if that is or is not supplementation. There are gut flora issues, that we have not touched on.

Be157308a0438e382b88d9db4c12ab30
0 · March 13, 2014 at 10:08 PM

As for Potassium I use Morton Lite salt (http://www.mortonsalt.com/for-your-home/culinary-salts/food-salts/3/morton-lite-salt-mixture/) which has 1400mg of K per teaspoon (I use a few teaspoons of salt per day) so it's quite easy to get to 3000 mg of K.

Be157308a0438e382b88d9db4c12ab30
0 · March 13, 2014 at 10:07 PM

Cocoa powder: http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/sweets/5471/2 (100 grams has 429mg Mg)

Brazil nuts: http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/nut-and-seed-products/3091/2 (100 grams has 376mg)

Almond butter: http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/nut-and-seed-products/3153/2 (100 grams has 303mg)

Like I said, nuts and chocolate are super high in MG, I always meet my goals.

B82f2515ba5a800bed018c9536f9108d
0 · March 13, 2014 at 9:53 PM

no chance of making it to 3 grams potassium. Little chance of making it to 400 mg magnesium.

Be157308a0438e382b88d9db4c12ab30
0 · March 13, 2014 at 9:37 PM

Vitamin C is easy, just eat a lemon or some watercress. The potassium is super easy, I buy potassium enriched salt (half sodium chloride and half potassium chloride), plus the veggies also help. And nuts (I eat a lot) are quite high in magnesium as well as chocolate, of which I get Lindt 90% which is roughly 84% fat and packed with magnesium and other minerals.

Be157308a0438e382b88d9db4c12ab30
0 · March 13, 2014 at 9:32 PM

Sorry I should have been more clear, I didn't mean these are the foods I get the majority of my calories from but rather that these are the foods I get the majority of my micronutrients from. For example today I am making a seafood stew with swordfish, oysters, pork fat, onions, tomato paste, garlic, butter, olive oil, broth, salt and spices. And I'm eating a side of broccoli cooked in some olive oil and butter. As you can see the vast majority of the calories will be contributed by the fats while the meats and veggies add the micronutrients.

B82f2515ba5a800bed018c9536f9108d
0 · March 13, 2014 at 9:25 PM

They can't be a big part. How do you squeeze 12% protein in a diet this rich in proteins? Even leafy greens are too high in protein percentage. It's great that you can get shellfish, which is outrageously expensive here in flyover country (I used to eat about 50 oysters a week when I lived in a good area), but still doubt you can make it. Specially Mg, K, as mentioned below, and vitamin C.

Be157308a0438e382b88d9db4c12ab30
0 · March 13, 2014 at 9:16 PM

I love oysters and mussels (actually I love all seafood in general). I usually buy cooked mussels and add them to fatty seafood stews (along with fish and veggies) I make in order to add a rich flavor as well as a large dose of vitamins and minerals. I eat lemons because that's essentially the only kind of fruit I eat and the most prominent source of Vitamin C in my diet. They provide a lot of Vitamin C with very few carbs/calories and since I don't want to get scurvy or have a weak immune system a lemon a day does the trick, unless I have fresh watercress nearby (also high in C).

Be157308a0438e382b88d9db4c12ab30
0 · March 13, 2014 at 9:07 PM

Thanks, my whole life I was basically brought up on starch, starch and more starch. Sadly despite being born in the Caribbean my European genetics apparently don't do so well with starch. My family has not fared too well either (diabetes, cancer, obesity, etc.) I don't plan to repeat the same mistakes. LCHF Paleo has turned things around and I have noticed it in my blood work and in my body weight. My glucose is perfectly under control now and I don't even have to exercise. Working smart can be more effective than working hard, that's why I took it upon myself to learn some physiology.

De1095b2ba29c1035f00428cbfe3cc7c
0 · March 13, 2014 at 9:02 PM

Potassium & magnesium are the only two micronutes that i'm somewhat consistently low in and i go up to 90% fat some days. Nice list btw Gastronomer, i've never tried oysters before but love seafood. Not sure why you included lemons on there, i love them for marinading but they aren't particularly nutrient dense as far as im aware?

Be157308a0438e382b88d9db4c12ab30
0 · March 13, 2014 at 9:01 PM

What's wrong with fish? Most fish barely has any fat in it (I eat it for the nutrients), and what little fat it does have is usually some Omega 3 here and there. I eat a very small amount of PUFA in proportion to the rest of the fats I consume, the vast majority is MUFA and SFA, I would say at least 95%. Nothing wrong with olive oil, lard, butter, nuts, avocados, and other healthy fats (specially the high-oleic ones). And some PUFAs are essential, so we do have to eat them at some point, just like we have to eat vitamins and minerals.

Be157308a0438e382b88d9db4c12ab30
0 · March 13, 2014 at 8:53 PM

Thanks, I do agree with you on epidimiology and its limitations.

Be157308a0438e382b88d9db4c12ab30
0 · March 13, 2014 at 8:51 PM

Liver, heart, sardines, tuna, herring, eggs, oysters, mussels, leafy greens, lemons and nuts are a big part of my diet. I have never had any problems meeting RDAs.

B82f2515ba5a800bed018c9536f9108d
0 · March 13, 2014 at 8:34 PM

Does it occur to anyone that a diet that is 80% fat needs a vitamin and mineral pills to make the various RDAs?

B023a84cf6f4dd3e2469df99ab626346
0 · March 13, 2014 at 8:17 PM

Excess carb is better for health...

Eaton et al recommended that a modern rendition of Paleolithic diet supply only about 20% of calories as fat, with about 25% of calories as protein and 55% of calories as carbohydrate. ( I personally got the best health from 50,25,25 )

http://www.direct-ms.org/pdf/EvolutionPaleolithic/Eaton%20Paleo%20Nutri%20Review%20EJCN.pdf

De1095b2ba29c1035f00428cbfe3cc7c
0 · March 13, 2014 at 8:09 PM

I understand the concerns about too much processed fat & rancid PUFAs, i have my own doubts about drinking olive oil straight even though it feels healthy, im not sure if straight fat has its own stresses it puts on digestion (they slow digestion right?) id guess that whole food sources are wiser, if only macadamias/olives/avocados were cheaper! Yet it makes sense that if fat is the least damaging macro to limit the damaging ones as best as possible, i can tell within 10 minutes if i overdo carbs, but protein is more subtle...

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0 · March 13, 2014 at 7:52 PM

I always do appreciate your hard-science stance on the subject, @TheGastronomer, even if I do question your extremist conclusions. I'm not a big fan of epidemiology either. Too many confounding variables and conflicts of interest; you can never fully trust the conclusions.

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0 · March 13, 2014 at 7:48 PM

Why?

You don't even address the question, just come blurt out some unjustified, relatively unpaleo macro ratios. What are you even here for? Defend your position!

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0 · March 13, 2014 at 7:45 PM

I don't think you're in the minority on that. I, and most well-studied paleo followers, understand that fat is the least metabolically damaging macronutrient. That's why we get a majority of calories from it. Your belief that optimal health will be obtained when all but the minimal of carbs and protein are eliminated is what I call into question, particularly when so much of your energy comes from processed oil and fat. You've also shown a certain disregard for loading up on omega 6 and PUFA in general. "I eat plenty fish," he says... hurrah!

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0 · March 13, 2014 at 7:40 PM

One of my all-time favorite books is A House for Mr. Biswas, Naipaul's fictionalized account of his East Indian father growing up in Trinidad on that diet. It's one of my favorite anti-veg books. Biswas rebels against that diet, starting from the time he is force-fed bananas by a pundit, and as a result permanently wrecks his digestion. When he can afford it his food of choice is canned salmon. I can relate to that.

Be157308a0438e382b88d9db4c12ab30
0 · March 13, 2014 at 7:02 PM

That's why I don't care for epidimiological observations, it's entirely hypothetical; they are not repeatable like controlled trials nor do they teach us anything about the biochemistry of the human body. Way too many variables to account for, including many which impact health and have nothing to do with nutrition, such as sanitation, weather, disease, genetics, etc. Ancel Keyes used epidimiology to claim cholesterol and saturated fat was evil, vegans use it constantly to claim that meat is going to kill us all. Epidimiology is garbage. Physiology and biochemistry are what counts.

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0 · March 13, 2014 at 6:32 PM

If I were eating the recommended gram of protein per pound of body weight I'd be eating 650 calories a day of protein, which is currently 30% of my daily calories. That, to me, is a lot of protein. Getting to that level would probably help build some muscle mass in my shoulders.

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0 · March 13, 2014 at 6:14 PM

Read the conclusions in the link. Americans get 32% of their daily calories just from added fats (fried foods, candy, pastries, etc). That's before meat and dairy. My 40% fat estimate is conservative. All that stealth fat in the diet is one of Paleo's best arguments for ditching processed food.

http://www.libertyparkusafd.org/NatureFirst%20USA/Special%20Reports%5CUSDA%5CDietary%20Assessment%20of%20Major%20Trends%20in%20US%20Food%20Consumption%20-%201970%20-%202005.pdf

I'm out on a limb for meat consumption, but if you consider how big the veggie crowd is I don't think I'm far off.

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0 · March 13, 2014 at 6:06 PM

As more Americans following CW become "health conscious" you're probably right. Plenty of whole grains, not too much meat, and some olive/canola/maybe industrial seed oils thrown in... But the fast food nation engulfing value meals and snacking doritos chips is probably almost spot in with 10/50/40

Be157308a0438e382b88d9db4c12ab30
0 · March 13, 2014 at 6:01 PM

I'm aware I'm in the minority for believing that fat is the least metabolically damaging macronutrient. However, right or wrong has nothing to do with minority or majority opinion. The majority of people today believe that whole grains are healthy and hundreds of years ago the majority also used to believe the world was flat. I honestly don't care for people's "beliefs". Vast quantities of scientific data exist to confirm that fat is quite healthy, unfortunately the majority of people don't truly care to study biochemistry or physiology, or don't have the intellect to comprehend it.

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0 · March 13, 2014 at 5:58 PM

I'm nowhere near 50% either. This is the historical Paleolithic diet though. Even if you can't get there it serves as a reminder that we're talking about a variable foraged food diet, not something concocted from piles of isolated macronutrients.

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0 · March 13, 2014 at 5:49 PM

Increasing my animal food intake seems to fill my micros more easily, and helps a little with the digestion (<carbs tho) but I'm skeptical about the health impact of more-than-enough animal food. So, I just want to get a consensus on which one is worse (or better) to eat "more than necessary" of? I'm not entirely convinced that a mostly-fat diet will dramatically improve my health and longevity but I'm close and considering it. You're in the minority holding that opinion, let alone touting it as fact.

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0 · March 13, 2014 at 5:48 PM

Okay calling people pursuing extreme macro ratios crazy was overkill. Anyway, here's a guy (me) who doesn't feel healthy on a very very high-fat diet. In particular, my digestive system struggles with it. Subjectively, increasing my carb intake to between 25-40% (depending how I feel that day) makes me "feel" more healthy, plus my body asks me for it. My body doesn't ask me for protein unless I dip below about 45 grams, but I average about 60.

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0 · March 13, 2014 at 5:20 PM

No one would accuse Jack Lalanne of being evil, or short-lived. He ate a high fresh veg/fruit, low meat diet. He had a lifetime of high activity, too. Maybe a Paleo high fat diet would have gotten him to 100; we'll never know, but you can't look at macronutrient ratios alone if you're seeking longevity. CV events are the grim reaper today and Jack did everything right to optimize his CV health.

De1095b2ba29c1035f00428cbfe3cc7c
0 · March 13, 2014 at 5:17 PM

Fair enough, i think you're right that for many people just being paleo is enough, I don't believe everyone should go VLC like Ron Rosedale implies, but also that some metabolically damaged people do need to get their macro's in check. I don't think 50% meat is healthy for everyone either!

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0 · March 13, 2014 at 5:08 PM

People used to post their blood tests here a lot (search "Hack my blood test!", etc.). From the ones I saw, blood glucose and triglycerides were always low, indicating good insulin sensitivity. On the other side, LDL was generally very high.

De1095b2ba29c1035f00428cbfe3cc7c
0 · March 13, 2014 at 5:00 PM

Maybe cause many modern paleos are insulin resistant?

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0 · March 13, 2014 at 4:55 PM

See the link in my answer. An ancestral paleo diet was foraged. There were no macronutrients, just nutrients, and meat was the main one. High carb and high fat diets were the exception, not the rule. There were no Neolithic processed foods such as low fat yogurt, soy protein powder, Crisco or butter. There was only bacon to the extent that you could kill a pig and eat its belly.

Why aren't modern Paleos happy with this? By eating this way you are clearly differentiated from the SAD and the veggers. It's not a ketosis diet, it's not an insulin-resistance diet.

7160a3fb485cb0af573c0292fdb08144
0 · March 13, 2014 at 4:43 PM

I would think most Americans are in the 10/65/25 range.

7160a3fb485cb0af573c0292fdb08144
0 · March 13, 2014 at 4:41 PM

There's no one ratio that works for everyone. Kitavians do something like P/C/F of 10/70/20. Inuit do more like 10/5/85. If you're not metabolically messed up, just eat the whole foods that you feel better on.

De1095b2ba29c1035f00428cbfe3cc7c
0 · March 13, 2014 at 3:32 PM

I was gonna hear out Jaminet, try to up my carbs & see if skin wound healing, tired eyes etc became better adding in some starches, and i am adding a small amount to hover around 50g net carbs, but there is no way in hell I can get 400-600 calories from carbs everyday, that would do me no good whatsoever.

Be157308a0438e382b88d9db4c12ab30
0 · March 13, 2014 at 3:13 PM

Dude, no one said they carbs/protein were evil. But in the long run they make you fat and sick, in proportion to the amount consumed. Getting fat and sick are perfectly natural processes, as is dying. All that some people on here, including myself as well, are trying to do is prolong the period of time before getting old and sick/fat/disabled and dying. No need to diminish people as "crazy" for pursuing the legitimate goal of health and longevity through nutrition.

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0 · March 13, 2014 at 3:08 PM

@thhq 50% of your diet should come from meat? Why? I think I get about 1/3 of my calories from meat, but that's probably about 15% of my food by weight. Why should I strive to eat more meat?

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0 · March 13, 2014 at 3:07 PM

@Matt 11 I tend to agree but it's still on my mind. Some people seem to think carbs are evil, others think protein is evil. They're both crazy (except in cases of extreme excess) but what I want to know is which one will have the most detrimental effect on health and longevity.

Be157308a0438e382b88d9db4c12ab30
0 · March 13, 2014 at 3:02 PM

Yeah 50g is perfectly fine, and even if you are only eating around 2500 to 3000 cals you should still be at least in a mild state of ketosis (assuming you're not going overboard on protein). I agree on the ice cream, that stuff sure doesn't help for weight loss. Damn tasty though....if you're going to cheat, it's hard to top ice cream as one of the most delicious cheat foods of all time, lol :)

De1095b2ba29c1035f00428cbfe3cc7c
0 · March 13, 2014 at 2:41 PM

I usually go above 2500 upto 3000, sometimes even 4000 on the weekends, but i'm going to make an effort to stick to 2500 as even when i'm eating 85%+ fat, 50g protein and 20g net carbs most of the time I still gain some undesirable fat. Eating ice cream on the weekends & hitting 4000kcal doesn't help tho ;) When i'm really low on carbs I notice my eyes feel like they are glued shut in the mornings & even after 8 hours sleep i feel like crap, hence me trying to get 50g net carbs as many of the low carb gurus say that's a magic number with carb restriction.

Be157308a0438e382b88d9db4c12ab30
0 · March 13, 2014 at 1:48 PM

Having being born in the Caribbean, most of my life I ate the PHD way without even knowing it. My food would be mostly rice, meat and tubers (potatoes, sweet potatoes, malanga/taro, cassava/yucca, etc.) with some other starches and tropical fruits (bananas, plantains, mango, guava, oranges, etc) thrown in. Eating this way led me to becoming borderline diabetic and noticeably overweight, specially around the waist. No one can convince me that the PHD way of eating will lead to perfect health, specially since I essentially did it for over 23 years and wrecked my health with "safe starches".

Be157308a0438e382b88d9db4c12ab30
0 · March 13, 2014 at 1:41 PM

I eat it every now and then too. Squashes taste nice and are not too starchy. Assuming you're eating 2500 calories (just a guess), then 50g of net carbs would be precisely 8% of calories.

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0 · March 13, 2014 at 1:22 PM

The difference between East African paleo and modern American diet is meat. Once you get to 50% meat in your diet fill in the rest with whatever you like.

De1095b2ba29c1035f00428cbfe3cc7c
0 · March 13, 2014 at 9:47 AM

I think those ratios are spot on, although I actually struggle to hit 8% net carbs without adding in some starches, I've recently been eating half a butternut squash daily to try & hit 50g net carbs, not actually sure its worth it or not. Makes me ravenous after eating it!

De1095b2ba29c1035f00428cbfe3cc7c
0 · March 13, 2014 at 9:41 AM

Good point, you can spend too much time thinking about this stuff, stressing yourself & then forgetting to just listen to what your body wants.

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0 · March 12, 2014 at 10:51 PM

I already know you're in the carbs=devil's poo boat, @TheGastronomer... I prefer a more flexible template including some carbs. I feel better that way, plus it's easier to get all the micros, plus some noteworthy paleo gurus condone moderate carbohydrate intake (and others condone more protein)... I tend to follow more of a PHD template. I just feel shitty when I try to down 200 grams of fat in a day. 200 grams of carbs though and I'm right as rain... Assuming I got enough exercise that day.

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583 · March 14, 2014 at 3:14 PM

I just want to say thanks for the lively debate. As usual you guys, with particular thanks to @TheGastronomer, @Matt 11, and @thhq... Oh, and @Robert 13 and @glib... have jabbed enough at one another to elicit some excellent insights and examples.

Overall you guys have brought me comfort with my current approach. My body tells me it's better to have a little more carb than a little more protein. In fact, the way I'm eating I don't actively limit any macros. I strive to eat lots of high quality fats and then eat meats/fish and starch/fruit/veggies to satiety, always mindful of my micros. Without trying I end up very close to 12/33/55 (looks more like 11/33/56)... So, in the end, if I just eat lots of quality fats and fill up on what my body asks for and don't obsess over macros (thanks @Matt 11) I get quite possibly the perfect ratios!

I'm pretty sure 160-180 grams of carbs isn't going to make me fat, pre-diabetic, or significantly impact my health and longevity but I can appreciate that some people have to be more mindful of carbs.

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0 · March 14, 2014 at 3:17 PM

I know it's weird to accept one's own answer but I wanted to put it at the top in case anyone needs a summary or happens to appreciate my opinion, and I wanted to show my thanks to several contributors...

B023a84cf6f4dd3e2469df99ab626346
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5 · March 13, 2014 at 6:28 PM

50% carbs, 25% protein, 25% fat

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0 · March 13, 2014 at 10:45 PM

I like the Eaton article. Not for the part on carbs, but for his perplexity over the low level of protein (12%) recommended in modern diets. He's not unfriendly to paleo diet concepts, though he's at the low end of % meat consumption range compared to the study I referenced. If 50% meat is closer to correct, protein and fat go higher and carbs go lower.

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0 · March 13, 2014 at 7:48 PM

Why?

You don't even address the question, just come blurt out some unjustified, relatively unpaleo macro ratios. What are you even here for? Defend your position!

2a6025992746ff6cd4ffb6ccf0aa03fc
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60 · March 13, 2014 at 3:26 PM

Excess protein seems pointless. Why take in more protein than you need just for it to be turned into an energy source (which isn't particularly efficient)? I say get in the amount of protein that works well in meals and meets your needs and fill up the rest with fat and carbs.

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0 · March 13, 2014 at 6:32 PM

If I were eating the recommended gram of protein per pound of body weight I'd be eating 650 calories a day of protein, which is currently 30% of my daily calories. That, to me, is a lot of protein. Getting to that level would probably help build some muscle mass in my shoulders.

De1095b2ba29c1035f00428cbfe3cc7c
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777 · March 13, 2014 at 12:50 PM

I think you can burn off carbs with exercise/IF with less issues then excess protein, gluconeogenesis from protein has toxic by products like ammonia, whereas if you burn off the carbs quickly then they shouldn't raise insulin too much or have time to cause much glycation. That's my understanding anyway. I'd sooner go a bit higher on carbs then protein, and i'm very intolerant of carbs!

Plus, excess protein means lethargy, some more carbs means energy to do intense exercise.

I also saw in another question that you're not looking to lose any weight, carbs can help you gain some weight but extra protein won't, not efficiently anyway, not in my experience. I eat high fat but looking to gain some weight and am currently slowly upping my carbs.

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10104 · March 13, 2014 at 12:26 AM

Not speaking from a standpoint of optimality for long life, I'll pull up this East African paleo diet again.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20860883

PCF here is about 25/40/35, but with large seasonal variability. Not necessarily a diet optimized for longevity but correct historically.

What looks most important to me is the % meat, which ranges from 30-70%, and the source of almost all the fat and protein. I'd aim for 50% meat as a goal and fill in the rest with fruit and vegetables.

Most Americans are probably in the 10/50/40 range, with meat less than 10% of calories. Eating the historic diet is very different, and easily defensible as the diet we're evolved to eat.

7160a3fb485cb0af573c0292fdb08144
0 · March 13, 2014 at 4:43 PM

I would think most Americans are in the 10/65/25 range.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46
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41193 · March 13, 2014 at 12:19 AM

Stop, stop, stop obsessing over macronutrient ratios! Get enough micronutrients in a reasonable number of calories (i.e. maintenance level).

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0 · March 13, 2014 at 3:07 PM

@Matt 11 I tend to agree but it's still on my mind. Some people seem to think carbs are evil, others think protein is evil. They're both crazy (except in cases of extreme excess) but what I want to know is which one will have the most detrimental effect on health and longevity.

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0 · March 13, 2014 at 1:22 PM

The difference between East African paleo and modern American diet is meat. Once you get to 50% meat in your diet fill in the rest with whatever you like.

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0 · March 13, 2014 at 9:41 AM

Good point, you can spend too much time thinking about this stuff, stressing yourself & then forgetting to just listen to what your body wants.

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313 · March 12, 2014 at 9:12 PM

Personally, for health reasons I would say it's probably safer to go with a P/C/F of 12/33/55. It's just that 33% protein seems way too high. Ideally however, I would choose 12/8/80 as the optimal ratio for health.

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0 · March 13, 2014 at 8:34 PM

Does it occur to anyone that a diet that is 80% fat needs a vitamin and mineral pills to make the various RDAs?

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0 · March 13, 2014 at 4:41 PM

There's no one ratio that works for everyone. Kitavians do something like P/C/F of 10/70/20. Inuit do more like 10/5/85. If you're not metabolically messed up, just eat the whole foods that you feel better on.

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0 · March 13, 2014 at 9:47 AM

I think those ratios are spot on, although I actually struggle to hit 8% net carbs without adding in some starches, I've recently been eating half a butternut squash daily to try & hit 50g net carbs, not actually sure its worth it or not. Makes me ravenous after eating it!

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0 · March 12, 2014 at 10:51 PM

I already know you're in the carbs=devil's poo boat, @TheGastronomer... I prefer a more flexible template including some carbs. I feel better that way, plus it's easier to get all the micros, plus some noteworthy paleo gurus condone moderate carbohydrate intake (and others condone more protein)... I tend to follow more of a PHD template. I just feel shitty when I try to down 200 grams of fat in a day. 200 grams of carbs though and I'm right as rain... Assuming I got enough exercise that day.

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