Here's my understanding of current expert opinions on the subject of macronutrients:
KGH -- They don't matter -- you can use either starch or fat for fuel, as long as you stay away from NADs and too much fructose.
Robb Wolf -- Match your starch intake level too your activity level; partition carbs PWO.
Chris Kresser -- Moderate paleo carbs/fat is best.
Stefan Guyenet -- LFHC is the bees knees. You can get the bulk of your calories from starches, as long as you keep fat low.
Am I off-base here? Where do you all stand on this issue?
For some reason I'm worried about adding too much CHO and not reducing my fat intake enough. GCBC was really convincing about CHO and CHD/obesity, but I'm open to the new perspective emerging in the movement. Guyenet's theory seems interesting but lacking -- I like Peter Dobromylskyj's ideas about mitochondria better. Regardless, everything seems up in the wind as of late, short of the prohibition of NADs.
I agree with Robb Wolfe- i.e. earn your carbs. For the most part my diet falls in the Primal/Sisson maintenance category.
Either way, protein gives the most satiety per unit of energy and has a higher thermic effect. Any effective (and tolerable) fat loss diet should be built primarily around lean meat.
It depends. I think it's all a grand n=1 experiment!
If you are obese & insulin-resistant and want to lose body fat, then high fat, moderate protein, low carb seems to work well. YMMV.
If you are normal weight and metabolically healthy, then eat enough carbs to feel good. YMMV.
People with leaky gut and other gut conditions are better off with Robb Wolf's suggestions. Starch is sugars, and people with a bad gut almost always have the wrong bacteria/yeasts in them thriving on complex carbs. So at least for these dieters -- and I'm one of them -- low sugar/starch is best.
Two founders of the modern paleo movement, Melvin Konner and S. Boyd Eaton, in 2010 published their best estimate of macronutrients in the ancestral diet:
■ Carbohydrates, % daily energy: 35-40 ■ Protein, % daily energy: 25-30 ■ Fat, % daily energy: 20-35
They weren't arguing those are the healthiest proportions. But if you're trying to emulate the ancestral diet, shoot for those ratios.
I've see other experts argue a carb proportion as low as 22%.
If you lived 50,000 years ago, you ate what was available in your area. That varied by latitude, rainfall, etc.
Reference: Konner, Melvin and Eaton, S. Boyd. Paleolithic Nutrition: Twenty-Five Years Later. Nutrition in Clinical Practice, 25 (2010): 594-602. doi: 10.1177/0884533610385702
On one hand all this talk of macros, carb-insulin-obesity, etc is refreshing to me because I feel like the ship is finally coming back around to the idea that there is no magic here, calories still and have always mattered. Eat too much of anything and you gain weight – that weight could be lean mass and/or could be body fat, depending on the hormonal signaling and the mechanical stimuli you’ve subjected your body to.
So along those lines I myself find what the OP describes as KGH’s way of thinking to be the most straight forward and evidence-based.
At the same time I think as a way of thinking and acting the notion of earning your carbohydrates can only be a good thing as it simply serves to keep people recognizing the fact that it’s most likely beneficial to use your body rather than not use your body.
Also, I find this whole discussion refreshing because it’s taking down the widespread notion in the LC crowds that you can just eat as much as you want and you’ll be fine. Caloric deficits and physical activity have never stopped working.
Macronutrients certainly matter to me.
I think it's great that we have a lot of intelligent and passionate people theorizing and challenging the norm. But after years of testing I can say that LC is what works for me. The minute I go off of it I feel like crap and gain weight around my midsection, despite exercise.
I agree with Travis and others about getting your protein right then going from there. It is interesting though that several of the bloggers seem to have independently converged towards 20% carb or 100-150g of carbs. Some see this as a more of a minimum while some might see this as more of a maximum, but it seems to kind of be the sweet spot that most bloggers would not object to. It might be good place to start if you are in doubt about how many carbs work best for yourself.
In the past I have lost a lot of weight on low fat and have lost good amount on low carb. I personally feel better though when the carbs and fat are more balanced.
I recently started working with a leangains-style approach: consistently high protein, alternating moderate carb (workout days) / low carb (rest days). Feels great but too early to judge impact.
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