And if so, am I basically killing myself with it? If not, what DOES constitute a high fat/high carb diet?
[Try to stick with me here, and let me know if it gets too confusing!] I've read through a ton of paleohacks threads (I can't seem to find ANY of the threads I reference herein, so I hope you all know what I'm talking about) and the general consensus seems to be that a diet both high in fat and high in carbs means trouble. This has led to more confusion regarding my diet than normal.
I realize a similar question has been asked previously (somewhat recently, I believe, concerning the parameters for high fat/high carb), but I'd like to expand on the question.
What are the parameters that quantify what is high carb and what is high fat? Having been a calorie-counter in the past, I've tended toward a focus on macronutrient percentages rather than grams. I see this on many paleo websites as well, which typically advocate for around 65% of calories or more consumed as fat, something like 10% as carbs, and 25% as protein.
(In this next part I'm assuming you all know that carbs are 4 calories per gram, protein grams are 4 calories as well, and fat grams are 9.) Let me try to explain with the appropriate amount of detail: I generally consume around 100 grams of protein a day. (This isn't based on any calculations regarding my lean body mass, btw--it's just the number to which I've been naturally inclined to over the years.) Since I consume about 1600 calories a day (maintenance; not much exercise), this keeps the percentage of protein I consume fixed at 400 calories: 25%. That leaves 1200 calories for myself to consume of fat and carbs.
Now, I could potentially consume 1200 (and 75% of my) calories as carbs--300 grams. Okay, that's a little 'high' even away from the paleo context. What happens if we shift that and I consume, say, 55% as carbs and 20% as fat? That's 220 grams of carbs--high by most paleo standards (I think) but not grossly high otherwise. It also allows for 35 grams of fat--most certainly not high by paleo standards.
Now let's say I want to fall within paleo-friendly carbohydrate ranges and limit my intake of carbs to 150g per day--a moderately high (?) approach. 150g of carbs provide 600 calories, so about 38% of my calories would come from carbs. That leaves 600 calories for me to consume from fat - about 38% of my caloric intake. So I'm not consuming high carbs by any means, but I'm also not consuming a high amount of fat--not 'high' by the paleo definition I've recognized, anyway. But I AM consuming the same amount of fat and carbs, which I think equals a recipe for disaster. Or sudden death.
If I were to consume a more paleotically-correct amount of carbohydrates--say, 100g--that means I'm getting 400 calories from carbs, or 25%. This leaves 800 calories to consume as fat, or 50%. To me, 25% isn't low-carb, and it isn't within the generally-accepted paleo parameters either. The fact that I don't eat very many calories could also be skewing the numbers here.
On a personal note, it's a little silly to me that there seems to exist a set limit on amount of carbohydrates consumed that takes neither age, weight, nor lean body mass into account in its being determined. All that seems to matter is activity level, and this doesn't make sense to me. How is it logical that both a lightly active, 115-pound, 20-year-old female and a lightly active 170-pound, 50-year-old male should limit their carbohydrate intake to 100-150 (or whatever seemingly arbitrary number) grams per day?
This is all just theoretical, of course.. And I agree with most paleohackers who hold the notion that most vegans have gotten into trouble for doing what 'seems' right ;p
The thing is, I'm really struggling when it comes to finding what's right for me. I was feeling okay on ~38% carbs, ~38% fat, and ~25% protein (the example I used earlier), but then I got ultra sick and switched to high carb out of fear that because I was battling an infection, I had high inflammation, and as such should not have been consuming a high amount of saturated fat (a fear which stemmed from reading a thread about how saturated fat causes atherosclerosis, but heart disease and attacks are caused by inflammation, which can arise due to reasons unrelated to diet). I know that KGH doesn't buy into the belief that saturated fat causes atherosclerosis no matter what--but again, I can't find the thread about inflammation, [EDIT: this one ] so I don't remember why people were coming to that conclusion. (Sorry! :p )
I tend to feel shitty on anything less than 100 grams of carbs, and I felt the best in my life when I was basically eating a vegan diet supplemented with animal products. However, since venturing into the paleo realm I've come to think of this way of eating as suboptimal.
There's a chance that since I'm focusing on percentages instead of grams, I'm under the impression that my diet is both high in carbs when it is neither. There's also a chance that I'm consuming too much protein, and as such most of my number-tweaking is pretty much invalidated.
I don't even know if I've made my own confusion clear here. But I've done my best given my current frantic state. The question remains: Am I doing damage by eating the same amount of carbs and fat?