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?
There's no one right way to eat. People really are very different, and self-experimentation is key in finding what works best for you.
Personally I eat over 200g of fat and about 200g of carbs most days. I also prefer to eat my carbs with lots and lots of dairy fat. I feel great, my health and looks have improved vastly, my lipid profile is amazing (but then it was when I ate SAD/vegetarian too), and this is about the only thing ever which has raised my body weight set-point a few much-needed pounds. On low-carb I ate higher in calories but my weight was still too low plus I had some unpleasant issues. On true high-carb I feel crappy because I have blood sugar problems which paleo has not eradicated. I need to eat very high in calories, so lots and lots of fat is really my only choice.
"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."
Whhhhhhhyyyy?? Denise Minger does fine on this diet and has for years, as do many other people. Honestly, it seems paleohacks has done far more harm than good in this case (and many other cases). Stop overthinking things and do what works for you.
Nothing wrong with carbs and fat together.
I eat about 40% carbs and 40% fat (of which the majority is saturated).
The only combination of fat and carbs that is bad is PUFA with fructose... but seeing as PUFA is horrible for you anyway; that makes fructose perfectly fine by itself (especially if the quality of foods is good).
According to the data we have on hunter gatherers the majority of them eat more than 150g of carbs.. Your paleo-friendly range of carbs is based on low carb parameters not actual evolutionary amount of carbs.
Most fat sources are basically empty calories so if it were me i would eat the 55% carbs. Granted I don't think you'll do that much damage eating equal amounts of carbs and fat considering you don't necessarily eat a whole lot.
Don't worry, I eat high carb and don't measure my fat intake either. I eat as much fat as I want to. And since starch satiates me well, I can't seem to overdo it with the fat anyway. You won't drop dead tomorrow, believe me.
"If I were to consume a more paleotically-correct amount of carbohydrates--say, 100g..." .....seriously? There is nothing correct about that number. 300 g isn't correct either. There is no wrong or right. Your diet seems to work for you, that's all that matters.
Paleo is carb agnostic, focus on food quality.
Mark Sisson eats about 200g of carbs a day.
EDIT: I'm sure I read one of Mark's posts where he stated he was eating ~200g of carbs, I remember it because someone commented on how he gets that many carb if he is only eating leafy greens and what not as a carb source. Anyway I couldn't find it, but I did find a post where he said he ate ~100g of carb per day, so I'll stand corrected.
My point I wanted to make to the OP was that if your food quality is good macro ratios really shouldn't matter - unless you have some metabolic 'derangement' - however the OP sounds in good shape.
I don't see any need to tweak your protein if you're comfortable with it. Equal amounts of carb and fat would be moderate both. Neither's high, and if it's in the form of real food it's perfectly sustainable. It may not be optimal, but you're welcome to eat it. I don't think many would consider 25% carb, 50% fat as anything other than pretty standard. It's relatively high fat. If you're not doing much exercise some might wonder what benefit there is from the carbs for the inconvenience they may cause in causing hunger, but that may not be an issue for you. If you feel bad with fewer carbs then that might suggest things aren't running as smoothly as they could, which, as always, means we come back to asking how long you tried with low-carb (such as 70g or less).
It should only ever be a guide though, getting bogged down in the numbers is rarely helpful.
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