calories breakdown

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msegov

Joined: May 12
Posts: 2

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Posted: 07 May 2012, 07:42
Hi. Could someone tell me what is the ideal calories breakdown I need to follow for my diet. I am finding that the percenge of fat vs carbohidrates is the same and I am having less percentage of proteins (compared with my BSI), and I guess this is wrong. Thank you Smile
Nimm

Joined: Dec 10
Posts: 669

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Posted: 07 May 2012, 08:06
Calculating daily macronutrient goals by percentage of total calories isn't ideal - using absolute amounts is a better idea for health and body composition purposes.

Protein needs vary considerably depending on your activity level. Ideally, you probably want to get enough protein to obtain an even nitrogen balance, to maximize the amount of muscle that you retain while dieting. The amount of protein you need for this is greater when you are losing weight than when you are maintaining. If you're getting regular strenuous exercise, a good goal would be 1g of protein per pound of your bodyweight. If you have a more sedentary lifestyle, you may need only half that amount for an even nitrogen balance. If you don't have any existing kidney problems, and don't mind eating protein-rich foods, 1g/lb of bodyweight is a safe goal that will almost guarantee you aren't losing unnecessary muscle mass because of your diet.

For dietary fat, there isn't definitive evidence as to an ideal minimum daily intake. Dietary fat is important (in some cases, essential) for several reasons, many related to hormone production. A fairly conservative recommendation based on the existing literature is a minimum of 0.4g of dietary fat per pound of bodyweight.

Once you've gotten the minimum daily protein and fat, the rest of your calories can come from whichever macronutrient distribution you prefer. Carbohydrate is not essential, so there's no minimum that you need for body composition purposes. Many people find that their workouts are more effective with carbohydrate, however - but this will be up to you.

Whatever you find sustainable and enjoyable in the long term is how you should distribute your macronutrients, beyond the minimum sufficient amounts of protein and fat.
BlueWaterBot...

Joined: Apr 12
Posts: 78

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Posted: 07 May 2012, 09:17
Since you're asking for diet advice, I'm going to confuse things by giving you the exact opposite advice of what the commentor above me suggested. Because you do not have access to a lab to determine the caloric content of food and you cannot know your exact metabolism rate, the only reliable measure you have is calculating daily macronutrient goals by percentage of total calories.

Go on WebMD or some other reputable medical or nutritional site -- maybe even a couple of them -- and see how the percentages they suggest for your age, weight, gender, etc, match up with what fatsecret recommends for you. When you decide on what levels you think will work for you, track your normal eating for a while -- two weeks, maybe a month. Then you can start to realistically tweek your diet to match up with the percentages you're trying to achieve.

Try, of course, to stays within limits everyday, but judge your progress more by monthly totals than daily ones. One or two days of over- or undereating shouldn't have an immensely huge impact over the course of several weeks, so don't sweat it too hard.

I'm new to this myself, but I am finding that loosely tracking what I eat and how often I exercise is helping me to stay motivated and to realistically assess whether or not I'm going in the right direction. Hopefully that will be your experience, too.

Good luck.
Nimm

Joined: Dec 10
Posts: 669

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Posted: 07 May 2012, 09:28
BlueWaterBottle wrote:
Since you're asking for diet advice, I'm going to confuse things by giving you the exact opposite advice of what the commentor above me suggested. Because you do not have access to a lab to determine the caloric content of food and you cannot know your exact metabolism rate, the only reliable measure you have is calculating daily macronutrient goals by percentage of total calories.


What specifically do you take issue with?

Is it the recommendation that the OP eat enough protein to achieve an even nitrogen balance? If so, what benefit would there be to a negative nitrogen balance?
And why do you think the OP would need either more than 1g/lb of protein, or less than 0.5g per pound?

Do you disagree that carbohydrate is not an essential macronutrient? If so, what's your support for that claim?

Do you think that fat is not an essential macronutrient, or disagree that insufficient fats can either cause or increase the risk for certain health problems? And if not, what do you claim is the minimum amount of dietary fat to achieve sufficiency, and what support do you have for that claim?

And finally, why do you think that protein and fat sufficiency is a function of percentage of total calorie intake, rather than absolute volumes?
Obtaining an even nitrogen balance does not depend on the ratio of protein to total calories; it depends on the absolute amount of protein in the diet.

EDIT: I'm not asking rhetorically or argumentatively. If you have source research to support your claim that macronutrient sufficiency depends on percentages of caloric intake, please share it.
BlueWaterBot...

Joined: Apr 12
Posts: 78

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Posted: 07 May 2012, 11:56
No, I don't have any source research. I read about nutrition when I can and I certainly have had years of practice at a variety of diets.

Mostly what rubbed me the wrong way about your comment was the attempts at absolute measurements. If you are weighing everything you eat and are under someone's care where you can have your metabolism and fat ratio and whatever else exactly measured, I certainly can't argue against such strict attention and detail. I'm sure it works.

I, for one, cannot be bothered with that much attention to my diet. It leads me to a place where I am obsessed with measures that are inexact at best, but have a very concrete impact on how I feel about my progress or the lack of it.

I'm still experimenting to see if my technique will work as well as I hope. I expect that there will be much tweeking in my future, but in just the short time I have been tracking, I am surprised at what I have discovered about my personal diet and I am encouraged by the changes I am starting to make; however, I did start with a plan to that effect. If I had no clue where to start and I received an answer like the one you gave, I would already be discouraged.

I'm not trying to argue against your approach, but I am suggesting that there might be an easier way to start out. Ultimately, it is up to the person who posed the question to decide which is the best path for them.
Wendydashner

Joined: Aug 10
Posts: 29

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Posted: 07 May 2012, 12:17
Holy Schmoly! I am confused after reading this.

I count calories. Yeah, I probably eat too much fat, too much sugar, too much salt and not enough fiber, but I have a full time job and a bunch of kids that need to at times. I don't have time to count macronutrients or any other minor aspect. If you do, great, but I can't imagine if you have a spouse, kids, job, whatever else, you will have time to nitpick your foods.

Good luck
Nimm

Joined: Dec 10
Posts: 669

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Posted: 07 May 2012, 12:25
BlueWaterBottle wrote:
I'm not trying to argue against your approach, but I am suggesting that there might be an easier way to start out. Ultimately, it is up to the person who posed the question to decide which is the best path for them.


Fair enough, but I disagree that it's a more complicated strategy. First, there are thresholds below which insufficient protein and fat will cause, contribute to, or increase the likelihood of health problems. To disregard those is to invite potentially very serious health problems.

Second, I don't see that using ratios - particularly on this site, where the ratio pie chart on the daily food log is quite inaccurate - is necessarily less complicated.
It isn't necessary to weigh and measure everything obsessively to reach macro- and micro-nutrient sufficiency. Reaching the minimums without diligent counting isn't hard, even at 1g/lb in protein per day, and 0.4g/lb in fat per day. And of course if those minimums aren't hit from day to day, that's not going to be a problem, as long as it's generally done over time. If you're already logging what you eat, the raw numbers for protein and fat will be in the fatsecret food log, so is it more difficult to reach, say 170g of protein and 80g of fat by the end of the day, regardless of what meals they come from, or to try to balance all three macronutrients in a ratio that is essentially arbitrary?

Whether or not we're weighing out every portion of food, our bodies need a certain amount of (certain kinds of) fats and protein for optimum health and performance. My advice was to just be concerned about getting that minimum sufficient amount, and leave the rest to personal preference. Counting is the best way to ensure those minimums are reached, but it's not necessary. Why worry about getting 15, or 20, or 30% of your daily calories from carbohydrate, when it won't have a direct effect on weight loss or body composition? Isn't that just introducing more unnecessary complexity?
gnat824

Joined: Jul 10
Posts: 1,712

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Posted: 07 May 2012, 12:53
It's easy to get wrapped around the axle on this kind of thing. The simplest appraoch by far is to go with Michael Pollan's words of wisdom: Eat food, not too much, mostly plants. By food, he means real, unprocessed food. Make sure half your plate at most meals is plants, especially leafy greens. Pay attention to how you feel and how well controlled your hunger is. Protein, fat, and fiber all are good for this but you may find that one works better than the others for you. For example, the fiber in an apple paired with the fat in PB works great for me.

There's no one right answers on the macro breakdown, but if you make the effort to replace some of the processed foods in your diet and downsize your portions or rice and pasta in favor of larger portions of produce, you'll be on the right track.
- Natalie
BlueWaterBot...

Joined: Apr 12
Posts: 78

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Posted: 07 May 2012, 13:38
@Nimm: Yes, there definitely are minimum thresholds for protein and fat that are necessary for good health. I will even concede that many people who put themselves on diets are likely to slash those very macronutrients in a misguided attempt at being healthy.

You make the argument that carbohydrates are not an essential macronutrient, but carbohydrates go a long way toward eating satisfaction. I have discovered in my own diet, by using a very inexact ratio approach, that I have a tendency to rely too much on sugary foods to fill in the corners because although I am hitting reasonable numbers, in grams if I care to check, for fat and protein, I'm still hungry. On the days where I successfully eat more complex carbohydrates instead of simple sugary ones --plus the extra fat that seems to always go with simple sugary carbs -- I not only am more satisfied throughout the day, but I also find myself falling comfortably within the ratio guidelines recommended for a woman of my age and fitness level by WebMD.

Which is exactly what you recommend: eat enough fat and protein for health and enough carbs to feel satisfied.

But you recommend hard numbers and I recommend looking at pretty pie charts. Charts are easier.
Nimm

Joined: Dec 10
Posts: 669

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Posted: 07 May 2012, 13:45
BlueWaterBottle wrote:
Which is exactly what you recommend: eat enough fat and protein for health and enough carbs to feel satisfied.

But you recommend hard numbers and I recommend looking at pretty pie charts. Charts are easier.


Once again, fair enough. Now, just get fatsecret to fix their notoriously broken pie charts please Smile
msegov

Joined: May 12
Posts: 2

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Posted: 10 May 2012, 18:37
Thanks guys.... Even i didnt get exact numbers, now I have a better idea and I am just trying to eat a balanced diet with a little bit of everything, (mostly green things) but keeping my overal calories estimation.
Marlboro Man

Joined: Sep 10
Posts: 418

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Posted: 11 May 2012, 06:00
BlueWaterBottle wrote:

Which is exactly what you recommend: eat enough fat and protein for health and enough carbs to feel satisfied.

But you recommend hard numbers and I recommend looking at pretty pie charts. Charts are easier.

looking to make sure you covered your protein and fat minimums is hard? Nimm never said you have to eat exact numbers, you just have to cover your minimum needs for protein and carbs. if you end up eating more carbs one day, more fat the next, then a high protein day the following it will not make a difference in weight loss as long as you were able to achieve said minimums.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.”
—Aristotle
"It's not a diet, it's not exercise, it's a lifestyle."
-Unknown
BlueWaterBot...

Joined: Apr 12
Posts: 78

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Posted: 11 May 2012, 07:52
@Marlboro Man: No, Nimm didn't say you had to eat exact numbers. If you read the thread, you'll see that he and I understand each other on that.

And as long as you're reading again, you may notice that Nimm's actual assertion is that a person must maintain minimums in fat and proteins, not carbs. Again, I have no argument with Nimm's assertion.

Maybe since both you guys are trying to gain weight, you may not completely apprepricate how obsessive people who are trying to lose weight can become. I am one of those. If I track hard numbers too closely, I become outrageously obsessive and my self esteem starts to ride on the numbers, which is insane because unless I am weighing my food and having it analyzed for its component breakdown, I am guessing just as much when I track numbers as I am when I look at colorful charts, but colorful charts have never made me feel bad about myself. If you've never had your sense of self riding on an arbitrary figure, let me tell you, it is not a nice place to be.

I am suggesting two things to someone who asked for some simple advice to start establishing some new habits: 1) Get some cursory nutritional info from a reputable site and 2) Use a metric that won't drive you crazy.

Nimm is not wrong. You are not wrong to defend your buddy, although he clearly doesn't need your assistance. But I also am not wrong. I'm just approaching the question from a different angle.
umdterpsgirl

Joined: Aug 10
Posts: 234

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Posted: 11 May 2012, 08:49
To get back to msegov's original question, my approach has been to aim for a breakdown of 40-30-30 (Carbs-Fat-Protein) and eating 1500-1600 calories. I seem to lose more weight when I get my carbs under 40% and my fat a little over 30%, but the 40-30-30 ratio seems to have worked well for me over the past 10 months.

Taking a look at your diet calendar I think you are on the right track. To increase your protein, I'd suggest switching out your normal low fat yogurt for greek yogurt which has tons of protein. Instead of fruit for snacks, have cheese sticks, nuts, beef jerky, turkey roll-ups (a slice of turkey and a slice of cheese rolled up), veggies and hummus or just plain veggies.

Another way to get your carb percentage down is to only have a starch with one meal. So if you are going to have rice with dinner, have a salad for lunch instead of a sandwich (or just an open faced sandwich with only one slice of bread instead of two). Seafood is also high in protein so if you can incorporate more shrimp, salmon and other fish into your diet, that may help too.

I'm also pretty liberal with olive oil when I cook which helps my fat ratio and hasn't seemed to impact my weight loss. I love doing a big tray of veggies, tossed with olive oil and salt, pepper and rosemary, then roasted at 400 degrees for about 20-25 minutes.
holfraz

Joined: Mar 12
Posts: 178

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Posted: 11 May 2012, 10:11
Carbohydrate should geneerally make up the highest % of macronutrient calories when one is attempting fat loss or muscle gain. Carbohydrates provide variety, valuable nutrients, and volume to the diet. The satiating value of complex carbohydrate is especially important when one is in a caloric deficit for the goal of fat loss. For most moderately active adults, a carbohydrate intake of between 50 and 70% is recommended. This will provide sufficient food volume and the fuel necessary for energy and productive workouts.
Despite the popularity of low-carb diets and the perpetuation of erroneous claims regarding type or time of carb intake, there is no need for one to reduce carbohydrate percentage to lose fat. Weight loss or gain is related to total calorie intake, not the macronutrient profile of the diet. The weight lost on a low-carb diet can be atrtibuted to 2 factors: low calorie intake and loss of fat-free mass. When one begins dropping carbohudrate-rich foods from their diet, it is inevitable that caloric intake is reduced. Added to the caloric reduction are dwindling glucogen stores, For every gram of glucose taken out of glucogen, it brings with it 2.7g of water. This loss of muscle glucogen (including water) can be quite significant in the first week of a low-carb diet, and adds to the lbs. lost on the scale. This is how low-carb fad diets can promise dramatic weight loss in such a short period. Long-term success in wight loss is associated with a realist eating style, not one that severely limits or omits one of the macronutrients.
holfraz

Joined: Mar 12
Posts: 178

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Posted: 11 May 2012, 11:47
The Recommended Dietary Allowance for protein is 15-30% of total calorie intake.

If the goal is fat-loss, a diet containing 10-30% of calories from fat is recommended.
Ingria

Joined: Oct 11
Posts: 542

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Posted: 11 May 2012, 12:10
For most moderately active adults eating only 30% of their calories in fat and protein and 70% in carbs will not cover their basic needs in protein and fats, will result in insulin spikes and is a direct path to type 2 diabetes and obesity. Exactly the diet most of the people followed when packing all the pounds. It might work for a few younger and extremely active individuals with excellent metabolism who have a chance to burn all the glucose in the blood before it gets stored for future use as fat. Once you store it as fat, you will not burn it while overloading your systems with carbs at every meal. While individuals without metabolic disorders can lose and maintain weight by following plans other than low carb diets, the weight loss on low carb diet is not caused just by depletion of glycogen, and it is not as dramatic as most people who are unfamiliar with these diets believe. I.e. every individual has his own level of tolerance for carbs, but if I ate 70 % of my diet in carbs I would have had full blown diabetes by now, which is not my goal regardless of weight loss. Eating low fat diet is also a major risk for developing gull bladder stones. So again while there is no number or percentage that is right for everybody, going low carb, or high carb (which means restricting essential fats and protein in your diet) should be done after careful consideration only. If in doubt stick with average 40-30-30 or something around it and fine tune later based on your body response.
~~~~~~~~~~
The first thing you lose on a diet is your sense of humor. ~ Author Unknown
It doesn’t matter what diet you follow… What matters is what makes you follow your diet. ~ Tom Venuto



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