Macronutrient Percentages - Who Cares?

Discussion in 'Diet, Nutrition and Supplements' started by The13ig13adWolf, May 2, 2006.

  1. The13ig13adWolf

    The13ig13adWolf I win...

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    great read by Erik, thought it was worth dragging over:

    Given the frequency that macro percentages are mentioned, I thought I'd put up some thoughts on them.

    What is the ideal macronutrient percentage of protein, carbs, and fats?

    First and foremost, this is obviously very goal dependent. Meaning, that these numbers would most likely be different whether one’s goal is primarily fat loss or muscle gain. That aside, the idea of looking at macronutrients as a percentage of your total caloric intake is highly overrated. There is no magic or even any great advantage to any specific percentage of protein, carbs, or fat in your diet. By using percentages you’re working on a ‘relative’ scale (relative to your total calories) and there are potential disadvantages to using this approach. For example, 40% of 1500 calories is a lot different than 40% of 2500 calories. This approach fails to take into consideration overall caloric intake, which is affected by a number of different variables – the amount of muscle you carry and whether your dieting for fat loss or more focused on muscle gain for example. So while the percentage is constant, the absolute number of protein, carb, or fat grams is much different, and this is what is important – how much you’re putting in your mouth. Even with what seems like good percentages, you could still be getting too little or too much of any macronutrient. Maybe you’re shooting for 40% protein; assuming 1500 calories, this works out to about 150 grams of protein. Depending on one’s bodyweight, this could be reasonable. However, let’s take that 40% and apply it to a 2500 calorie diet. That same 40% now equates to 250 grams of protein. Something tells me this is likely overkill for most of women - regardless of what someone might tell you. The science does not support the idea of huuuuuuuge protein intakes. In the end, the wisest approach is to focus on how much of each macronutrient you’re eating per pound of bodyweight. You could be eating 40/40/20 every day, but if you're eating 10000 calories a day, it doesn't matter.

    What matters is HOW MUCH you're eating, not the relative amount of one macronutrient to another.
     
  2. Romedoggy

    Romedoggy Member

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    How would you figure the right amount of Fat? Is there a formula out there somewhere? I know protein/carbs are 1gxbody weight...right?
     
  3. Audrey

    Audrey Well-Known Member

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    Protein is 1-1.5g of lb. You generally need more protein when dieting and less when you are bulking.

    Carb intake depends on your goals, training volume, bf%...

    Fat usually acts as a caloric balast. I would make sure to at least get 6-10 grams of fish oil and then add some fats in the form of olive oil, raw nuts, peanut butter, avocado...
     
  4. FitnessModerate

    FitnessModerate Just do it

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    Actually I read that's 1-1.5g per kilogram of bodyweight.
     
  5. smuggie

    smuggie Maureen aka Mo

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    That doesn't pertain to physique athletes.
     
  6. Erik

    Erik Admin

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    So as low as 0.45g/lb? Not likely.
     
  7. Noel Clark

    Noel Clark Senior Member

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    You do see that written ALOT---food pyramid stuff.
     
  8. smuggie

    smuggie Maureen aka Mo

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    The food pyramid is a nutritional travesty. :sad:
     
  9. fitchick1978

    fitchick1978 Member

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    The food pyramid hurts my soul....
     
  10. mermaidontop

    mermaidontop Member

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    but is that bodyweight or LBM, two very different numbers
     
  11. Erik

    Erik Admin

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    1. Is what bodyweightor LBM?

    2. And they're only very different numbers if body fat is high. It's all relative to the individual.
     
  12. mermaidontop

    mermaidontop Member

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    maybe I just don't understand. Say a person is 150lbs and 30% body fat. Using the rule of 1gP/1lb Is it 150g protein or 105 g of protein for the 105lbs of lean body weight. Forgive me if I make no sense,, I'm still learning.
     
  13. Erik

    Erik Admin

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    Technically, you're correct. Protein needs are based on LBM, not TBW. However, unless those two numbers are very far apart (ie. the person is carrying a lot of bodyfat), the difference's aren't going to be that significant.

    In the case of someone carrying 30% bodyfat, the numbers do end up being fairly significant, depending on the weight of the person.

    But then you have the problems with estimating body fat percentage, and therefore LBM. In cases, like these, I usually suggest basing it on a goal or target bodyweight since while it's not going to be as low as the true LBM, it's closer to it than the TBW is. At that point, the differences aren't going to be worth fretting over.

    Add to that, that one could argue for more than 1g/lb on a diet anyway as calories modulate protein requirements, which basically says that protein requirements tend to go up as calories go down (a similar thing can be said for carbohydrates; they modulate protein requirements.).
     
  14. fluteangel

    fluteangel Well-Known Member

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    What about helping someone set up their diet numbers who IS very overweight? For example, someone who is 4'10" 155 lbs? 155g protein is A LOT for that person. How would you go about figuring out how much of each macro they should eat while in a deficit?
     
  15. Blondell

    Blondell Former Postwhore

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    BF%? How much lbm is there?
     
  16. Erik

    Erik Admin

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    In a case like this, since bodyweight results in excessive and needless protein intake I'd use a goal bodyweight to determine protein intake.

    It's not a true LBM, which is technically what protein needs are based on, but it's going to be closer to that figure than using total bodyweight.

    So maybe she has a goal weight of 115. It's closer to her LBM whatever that is, than 155, so base your protein intake off that target weight.
     
  17. fluteangel

    fluteangel Well-Known Member

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    Not sure. I know she's fairly strong and definitely not what I would call out of shape, but has gained all her weight due to her thyroid being non-functioning and has just recently gotten her meds optimized.

    That helps a lot, thanks! I set it at 124 which is close to .8xbw. I don't think she has a particular goal weight, but I'll ask.
     
  18. Erik

    Erik Admin

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    She doesn't need to have a magical goal weight. I'm simply saying a target weight is going to be closer to LBM than TBW is - therefore it gives more appropriate protein intake numbers.
     
  19. IlPirata

    IlPirata Well-Known Member

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    Re overweight friend

    How much did she weigh before she gained weight (before her thyroid problems)? using that number as the goal weight number would probably give a decent protein intake goal.
     
  20. Rachel

    Rachel Member

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    Okay, I just finished reading all the entries in this thread and I need help with determining the macros for a lady who is 5'2", 182 lbs, 41 years of age and cannot workout due to back injury. Where do I start? Is 182 g of protein a good place to start? Obviously she is going on a fat loss.
     

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