Speaking strictly from a health/longevity standpoint (not aiming for weight loss/gain, don't care)...
Would it be better to get more carbs than necessary or more protein than necessary?
I find that it's pretty difficult to fulfill micronutrient needs on a really low carb AND low protein diet.
So, just hypothetically, consider the following P/C/F ratios:
would it be better to get 12/33/55?
Or maybe better to get 33/12/55?
A little background:
I'm no athlete, but do regular exercises such as intermittent walk/sprint for about 3 miles about 3 times a week after work, usually some random form of exercise on the weekend, and some yoga-ish stretching and body weight strength exercises every morning. Personally, I tend to not do well on VLC and just love all the safe starches and am a big fan of fruit, but don't let that part affect your answer. The goal is to live a long, healthy life, period.
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I just want to say thanks for the lively debate. As usual you guys, with particular thanks to @TheGastronomer, @Matt 11, and @thhq... Oh, and @Robert 13 and @glib... have jabbed enough at one another to elicit some excellent insights and examples.
Overall you guys have brought me comfort with my current approach. My body tells me it's better to have a little more carb than a little more protein. In fact, the way I'm eating I don't actively limit any macros. I strive to eat lots of high quality fats and then eat meats/fish and starch/fruit/veggies to satiety, always mindful of my micros. Without trying I end up very close to 12/33/55 (looks more like 11/33/56)... So, in the end, if I just eat lots of quality fats and fill up on what my body asks for and don't obsess over macros (thanks @Matt 11) I get quite possibly the perfect ratios!
I'm pretty sure 160-180 grams of carbs isn't going to make me fat, pre-diabetic, or significantly impact my health and longevity but I can appreciate that some people have to be more mindful of carbs.
Excess protein seems pointless. Why take in more protein than you need just for it to be turned into an energy source (which isn't particularly efficient)? I say get in the amount of protein that works well in meals and meets your needs and fill up the rest with fat and carbs.
I think you can burn off carbs with exercise/IF with less issues then excess protein, gluconeogenesis from protein has toxic by products like ammonia, whereas if you burn off the carbs quickly then they shouldn't raise insulin too much or have time to cause much glycation. That's my understanding anyway. I'd sooner go a bit higher on carbs then protein, and i'm very intolerant of carbs!
Plus, excess protein means lethargy, some more carbs means energy to do intense exercise.
I also saw in another question that you're not looking to lose any weight, carbs can help you gain some weight but extra protein won't, not efficiently anyway, not in my experience. I eat high fat but looking to gain some weight and am currently slowly upping my carbs.
Not speaking from a standpoint of optimality for long life, I'll pull up this East African paleo diet again.
PCF here is about 25/40/35, but with large seasonal variability. Not necessarily a diet optimized for longevity but correct historically.
What looks most important to me is the % meat, which ranges from 30-70%, and the source of almost all the fat and protein. I'd aim for 50% meat as a goal and fill in the rest with fruit and vegetables.
Most Americans are probably in the 10/50/40 range, with meat less than 10% of calories. Eating the historic diet is very different, and easily defensible as the diet we're evolved to eat.
Stop, stop, stop obsessing over macronutrient ratios! Get enough micronutrients in a reasonable number of calories (i.e. maintenance level).