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How do you define high, moderate, and low in terms of macronutrients consumed?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created September 19, 2010 at 6:53 PM

This is something that I have fnd confusing the whole time I have been interested in nutrition. How does one define high, moderate, or low of any of the three main macronutrients? Is this based on percentage of calories consumed or based on grams consumed or something I haven't heard of?

Specifically I interested in following a "moderate carb" diet to support hiit an I also want to make sure that I get enough, but not too much (defined somehow?) of protein

55c57fad20d1b7ff54c146680b9173f7

(30)

on September 23, 2010
at 05:57 PM

Eva : True, individual differences can be very large. Those who chose to eat a low-carb diet may need to experiment with the ratios of macronutrients to find their own optimal level.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on September 23, 2010
at 02:40 AM

You said everything I wanted to say =)

84666a86108dee8d11cbbc85b6382083

(2399)

on September 22, 2010
at 08:15 AM

Very low carb and high fat ?

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on September 22, 2010
at 02:28 AM

I have run into a lot of lowcarbers who have felt ill and tired on very low carb diets. PLus it's hard not to eat a bit of carb if you eat a varied diet. I'd say for health purposes, zero probably is not a healthy number for some people and perhaps even a lot of people.

F8fa4b0809d3b74fcf0361c0d53b60c1

(911)

on September 21, 2010
at 06:35 AM

This sounds like a question about fueling your workouts, not macronutrient ratio definitions. Play around with different carb intakes, and glucose or sucrose, to see what works best for you. I personally do strength training and sprint intervals, and eat high fat with very occasional glycogen replenishment from tubers.

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4 Answers

2
100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on September 19, 2010
at 08:54 PM

It's usually based on calories, but not always, and it depends on your base assumptions.

For example, I think the USDA may consider a diet to be high in fat if it is more than 25% calories from fat, whereas in the paleosphere, we would usually not call it high fat until it is at least 80% fat.

With carbohydrates someone well versed in low-carbohydrate diets would probably say very low < 30g, low < 75g, high > 150g, but these numbers are going to vary depending on the source. Certainly a lot of studies get this horribly wrong, adding to the confusion.

Similarly, with protein it varies according to the source, but the range of acceptable protein intake is more narrow across philosophies. Most people would probably say adequate protein is in the 20-30% range, or give one of many formulas like 1g/kg body weight/day.

This brings us to the common pet peeve of people calling a low-carb diet a high-protein diet, which it isn't. It's a high-fat diet (unless you are a low-carber, in which case it wouldn't be high until you got to about 80%).

Confused yet? The media sure are.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on September 23, 2010
at 02:40 AM

You said everything I wanted to say =)

0
55c57fad20d1b7ff54c146680b9173f7

on September 20, 2010
at 06:02 PM

Most of the measurements that you find are percentage-based, however there are some important limits that body has concerning some nutrients.

PROTEIN: According to the World Health Organization, the average adult person has a minimum for protein of 0,8 grams / Kg bodyweight. This is to maintain good health. It is possible to go lower (when starving for example) but then the body will start to break down the muscles of the body to feed itself.

CARBOHYDRATES : The limit on carbohydrates is in reality zero, as your body is able, through gluconeogenesis, to produce glucose by itself. The limit that I most often seen concerning carbs relates to how much your brain uses. Most agreed that your brain will use about 100 grams of glucose a day. Therefore most will recommend a slightly higher daily average. Most recommendations I've seen at between 130g to 150g of carbs a day.

I seem to recall a post by Dr. Michael Eades that he didn't consider it a low-carb diet unless you are consuming less than 100g a day, in order to wean your brain off of carbs and get it to use ketones instead. (Note, i can't find the particular post I remember, so I may be wrong about my source)

FATS : I haven't seen any research that says exactly how much fat you need every, only that some fats are essential for you.

A rough guide in this case is the recommendations of Dean Ornish, a well-known low-fat guru. He recommends "15 to 20 percent protein and 70 to 75 percent carbohydrates" which leaves between 5% and 15% available to fat. Certainly not high fat.

As for training HIIT and moderate carb, you may want to stick to a paleo-diet n general (big surprise, huh =) ) and consuming extra carbs before and after training. Before to give you the extra energy for the intense training and after to help with hydration and hypertrophy.

84666a86108dee8d11cbbc85b6382083

(2399)

on September 22, 2010
at 08:15 AM

Very low carb and high fat ?

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on September 22, 2010
at 02:28 AM

I have run into a lot of lowcarbers who have felt ill and tired on very low carb diets. PLus it's hard not to eat a bit of carb if you eat a varied diet. I'd say for health purposes, zero probably is not a healthy number for some people and perhaps even a lot of people.

55c57fad20d1b7ff54c146680b9173f7

(30)

on September 23, 2010
at 05:57 PM

Eva : True, individual differences can be very large. Those who chose to eat a low-carb diet may need to experiment with the ratios of macronutrients to find their own optimal level.

0
62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on September 20, 2010
at 03:11 AM

-Paleos tend to use number of grams consumed per day for carbs.
-Protein is often calculated either by grams consumed per body weight per day. Or by percentage of calories. -Fat is usually calculated in paleo by percentage of calories.

I suspect this reflects the overall paleo attitude that too much carbs is potentially the most dangerous due to dangers of high blood sugar, high insulin, weight gain, and long term damage. And so carb intake is watched more strictly. Too much protein might be the second most dangerous because too much protein and not enough fat can cause 'rabbit fever' and because it can still create somewhat of an insulin rise, which could be bad for those with blood sugar issues. Whereas many paleos have increasingly felt that healthy types of fat are probably the least dangerous food in the diet. The biggest danger there seems to be some people who have difficulty digesting too much fat. But those people usually figure this out in short order and learn their limits.

0
667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on September 19, 2010
at 10:54 PM

I would bet that most people would call anything under 30grams per day a low amount of carbohydrate.

I would also bet that most people would call anything over 2grams per day per pound of body weight a high amount of protein.

Fat I myself have never measured, and i get the feeling that most people if anything are more particular about their carbs and protein and then just fill in the rest with fat grams.

As you can see, i myself default to grams. I have never counted grams of protein or grams of fat i consume in a day. I do definitely watch, and many times loosely calculate, the grams of carbohydrates i consume daily.

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