7

votes

So... Macronutrients don't matter anymore?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created October 13, 2011 at 11:42 PM

Here's my understanding of current expert opinions on the subject of macronutrients:

  • KGH -- They don't matter -- you can use either starch or fat for fuel, as long as you stay away from NADs and too much fructose.

  • Robb Wolf -- Match your starch intake level too your activity level; partition carbs PWO.

  • Chris Kresser -- Moderate paleo carbs/fat is best.

  • Stefan Guyenet -- LFHC is the bees knees. You can get the bulk of your calories from starches, as long as you keep fat low.

Am I off-base here? Where do you all stand on this issue?

For some reason I'm worried about adding too much CHO and not reducing my fat intake enough. GCBC was really convincing about CHO and CHD/obesity, but I'm open to the new perspective emerging in the movement. Guyenet's theory seems interesting but lacking -- I like Peter Dobromylskyj's ideas about mitochondria better. Regardless, everything seems up in the wind as of late, short of the prohibition of NADs.

E05b8d2c9ae8a9a92341785f342f131d

(346)

on March 18, 2012
at 05:53 PM

Actually, Chris Kresser says everyone is different and, when it comes to macrobutrients, you need to self-experiment.

83d6a06c93bb3490dbca339cbbb63385

(526)

on October 27, 2011
at 07:30 PM

Meh point akman. Hunger is related to activity level. So the HGs ate more and us more sedentary modern-peeps eat less, but we eat the same things. Is simple, no?

4b8bf8683630d2acfb13303e5f311e71

on October 15, 2011
at 05:55 PM

I guess not the end all, be all. Just viable for health in most people.

4b8bf8683630d2acfb13303e5f311e71

on October 15, 2011
at 05:55 PM

"I am not suggesting that low-fat diets are the ultimate path to health, but I do think they can be compatible with health in most people, if carefully composed.": http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2011/05/clarifications-about-carbohydrate-and.html

4b8bf8683630d2acfb13303e5f311e71

on October 15, 2011
at 05:54 PM

["I am not suggesting that low-fat diets are the ultimate path to health, but I do think they can be compatible with health in most people, if carefully composed."][1] [1]: http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2011/05/clarifications-about-carbohydrate-and.html

84666a86108dee8d11cbbc85b6382083

(2399)

on October 14, 2011
at 09:30 PM

From reading Paul Jaminet I think it depends on the type of infection. Bacterial or fungal. One gets worse with low carb.

368568eb91f1b58d2f52c9c566d331b5

(182)

on October 14, 2011
at 08:42 PM

I'm pretty consistently below 50g/day. 4-5 days/week before I go into the gym I chug a small choc milk+whey powder, so essentially I hit about 70g on those days simply from that 6oz. Powers me through my workout, gets the aminos into the blood faster, yadda yadda.

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on October 14, 2011
at 08:40 PM

Good point akman

4781cf8ae1bfcb558dfb056af17bea94

(4359)

on October 14, 2011
at 05:44 PM

You are wrong on Stephan being particularly low fat.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on October 14, 2011
at 04:55 PM

Hey Mr. Riveted... send me an email please? sherpamelissa at gmail dot com.

66e6b190e62fb3bcf42d4c60801c7bf6

(12407)

on October 14, 2011
at 04:27 PM

i started that again too recently. before i tried to do it low-carb and would get cortisol issues. now i actually cycle carbs as recommended and no issues so far and feel awesome.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on October 14, 2011
at 03:53 PM

As for "earn your protein".....I'd say Travis answers and comments cover protein pretty well.

61a27a8b7ec2264b1821923b271eaf54

(3175)

on October 14, 2011
at 03:52 PM

Along with a 35-40%, 25-30%, and 20-35% ratio, what were the recommendations for daily activity levels? I'll bet not many eating paleo today get the same activity level our paleo anscestors did who ate like this.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on October 14, 2011
at 03:49 PM

Well since the question was were do "you" stand, this is it. Not for weight loss and I have no ill health markers. I greatly prefer the frequency and variety of foods that lead to this particular ratio of macros. So part of it is that I can enjoy what I eat and feel great. Even though I actually do not exercise at high intensity more than 2-3x/week. Eating higher carbs would displace some of my favorite meals.

Medium avatar

(3259)

on October 14, 2011
at 03:29 PM

How do you define "low"?

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18452)

on October 14, 2011
at 02:08 PM

Yah and Bill and Cliff and ROB think I need high starch low fat, even though several people believe I have leaky gut! I wonder if eating sprouted breads when I first went low carb caused a gut issue for me.

35a8b223ae5d863f17a8c9e3a8eed5eb

(571)

on October 14, 2011
at 02:05 PM

But isn't it harder to earn meat in the wilderness than carbs? Why not "earn your protein"? Or maybe "earn your food" is the most accurate whether it comes from protein/ fat or carbs. Asians look pretty slim and they don't do crazy workouts several days a week.

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on October 14, 2011
at 01:48 PM

http://donmatesz.blogspot.com/2011/05/who-said-paleo-diet-was-high-in-fat_28.html

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on October 14, 2011
at 01:45 PM

From the study- "HG CHO consumption ranged widely, from about 35%-65%" "The IOM recommends a CHO range from 45%-65% of total energy, This recommendation would approximate HG total CHO intake" "Reduction of carbohydrates to extremely low levels is not consistent with the HG model" What paleo "experts" are arguing for 22% carbs or less?

7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on October 14, 2011
at 12:48 PM

I think Michael Rose has good suggestions here: what's best for you is a combination of your ancestry and your age. http://55theses.org/2011/06/16/diet-where-your-racial-heritage-is-important/

2c2349bc7af0fedb59a5fe99dac9fae2

(2707)

on October 14, 2011
at 12:46 PM

yeah, Stephan thinks food reward hypothesis is the bees knees :) he thinks humans can thrive on any macronutrient level, but foods with high reward are the problem not carbs or fat. food high in reward cause us to eat more, which causes weight gain. He is fully against Tabues CIH.

66e6b190e62fb3bcf42d4c60801c7bf6

(12407)

on October 14, 2011
at 12:24 PM

Good point, steve. To go even further, genetics probably pay a not insignificant role in what one may do best on.

66e6b190e62fb3bcf42d4c60801c7bf6

(12407)

on October 14, 2011
at 12:21 PM

Many people in the paleosphere make a lot of speculative claims. This area hasn't had a lot of studies where SAD confounders muddies the waters. Having said that, give me kgh or jaminet any day of the week. Their plans are whole food, relatively simple and great results are seen without me being asked to get a shit ton of testing and/or take a cabinet-full of supplements. Ymmv.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19235)

on October 14, 2011
at 09:11 AM

It is still quite important to eat macronutrients or you starve to death :)

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 14, 2011
at 08:16 AM

hence food + micronutrients are the best.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 14, 2011
at 08:16 AM

Paul Jaminet has lot of speculative claims.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 14, 2011
at 08:15 AM

@donat: (pp) http://agris.fao.org/agris-search/search/display.do?f=1987/US/US87256.xml;US8731369 (12 wks) http://www.ajcn.org/content/82/1/41.short (rview) http://www.ajcn.org/content/82/1/1.short

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 14, 2011
at 08:15 AM

@Jeff. There are bunch of studies. Use search FFS: (pp) http://agris.fao.org/agris-search/search/display.do?f=1987/US/US87256.xml;US8731369 (12 wks) http://www.ajcn.org/content/82/1/41.short (rview) http://www.ajcn.org/content/82/1/1.short

Medium avatar

(39831)

on October 14, 2011
at 05:04 AM

I've been doing this experiment for a lot longer than 4 days. Lean meat is best in the form of a trimmed steak. When you hit your target BF%, start eating the fat again. The fat's not bad, but it will be a hurdle if you're cutting.

44c0064c835001351885a6d349a2542f

(279)

on October 14, 2011
at 04:14 AM

Paul Jaminet suggests that protein satiety might be a short term effect and indeed the quote by Meredith talks about a 4 day experiment

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on October 14, 2011
at 02:25 AM

would the term "unprocessed meats" be better than lean meat? I mean, that seems to make people think they can only eat chicken, or maybe just top sirloin or something.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on October 14, 2011
at 02:16 AM

"food is more than macronutrients" +1

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on October 14, 2011
at 01:34 AM

There are many references that say protein is more thermic and more satiating. Here's one and I am sure you can Google others. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111012185626.htm

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on October 14, 2011
at 01:13 AM

I'd agree with that. Set the protein at a good amount, work carbs and fat around that, depending on activity levels.

4b8bf8683630d2acfb13303e5f311e71

on October 14, 2011
at 01:10 AM

I've heard this said about fat too. References?

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on October 14, 2011
at 01:08 AM

Yeah I've been readin SG since I was just a good ol' WAPer and I've never gotten the impression he's down with what the OP says.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on October 14, 2011
at 12:43 AM

Yes, I correspond with Stephan regularly and I have never gotten that impression. He's certainly never expressed alarm at my HFMC diet. I think he generally thinks food is more than macronutrients.

7d64d3988de1b0e493aacf37843c5596

(2861)

on October 13, 2011
at 11:58 PM

I don't think Stephan thinks "LFHC is the bees knees."

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9 Answers

7
Medium avatar

on October 14, 2011
at 12:20 AM

Either way, protein gives the most satiety per unit of energy and has a higher thermic effect. Any effective (and tolerable) fat loss diet should be built primarily around lean meat.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 14, 2011
at 08:16 AM

Paul Jaminet has lot of speculative claims.

4b8bf8683630d2acfb13303e5f311e71

on October 14, 2011
at 01:10 AM

I've heard this said about fat too. References?

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on October 14, 2011
at 02:25 AM

would the term "unprocessed meats" be better than lean meat? I mean, that seems to make people think they can only eat chicken, or maybe just top sirloin or something.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on October 14, 2011
at 01:13 AM

I'd agree with that. Set the protein at a good amount, work carbs and fat around that, depending on activity levels.

44c0064c835001351885a6d349a2542f

(279)

on October 14, 2011
at 04:14 AM

Paul Jaminet suggests that protein satiety might be a short term effect and indeed the quote by Meredith talks about a 4 day experiment

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 14, 2011
at 08:15 AM

@Jeff. There are bunch of studies. Use search FFS: (pp) http://agris.fao.org/agris-search/search/display.do?f=1987/US/US87256.xml;US8731369 (12 wks) http://www.ajcn.org/content/82/1/41.short (rview) http://www.ajcn.org/content/82/1/1.short

Medium avatar

(39831)

on October 14, 2011
at 05:04 AM

I've been doing this experiment for a lot longer than 4 days. Lean meat is best in the form of a trimmed steak. When you hit your target BF%, start eating the fat again. The fat's not bad, but it will be a hurdle if you're cutting.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 14, 2011
at 08:15 AM

@donat: (pp) http://agris.fao.org/agris-search/search/display.do?f=1987/US/US87256.xml;US8731369 (12 wks) http://www.ajcn.org/content/82/1/41.short (rview) http://www.ajcn.org/content/82/1/1.short

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on October 14, 2011
at 01:34 AM

There are many references that say protein is more thermic and more satiating. Here's one and I am sure you can Google others. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111012185626.htm

66e6b190e62fb3bcf42d4c60801c7bf6

(12407)

on October 14, 2011
at 12:21 PM

Many people in the paleosphere make a lot of speculative claims. This area hasn't had a lot of studies where SAD confounders muddies the waters. Having said that, give me kgh or jaminet any day of the week. Their plans are whole food, relatively simple and great results are seen without me being asked to get a shit ton of testing and/or take a cabinet-full of supplements. Ymmv.

7
3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on October 13, 2011
at 11:48 PM

I agree with Robb Wolfe- i.e. earn your carbs. For the most part my diet falls in the Primal/Sisson maintenance category.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on October 14, 2011
at 03:49 PM

Well since the question was were do "you" stand, this is it. Not for weight loss and I have no ill health markers. I greatly prefer the frequency and variety of foods that lead to this particular ratio of macros. So part of it is that I can enjoy what I eat and feel great. Even though I actually do not exercise at high intensity more than 2-3x/week. Eating higher carbs would displace some of my favorite meals.

35a8b223ae5d863f17a8c9e3a8eed5eb

(571)

on October 14, 2011
at 02:05 PM

But isn't it harder to earn meat in the wilderness than carbs? Why not "earn your protein"? Or maybe "earn your food" is the most accurate whether it comes from protein/ fat or carbs. Asians look pretty slim and they don't do crazy workouts several days a week.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on October 14, 2011
at 03:53 PM

As for "earn your protein".....I'd say Travis answers and comments cover protein pretty well.

4
368568eb91f1b58d2f52c9c566d331b5

(182)

on October 14, 2011
at 01:57 PM

N=1

Macronutrients certainly matter to me.

I think it's great that we have a lot of intelligent and passionate people theorizing and challenging the norm. But after years of testing I can say that LC is what works for me. The minute I go off of it I feel like crap and gain weight around my midsection, despite exercise.

368568eb91f1b58d2f52c9c566d331b5

(182)

on October 14, 2011
at 08:42 PM

I'm pretty consistently below 50g/day. 4-5 days/week before I go into the gym I chug a small choc milk+whey powder, so essentially I hit about 70g on those days simply from that 6oz. Powers me through my workout, gets the aminos into the blood faster, yadda yadda.

Medium avatar

(3259)

on October 14, 2011
at 03:29 PM

How do you define "low"?

4
667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on October 14, 2011
at 01:27 PM

On one hand all this talk of macros, carb-insulin-obesity, etc is refreshing to me because I feel like the ship is finally coming back around to the idea that there is no magic here, calories still and have always mattered. Eat too much of anything and you gain weight ??? that weight could be lean mass and/or could be body fat, depending on the hormonal signaling and the mechanical stimuli you???ve subjected your body to.

So along those lines I myself find what the OP describes as KGH???s way of thinking to be the most straight forward and evidence-based.

At the same time I think as a way of thinking and acting the notion of earning your carbohydrates can only be a good thing as it simply serves to keep people recognizing the fact that it???s most likely beneficial to use your body rather than not use your body.

Also, I find this whole discussion refreshing because it???s taking down the widespread notion in the LC crowds that you can just eat as much as you want and you???ll be fine. Caloric deficits and physical activity have never stopped working.

4
Cdee7454bccdc4ac14ec23b9657eb573

on October 14, 2011
at 08:07 AM

Two founders of the modern paleo movement, Melvin Konner and S. Boyd Eaton, in 2010 published their best estimate of macronutrients in the ancestral diet:

??? Carbohydrates, % daily energy: 35-40 ??? Protein, % daily energy: 25-30 ??? Fat, % daily energy: 20-35

They weren't arguing those are the healthiest proportions. But if you're trying to emulate the ancestral diet, shoot for those ratios.

I've see other experts argue a carb proportion as low as 22%.

If you lived 50,000 years ago, you ate what was available in your area. That varied by latitude, rainfall, etc.

-Steve

Reference: Konner, Melvin and Eaton, S. Boyd. Paleolithic Nutrition: Twenty-Five Years Later. Nutrition in Clinical Practice, 25 (2010): 594-602. doi: 10.1177/0884533610385702

7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on October 14, 2011
at 12:48 PM

I think Michael Rose has good suggestions here: what's best for you is a combination of your ancestry and your age. http://55theses.org/2011/06/16/diet-where-your-racial-heritage-is-important/

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on October 14, 2011
at 01:45 PM

From the study- "HG CHO consumption ranged widely, from about 35%-65%" "The IOM recommends a CHO range from 45%-65% of total energy, This recommendation would approximate HG total CHO intake" "Reduction of carbohydrates to extremely low levels is not consistent with the HG model" What paleo "experts" are arguing for 22% carbs or less?

61a27a8b7ec2264b1821923b271eaf54

(3175)

on October 14, 2011
at 03:52 PM

Along with a 35-40%, 25-30%, and 20-35% ratio, what were the recommendations for daily activity levels? I'll bet not many eating paleo today get the same activity level our paleo anscestors did who ate like this.

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on October 14, 2011
at 01:48 PM

http://donmatesz.blogspot.com/2011/05/who-said-paleo-diet-was-high-in-fat_28.html

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on October 14, 2011
at 08:40 PM

Good point akman

66e6b190e62fb3bcf42d4c60801c7bf6

(12407)

on October 14, 2011
at 12:24 PM

Good point, steve. To go even further, genetics probably pay a not insignificant role in what one may do best on.

83d6a06c93bb3490dbca339cbbb63385

(526)

on October 27, 2011
at 07:30 PM

Meh point akman. Hunger is related to activity level. So the HGs ate more and us more sedentary modern-peeps eat less, but we eat the same things. Is simple, no?

4
3eca93d2e56dfcd768197dc5a50944f2

(11697)

on October 14, 2011
at 01:05 AM

People with leaky gut and other gut conditions are better off with Robb Wolf's suggestions. Starch is sugars, and people with a bad gut almost always have the wrong bacteria/yeasts in them thriving on complex carbs. So at least for these dieters -- and I'm one of them -- low sugar/starch is best.

84666a86108dee8d11cbbc85b6382083

(2399)

on October 14, 2011
at 09:30 PM

From reading Paul Jaminet I think it depends on the type of infection. Bacterial or fungal. One gets worse with low carb.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18452)

on October 14, 2011
at 02:08 PM

Yah and Bill and Cliff and ROB think I need high starch low fat, even though several people believe I have leaky gut! I wonder if eating sprouted breads when I first went low carb caused a gut issue for me.

4
Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on October 14, 2011
at 12:10 AM

It depends. I think it's all a grand n=1 experiment!

If you are obese & insulin-resistant and want to lose body fat, then high fat, moderate protein, low carb seems to work well. YMMV.

If you are normal weight and metabolically healthy, then eat enough carbs to feel good. YMMV.

2
Medium avatar

(3259)

on October 14, 2011
at 03:33 PM

I recently started working with a leangains-style approach: consistently high protein, alternating moderate carb (workout days) / low carb (rest days). Feels great but too early to judge impact.

66e6b190e62fb3bcf42d4c60801c7bf6

(12407)

on October 14, 2011
at 04:27 PM

i started that again too recently. before i tried to do it low-carb and would get cortisol issues. now i actually cycle carbs as recommended and no issues so far and feel awesome.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on October 14, 2011
at 04:55 PM

Hey Mr. Riveted... send me an email please? sherpamelissa at gmail dot com.

2
7d64d3988de1b0e493aacf37843c5596

(2861)

on October 14, 2011
at 01:48 AM

I agree with Travis and others about getting your protein right then going from there. It is interesting though that several of the bloggers seem to have independently converged towards 20% carb or 100-150g of carbs. Some see this as a more of a minimum while some might see this as more of a maximum, but it seems to kind of be the sweet spot that most bloggers would not object to. It might be good place to start if you are in doubt about how many carbs work best for yourself.

In the past I have lost a lot of weight on low fat and have lost good amount on low carb. I personally feel better though when the carbs and fat are more balanced.

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