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  • Writer's pictureCecilia Rockford

Macronutrients and energy balance

Updated: Mar 20, 2021

In our body, energy is produced from ALL sources at a time: 15% protein, 25% fat and 60% carbs.

Every single day, every single moment our body takes a part of the energy from different sources. Certainly, the proportions depend on the availability of macronutrients at that moment. 

To understand the scheme of work, we need to know that:

  • Protein does not transform into fat at any circumstances.

  • Carbs can rarely transform into fats.

  • Fats are easily-stored nutrients.

Thus, theoretically we can build our diet on protein only, we will maintain the energy balance and no body fat will be stored.

But it is true in an ideal world, where the protein-only diet won’t cause health problems. Unfortunately, such schemes are not for our bodies.

Everything can be concluded in 2 points:

Carbs aren't usually transforming into the body fat. The process called lipogenesis is possible beyond the following circumstances: there are less than 10% of fats in the diet OR there are more than 700-900 grams of carbs per day (the process will start on the 2nd-3rd day of dieting). In case you are eating more carbs, the more carbs are used for energy supply, while fats remain in the body.  Partly, recommendations to increase the amount of protein in the diet are connected to said above - more proteins are needed to cut the number of carbs and activate the metabolism of fats (the calorie deficit is the crucial part).

BUT! It’s not that easy. Probably, you will start burning more body fat with such a diet, but physical performance will rapidly drop due to the small number of carbs. Results can be surprisingly bad.

In case you are eating more protein, the more protein is used as an energy source, carbs and fats are not used that much.

Fats from food are stored at first and are used as an energy source only when there is a necessity for it (calorie deficit, low amount of carbs). All said above is based on the information from Lyle McDonald "How We Get Fat». Lot’s of interesting information, read it  - it’s worth your time.

If you replace some macronutrients by increasing the certain one, you start getting more energy from this particular macronutrient. L - logic.

But utterly, everything depends on the number of calories. Excess calories - weight gain. Calorie deficit - weight loss, even the diet contains fatter than before. 

No need to seek for the ideal macronutrients proportions. The crucial things are the most obvious ones: a) there should be enough macronutrients; b) diet should be possible to maintain. 

Lyle McDonald created the Ultimate Diet 2.0 meal plan, but it’s too hard to maintain it for a long period. Short term dieting will be nonetheless for beginners because the same results can be obtained with the calorie deficit (maybe a bit longer, but more comfortable). Eating more fats is not a problem at all - you just need a calorie deficit allowing your body to use this fat as an energy source.

Also, it’s not a problem to gain body fat even with 30 grams of fat in a diet. Excess calories  - the way to storing fats.

Thus, you shouldn’t claim macronutrients. There are no good and bad ones. Excess calories, calorie deficit, your situation and “nothing else matters”.

It’s not compulsory to find the formula to count daily fat-carbs-protein rate. You can do the following:

1 week count everything you eat. Don’t change the meal plan, just count:

You will understand the average amount of food you consume;

Monitor your weight. In case of weight increases - you are eating excess calories, you are losing weight - obviously, the deficit is present, the weight is stable - you are maintaining it.

But it can be not that easy if you aren’t consuming enough calories because your body can react to it unpredictable. With such a problem, your aim #1 is not losing weight but return to the normal diet. 

Yummy evening carbs to all of you :)

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