Low Carb or High Carb? What Should My Macronutrient Intake Be?

The last few posts we have explored the world of Low-Carb (LC) diets.  We have shown that LC diets can be effective for both disease prevention and weight loss.  However, should everyone be eating a LC diet? Are higher-carb diets inherently bad? What about protein or fat intake? Each of these questions can be properly answered in a full length text book I would title “The Macronutrient Myth” aimed at answering the age old question of what is the proper macronutrient ratio for the optimal diet.

The “Macronutrient Battle”, as I affectionately call it has been raging for decades, and we have seen the trends over the years. Some researchers preach very strict, complicated Ketogenic diets (See Dr. Rosedale), others say protein should dominate your diet (Dr Eades Protein Power Life Plan), while another camp (FDA) boasts the importance of low-fat, high carbohydrate diets. With all of the conflicting ideas, “research” to back it up, and the staunch views people take, the issue can be quite confusing and honestly quite daunting.

This issue has lead me to do some serious investigating, critical analysis of the literature, and reflect upon my own thoughts and opinions to come up with the following conclusion.

There is no single macronutrient profile that applies to each individual. We are each unique individuals with a host of factors that affect our metabolic processes and energy requirements. Furthermore, any “diet” that preachers a strict macronutrient profile fails to understand the complexity of the human body and inter-person variability we all show.  Like the flexibility of our metabolic system, we need to examine each person on a case-by-case basis to properly “assign” a macronutrient profile for an individuals diet.

That being said I do not want to leave you scratching your head. I spent a great deal of time thinking how to best convey a basic approach to this issue and decided a flow chart would be the best way to provide you all with a tool that can give you a general guide to a macronutrient profile based upon a few criteria.  Initially I wanted to include everything from specific diseases, exact exercise programs, certain metabolic issues, but the diagram became” unreadably” complicated. The following diagram is by no means exhaustive and will not apply to every single individual, I tried to take a more general (30,000 ft view) and I feel like it may give you a little better guidance than trying to break down 50 different “case studies”.

For clarification, I would argue that you “qualify” as metabolically deranged if you have one or more of the following “conditions”: Type 2 diabetes, Insulin Resistance, Glucose Intolerance, “Carb Intolerant”, Central Obesity (excess body fat stored primarily in the abdomen), Low HDL, and High Triglycerides

Click on Image for a Full Size Copy

Thank you all for continuing to read my posts and listen to the Podcast.  I really appreciate all the wonderful comments and feedback. If you have any specific topics for future posts you would like to see covered let me know and I would be happy to write on them! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Tune in next week on the Podcast for more Low-Carb vs. High-Carb information and next weeks post. I am excited to spend some solid time over break putting together an excellent “nerdy” post!

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