Ask the Dietitian: What’s the Best Carb, Protein and Fat Breakdown for Weight Loss?

Ask the Dietitian: What’s the Best Carb, Protein and Fat Breakdown for Weight Loss?

Elle Penner, MPH, RD
by Elle Penner, MPH, RD
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Ask the Dietitian: What’s the Best Carb, Protein and Fat Breakdown for Weight Loss?

Between the different diet trends and conflicting research findings, it seems we’re more confused than ever about what and how much to eat, particularly when it comes to the three key macronutrients: protein, carbohydrates and fat. While there’s no one magic combination that will make the pounds melt off, you can optimize your diet for weight loss by adjusting the composition of your calories.


When it comes to choosing what to eat more of and what to cut back on for weight loss, consider first what you want to achieve. The goal of losing weight is to reduce fat stores while preserving, or even adding, lean tissue — what we refer to as muscle.

Carbohydrates are an important source of fuel for our muscles during exercise and are the only source of energy for our brain and red blood cells. Fat is equally important, playing major roles in everything from brain function to cell structure, but if you’re trying to lose weight, it may not hurt to trade some carbohydrates and/or fat calories for a boost in protein. Calorie for calorie, protein has the most metabolic benefits for weight loss: it increases satiety, stimulates energy expenditure and preserves muscle, which unfortunately is used for energy along with fat during weight loss.


For most, it is safe to adjust carbohydrate, protein and fat consumption to optimize the diet for weight loss. You may find it beneficial to trade a percentage of your calories from carbohydrates or even fat, for protein calories.

As a jumping off point, let’s review the current recommendations for carbohydrates, protein and fat, as well as MyFitnessPal’s default goals for these nutrients:


The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends eating within the following ranges:

  • Carbohydrates: 45–65% of calories
  • Fat: 25–35% of calories
  • Protein: 10–30% of calories

Also worth mentioning here is the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for carbohydrates, which is 130 grams per day. This number is based upon the amount of carbohydrates (sugars and starches) required to fuel an adult’s brain, red blood cells and central nervous system. This is important because if we do not get enough carbohydrates from our diet, the body will break down protein (which it can turn into glucose) to maintain blood sugar levels and fuel the brain and red blood cells.


MyFitnessPal’s current default goals distribute calories as follows: 50% from carbohydrates, 20% from protein and 30% from fat.

To help you visualize some modest modifications, here’s a table summarizing a couple of options for safely cutting back on calories from carbohydrates and fat while increasing protein intake to optimize the diet for weight loss:

For those primarily interested in cutting calories from carbohydrates, a 1,200-calorie diet with 45% of calories from carbohydrates would provide 135 grams of carbohydrates, thus meeting the RDA of 130 grams. Go below that and it becomes incredibly difficult to hit your daily fiber goal (which also helps with satiety) and you may feel more sluggish during workouts. Hypothetically speaking, a 1,300-calorie diet with as few as 40% calories from carbohydrates (below the recommended minimum) would still meet the RDA for carbohydrates.

If you’re currently using MyFitnessPal’s default goals and want to trade some carb calories for protein, the 45:25 carbohydrate-to-protein ratio may be a good place to start.


While there’s no one magic ratio for everyone, you may find that making some modest adjustments to macronutrient intake can help your long-term weight loss efforts. Feel free to experiment but remember: The quality of the protein, fat and carbs you eat are just as important as the quantity. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you adjust your macros:

1. When it comes to carbohydrates, the more complex the better. Complex carbohydrates like vegetables and whole grains, contain fiber which has a beneficial impact both on satiety and blood sugar. Put those on your plate instead of highly refined or simple carbohydrates and sugary treats. The Essential Guide to Carbs offers some healthy options.

2. Lean protein offers muscle-sparing benefits with very few calories from fat. Check out the Essential Guide to Protein for information on plant-based protein sources as well as lean cuts of meat, poultry and fish to stock up on.

3. Fats have many benefits ranging from satiety to brain health–especially those rich in omega-3s. Skim over the Essential Guide to Fat if you’re looking for some heart-healthy options.

Note: Modest changes in macronutrient intake can be beneficial for weight loss; however, these tweaks may not be appropriate for everyone, particularly those with diabetes, kidney disease or other diseases affected by diet composition. As always, it’s best to check with a registered dietitian or doctor before making these changes, particularly if you have medical concerns.

About the Author

Elle Penner, MPH, RD
Elle Penner, MPH, RD

Elle is a nutrition and wellness writer, recipe developer, blogger and nutrition consultant whose favorite things include her camera, carbs and quality time with her toddler. For more from this busy mama, check out Elle’s lifestyle blog or connect with her on Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook.


153 responses to “Ask the Dietitian: What’s the Best Carb, Protein and Fat Breakdown for Weight Loss?”

  1. Avatar Ron says:

    Articles like this are the reason why people are confused about food and weight loss! Fat keeps you full, carbs suck and spike your blood sugar, and protein maintains muscle mass.

    • Avatar Ghost Poop Johnson says:

      Comments like this are the reason people are confused. Eat less calories than you burn and you’ll lose weight. If you start to lack energy make sure you’re getting enough protein and don’t let some complex carbs scare you.

      • Avatar Ron says:

        Clearly, except all calories are not created equal. I’ve lost 150lbs (from 400-240s) doing low carb, high fat, my blood work is excellent, and I didn’t start exercising until this month. AND IT WAS EASY. Keep drinking the kool-aid and eating fruit, I’ll keep eating bacon and loving every minute of life.

        • Avatar MMH says:

          Except the thing is, after years of low/no carb fads and crazes, we in the medical field have noticed a direct correlation to low/no carbs resulting in endocrine system shutdown…which means after time (even with great successes) people start to gain gain gain when their hormones begin malfunctioning because of a lack of (some) smart carbs.

          Not saying that the numbers in this article are right…the carb percentages are way too high, unless you’re a fairly hardcore exerciser. But sustained low/no carb diets are just as detrimental, if not worse, in the long run. I speak from personal experience (developed Celiac’s disease and severe nut allergies, so going low/no carb was really just easier), and professional experience (being an RN working in wellness, antiaging, and hormone replacement therapy). We’re seeing people younger and younger with major hormone deficiencies, almost always with a low/no carb diet precursor.

          I find that those who generally do a high (good) fat, high protein, moderate carb diet do quite well, particularly if they follow one simple rule…never mix your starches (rice, potatoes, oatmeal, etc) and fats together in the same meal. When they are combined, our bodies can’t handle it, and start to sock away fat into our “abnormal fat” storages instead of burning it for fuel.

          Just some friendly input to help people avoid the mistakes of MANY others! Congrats on your wonderful achievements:)

          • Avatar Laura says:

            What percentages would you recommend?

          • Avatar MarkO says:

            Can’t cut all carbs. Just most of them. I try to get mine from high-nutrient sources, not from grains, or esp. processed grains. I’m looking at roughly 70/25/5 Protein/good fats/carbs for weight loss, then when it’s gone, doing a more balanced approach for sustainability. Once I’ve settled into my goal weight for 3 or so years to get acclimated, then I can be a bit more adventurous. I listen to my endocrinologist and dietician, so I can hopefully avoid endocrine issues from long-term low-carb dieting.

          • Avatar MMH says:

            That’s good you’re being so proactive…and always listen to your body as well. It can often times tell you more than any “diet” or practitioner.

            Good luck!:)

        • Avatar Chucky says:

          Going from 400, you simply had lots of excess weight to lose. Good for you

      • Avatar fateater says:

        I have done this! I have done this and lost very little weight. It was never a permanent solution. Like Ron said not all calories are created equal. I refuse to starve myself when there is another option that works better for me.

      • Avatar Bruce Spencer says:

        Eat a calorie deficient and experience hunger, fatigue, and potential muscle loss with your fat loss. Or Eat like humans were meant to eat and experience being full, having energy, and not losing muscle. 40% of your calories from any form of carbs is too much…

        • Avatar Jack Taylor says:

          what do you mean like humans were meant to eat? Which humans, from what region, from what era?

        • Avatar MarkO says:

          This is great for maintenance. Weight loss requires a calorie deficit. Weight gain means too many calories coming in. Be full when you’re at your healthy weight. Suffer for it if you want to lose weight.

    • Avatar fateater says:

      ” Carbohydrates are an important source of fuel for our muscles during exercise and are the only source of energy for our brain ” This statement is actually untrue. Carbohydrates are by choice the primary fuel for the brain. However, that is not because our brain needs carbohydrates to function. It is because it takes our bodies the least effort to convert carbohydrates to energy. On the other hand it isn’t the most efficient way to fuel our bodies or brain. Use alcohol that is consumed as an example. When we consume alcohol, carbs, fat even at the same time our bodies will chose to process the alcohol for energy first, then the carbs, then the fat. Just because our body will process alcohol first, because it is the easiest to process, doesn’t mean it is the healthiest for us. I agree with Ron that my body, my insulin resistant body, functions better when I limit my carbohydrate intake and rely on protein and fat as my primary source of fuel. I have less blood sugar spikes and crashes, the fog that used to devour my brain is gone, the energy that I had as a teen is returning, and my figure is returning to a normal state. All the while my blood tests are coming back better and better. I am not alone in this either.

  2. Avatar jennimaus says:

    I was 15-20 pounds overweight in college and dieted by restricting my calories to 1400 per day, eating basically the same ratio outlined in the article – oh, and I worked out an hour 5 days a week. I lost a whopping 4 pounds in 2 months and then I plateaued. For 10 years. I finally learned at age 38, when I’d gained 30 pounds in 2 years that carbs and sugars, like whole grains and fruit, were not my friends. On a low carb diet (40g or less per day), eating greens, full fat dressing and juicy steak,15 pounds melted off in 1 month. And I didn’t even count calories or exercise that much. I felt so amazing and energized, that I began weight training and now, in my 40’s my body is lean and stronger than ever. There is something flawed about these dietary guidelines our govt. keeps pushing on us. Our bodyies are different and what works for some doesn’t work for others. Listen to your body and experiment with alternatives. It was worth it for me.

    • Avatar Rachel Moore Hendrickson says:

      Thank you for posting this comment! I am 37, turning 38 this year. I am laying what I can tolerate and grains are one of them, gluten allergy. I feel encouraged by this post and sincerely thank you!

    • Avatar beverlyp says:

      This sounds just like me. Been trying to loose the same 15-20 pounds over and over again with no success. Working out 5 days a week, being very active and not seeing any change. I am now 51 and am just learning about this way of eating. How much protein and fat were you eating each day? I know not everyone is the same but feel this is a good starting point and can make changes from there. Any advice and guidance would be so helpful and appreciated!

      • Avatar Valeria says:

        Drink plenty of water. Cut out pasta, bread, and soda (if you drink it). Go for green veggies and lean protein: egg, fish, chicken, lean beef (occasionally). If you’re a fast food junkie, cut the habit. You’ll want to focus on eating real food. Treat yourself when you want to, but always in moderation.

      • wow help im 5.1 and right now i lost 16 pouds in 2month but i want to loose 100 please any tips i weight 233 right now

        • Avatar MMinLamesa says:

          Quit eating simple carbs, fast foods and soda. Cut off the alcohol too.

          Someone above said protein and complex carbs. Period.

          Hit the gym every other day and lift weights, maybe a little CV.

      • Avatar Brian says:

        Try a whole 30 meal plan. You easily get the meals at Platejoy and I have the food delivered to my house by Instacart. I don’t like to go to the grocery because I buy things ‘off list’ which is wha they want but you don’t. Eat that eating plan, lift weights 3 days, and get your walking in, and you will loose the weight. I’m 45, but my dad is 79. He started this plan around 65, lost weight and is in great shape. Also controls his sugar levels.

    • Avatar Lori says:

      Sounds like me too but I’m much older and I get so discouraged.

    • Avatar David Davis says:

      I think the Government pushes carbs because of all the grain we grow in this country. Grain causes inflammation. Certainly 65% of your diet would be overkill. I still have grains because, I can’t stay away from pizza but 90% of the time, I’m fine sticking to Fish, Chicken, Steak, Eggs, Cheese, Bacon, Protein Shakes & Full Fat Cream and Butter with Vegetables (Corn is a grain)

      • Avatar Ron Cowell says:

        In people who do not have celiac disease, grains do not cause inflammation or damage the gut – if they are consumed in whole or cracked form.

    • Avatar Bree says:

      Thanks for posting that. After reading the article I felt a little depressed about having to eat carbs as I know I get NOWHERE when I do. Piles of veggies, and little fruit (such as blueberries) and lean chicken and fish is the only system that works for me. A couple years ago I lost 30 kg this way (coupled with an hour of cardio 5 days per week) and reached my goal weight in 6 months. For the first time in my life I felt free from binging and craving and the sugar roller coaster. I was loaded with energy and only felt the urge to eat when I had actual hunger pains. When I balance diet with some breads, rice, pasta, it’s like a slow torture of waiting for feed time until I could eat again. If you have a lot to lose, I find the only way is to learn to put the food obsession away completely and forget about food until your body signals you. Cutting grains and sugars, and minimising fruit, did that for me.

    • Avatar Shawn says:

      I actually find it hard to believe that you only lost about 0.5 pounds/week and then nothing by eating 1400 calories a day (and also working out). Granted I don’t know your actual basal metabolic rate/weight but I suspect you may not have been counting your calories/servings/serving sizes completely accurately.

    • Avatar MisterE says:

      1400 calories per day isn’t enough… probably slowed your metabolism to a grinding halt.
      What kind of workouts? High intensity metabolic conditioning circuits are amazing… you keep burning extra calories for 72hrs after. So if you do that 2-3 days on, 1 day off, it’s hard NOT to lose weight.
      You really need to feed your muscles, and use resistance training and/or functional bodyweight exercises, rather than just a whole bunch of cardio (which only burns calories WHILE you’re doing it). I think the problem is people just want to get skinny and small, which is hard to do because what really raises your metabolism is muscles. Starvation dieting doesn’t work (which is really what 1400 calories/day is)

      • Avatar kdracco says:

        Everything you said doesn’t change the fact that refined carbohydrates and sugars don’t help! And the majority of people don’t know what you and I know about weight loss. It is extremely hard for certain body types to lose weight. People have been conditioned to eat wrong and eat trash for a lifetime. It’s easy for you because you’re already thin and know how to stay thin. Maybe you were overweight at a time and now you’re not and have forgotten how it’s difficult for some people. I myself am not overweight, but after helping dozens and dozens of people get thin I’ve noticed how it’s difficult for most to lose weight. Most people have no idea and are more confused then ever on what they should eat to lose weight.

        • Avatar iris mena says:

          please help me im 33 5.1 and weight 233 i have struglling but eating every 3 hours has make me loose 16 pounds so far in 2 months but any suggestion please tomake this happend sooner i want to loose onother 100 pounds

          • Avatar Richard Leger says:

            It sounds like you are already doing really well. I think you are expecting too many results in such a short amount of time. I was overweight by 125 lbs and have been working really hard for almost 4 years now. At this point I have lost 80 lbs which means I have only lost 20 lbs per year. But I’m fine with that because the more time goes on the better I feel and the more time I have to get those great compliments from other people that really keep you going. I lost 100 lbs before but much quicker and I forgot how hard it was and gained all the weight back plus more. Just take your time and appreciate every moment you see that scale drop even 1 lb. Don’t be so hard on yourself.

          • Avatar Some rando ex-infantry guy says:

            The real secret here is to tell you that weight does not matter. Fitness matters. Fuck the scale, it won’t tell you what you need to know, and it isn’t what’s going to make you feel better being alive. It is about your health, not about some number. Fat is less dense then muscle is, and muscle also boosts metabolic rates by being massive calorie sinks. Ignore the scale, use the mirror. Sculpt yourself into what you want to see. Pick a thing you don’t like, and ask someone at a gym how to make it better. And also understand that, most of the real effective ways to lose fat require fairly high levels of fitness to even attempt. Every journey happens one step at a time.

          • Avatar Alexandra Miller says:

            This is a dramatic weight loss. Do not try to lose faster, that could be dangerous. Slow sustainable loss is what you want. You didn’t get here overnight, there won’t be an overnight fix. Keep up your effort. It sounds like you are on the right track. You can add walking or cycling for exercise, but don’t put yourself in a dangerous calorie deficit

      • Avatar Julia says:

        I would agree that 1400 calories is probably too low with a high level of activity. Your body needs fuel so you burn fat while preserving muscle.

    • Avatar Phillydog says:

      our bodies are not that different. That seems to be the excuse we use when we cannot take off weight.

      • Avatar Alexandra Miller says:

        Bodies can be extremely different. Different people thrive on drastically different diets. If the recommended average total calories per day can be way off for individuals, why would we think the best ratios would be the same for everyone.

        • Avatar Phillydog says:

          sorry but all our bodies work on the same law of energy in minus energy out. It’s basic physics. Whether it is protein, carbs or fat, calories in still equal calories out. The only thing you must remember is your bodies reaction (ie cravings or not) to various types of foods. If what you said was true, how do you account for how come some cultures do NOT have an obesity epidemic?

          • Avatar Alexandra Miller says:

            I’m having trouble understanding your last sentence. If what I said (about different people thriving on different diets?) is true, then that is one possible reason that some cultures don’t have obesity epidemics.
            But I may be missing your point.

            My point is simply that people are different, and aren’t all making excuses.

            Yes, the laws of physics and energy conservation apply to us all. But the formulas do not account for all the variations in biology of individuals. Our individual heat rates vary, as some of us are more efficient than others. The recommendations are for the average person.

            If your experience aligns with the “normal” then that is fine. But it does not mean that everyone else does. The baseline daily calorie recommendations to maintain my weight for my gender and weight are off by over 30%.
            We do have to listen to our own bodies and not assume the same responses to the same diet for everyone.

          • Avatar Phillydog says:

            I’ll agree I wasn’t very clear. Of course you and I differ on caloric needs. I think much of the problem with weight gain is people let 10 pounds slip by…then another 5 per year and pretty soon we are overweight. Stretch pants make it too easy. My mother used to weigh herself every other day or so. I have started doing the same. If I am up a couple pounds, I cut back, add more fruit for a day or two.

    • Avatar iris mena says:

      wow help im 5.1 and right now i lost 16 pouds in 2month but i want to loose 100 please any tips i weight 233 right now

    • Avatar Brian says:

      Same for me. I’m 45 now. Couldn’t loose weight eating less and doing p90x3. Started eating a Whole 30 diet for the 30 days lost about 12 lbs in 30 days and I maintain with whole 30 meals as often as I can find them. Those meals are about what you describe. Its not as great having coffee with no cream or sugar, but you do get used it and its better then the feeling of being over weight. It was surprisingly easy, yes easy to loose the weight. I never counted calories, I thought I was eating way to much food because I was eating all the time and I was loosing weight. Oh and I eat fruit. Yes I said that, I eat fruit almost every morning, and my sugar counts are great. Every person in my family has some sugar/diabetes issue except me, even my younger brother.

  3. Avatar Johalsun says:

    I have been trying to lose fat since October 2014 and the number of carbs mentioned in the article are way to high. For me I’ve kept my carbs to 50 to 70 grams per day depending on whether I am working out or not. One day a week I do go over 100 grams. This has produced steady fat loss results

  4. Avatar Richard says:

    I’d be interested to see any science that supports that assertion about the RDA for carbohydrates.

    Ketones happily pass the blood brain barrier, and satisfactorily fuel the brain (in some cases more efficiently than glucose). For cells which can only metabolize glucose (red blood cells, some nerve cells and some in the retina) – the liver can create plenty of endogenous glucose from metabolic waste products like the glycerol backbone from unpacking triglycerides, and with sufficient modest amount of dietary protein the body does not need to catabolise skeletal muscles to fuel sufficient gluconeogenesis.

  5. Avatar Mellafat says:

    I’ve lost 98 lbs so far in 3 1/2 years using 1500/day as my guidlinre; following Fitness Pal basic ratios; My doctors liked the slow weight loss albeit I’ve gone thru 3 wardrobes! Thanks Fitness Pal, 3 more lbs toll goal weight and maintenance!

  6. Avatar Danielle says:

    The Brain was designed to use glucose not ketones. If carb intake is inadequate then the brain has to alter its fuel source. Low carb diets have side effects: dehydration,
    Electrolyte imbalances, micronutrient deficiencies, higher risk of kidney stones.
    Also bad breath!!!! Should not be followed if you have diabetes.

    • Avatar Richard says:

      After 8 months of low carb high fat & moderate protein; My HbA1C (a marker for glucose control over the previous 3 months) went from 11.2% to 5.2% . Triglycerides from over 1000 to 100. BP from 140/110 to 115/75. HDL from 30 to 37 – meh well that is not as spectacular but the other results show a clear reversal of metabolic syndrome.

      If my appetite functions to keep my body in a healthy weight range for the first time since puberty then I’ll put up with a little halitosis. But after a month the body mostly makes beta-hydroxybutyrate rather than acetone so if you get bad breath (which I didn’t) it goes away. Dehydration and electrolyte imbalance are just in the first week as you draw down your glycogen stores – and can be resolved easily by drinking broth. Kidney stones aren’t caused by a low-carb diet.

      • Avatar Ron says:

        Wholeheartedly agree with you. Danielle clearly does not know what she is talking about. The brain was designed to use Ketones, not Glucose, just look at our evolution as a species. Cavemen ate animal protein, fish, vegetables, and the occasional fruit. During that time period our brains rapidly increased in size while we evolved. I wonder why….

        • Avatar fateater says:

          This is also part of the reason why babies are born in a ketosis state. Carbohydrates are the one nutrient that our body does not need. I personally do not have bad breath, I have a sweet taste in my mouth from the ketones and my breath smells like sweet milk. The misnomer about electrolyte imbalances actually doesn’t take into account that if you eat properly you are rebalancing electrolytes, and if you eat properly you are correcting micronutrient deficiencies. Danielle’s assumption is based on the everyday junk diet, or the I eat bacon and fat all day everyday idea. This IS NOT TRUE. My entire family eats healthier and happier, we are more satisfied, sleep better, are more active, feel better and function better by eliminating all of the over-pushed carbohydrate laden foods that are marketed to everyone. We eat fresh vegetables and meats, we eat small amounts of fruit, we eat nuts. Yes we eat bacon, nitrate and sugar free, but it is still bacon. Eating this way we are satisfied with a normal serving of food at each meal. I can actually make it from breakfast to lunch without wanting to chew my own fingers off. My kids eat this way too, they get more fruit than me, but they participate in kickboxing and dance. Their energy level is through the roof. They are learning to make better choices everyday because I make better choices.

          All the while of eating this way my caloric intake has dramatically decreased. I don’t chose to eat only 1300-1400 calories a day, but I am really satisfied by my food choices and this is just the way it works out.

          And to point out that ‘should not be followed if you have diabetes”…seriously, my parents are BOTH type II diabetics. The only way that they keep from having to inject insulin daily is by limiting their carb intake.

          • Avatar Danielle says:

            How much carb are you consuming? The reason you feel better is because you are consuming less calories and losing weight.
            There’s a difference between “limiting” carb intake and a very low carb diet. For type 2 diabetes, exercise and weight loss are just as important in helping to control blood sugars (if not more important) than simply limiting carbs. Being overweight or obese will make it harder to manage blood sugars. Stating that our bodies do not need carbohydrates is completely false. Carbs are needed for basic metabolic function as well as glycogen stores for exercise. You yourself mentioned you eat fruit, vegetables and nuts. You are consuming carbs. It is also true that plant based diets lower risk of heart disease and cancer.
            If you are on a very low carb diet, it is very difficult to meet micronutrient needs without supplementation.

          • Avatar Jade says:

            WelI am on a 20g of carbs per day or less. I went from 280 prediabetic with a fatty liver to 142 completely healthy. Still got some to lose but nearly 140lbs in less than 2 years is nothing to look past. I did the diet my dietitian called for I lost 10 and than gain 15lbs. I eat more veggies than most of my friends and family. 20g is more than enough needed. If you eat right. Thing is I know more about what goes in my body now, how to react to cravings based on what it is telling me it needs. No one can get me to drink the koolaid again.

          • Avatar brenae says:

            I would like to know more about how you do 20g carbs daily. Like what carbs did you have today for example. Just trying to get an idea how it looks. Thanks

          • Avatar Jade says:

            3 cups of fresh baby spinach (3.3 g total carbs)
            1 cup of cucumber slices (3.78g carbs)
            1/2 cup of green beans ( 4.89g carbs)
            1 cup of alfalfa sprouts (1.25g carbs)
            And homemade kimchi. Oh 1 g from 2 tbsp of hwc, and <1g from pickle. (for tuna salad)

          • Avatar Voltaic Shock says:

            I would assume they eat carbs with fiber which can help negate the carbs and give you net carbs

          • Avatar Rick Jackson says:

            Exactly… low carb only cares about ‘net carb’ numbers.

          • Avatar Rick Jackson says:

            You almost have to take supplement if you want to meet 100% of every micro-nutrient. Otherwise you have to consume to much of any one thing, therefore not consuming enough of something else.

        • Avatar Danielle says:

          Are you comparing yourself to a caveman? Thankfully our brains learned to use glucose— as I recall, I don’t think there was much going on in that big brain of theirs!

          • Avatar Ron says:

            Only the evolution and development of our species, nothing major. Right? You are hopeless.

          • Avatar fateater says:

            Actually Danielle, you should correct your timeline then. There is a process called gluconeogenesis which is the process by which our bodies generate glucose from non-carbohydrate carbon substrates. It is by this process that the ‘caveman’ would have converted the non-carbohydrates that they consumed to glucose for fuel. Which means that our brains, their caveman brains, already knew how to use glucose. To be honest, humanity today would know nothing if it were thrown upon the conditions that the cavemen faced. Their evolution resulted in current humanity.

    • Avatar fiona says:

      I am in the middle of reading a book recommended by diabetes uk and written by an expert on diabetes and the endocrine system – Dr David Cavan – he recommends low carb (100g a day) for type 2 diabetics.

      • Avatar shannon n says:

        I have also found low carb diets work extremely well for loosing weight. I believe most of those describing the ultra low carb (100 grams a day – 20g per meal or less) are still in the process of loosing excess weight. This ultra low carb approach forces the body to burn excess fat stores for energy instead of using calories consumed. Obviously you need to eat less or you’ll never loose weight. But by eating 3 small meals & 2 snacks including healthy fats, protein, and veggies spread through the day, you don’t feel hungry. You do need to increase fiber and drink lots of water, possibly even add pickles/broth for salt, to keep from becoming dehydrated and getting constipated, but without carbs your blood sugar evens out and you feel less hungry. However, once you’ve lost all the excess fat you will need to increase your calories and add back complex carbohydrates in the form of legumes, whole grains, and fruits. However, most people don’t need many added carbs and need to be careful not to start back on the carb roller coaster again. If you were an athlete running marathons or extreme exercise regimine you would need a diet to provide your muscles the quick energy appropriate fuel them. But people who are overweight and struggling to loose the stored fat (I am one of them), don’t need to worry about not having adequate carbs to fuel the body!

        • Avatar RenegadeRN says:

          Ultra low carb is 20 grams per DAY, not per meal! 100 grams of carb per DAY is NOT ultra low carb. Just a FYI 😉

      • Avatar Voltaic Shock says:

        I decided I wanted to loose some weight as I wasn’t happy with some of the fat I put on. I noticed when I cut out my carbs (I try to keep it under 100G/day) and I started loosing weight faster along with cutting some calories.

        I would love to keep it under 50g/day but that is hard to do.

  7. Avatar Rebecca Candler says:

    im doing the ethosien diet atm and managed to lose 34lbs since november! was super hard over xmas but i just stuck to it. Ate a lot of chicken and salmon (when i could afford it)

  8. Avatar William says:

    This article is flawed… “Carbohydrates are an important source of fuel for our muscles during exercise and are the only source of energy for our brain and red blood cells.” Actually, in the absence of glucose and depleted glycogen stores, the body breaks down fats into ketones which the brain then uses as fuel. Nice try but nit completely accurate

  9. Avatar Salim96 says:

    For me, only starvation worked.
    I never follow any percenatage, I jus cut calories overall without giving considerstion to what type of food.
    However, about 70% of my diet during those starvation days are carbs solely to fuel my runs

  10. Avatar John Hamblin says:

    Being single and becoming disenchanted with cooking, I eat out a lot. I mostly order fish meals as well as meat meals. I stay away from restaurant chicken because it has become processed chicken with all the chemicals that are added to the chicken. It’s quite easy to determine if your chicken is a breast or processed. Cutting a breast of chicken will show fibers, but cutting processed chicken will show smoothness all around. Also the taste is quite different.
    To me, processed foods are anathema because as consumers we don’t know what goes into the making of these foods. I have read somewhere that nitrates are added to processed foods and I don’t need any fertilizer agents in my body, thank you.

  11. Avatar jdbrasesco says:

    Sad that you are promoting outdated standard american diet and government food policy that is not supported by modern science. A high fat, moderate protein, and low carb diet is the recipe for total body health. Weight loss is an added benefit of this macro nutrient ratio.

    • Avatar Celia says:

      Very true… high fat, mod protien, low carb. American diet has much too much carbs and high carbs promote cancer! !

  12. Avatar Careystrong says:

    I also read that when the glucose runs low, its the liver that converts the FATs into energy (and no waste product) not protein. I agree w/ below statements, Carbs/whole grains cause sugar spikes, wt gain etc.

  13. Avatar Chris says:

    Iam 50yrs old and for the last 15 yrs weight has slowly crept on to 68.8 kgs.
    Tried the gym and weight watchers nothing worked.
    My cholesterol was up so was my B/P .
    Luckily I watched the Peter Mosley programme on 60mins the 5:2 diet that changed my life!!
    I gave it a shot and in 3 months lost 8.8 kgs!!
    I cannot believe how well this works ! I have lost belly fat , back fat my double chin. Seeing my remarkable wt loss many of my colleagues in the health department have taken this diet head on and all have lost wt !!
    This diet is free anyone can do it !
    Losts of information available on the net!!!
    My cholesterol and B/P are now down to normal levels. My weight is stable at 60.4 kg! I have lost 2 dress sizes .
    This is the diet for one that nothing else has ever worked !!

  14. Avatar Merrilyn Tattersall says:

    Maths/Science too much for me to try to calculate! How do I know what 20% of my calorie intake in protein is in exact food- one steak, half a piece of fish?… And carbs, what are some examples good carbs, bad carbs, etc… what foods? Who has time to work all of this out every day?

  15. Avatar roto says:

    So old school and we now know that carbs are NOT your friend. Was glad to see that lots of people posting already know that.

    • Avatar kdracco says:

      Like my nutritionist friend said, the only good carb is a complex-carbohydrate, aka Green Vegetables! He also said, if you want to get fat, eat anything with wheat and sugar.

  16. Avatar Isabel says:

    Thank you so much for this post. It has helped me a lot to get back to healthy eating and losing weight.

  17. Avatar Adrien Chandler says:

    I am a borderline diabetic. That is too much carb for me. And at age 56, my body cannot handle it.Probably never could, really, since I am morbidly obese. I am losing weight by watching calories and cutting out PROCESSED CARBS AND SUGARS. Diet soda/pop like.. once a week. Eating a protein and fat rich breakfast, which holds me longer than oatmeal or any other kind of “breakfast” grain, even the whole rolled, cook from scratch kind. I am down 20 lbs. I feel SO much better, more mental clarity, more energy. I am not ultra low carb, mind you. I eat fruit, complex carbs like a little bit of beans or sweet potato. But I am CAREFUL. And I will admit I am still tinkering with my macros. I do need to boost my exercise. 🙂

  18. Avatar Maggi Munat says:

    I went on my final low carb diet! I lost 45 pounds from December ’14 to May ’15. And I have kept the weight off. I now avoid grains, starches and sugars . Instead I eat lotsa veggies, meat and cheese. Nuts, berries.. yum! I have found many delicious alternatives to all those carb-laden comfort foods. This experience has been so transformative for me that I am starting a mobile food biz: 100% grain-free , gluten free and low carb!! I’m so excited! Foods like these should be more widely available, don’t cha think? : )

  19. Avatar Rain says:

    For some of you, there may be some confusion over the number of foods that boast great amounts of “carbohydrate”. Vegetables (and fruits) are in fact high in carbohydrate content. (And they have a fair amount of fiber that is necessary for many bodily functions). Cheese and other dairy products boast a large carbohydrate count as well. Basically, if it’s not good ol’ Meat, unprocessed without any fillers, it’s got some carbohydrates in it. So, when the recommended ratios offered here are accounted for with this truth about vegetables, fruits, and most other foods in mind, you can understand the seemingly shocking high suggestion for carbohydrate intake. Whole grains are of course carbohydrate laden treats, and are a great addition to a healthy noshing session, if your body tolerates them, but WHOLE grains are the key to making grains a healthy choice. All those overly processed breads, cereals and sugary items that Americans have pushed on them everywhere they go are mostly empty carbohydrate and fat calories that your body isn’t happy about, so steer clear.

    • Avatar Rick Jackson says:

      What kind of cheese are you eating? Cheese doesn’t have any carbs. Also, quit lumping everything regarding veggies having high carbs. Please educate yourself before posting nonsense, Potatoes and broccoli are veggies… are they both high in carbs? Thanks for playing, we have some nice parting gifts.

  20. Avatar Lin Sp says:

    It is not true that it’s hard to meet fiber goals if you eat a low carb diet. A well-designed low carb diet includes lots of foods that contain plenty of fiber. Nuts, berries, low carb vegetables-especially leafy greens and the cruciferous vegetables, and avocados are all full of fiber. I average around 30g of carbs/day and I get plenty of fiber, partly because I eat lots of salad greens. Regardless of how you do it, you can get your fiber while eating a low carb diet.

    • Avatar Laura S. says:

      How many grams of fiber do you get daily? I’ve low carbed successfully for over 13 yrs but still have trouble getting 25-30g of fiber a day. Avocado has good fiber but I can’t eat enough salad to get a fair amount. 1 cup of Romaine has a little less than 1g fiber. Spinach, the same, Kale, likewise. If on very low carb, the nuts are limited, so 1 oz of almonds has about 3g. A cup of strawberries has 3. I can do it if I add something like BFree seeded wrap. It has about 10g.
      I’m a 60 yr old female and unless I take in excessive calories, it’s not that easy.

      • Avatar Lin Sp says:

        I don’t count grams of fiber, so I can’t answer your question. Sorry.

      • Avatar Rick Jackson says:

        Remember fiber can’t be digested. So if you eat Walnuts you get very high in good fats (Poly and Mono) and full of fiber. I eat about a 1/2 cup a day. I also take in at least 2 Tbsp of either Chia seeds or Flaxseed daily. I usually mix them in my scrambled eggs for breakfast. Look at the facts. 1oz. of Chia has 12 carbs (10 are fiber) that’s only a net carb count of 2g. There’s 10 grams fiber right there first thing in the morning. Put some on salad at lunch and bingo. Add the high fiber vegies and your in like flint. Plus look at the other essential nutrients you are getting. I actually starting doing a chia ‘pudding’ for a desert. Not to bad. 1/4 cup chia mixed with 1 cup almond milk in a bowl. Place in refrigerator in the morning. By dinner the chia has absorbed most of the milk. I personally then add a tsp on raw honey. You can add whatever you want. Crushed nuts, etc. I hsve lost 50 Lbs in less than 5 months and feel great.

        Take a look:

        Nutrition Facts
        Chia seeds
        Amount Per 1 oz (28.4 g)
        Calories 138
        % Daily Value*
        Total Fat 9 g 13%
        Saturated fat 0.9 g 4%
        Polyunsaturated fat 7 g
        Monounsaturated fat 0.7 g
        Trans fat 0 g
        Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
        Sodium 5 mg 0%
        Potassium 115 mg 3%
        Total Carbohydrate 12 g 4%
        Dietary fiber 10 g 40%
        Protein 4.7 g 9%
        Vitamin A 0% Vitamin C 0%
        Calcium 17% Iron 12%
        Vitamin B-12 0% Magnesium 23%

  21. Avatar Marge H says:

    I lost a total of 176 pounds listening to my body. Ate leans meats, veggies, drank water, still have my coffee with creamer and won’t let go of that! Everyone’s body is different so just listen to your body. Exercise is good and don’t race to get there. It takes time and a lot of patience. I go to the gym or exercise at home. I am 65 years old and yes love what I look like today.

  22. Avatar traceyge says:

    This article is so out of date and out of whack, that it’s ridiculous. Pushing processed carbohydrates as a “must have” and saying that no carbs is bad? Really? Ask all the diabetics out there on ketogenic diets, epileptic children, etc. This is just another push to keep processed crap flowing through the system. Healthy fats are good for the majority of people and depending on who you are, this article treats everyone like a clone, whatever works for you and keeps or gets you healthy is the way it should be. Remember our grandparents who didn’t eat low fat, crappy cereal, processed breads, pasta, fibres, etc.? Well, go way back and see how much diabetes, heart disease and other diseases there were. Next to none compared to today’s levels. I look at my elementary school photos and that was in the yearly 60’s an not one fat kid, not one. Few fat adults and why is that? Because all the crap they have now wasn’t there back then. Low fat, high carb, that’ll kill you. If you have to add fibre to your great diet, it’s not so great. What a crock of crap and shame on you fitnesspal for publishing this misleading bunch of bunk.

  23. Avatar Jerry says:

    What foods will help water detention ?

    • Avatar Rick Jackson says:

      Drink more water and eat less salt. If you are eating out of a box or a can forget about doing anything unless you stop that habit. Just look at a nutrition label. Even ‘low sodium’ stuff has ridiculous amounts per serving.

  24. Avatar Asen Marinov says:

    I am little bit confused to see so many people give up on carbs .
    First what means low carb levels . I think is different for every one .
    For me going down below 130-150 grams I count as extreme low and going above 400 as too much .

    For ones who lost 30kg i think that dropping the energy intake and no matter the ratio you will still loose weigh. Once you are around your ideal weight than is the harder part . This is when you need to pay attention to the ratio in order to compose your body and drop the fat % and get more lean and shredded .

    I can’t imagine athlete on 100m eating 50grams carbs or less but can imagine bodybuilder eating 50g or less before competition so where is the difference ?

    • Avatar MonsterBansheeRage3D says:

      Nice to see someone who isn’t into some fad/cult diet. You see all these people shouting about how terrible carbs are. Yet, if you look at the diet of Michael Phelps during the Olympics, he is eating TONS of carbs every day. It’s impossible to say that Phelps isn’t in shape and that he isn’t an amazing athlete.

      The people pushing for ketosis as a one-size fits all diet solution have no idea how terrible ketosis can be for your body. In ketosis, it is very difficult to gain muscle mass, it can strain the heart and you might develop kidney stones, to name a few adverse effects. Yes, ketogenic diets can work for some, but it can also be disastrous for others. If you have liver or kidney problems, ketosis can exacerbate your problems. If you’re type 1 diabetic, it can actually kill you. Even if you’re not diabetic, longterm ketogenic diets have resulted in a few deaths, mostly related to heart disease. On top of all of that, the keto diet is very restrictive, which means that most people will fail to adhere to the diet.

      IMO, the best diet is one you can stick with, and denying yourself foods that you like is unlikely to be successful in the long run. They key to most successful diets is to moderate foods that are undesirable in your dieting regime. If you love pizza, then eat some pizza every now and then, just don’t eat a whole large pie and don’t eat it every day.

      If all you do is sit around all day, then you will likely be fine with a 35% to 40% carb ratio. If you are active and athletic, you should be trying for that 50% to 55% range. Of course, these ranges do vary by each and every individual. But what troubles me is people touting weight loss of 4 or 5 pounds per week. Losing that much weight that quickly can be bad for you, as it may disrupt your metabolism, can hurt your liver and can cause gallstone formation. Generally, you want to lose 1 to 2 pounds per week to maintain a healthy and consistent metabolism.

      • Avatar Asen Marinov says:

        nice to see someone share my thoughts.


      • Avatar Rick Jackson says:

        To be fair one needs to put this topic in perspective. Keto (Ketosis) eating is for overweight (borderline obese or larger) to jump start weight loss. Your body can only store glucose for approx. 48 hours. Low carbs below 25 grams/day jump start this and you immediately start metabolizing fat for energy. Agreed that losing more than 2 pounds a week is not healthy. However, for some one who is 50 lbs or more overweight on low carb is probably going to shed more than that just because of the chemical shift your body goes into to sustain energy. It is ridiculous to compare Michael Phelps, or some power lifter named Shven, to someone who is attempting to dump weight due to years of pizza, ice cream, donuts, etc. Once you achieve a desirable weight goal for yourself you DO NOT need to maintain the <25 grams/day of carbs. That is where an individual needs to monitor carb intake. You can go up to 50, 100, even more to determine what you limit is depending on your level of activity. You can achieve plenty of fiber with nuts, chia or flaxseed (ground) to prevent digestive issues. Regarding the heart disease mentioned above I would need to read the scientific study that was conducted (NOT sponsored by the grain industry) before I buy into the cardiac issues mentioned. Every study I have read (which are many) suggest high fat diet do not increase LDL(bad cholesterol), triglycerides, etc. HDL (the good stuff) increased). Regarding gall or kidney stones: When doing low carb you are suppose to drink more water. Doing so will prevent stones regardless of diet anyway,

        Please research why the Western diet has such a high incidence of heart disease. Our intake in the U.S. is WAY TOO HIGH in Omega-6 fatty acids and WAY TOO low in Omega-3 intake. The optimum ration should be 1;:1 (Omega6-Omega3). That is really hard to achieve unless you are committed 100% to what consume. Currently our ratio hovers around 12-15:1 and many are around 20:1. That is the major contributor to heart disease. A simple Google search will bare this out.

        Low carb is not supported they the USDA because of the grain lobby. Again do a Google search on the food pyramid, food plate or whatever you want to call it these days. When the FDA sanctioned a scientific study to revamp the pyramid they delayed publishing the results for 12 years (YES, 12 years) because the grain industry lobbyist balked at reducing their piece of the chart. The grain industry, as well as, dairy and meat have a huge influence on what gets published (read: $$$). Wikipedia also has an article on this that sites all the sources for necessary verification.

        Or continue to eat a diet with a higher percentage of carbs than protein or fat and give your money to BIG PHARMA (again read: $$$) to 'control your issues. Remember this saying when it comes to being on medications your doctor willingly prescribes you due to how your diet has destroyed your health when you get older. THERE IS NO MONEY IN THE CURE…. BUT WE WILL TREAT YOU FOREVER.

      • Avatar RenegadeRN says:

        Spoken like a true registered dietitian. Michael Phelps burns over 7000 kcal per day! He can eat whatever the f#^% he wants and look shredded. He has stated that he eats any and everything he wants as long as he gets enough calories to sustain himself. I suggest you cut back on the AND kool-aid a bit and actually read credible information about low carb and Ketogenic diets. Volek and Phinney come to mind. That said- not everyone should be on any one type of diet, we are all different with different needs, toxicities, and starting points.

        As to nutritionist bashing: I agree that there are people out there with minimal training in nutrition calling themselves nutritionists, but not all nutritionists are undereducated or quacks. Most advanced degreed medical professionals do NOT go the RD route to nutrition training as it is considered a step backwards. We do post grad training and obtain certifications such as the CNS or CCN. We also provide functional nutrition, not government and industry sponsored recommendations designed to sell more grains and processed food.
        By the way, I understand many of you are defecting from the government “party line” and I applaud that! Hope you will look into it.

    • Avatar Laura S. says:

      It may be very different for an athlete or body builder and someone trying to get “shredded” but for this post menopausal housewife, it’s about the only thing that works. It keeps me lean, my lipid profile perfect, my skin clear and full of energy. Before low carbing, I was on cholesterol meds (only about 25lbs overweight) and after about 8 months, my health improved so much that all meds were removed by my doctor.
      It’s not for everyone but it is for those of us that do not respond well to a higher carb ratio. I used to work out with weights but cannot anymore because of a bad back but if I did, then I would have a higher carb intake.
      And men definitely have a metabolic advantage over women. I exercise every day (I have to take pain meds to do it) and struggle to keep weight off. My husband gets out of his chair and walks to the kitchen to grab a Hershey bar and loses 5 lbs.

  25. Avatar MoniG says:

    I was hoping to have a moment of revelation from reading this, but it was a waste of time. It simply propagates the guidelines from the USDA and these guidelines don’t work. I’m on a high fat, moderate protein and a very low carb diet and I couldn’t be happier and finally losing weight. Keto is hard, but awesome…you have to eat fat to lose fat.

  26. Avatar Jimmy NoChit says:

    Bah! I eat 70% fat (saturated), 22-25% protein, and 5-8% carbs (from veggies grown above ground). I lost 40 pounds in 6 months and at age 56, I haven’t been this fit since high school. My energy levels are way up (no post lunch naps) and I got to buy an entire new wardrobe.

  27. Avatar Maureen Mulligan says:

    I feel like this article is all over the place with the recommended ranges and are so drastic and ridiculous. I honestly don’t know who would do well on only 10% protein in terms of body composition and overall health. 10% is the bare minimum to keep you alive. It also doesn’t explain that the ratio you choose depends on your body type, physical activity level, and goals.

  28. Avatar Caspianblue says:

    I totally disagree with this article. First watch a documentary called “Fat Head”. Then please read the book “Eat Fat Get Thin” by Dr. Hyman. It exposes the lies we have been told for the last 50 years about the supposed “health benefits” of a low fat/high carb diet. Your cells, heart and brain needs fat!!! Fat makes you feel full! Carbs with a low-fat diet actually lead to diabetes/obesity (which he calls “diabesity”) and heart disease. Eating high fat / low carbs teaches your body how to properly store and burn fat instead on greedily store all the carbs it gets. But you have to eat healthy fat, so please read his book to find out the important differences between all of the fat types.

    I have been following the percentages below for 3 weeks and have lost ten pounds, but have also broken through my plateau (after 8 years of trying unsuccessfully on other diets) without feeling hungry: 70% fat, 20% protein, 10% carbs. It has been the most successful diet I have been on, and I never feel deprived. I eat delicious stuff I enjoy like omelettes and avocados…but I even splurge on ice cream or cookies sometimes because my body has learned that it doesn’t need to store all those carbs as fat because its not starving of the nutrients it needs. Read the book to understand what I’m talking about!

    • Avatar Barry says:

      There is a book by Gary Taubes called, “Why we get Fat”, which also supports these ideas. He makes the point that, dietary fat does not cause body fat or heart disease and examines the latest research and science behind obesity.

  29. Avatar Patty Mayes says:

    I’m disappointed in all this “article bashing”, but encouraged that people are researching information and not just going with one thing they read. My personal thought is listen to your own body. What works for you may not work for your office mate, neighbor or spouse.

    • Avatar kdracco says:

      What WILL work for everyone is if you don’t eat anything with sugar or wheat you will lose weight!

    • Avatar Maizey says:

      I agree. Listen to your body. Article bashing, government paranoia, and logical fallacies are ridiculous here and not helpful. (As if the beef and animal farming industries can’t lobby….)

      As far as the science goes, eating high protein makes your body release glycogen which releases water. That extra water loss causes lots of (unsustainable) weight loss because water occupies space and has mass, but it doesn’t mean the water should be there. We’re mostly water. Once the glycogen stored in muscles is gone, it is gone until you eat carbs.

      Read scientific studies, people. Don’t just celebrate all-you-can-eat bacon and cheese and hate on the government because the people govern themselves in America; we are the government. It’s deflection and psychological tricks to create villains. You don’t need a villain.

  30. Avatar Ankibananki says:

    So I read everywhere low carb is the best to loose weight but what about vegans? I am trying to stop eating meat and dairy ( apart from eggs) but I can’t cut carbs down as most of my protein comes from pulses. Can anyone help, please?

  31. Avatar Barry says:

    The confusion is a result of people and organizations who are trying to capitalize on obesity through books, tv shows, plans or food products that are each “sure-fire solutions”. Since each push their own unique agenda – mixed messages are everywhere.

    Tuning this stuff out and forming your own understanding of nutrition and your body’s responses to different types of foods can help a lot.

    After trying a bunch of things over the course of 4 decades, this approach definitely worked the best for me. I found a lot of great info out there that helped me understand the importance of fats, proteins and carbs – and why “calories in” vs. “calories out” isn’t the whole answer.

    Also, it’s much easier sticking to a plan if you’ve formed your own opinion rather than just trusting what somebody says. In the latter case, doubts can undermine your success.

  32. Avatar plumifera says:

    People who are bashing carbs and have lost weight only mean they will get the weight again when they change their eating plan and deteriorate their metabolism. And more important, hasn’t learn how to eat. Bread is not the enemy. Eating bread like there is no tomorrow is. Psicologycally speaking, you can lost weight but the mind still fat if you don’t develop healthier relationships with all kinds of food.

    • Avatar Rick Jackson says:

      No you aren’t if you know what you are doing… Example: ounce for ounce a green bell pepper has more vitamin C than an orange with much less sugar. I won’t bother to list everything that supplies just as much nutrients with less sugar because you already have that info… right?

      • Avatar plumifera says:

        Read your reply and has nothing to do about my comment about low carb diets.

        • Avatar Rick Jackson says:

          Yes, it has everything to do with it. Name a micro I can’t get on low carb.

          • Avatar plumifera says:

            You didn’t understand what I say. It’s not about micros, its about diet change. If you lost weight on a low carb diet you better and avoiding certain foods you better stick to it because the moment you change your diet eventually you will gain the weight. You have to be very cautious with mantainance. That’s why today’s nutritionist recommended not to avoid any group of foods but moderation.

          • Avatar Rick Jackson says:

            I understand. However a nutritionist isn’t licensed. Dietitions only tell you what they are taught. Research our food pyramid politics. In ’94 scientists submitted a new recommendation. This study, by the way, was sanctioned by the FDA. BUT, when the results came back the government refused to publish it until it could be ‘modified”. The new recommendation took quit a big chunk out of the grains and cereals piece of the chart. It took the government 12 yrs. to publish a modified recommendation which still had carbs (read: grains) as the largest section, although slightly reduced. Keep in mind the FDA receives private funding to operate.

            Regarding carb increases. Once you achieve your weight goal you slowly increase carb intake and see how many your body can tolerate to maintain wieght. If you just go back to pizza and ice cream then why even bother in the first place. Yo-Yo weight loss/gain is harder on your body long term. In a!ition to our conversation I personally would do whatever it took not to be under the thumb of Big Pharma if I can contol it with diet. I’ll take low carb over statins anytime.

          • Avatar plumifera says:

            Exactly. But you also have to be realistic and think on long term goals. If you eliminate grains, ice cream and pizza totally of your diet what it means is that you never learned how to eat them and also it means that likely if you eat them again you will gain weight (because you never learned how to eat them). I have lost weight slowly eating in moderation including pizza and ice cream why not and it helps to cushion the moments I am not that perfect because it happens.

          • Avatar Rick Jackson says:

            That is what I meant by saying slowly upping your carb intake and see how the body reacts. I never say never to anything. If I eat a slice or 2 of pizza I won’t need therapy over it. My diet use to consist of a lot of carbs. LOTS! Me love pizza. Me love lasagna. Me love Mexican food, every chance I got. Once I lost the 50 lbs. I wanted to I got back to how much I weighed 30 yrs ago (6’1″ 180 lbs) and I feel great. Good luck to you. Gotta go, Broncos are Playing the Raiders tonight. Take care.

  33. Avatar Tamara Shaniece says:

    I think the 2010 study is a bit outdated. I’ve read a new study that indicates a different ratio to lose weight. Many sources state to uptake your healthy fats to lose fat. This recommends cutting fat which is what you don’t want to do. Overall, all 3 have important roles to weightloss.

  34. Avatar JacquelineAnn says:

    I cut my carbs to 40% and ate like a diabetic. 30 carbs per meal and 15 carbs per snack. I lost 40 lbs in 4 months and I didn’t cut too many carbs, but not eating my carbs all at one time made my metabolism kick up. fyi 30 carbs is one piece of pizza or one sandwich no chips or fruit. if I worked out I got a 4th meal with 30 carbs.

  35. Avatar Mark Du Ree says:

    I favor a 30:35:35 plan, 30% cals from fat, and the 35% carbs are net of fiber, which is not digested into usable fuel. I’m trying to lose another 5-10 pounds…on top of the 45 already lost this year, doing just that, and exercising approx 500 minutes per week, 28-30 miles running, plus a lot of walking. So far, my mileage is double year over year, my waist and body fat% is shrinking, and my pace is up. If you’ve never thought about how much extra you are carrying, if you need to lose 40-45 pounds, go to Costco and pick up a 40 pack of 500ml water bottles. Walk all over the store with them. Then put it down and see how much easier it is to walk or run. I have trouble believing I was a runner, with that much extra weight floating around my midsection. I’ve shaved over 2 1/2 minutes off my 5k time (now sub 25 minutes) and hope to finish a half marathon in October under 2 hours.

  36. Avatar Tammy Turner says:

    Carb are not the only fuel source for the brain. Ketones are a much cleaner and more efficient fuel source for the brain. Ketogenic is a very efficient way for our bodies to operate and loose/burn fat. Ketones are muscle sparing and help you perform better/stronger. Ketones are better source than carbs during indurance workouts and ketogenic have been proven to lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, reverse diabetes, improve with Alzheimer’s, assist with reducing cancer or even preventing it. Google ketones and any health issues and you will see study after study. Get the carbs out of your life and eat that healthy fat. Take “low fat” out of your vocabulary and ditch the sugar and processed foods. Our food industry has us believing crap and nutritionist and dietitians need to realize this.

  37. Avatar Really says:

    Yes, it’s like everything else in this status qou journalism and media world we are in. Geese, have you writers and so called experts have no shame? Your readers are more savvy then you are or are at least willing to speak the truth not just reregurgiated guidelines out of yesterday year. The advantages of a high protein or a high fat diet , with carbs always the least percentage of your diet as been documented in a thousand different studies. We all know the food pyramid got flipped in the 1950s due to a false study and Americans have been eating crap and gaining weight and ill health statistics every since. Please , either get real or step aside to a new job.

  38. Avatar MarkO says:

    This is fine advice for someone who needs to lose a little bit of weight, like 10 or so pounds, or to maintain. It’s useless for those who need to lose a lot of weight.

    I’ve lost 122 pounds so far since my peak weight, and I’ve got another 100 go to. It’s not enough to make tweaks to your existing diet if you medically need to lose triple-digit pounds. That kind of weight loss requires two things that work in conjunction with each other:
    1. Give up all your favorite foods. (Most important if you’re diabetic or pre-diabetic)
    2. Never eat enough to be satisfied. (This is where the weight loss happens.)

    Nobody likes to hear that, but it works. Count your calories. Keep them low enough that you burn fat off just by living. I started with 2100, then moved down to 1800 then 1500 as weight fell away and weight loss slowed. My favorite foods were pastas, pizzas, and creamy desserts. Sodas, too. All gone. Most people tell you how great they feel. It doesn’t feel great, it sucks. But what does feel great is the weight loss. The extra energy and stamina. Fitting into clothes 10 inches smaller. Finding your ribs again. That feels amazing. But it’s a painful, uncomfortable, temptation-laden slog. You just gotta deal with that. Can’t sugar coat it. (Sugar’s bad for you)

    Exercise counts for nothing for weight loss (but is great for other health benefits) and calories burned during exercise are irrelevant. Ignore that number, do NOT track it, it’s meaningless. It burns carbs, which is good for getting into fat-burning metabolism, and it builds muscle, but should not ever be used to adjust your daily calorie intake. That way lies madness.

    Hunger is fatness leaving the body.

    1. Give up the foods you love. Eat the healthy foods you can put up with. If you love it, look really hard at it to make sure it’s appropriate, and that your portion size is appropriate. Good news is that over time, your stomach capacity will shrink.

    2. Never eat enough to be satisfied. If you’re feeling replete, and pleasantly satisfied, it’s too much. An ounce is tiny. There is never a
    good reason to eat more than four ounces of any one thing that tastes very good, and that’s probably pushing it. If it’s delicious, it’s almost guarateed to be a diet-breaker. Leave the table wanting more, and put up with that. It’s
    miserable, but it’s necessary. The good news is that over time, your tastes will shift a little.

    These kinds of articles sell you sugar-coated nonsense about being able to ‘make little tweaks’ to lose weight. That does work for very slow loss of very small amounts of weight. If you have more than 20 pounds to lose, you need the more serious approach.

    • Avatar Rick Jackson says:

      I didn’t need to lose triple digit numbers. I lost 50 in under 5 months. I cut out breads, pasta, rice…It sounds like you let your weight gain get way out of control before it was medically necessary for you to change your eating habits. I hope you are successful. But I disagree about being miserable eating low carb. I suppose if you had an IV drip hooked up for years feeding your veins sugar it is harder to resist than stopping the weight gain madness long before that.

  39. Avatar kdracco says:

    From a guy that’s helped dozens and dozens of people lose weight, let me spell it out for you on how to get and stay thin. It is not simple, because the majority of you do not have self control and refuse to use any kind of restraint and will eat crap regardless of what you’re told. You would much rather be FAT and eat trash then to so much try to eat healthy. Here it is,

    If it’s sweet, don’t eat it, drink it. Nature gave you water. Squeeze a fruit into the water if you want flavor and vitamins.

    Eat mixed vegetables that are green and red.

    No Rice, No Corn No potatoes, and NO wheat products of any kind!!!! They are rich in carbohydrates

    For protein you can eat whatever the hell you want. beef, fowl, fish, eggs, cottage cheese (without fruit, I said nothing sweet), etc

    Most of you will try this for 2 days and go back to eating hamburgers, pizza, ice cream and potato chips. It’s just said.

  40. Avatar Bruce says:

    I experimented with Keto ( 75-20-5) for about a month. I would say with some conviction that it is flat impossible to achieve this ratio outside a strapped to the bed clinical setting. I did notice that it was very easy to fast for 24 hours. With few/ no carbs, your body gets bored with food and appetite is lost.

    • Avatar Rick Jackson says:

      What exactly did you consume? There is a good possibility you were attempting NO carbs. That has never been suggested in any research I have read. You have to think outside the box. Like spaghetti? Replace the pasta with spaghetti squash. There are simple recipes everywhere online, Everyday I either eat fish, chicken, pork, beef as my protein source. I eat spinach, broccoli, asparagus, brussel sprouts, mushrooms, black olives. I eat tomatoes,onions, bell pepper in limited amounts in salads, eggs, etc.

      In other words it goes way beyond eating spoons of butter. You have to go underneath the surface to really see what can be done to achieve low carb and eat great tasting stuff. Currently, I am going to make a low carb pizza that uses mozzarella cheese as the crust with a little tomato sauce and any type of meat topping you want. It sounds pretty good and if it is then I have added another item to my menu.

      I use a leaf of Romaine lettuce as my ‘bread’ for BBQ hamburgers. I little mayo, some spicy mustard (or Dijon), little bit of onion, real cheddar cheese and I tell you it is delicious, I don’t miss bread, pasta, rice. I have alternatives that I have learned by reading a lot. My wife and I eat very good everyday. Try Bok Choy in soup with mushrooms, green onion, chicken, Easy to make and it tastes great. Modify it to what you lilke. I take any recipe and tweak it to whatever I want keeping in mind the carbs. I hover around 50-70grams a day and have maintained my weight loss with no issues.

      Will I ever have ice cream or potato or lasagna again? Sure. Will I do it often no. I choose not to be overweight anymore. My exercise only consists of walking my dog 2 miles every morning.

    • Avatar RenegadeRN says:

      You can be in nutritional ketosis without such a difficult ratio! Depending on your activity and body fat levels, you may be in ketosis while taking in 80 grams of total carb per day! If super active even more!

  41. Avatar Rosalie says:

    These posts are just as confusing as all the articles I’ve been searching. Each article I’ve read contradicts the next one. In researching both articles and personal accomplishments I have only become more and more confused and frustrated. I don’t want to waste time following one set of guidelines for a month just to find out it was a waste of time. It shouldn’t be so damn hard to try to get healthy!! If there are so many “health professionals” telling us which way is the best, and each one having different advice, then how do I know who to believe?
    Also, Congratulations to everyone who has succeeded with what worked for them:)

  42. Avatar George Thomas says:

    You call a Low Carb diet 45% carb? You are beyond retarded.

  43. Avatar Sardine says:

    50% from carbohydrates, 20% from protein and 30% from fat. This sounds ridiculous! Nowhere ever in history until now have people been eating 50% carbs! No wonder people are so fat. Not until recently were carbs so available. Protein has always been first choice and with that comes fats (from animal mostly but not always) in second and carbs which have always been and always should be the least of them all.
    50% protein 30% from fat and 20% carbs is the way it should be.

  44. Avatar Mur says:

    How do I set my macros to loss weight on a 1200 calorie diet?

  45. Avatar Ronald Jones says:

    I’m sorry, but following the RDA for weight, even adjusted as above, is bogus. Real weight loss which is sustainable is achieved through a Feast/Famine model and a LCHF diet. In a feast/fast model, a method of fasting is used, either IF (Intemittent Fasting), ADF (Alternate Day Fasting), or PF (Prolonged Fasting), in conjunction with a Ketogenic “Keto” compatible Low-Carb, High-Fat, moderate protein (LCHF) diet. This approach is proven to work. It works every day and achieves not only a cure for obesity but also a cure for Type 2 Diabetes. I refer you to Dr. Jason Fung, M.D., nephrologist, and author of “The Obesity Code” and co-author of “The Complete Guide to Fasting” with Jimmy Moore. Under Armour and MyFItnessPal is doing no one any favors by continuing to folllow and promote RDA food guidelines. The above article makes factual errors, including a statement about carbs being the only food energy the brain will use. This is not true. The body becomes keto-adapted very quickly and begins to use Ketones for its food energy which are readily used by the brain for its energy needs. I have personally lost 32 pounds since Feb. 16, 2017, or in just 8 weeks. Carbs are the problem, and Fat is the solution. Fasting is the sustainable weigh to lose weight because the body was designed to kick in hormones like adrenaline and HGH which are not released when merely dieting. There is a metabolic difference between fasting the weight off versus dieting the weight off. People, please do the research! The government of Sweden has just adopted the LCHF/Ketogenic approach to their national food recommendations as the standard. Many physicians, like Dr. Jason Fung, have already realized the myth of the food pyramid from the McGovern report (1970s) was completely wrong and co-incident with the start of the national epidemic of obesity and diabetes in our nation. Having 50% carbs is completely wrong. Your life and success is at stake here, and those that you know, including those with Type 2 Diabetes who have been told they have a “progressive disease”. There is a dietary cure for Type 2 Diabetes. Since I have stopped taking my insulin and adopted a fasting/feasting (Keto diet) lifestyle, I’ve not only lost 32 pounds in 8 weeks, but my blood sugars have never been better– completely normal! This works! Go do a YouTube search for Dr. Jason Fung and “diabetes” or “diabetes cure”. This stuff is too important to leave to chance. People you love could live longer, be healthly, and no longer face a future of diabetic complications like ESRD (End Stage Renal Disease), i.e. Kidney failure. It is time for Under Armour and My Fitness Pal to change their app to include LCHF, Keto and Fasting patterns into their programs and recommendations from their blog authors. Will you allow your loved one to die because you didn’t speak up in time with the information that could save their lives? Will you let your loved one suffer needlessly with self-incriminations about their obesity when you had the right answer right any our fingertips? Take action today. Be the person who cares enough to confront conformity to established standards which were wrong in the first place and are contributing to killing our nation. People lives are at stake. It can stop with you. It can stop with your voice. You can make a difference for yourself and for others. Be empowered and take action!

  46. Avatar deemon says:

    Weird. My doctor told me to eat 40% protein; 20% fats; 40% carbs to lose weight (and gain some muscle). Making protein:carbs ratio slightly out of the ranges provided here.

    • Carbohydrates are an important source of fuel for our muscles during exercise and are the only source of energy for our brain and red blood cells. Fat is equally important, playing major roles in everything from brain function to cell structure, but if you’re trying to lose weight, it may not hurt to trade some carbohydrates and/or fat calories for a boost in protein. Calorie for calorie, protein has the most metabolic benefits for weight loss: it increases satiety, stimulates energy expenditure and preserves muscle, which unfortunately is used for energy along with fat during weight loss.

    • Between all of the different diet trends and conflicting research findings out there, it seems we’re more confused than ever about what and how much to eat, particularly when it comes to protein, carbohydrates and fat. While there’s no one combination that will make the pounds magically melt off you can optimize your diet for weight loss by adjusting the composition of your calories. +1

    • As a jumping off point, let’s review the current recommendations for carbohydrates, protein and fat, as well as MyFitnessPal’s default goals for these nutrients:

  47. Avatar Kathy Endlich says:

    What’s the best low carb, low sugar protein shake to use ?

  48. Avatar Adopt a pet says:

    I just run with my dog and it helps me a lot. I wonder if there is any dog GYMs though. That would be fun!

  49. Avatar Labyrinthia says:

    Complex carbs don’t taste sweet. Simple carbs are straight sugar so they taste sweet.

    White bread is high in complex carbs. An apple is high in simple carbs. I would recommend the apple over the white bread, if you were trying to choose a healthy snack while on a diet, since the apple comes packed with fiber, and has a higher water content (which makes you feel more sated).

    A frequent misconception (which I’ve seen dieticians- who should know better- make) is that complex carbs=unrefined carbs that are high fiber. Which has nothing to do with it. Complex carbs are long chains of sugars, simple carbs are, well, unchained sugars. The chains have to be broken down in your digestive track as sugar. However, fiber can also slow digestion of simple carbs.

  50. Avatar Tracy Penn Townsend says:

    I am 52, going through menopause and have gained 20 lbs. I am a fairly clean eater, no fast food, processed sugar, food with preservatives, etc. I’ve been involved in Pilates for 5 mos., have definitely gained strength, and have minded some internal issues, but have gained 10lbs nether the less. My jog consists of sitting 98% of the day…I recently started a 30 day exercise challenge that I will be adding to my palates; I desperately want to get this weight off!!! (mostly belly fat).
    I do you the Fitness pal, but am not sure how I should set up my macros %’s . I am currently at 45% carbs, 25% fat, 30% protein. for the last three days I have had no grain, beans, nuts, rice, or pasta; my carb levels seem really too low, and my good fats are really high? any suggestions will be greatly Appreciated! HELP PLEASE!!!

  51. Avatar Connie Vaughn says:

    This is still high on carbs and low on fat, at least for me. Right now I do the old hoary Zone macros of 40 carb/30 fat/30 protein. Still 200 g carbs but if I exercise, my body can handle the carbs (and needs the energy). When I want to cut I’ll do 40 FAT/30 carb/30 protein. Not sure why dietitians are always so in love with carbs.

  52. Avatar Dan Nogee says:

    does somebody know the recipe for the dish in the picture?

  53. Avatar Amr says:

    search for “glycemic index”

  54. Avatar Catherine Gilliland says:

    carbohydrates are NOT the only source of fuel for our brains. Brains run even better on ketones & we also do NOT require eating carbohydrates to provide glucose for red blood cells. The liver through gluconeogenesis will produce any necessary glucose with ZERO carbs eaten. your dietitian’s license should be revoked.

  55. Avatar Lynn de la Fosse says:

    So I’m reading this blog post obviously quite a while after it came out but I have got real issues trying to shed the stone (about 6kg) that I put on as a side effect of medication.

    My difficulty is that I follow the Low Fodmap for my IBS. Lots of healthy, low carb vegetables set me off and some high fibre grains like quinoa and buckwheat also set me off. I rely on fruit and nuts for my snacks, could definitely get better at saying no to sweet treats admittedly. But I struggle to get by without rice, pasta and potatoes. I cannot shift this weight.

    I dance 3 hours a week and try to stick to about 1400-1500 calories a day. Any advice?

  56. Avatar Diana Mercas says:

    The links for the “Essential Guide to Fat” and “The Essential Guide to Protein are not working. The address link is not the right one 🙁

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