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Carb/Protein/Fat ratio

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I just started a round of P90X today to lose some of my post-pregnancy weight and am trying to put together my nutrition plan since I know that's what's going to have the biggest impact on my results.  In doing so, I realized that there is a lot of varying advice on what the correct ratio should be of carbs/protein/fat.  For example, Calorie Count recommends 50/20/30 CPF.  NROLW recommends 40/30/30 CPF.  P90X recommends 30/50/20 CPF.  I'm sure other programs have their own recommendations as well.

Is there an optimal mix of carbs/protein/fat to help me drop the inches?  Why is there such a discrepancy between programs?  Which ratio should I be using for the best results?

Any insight/advice would be greatly appreciated! Thanks.

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The ratio that will work best for your weight loss goals will depend on your body type, metabolism and activity level. That unfortunately means experimenting untill you figure out what works best for you. I have a very slow metabolism and a desk job (so in other words a nonexistent metabolism). I tend to carry weight predominantly in my hips and thighs and find I lose the most weight with carb intake making up less than 25% of my diet and with the majority of those carbs coming from vegetables rather than grains and starches. If that's the case for you I would shoot for the lower carb ratio and an emphasis on lean protein and healthy fats. If you have a normal metabolism and didn't have a persistant weight problem pre-pregnancy a more equalized ratio would probably work fine for you. Try a few different ratios till you find one that works for you, and try to eat mainly "whole foods"/unprocessed foods to get the most nutrition for your calories. The reason for the discrepency between nutrient ratio reccomendations is probably because caloriecount merely gives you a general daily value reccomendation, whereas a program like P90X has a specialized reccomendation for muscle building/sculpting. Hope that helps a bit! Good luck with your excercise regimen as well!

I have found the lower carb, higher protein, higher fat routine to work well for me.

Personally, I like the balance of 40/30/30.  If I stray from that a little then the ratio is still reasonable.  Gives me lots of choices for food and I don't have to restrict anything too much.  I see the carb as a max, and the protein and fat as a minimum, so if I end up 30/40/40 then I'm OK with that.

But don't get too caught up in the math, these are all estimates based on estimates, multiplied by assumptions.  And of course, overall calories is still the most important number.

Good luck!

The answer is that there really isn't one "right" ratio for everybody.  It depends on what your goals and tolerances are.  Me, I'm mostly vegetarian, so I usually end up at about 60-20-20.  I have not had a problem losing weight, building muscle, or improving fitness with this ratio.  Lots of people prefer to eat more protein and fewer carbs, for a variety of reasons.  I'm sure they get results as well.  If you think about it, the standard common sense advice about healthy diets is to eat your vegetables.  Chances are, if you follow that advice, you'll end up eating more carbs - that's what vegetables are.

Don't worry too much about engineering the perfect diet and feel free to experiment.  Use your common sense.  Maybe start by looking what you're actually eating and figure out what foods could replace other foods to make your diet healthier.  From there, you'd get a good sense of whether your ratio is higher on the carb or protein side.

Good luck!

May 01 2012 12:13
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Any of these programs will work. You lose inches with calorie deficits, generated by activity and eating less.

Thanks, everyone.  I'm part of a challenge group and the leader is really pushing me to follow the P90x nutrition plan, but I just don't think the 30/50/20 ratio is going to be something I can sustain for very long.  However, from all of you, it sounds like the ratio isn't as important as getting the correct calorie deficit. I think I will try a more balanced ratio to start with and really focus on eating healthy calories regardless of what category they fall into.


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