A Simple Low Carb Life

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Protein, Carb, and Fat Ratios

There is a lot of debate over how much dietary fat one should eat in the low carb, moderate protein, high fat diet. We are often asked, "Just how much fat should I eat per day and isn't this going to give me heart disease or at least, make me fat?

Let's revisit the historical details of the past 40 years. With each year we eat more and more carbohydrates and processed foods, while each and every year, as a country we have become larger and larger.  The obesity is staggering and now we are seeing it in small children regularly.  There is no question that our current nutrition is killing us.

We are simply not biologically designed to handle the amount of carbs that we ingest daily.

An over abundance of carbohydrates not used right away, turns to fatty acids (i.e., FAT), places an undue burden on our pancreas by causing it to churn out a tremendous amount of insulin constantly, and makes us hungry with severe cravings for more carbs every 2-3 hours as a result. We first gain weight, then as the cycle continues, we become pre-diabetic, acquire high blood pressure and high cholesterol, sleep apnea from weight gain in many cases, and our health takes a nose dive.

Dietary fat is not killing us, carbohydrates that turn to fatty acids ARE KILLING US!!!  A healthy amount of dietary fat never did cause heart disease, high cholesterol, weight gain, and all that goes along with it.  

Now that we have the physiologic basis of the low carb lifestyle established, how do we manage a balance between carbs, fat, and protein.

To calculate your own dietary needs with a rough estimate of what can be a general guideline for most people (this is a general information guide and not specific for any given individual ):

General Recommendations:

Protein intake daily: 1.5-2 grams of protein per kilogram of weight divided throughout the day between 3-6 meals.

1 kilogram = 2.2 pounds

A 100 kg person should eat 150-200 grams of protein per day or over 5 meals per day (including snacks) about 30-40 grams with eat meal/snack.

Carbohydrate intake daily: No more than 100 grams per day for most people (less than 75 grams per day for anyone who has gained significant amount of weight, less than 50 grams per day for many diabetics).

Fat intake daily: The short answer is enough to make you feel full.

The long answer is, the balance of your calories for the day that maintains your weight.  

First you need to know the conversions from grams to calories.

1 gram of Protein = 4 calories

1 gram of Carbohydrates (carbs) = 4 calories

1 gram of Fat = 9 calories

1 gram of alcohol = 7 calories (FYI)

For illustration purposes, let's say a 100 kilogram/220 pound person can eat 2000 calories per day and maintain their weight.  Let's break it down:

Protein intake daily in calories at 200 grams per day = 800 calories

(200 grams x 4 calories= 800 calories protein)

Carbohydrate intake daily in calories at 100 grams per day = 400 calories

(100 grams x 4 calories= 400 calories carbohydrates)

Fat intake daily in calories per day = 800 calories

(800 calories protein + 400 calories carbs = 1200 calories;

2000 total calories/day - 1200 calories protein/carbs = 800 calories fat daily)

For those who want to be analytical and have a more scientific idea of how much fat to eat per day, use the calculations. For those who are not so scientific (which is most of us), keep the protein and carb amounts which you do need to calculate, and eat just enough fat to not be hungry.

If you are gaining weight with this method, eat less fat. If you are losing and do not want to lose further or if you are hungry, increase your fat consumption. This formula implies good fats, not eating deep fried foods with every meal. That is TOO much fat.

Keep in mind:

1 gram of fat = 9 calories (more than twice that of protein and carbs).

*For that matter, 1 gram of alcohol = 7 calories.  Alcohol has no nutritional value, takes over the function of your liver to process it, and will not allow fat metabolism while the liver is metabolizing alcohol. Drink alcohol sparingly or better yet, not at all for optimal health benefits.  Another topic for another time.

Copyright 2014, A Simple Low Carb Life. All rights reserved.

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