AtA: Macro-split 40P/40F/20C vs 40P/40C/20F

Posted May 7th, 2010 in Uncategorized by Clint

What’s the difference with going with a diet that is 40 pro / 40 carb / 20 fat? If I read correctly, I think Alfalfa’s nutrition thread (@somethingawful.com) recommended that, while you recommend the 40 pro / 40 fat / 20 carb. Are there advantages with one over the other? Is there a situation/goal where one is better, or are they pretty much the same.

The 40P/40F/20C is just a loose guideline, but in following the exercise concepts it tends to hit pretty close to the mark. Since the Peak/Base Meal design only has significant carbs being consumed after a workout, even an active person working out twice a day will still need around 4 Base meals that are low-carb. So even at this top end with a 2:1 ratio of Base:Peak meals, you’ll find that the calories have to come primarily from protein and fat (people who work out less often may only eat 1 or even 0 Peak meals on an off day).

It’s the division of carbs from fat that (in part) requires less strictness and structure in the tracking of calories, which serves three major purposes:

  • To allow for the differences between individuals, as when looking at raw numbers, one person may do with 2300 calories what the next person would like 2800 for, other factors being equal. By putting the focus on the meal composition rather than math, it allows people the wiggle room necessary to eat comfortably without significantly impeding their results.
  • The avoidance of math. While I know some individuals who love nothing more than plugging ounces of chicken breast and water chestnuts into a spreadsheet and dancing as the calculations rain down, I’ve found the average person finds such tracking at best distracting and cumbersome, and at worst daunting and frustrating. While food logs can be incredibly useful devices, it is often easier to just say “ok, here’s a framework: oreos don’t fit into it. c’est la vie.”
  • The average diet is swimming in excess carbs. A young lady I’ve recently been working with had a starting diet closer 5/10/85:
    breakfast: bowl of cereal
    lunch: white rice
    dinner: pasta
    dessert: candy

    But you can see french fries and sandwiches and bagels and pizza and soda and so much other stuff easily filling in there. And this high-carb nutritional profile is by far the most common starting point I see. By redirecting the focus to fat and protein, and making carbs a ‘reward’ of sorts for physical activity, I find it helps people make a clean break from that carb-saturated lifestyle.

This certainly doesn’t invalidate other methods, but I find this approach works for the plan I put forward, in the most number of cases, with the greatest number of people. But individuals aren’t statistics, so I’d recommend if what someone is doing is working well to keep at it, provided they are both healthy and happy.

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