The most hotly debated topic not only in Fitness/bodybuilding/aesthetics circles but also in health and common lore is MACROnutrients aka Protein, Fats, and Carbohydrates. Bodybuilders and fitness
enthusiasts clamor over
the optimum ratio of macros (P:C:F) while Doctors and “health-conscious” folks debate over which is more malignant: carbohydrates or fats? Or more specifically which to consume less, what type of carbs are better and is
saturated fat as bad as trans fat?
dilemmas such as, doctors say huge insulin spike from high GI carbs is bad for me but the huge guy at that gym says you need to drink your protein shake with sugar syrup after workouts, gotta
shuttle them nutrients in!
I’m unsure about cholesterol, supposedly it's bad for my heart but muscle gurus say it's the base steroid upon which hormones are built. Who can argue against mighty testosterone after all!
Doctors and diet gurus have swayed either way from time to time, I can chronologically enlist the decades when carbs got the bad press rep and those in which fat was the real monster causing every health problem known to mankind. Since I despise such pointless pursuits; following the wisdom of Hegel about studying history: “only what's irrefutable and useful is worth propagating; for human history is an interplay of trial and error.” Skipping over the timelines and the conflicting research papers, I’ll establish the most cutting edge and proven information here.
Neither of them is absolutely "good" or "bad”. This black and white mentality is plaguing our society in more ways than we can enumerate. They have different characteristics which we ought to understand first to make the educated choice. They can be detrimental to someone and a necessity for another person. The context and the desired outcomes drive the choices here.
Why we gotta make this choice anyway? Why not just live on lean protein and get shredded af! Say, you're an 180 lbs guy on maintenance with DEE of 2500 calories, if you eat only protein you'll need 2500/3= 833 grams of it. That's 30-35 protein shakes in a day! Even Ronnie Coleman thinks 500 gram is way more than ENOUGH! Jokes aside, the more protein you eat, the more of it starts getting burned as fuel via conversion into glucose and that's quite taxing on our kidneys and liver hence an avoidable stressor.
Though on a rapid fat loss diet, it's acceptable to sustain only on protein for SHORT intervals of time because then we're in a severe deficit. Eating substantially fewer calories leads to prudent amounts of protein overall.
Second, not everyone can function on or adapt comfortably to ketosis. On protein only or a more realistic protein and fat diet (meat, eggs) ketosis will set in and it's not pleasant in long-term unless it's used for treating epilepsy. Training individuals should only consider going on a ketogenic diet for rapidly losing fat in the start of a diet because any type of high-intensity activity/anaerobic workout is severely hampered in the absence of carbs. (more on this later).
Add to the fact that, Brain and Central nervous system work predominantly on Glucose and so does our Fast twitch muscle fibers making a threshold amount of carbs desirable. Desirable but not essential because the needed glucose for Brain/CNS can be fulfilled by a metabolic pathway named Gluconeogenesis (GNG)not to be confused with glycogenesis. It's a survival mechanism in which our liver converts protein and lipids (fat) into Glucose when carbs are absolutely eliminated from the diet. On a diet/severe calorie restriction, you don’t want your liver playing Gluconeogenesis with your muscle tissues. Throwing in the bare minimum glucose for brain/CNS functioning which amounts to 100 grams of Carbohydrates daily will keep you clear of the ketogenic state and Gluconeogenesis; and here I just made a case for carbs but haven't defined what they are, yet.
Third, the reason which is less nerdy and more practical is who wants to miss on all those delicious carb and fat concoctions. Protein is considerably expensive gram per gram too(supplementary protein). I would also like to add that anyone into fitness culture consumes more than enough protein anyway, thanks to mainstream fitness advisers and the supplement giants sponsoring them. All those Buckets of Whey, Casein, Hydrolysed whey, Egg white, and Beef protein needs gullible customers. 95% of the internet swears by 2gram/lbs, the more conservative ones go by 1gram/lbs. ATLEAST. Any lower and you'll look like a holocaust survivor they say!
I'll talk about protein requirements in a bit; let me first get carbs and fat out of the way. Oh wait, this is getting too long. your brain needs rest. we'll cover carbs extensively in the second part.
Check out Part 2 | Part 3 | & Part 4 of this Series!
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