Just do a Google search on diets and there will be 187,000,000 results. Really? How can there be so many different ways to diet when there are only three macro groups; carbohydrates, protein and fat?
Granted each human being is unique with their own genetic code. That code probably has something to do with the best diet for you. But if you think about it all 187,000,000 have to fall within the following categories:
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The Self-Truth Premise™
The answer you seek about your diet is already inside you. While you may just want a recommendation about your diet from me, the truth is I probably would fail you not because my heart wasn’t looking out for your best interest or my lack of knowledge. I’d fail you because I’m not you. I have my own biases and my own experience for me. They may not be the same for you. You’ll never fail yourself if you keep asking the right questions.
The simple three step approach is a starting point for you to find your own answer. It was born out of my own major failures because I never looked within to find what was right for me and just blindly took the advice of “experts” who I discovered never asked me one very important question (step one) about my health. They just “told” me what to do. They never “asked” me what my own truth was. (Read my story about bonking and diet failure.)
My promise to you: By following these three steps you’ll be able to find your own truth and create your own perfect diet.
The starting question that needs to be answered before you select a diet is:
Are you insulin sensitive or resistant?
If you are insulin sensitive then you may consider a diet with more carbohydrates. If you are insulin resistant then a low carbohydrate diet will yield better predictable results.
Decide if you want a diet yielding predictable results or one that may yield you an unpredictable result. (See Predicting the Results of Your Diet Before You Start)
If you want a diet yielding more predictable results it will have less carbohydrates.
If you’re willing to select a diet with more variations of results, then you’ll select a diet with more carbohydrates.
Begin to fill out the nine category plan.
Truth: The answer is always inside you. You can fill this out. It may take some time and I’m even willing to personally help you. Stay with it!
Facts to consider in your initial diet plan
This will be the most important decision you’ll make about your diet.
All carbohydrates are not created equal. Generally carbohydrates from natural plants are better like vegetables and fruit. Within this category RAW is generally better than cooked. The more bitter tasting they are generally the more phytonutrients they contain and better they are for you. Finally, each carbohydrate has more or less glucose (sugar) and fiber. The less glucose (sugar) the lower their glycemic index and the less insulin will be present in your blood. The higher their glycemic index the more insulin will be present in your blood.
Because your fat burning is controlled by the presences of insulin and insulin is controlled by the the type and amount of carbohydrates this macro nutrient will be the most important decision you’ll make about your diet’s success and adherence to a lifestyle.
Proteins contain many of the essential building blocks of muscle and tendon growth and maintenance. Most protein is animal based. There are types of plants that also deliver protein. Generally protein from animals that consume a natural diet will be better for you. The protein from most farm raised animals that have been fed or injected with unnatural compounds, harmful to the human body such as antibiotics and steroids, will be harmful to you as well because these harmful compounds pass from them to you when you eat it. Avoid these and select animal protein with a solid natural diet (e.g., Most dairy cows in the US are fed government subsidized corn laced with pesticides. Cows natural diet is grass. When they eat corn they get sick and are injected with antibiotics to keep them healthy and steroids to bulk them up. Both end up inside you if you eat them or consume their dairy, such as milk and cheese.)
Perhaps the macro that gets the most bad press is fat. Yet fat is one of the most efficient fuels and it’s the only macro group that you naturally store on your body in the form of fatty acids. While you do store about 1,600 to 2,000 calories of glucose in what is called glycogen, you store 3,500 calories for every pound of fat on your body. One gram of fat yields 9 calories when carbs and protein only yield 4 calories. If you select a low carb diet approach you’ll then, more than likely, be consuming more fat to gain the overall calories you need.
The consumption of fat has no effect on insulin. When you consume fat you’ll not spike insulin and thus be able to get into fat burning easier.
There are three forms of fat; saturated, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated. While you need some of each, generally avoid polyunsaturated fat which are found in processed vegetable oils. Fat from the fish from cold waters and other animal fat is generally better for you.
The first consideration here is to determine your diet goals; weight loss, weight gain or maintenance of where you’re at. Perhaps you’re fueling for athletic or activity performance. Maybe you want to have more energy or sleep better at night. All these considerations have a part in determining how much of each macro group you need.
Less carbs will keep insulin lower. Low carbs can bring on ketosis, a state of complete fat burning and ketone creation to support your brain and provide an additional fuel substrate.
To much protein, i.e., more than your body can absorb for muscle synthesis, will be converted to glucose and can and will increase insulin and turn off fat burning.
Click here to determine the right amount of protein for you. You’ll be able to down load a worksheet too.
When you determine your over all calorie needs and how many of those calories you plan to provide by protein, you’ll have a better idea how much of the other two macro groups (carbs and fat) you’ll need. Then to make it even easier, if you decide to go low carb, you’ll then have an idea carb amount and you’ll only have to work into the amount of fat.
Here are two examples.
Example 1 – Low Carb approach
Amount of daily calories to meet your needs: 1,600 (see resources below)
Minus: Amount of protein grams needed (from worksheet): 73
Amount of calories therefore provided by protein (73 x 4 kcal): 292
Minus: Amount of grams of carbs to stay within a ketogenic diet: 50
Amount of calories provided by carbs (50 x 4 kcal): 200
Equals the amount of calories needed by fat (1,600 – 292 – 200): 1,108
Amount of grams of fat needed (1,109 ÷ 9 kcal): 123
Final grams needed (this is a typical ketogenic diet):
Carbs 50 (12.5%)
Protein 73 (18.25%)
Fat 123 (69.25%)
Example 2 – Higher Carb approach
Amount of daily calories to meet your needs: 2,100
Minus: Amount of protein grams needed (from worksheet): 127
Amount of calories therefore provided by protein (127 x 4 kcal): 508
Minus: Amount of grams of carbs: 225
Amount of calories provided by carbs (225 x 4 kcal): 900
Equals the amount of calories needed by fat (2,100 – 508 – 900): 692
Amount of grams of fat needed (692 ÷ 9 kcal): 77
Final grams needed (this is a typical high carb diet):
Carbs 225 (42.9%)
Protein 73 (24.2%)
Fat 123 (32.9%)
How many calories (resources)
When is the best time to consume these macros? This is the tricky variable. It’s not exact science either because you are unique.
The keys here are the following goals of timing:
- Keep blood sugar stable (On a ketogenic diet that brings about ketosis, this is already taken care of because as your body needs fuel it burns fat throughout the day and you’ll maintain a stable blood sugar. However if you’re depending more on glucose your blood sugar can go up and down depending on the time of day or night, exercise and activity and other factors such as a weak adrenal gland. Now you see why there is variability in a diet’s results on a higher carb diet.)
- Resupply depleted glycogen levels (If you were really active or exercised really hard and your body did not have enough glucose inside your blood and/or you’re insulin resistant, your body probably reached inside stored glucose that is inside your muscles in the form of glycogen. It has commonly been thought that the consumption of a mix of 4 parts carbs to 1 part protein within 30 minutes after activity would resupply depleted glycogen levels more rapidly. Yet in a study done by Jeff Volek, PhD with low-carb and high-carb endurance athletes both group’s glycogen level’s were almost restored equally after a 3 hour run even though each group’s post run meal was either low-carb for the low-carb athletes and high-carb for the high-carb athletes.)
- Intermittent fasting (this is the practice of voluntarily withholding food, including carbs, for the purpose of moving the body into a state of ketosis and thus the promotion of fat burning. In this case your timing is easy to determine; you time by not eating for various lengths of time, e.g., 12 hours, 24 hours, 60 hours, etc.)
- To rebuild muscle after a moderate strenuous exercise. (Many people believe and there is science to back this up that the consumption of protein after a workout will begin the repair and building of new muscle more quickly. Also, it has been shown to also accelerate thermogenesis; the increase in your metabolism (the rate at which you burn calories), suppress your appetite, and promote weight loss.)
According to Dr. Berg, he believes if you have a thyroid issue or fatty liver that eating just three times a day is beneficial. He also says if you have a weak adrenal gland or ovary that eating smaller portions six times a day is better. Read a blog post and purchase his book on this subject.
A Low-Carb Diet Approach and Solution
I admit that I have a bias toward a low-carb approach with intermittent fasting. I do only because it is predicable. It definitely worked for me and many I’ve personally mentored.
A Higher-Carb Diet Approach and Solution
While I have a low-carb diet bias I also recognize for many people it’s not their best option. I’ve put together a solution to help you fill in the nine boxes and have a turn key starting higher carb approach.
Before starting any new diet we recommend you seek the advice of a licensed health care practitioner.