Written by Sarah Ainsley Harrison (@sarahainsleyh)
Everything, in moderation. You do not need to cut out any food groups. Our bodies evolved to utilize all macronutrients, just not highly processed ones like simple carbs and trans fats. Food is like music... there is good and bad in every genre.
- Eat good fats especially EFAs (Essential Fatty Acids).
- Eat complexed carbs especially resistant starches.
- Eat moderate amounts of highly bioavailable protein sources especially complimentary or complete proteins.
Fats are hormone carriers and considering hormone imbalances are one of the leading causes of obesity it is quite misguided to cut fats as a food group. We should cut BAD fats but keep GOOD fats. Short chain fats and medium chain triglycerides are readily used as fuel, whereas long chain fats and trans fats are more difficult to break down, more likely to store long term, and can have more inflammatory response. Butter (SCT) Coconut Oil (MCT), and Fish Oil (EFA / Omega 3) don’t make you gain fat, fried trans fats and excessive long chain fats do.
Complex carbs slowly release glucose into the blood stream for even energy and steady insulin. We should cut SIMPLE carbs but keep complexed carbs especially resistant starches. Resistant starches behave differently in the body. They don’t spike your blood sugar or raise inflammation, and they keep you feeling full for longer. Good bacteria thrive on these starches, creating more short chain fats acetate, butyrate, propionate which make a perfect fuel source for mitochondria. All carbs don’t make you gain fat, simple carbs do.
We need protein to repair and build, however the amount of protein you need is misrepresented by culture and agriculture revolution of mass-produced meat. Carbs and fats are carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, whereas proteins are CHO + Nitrogen. Nitrogen must be processed by the liver and kidneys. Maximum of 35-40% of your diet should be protein. 40% if you workout hard often and good. More than 40% can cause liver and kidney damage, Hyperammonemia & Hyperaminoacidemia, and excess protein just gets converted into glycogen anyway.
Ideally 20-50% of diet should be good fats and 10-40% should be carbs. 30:30:40 is a classic balanced diet 30%P, 30%F and 40% carbs, but if you have any inflammatory issues, you may prefer a higher fat, moderate protein, lower carb skew such as 35% protein, 25-30% carbs and 35-40% fats, and EFAs all day. Reducing simple carbs and trans fats are the only food groups you should avoid for good health.