You’ve probably been told by ripped guy #1 that low carb / high fat is the way to go, and then been told by another equally ripped guy that high carbs / low fat gets best results. So what gives?! is there actually a scientifically proven better combination?
Well a recent meta-analysis looked at this, and I’m highlighting one newer study in particular.
46 overweight men (30-50 yrs) were put on a 2090 calorie diet of either:
1. Lower fat (30%) / high carb (53%) / protein (17%)
2. High fat (73%) / low carb (10%) / protein (17%)
Both groups were instructed to avoid processed foods and added sugars. They were also encouraged to eat more vegetables and some fruit. (aka eat healthier)
The diets in a nutshell had very similar results in waist reduction, fat mass / body weight lost. As well as other health markers such as insulin sensitivity. Although the low fat / high carb group actually slightly outperformed the other by 1-4% (non-significant) in most of the areas.
As has been alluded to before with weight loss or gain, calories are King! It’s important to note that these participants were overweight and essentially on a weight loss diet where calories were matched between protocols. What was not tested was the impact of high intensity exercise.
Say what you like, but there is no denying that the preferred fuel source for intense exercise is carbs. So if you do prefer and feel better on a low carb / high fat diet but also workout intensely, one option is to include some extra carbs around your workout.
If you do prefer high carb / lower fat, one recommendation is to not reduce fats below ~20% (of calories) as some fats are essential to the body and contribute to things such as proper hormone function.
Lastly if you are doing intense exercise having protein set to around 0.8-1g per lb of bodyweight is generally a good range for most.
Yes macros can play a more important role for those more advanced, but by the time most get to this advanced level they already will have a good understanding of what macros work well for them.
In the end it’s easy to overcomplicate nutrition, but still one of the best ways to find out what macronutrient ratio works best for you is stay open minded and to try out different protocols. For a few weeks try out a lower fat / higher carb diet and then try the opposite and assess how you feel. It’s really that simple.