We already know that foods are made up of carbohydrates, protein and fat, which are known as macronutrients. A balanced diet is made up of these three. So far, so good – but how much of what should you eat? What should this distribution look like if you want to lose weight, gain weight or just want to stay fit and healthy?
Before we get to the distribution of macronutrients, here is one brief summary of what they are good for in the first place. If you want to find out more, read the blog articles on carbohydrates, protein and fats again.
Carbohydrates: Der Energi supplier number 1. Carbohydrates give the body and especially the muscles quick energy. They are not essential as they can be made by the body itself. For active people and athletes, however, their intake is essential for performance.
Protein: The miracle cure for glowing skin, hard fingernails, strong muscles and more. Protein is the basic building block of cells, so to speak. It is essential and has to be taken daily, as we have no storage for this macronutrient. If protein is needed because too little was taken in, the body breaks down muscles in order to gain protein.
Fats: Fuel, building materials, insulators and much more. Fats are also a source of energy, but in contrast to carbohydrates, they are used for slow, persistent stress. Some of them, namely the polyunsaturated fatty acids, are essential, so they have to be taken in through food because the body depends on them. Fats play the main role in controlling the hormonal balance, transport the important fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K) and take on many other essential functions.
How much of what should I eat now?
That depends on your goals and depends on whether you want to gain muscle or lose weight, for example. In general, the following applies: Your metabolism, your muscle mass and your well-being influence your personal macronutrient distribution.
DGE (German Nutrition Society) recommends a distribution of 55 / 30/15 (55% of the calories eaten should come from carbohydrates, 30% from protein, 15% from fats). This distribution is solid and significantly better than the current status (right column), but for athletes (especially the strength athletes among us) this is a little too little protein, which is why I recommend a little more, not just to love the muscles – you know or read the protein blog entry. 😉
Protein: 1.2 g to 2 g per kg of body weight t. This value should be kept constant – regardless of whether you are currently in a diet or a building phase. Those who do sport, especially weight training, should approach the 2 gram mark. Heavy strength athletes can increase their protein intake to 2.5 g per kg body weight – larger amounts are not sensible because the body cannot use them to this extent and converts them into carbohydrates.
Fat: 0.7 up to 1 per kg of body weight. This amount should not be undercut in a diet – or if only for a very short period. I have seen in myself and in clients how a previous low-fat diet creates problems and prevents progress accordingly. Women in particular should pay more attention to their fat intake. Compared to protein, too much fat isn’t that bad – it just gets stored. Too much protein is converted into fat and stored, but at the same time puts a strain on the body (liver, kidneys).
Carbohydrates … result from the remaining calories, i.e. from those that are still left depending on the total intake. They are (1) not essential and (2) variable depending on the goal (muscle building, weight loss).
The optimal distribution of macronutrients is determined individually for all of my clients. Build muscle, lose fat or get fitter in general – every goal requires an appropriate, intelligent diet. If you are interested in your personal macro distribution, please have a look at my offers.
Excess calories. In contrast to a diet in which you lower the carbohydrates for a calorie deficit, I recommend increasing it accordingly, since protein and fat, as described above, should always be kept in a constant range. Carbohydrates as energy suppliers must be sufficiently available so that the muscle glycogen stores are filled for strength and performance during training.
Example: Woman with 70 kg and a basal metabolic rate of 2,200 kcal therefore needs 140 g protein (2 g per kg body weight) , 70 g fat (1 g per kg body weight) and at least over 250 g carbohydrates in order to exceed your basal metabolic rate and accordingly achieve a calorie surplus.
Note: 1 g carbohydrates has approx. 4 kcal, 1 g protein also around 4 kcal, 1 g fat has 9 kcal.
Like that If the amount of carbohydrates in the build-up is increased, it is decreased in the diet in order to achieve a calorie deficit. At this point, however, it should be pointed out that for weight loss the body ultimately does not care in which form it gets the energy (i.e. the calories that you eat).
If you use more than you top up, you will lose weight because your body has to tap its reserves. Diet forms such as low carb, low fat or the ketogenic diet all work for one reason: because of the negative calorie balance, i.e. a calorie deficit.
Example: Woman with 70 kg and a basal metabolic rate of 2,200 kcal therefore needs 140 g of protein ( 2 g per kg body weight), 70 g fat (1 g per kg body weight) and at least under 250 g carbohydrates in order to get below your basal metabolic rate and a calorie deficit.
Why do most people fail to lose weight?
It is important that your diet is individually tailored to you. For some, the diet is too far removed from their original eating habits that they cannot keep it up for long. Examples of this are the famous cabbage soup diet or similar reduction diets (apart from the fact that these also make no health sense because they are very one-sided and therefore lack nutrients).
Other diets Failures initially forbid themselves everything that is supposedly bad, and then, in a weak moment, attack all the ‘forbidden’ foods . Still others plan to torment themselves over a set period of time, and then celebrate their stamina with a day full of great, food (, Cheat Day ‘).
The next morning they get hungry again, which means that they quickly fall back into old patterns . After a relatively short time they are often heavier than before.
Such diets, should therefore not be imitated. How to do it correctly is summarized in the conclusion.
So we see: Both weight gain and weight loss depend on the calorie balance and thus on the relationship between energy intake ( Calories from food) and energy consumption (basal metabolic rate depending on everyday work, leisure activities, etc.). I recommend keeping the amounts of protein (1.2–2 g / kg body weight) and fat (0.8–1 g / kg body weight) always relatively constant and the carbohydrates depending on the goal (for building muscle more that one results in a slight excess of calories; correspondingly fewer for a diet, so that there is a deficit).