Today is day 4 of my June Nutrition Challenge (check out my earlier post here if you haven’t read about it!), and I am loving it! I haven’t craved the dairy-free ice cream sandwiches in the freezer at all, and I’ve successfully denied the temptations that my family keeps offering me! I can tell that my muscle definition is getting better thanks to the high protein intake I’ve had, and I actually feel skinny. There’s still time to join me and make a nutrition change for the month of June, whether it’s cutting out fast food or starting a new diet plan! Whatever it is, take that step forward towards a healthier you!
Now with all of this excitement about better nutrition, the 40/30/30 plan pops up a lot. Multiple health and nutrition specialists (including my nutritionist) recommend it, which brings up the question: What is it, and what are the benefits? Well, there are 3 things that the body gains energy from: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. These 3 things provide calories, which gives the body energy to work. But we can’t just get our calories from one source, like eating 100% protein and nothing else. There has to be a balance, so many experts provide a recommended ratio of the 3 energy sources. For example, the MyFitnessPal app that I track my food intakes on recommends 55% calories from carbs, 30% calories from fat, and 15% calories from protein. I personally do not agree with this ratio. When I followed their recommendations, I had a very hard time getting results from my workout routines. Despite eating a healthy number of calories and meeting the 55/30/15 ratio, I was eating way too many grams of sugar in order to get 55% energy from carbohydrates (see my earlier post here about how evil sugar can be). Yes, this ratio may work for some people, but it is not for everyone since we all have unique needs. There are other ratios to consider.
The 40/30/30 plan means 40% of calories come from carbohydrates, 30% fat, and 30% from protein. As some of you may know, this is similar to the Zone Diet, but not exactly (Zone is a little more tricky and uses “blocks” to determine how many carbs/proteins/fats to eat per meal, and the creator actually said that he regrets mainly categorizing it as a 40/30/30 plan). I am following this 40/30/30 plan now in the June Nutrition Challenge, and I am enjoying its benefits. Protein and fat take longer for the body to digest, therefore people feel full for longer compared to carbs which are converted quickly, and they are both very important for the body. Proteins repair cells and (healthy) fats improve brain, heart, and other major functions. The challenge with this ratio, and any ratio really, is the types of foods you eat. The 40/30/30 plan promotes healthy blood sugar levels because you are eating fewer carbs (which raise blood sugar) in exchange for more proteins and fats. However, if you continue to eat carbs with lots of sugars in them, it defeats the purpose of following a 40/30/30 plan. Your blood sugar will still spike, and desired results won’t appear.
Ultimately, no matter what plan we follow, the content of the foods we eat determine our success. For example, in order to meet 30% calories from protein, you could eat a lot of steak. The problem with steak though is that it contains high amounts of unhealthy fats, which in the long run lead to heart disease. Red meats also contain high amounts of L-Carnitine, which used to be connected to weight loss and better energy, but studies now show that L-Carnitine leads to plaque buildup in the arteries. I don’t mean to bash red meat, but it goes to show that it must be eaten in moderation, and not at every meal. Instead, you could get your protein from chicken, turkey, fish, tofu, or protein powders. Just like with carbs, you don’t want all of your carbohydrates to come from candy and desserts! The foods we eat determine our success!
Like I said, every body is unique and requires it’s own blend of nutrients. Some respond well to 40/30/30 or 55/30/15, and others have their own ratio that works well too! Honestly, finding the right nutrition for you requires trial and error, but believe me, once you figure it out, your body will notice!
Do you like to follow a certain ratio of carbs to fats to proteins a day? Let me know what works for you! Also, check out my new Facebook page to get daily health tips and post updates!
Peace and love!