Weight Gain
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Protein/Fat, Protein/Carb meals?


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A popular sports nutritionist, John Berardi, asserts that it is better to have fats and carbs far away from each other in meals, with the best bet splitting your 6 meals per day into 3 protein/fat and 3 protein/carb. In the protein/fat meals, there should be no more than 10g of carbohydrates (he recommends you still eat your veggies) and for your protein/carb meals, there should be no more than 5g of fat.

I can't find the main article but here's one that addresses this issue: http://www.johnberardi.com/articles/qa/afc/af c_oct262001.htm


The theory is that carbs spike insulin levels thus eating too much fat will only lead to storage of fat. Could anyone offer opinions on this?

10 Replies (last)

High insulin levels do impede fat mobilization, and I believe that's his primary reason behind the split. Another reason is if one eats carbs and fat together then primary energy needs are met by the carbs, and the body just stores the fat since it's not needed for energy at the time. One can eat carbs and fat together, but moderation is the key.

For example, I have met several people who are successfully losing fat by following the Zone, which recommends eating 40% carbs, 30% fat, 30% protein every single meal/snack. The reason it works is Sears recommends green, fibrous vegetables as carb sources, nuts and olive oils as the fat source, and then a lean protein like chicken or turkey as the protein source. This combination slows the release of insulin down because of fiber, protein, and fat all slow down carbohydrate digestion. A person could follow a Zone prescription and gain fat quite easily by eating some spaghetti with high fat meatballs and a white creamy sauce. This combination would still be 40/30/30, but the quality of the foods is nowhere near as good as broccoli and baby spinach with olive oil drizzled on top next to some grilled chicken.

The important things to take away from Berardi's work are to eat 5-6 times a day, eat protein with every meal, and eat clean. Cut back on pastas, breads (substitute whole wheat ones for any white ones), increase green vegetable intake, eat good fats (olive oil, fish oil, flaxseed oil, mixed nuts), and eat more lean protein (chicken, turkey). Splitting the meals up into protein/fat or protein/carb will just make the loss more efficient, but it isn't necessary so long as someone is eating clean in the first place.

Thank you. I have a question though, what's the difference between having meatballs and olive oil in terms of storage of fat. (As in not regarding chloestrol, saturated, unsaturated fats etc)

Unfortunately, I can't answer the question if I avoid the saturated vs unsaturated question. I'm not a chemist or a nutritionist so I don't know what chemical process the body actually does to turn food fat into body fat though I do know it's a fairly simple one in terms of energy required since fat has a very low thermic effect.

The reason Olive Oil will be better than a high fat meatball and a creamy white sauce is Olive Oil is usually around 80% monounsaturated vs the other being around 60-70% saturated. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats promote metabolism and actually help burn fat. They also have a ton of other neato effects, but that's not relevant to the current discussion.

Some good sources of information:
Udo Erasmus's "Fats that Heal, Fats that Kill"
Johnny Bowden's "The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth"
Tom Venuto's "Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle"
Berardi's "Precision Nutrition"

Erasmus's is about fats and the differences between them. Bowden discusses great foods and breaks down how a lot of "healthy" foods we eat aren't healthy at all. Venuto's is a non-sourced book about carbs, fat, protein, and how to effectively lose fat and not just lose weight. Berardi's is very similar to Venuto's and you'll find a ton of overlap between what the two discuss.

Food combining has been largely dismissed as a fancy myth..... Traditional (healthy) diets on which people have thrived for thousands of years tend to contain elements of everything if not actually on the same plate but at the same meal.  You will only store fat if you take in more energy than you burn up. 

Beware of 'nutritionism' and people who would convince you that you need an expert to tell you how to eat..... You absolutely don't.

I do sports nutrition and have been reading berardi for years.  Just as an FYI - he no longer proposes the macro separating.  He got a LOT of flack for it, as his hypotheses about insulin and fat storage aren't actually correct.

 

While insulin is a storage hormone, you don't need insulin to store fat.  And, in reality, any excess calories will eventually be stored as fat - the mechanism will just differ.  Combining a fat and a carb in the same meal will result in either 1) both being used for energy if you are at a deficit or 2) carbs being used for energy and fat stored.  BUT, if you are under maintenance, you will eventually mobilize that fat for energy anyway.  If you are over maintenance, your goal is gain regardless.

Fat doesn't use insulin to be stored anyway.

 

So, don't worry about it.  He does have nice suggestions on meal frequency and eating healthy, but the whole P/C and P/F meals are bunk.

I agree. Eating holistically, and becoming your own expert on nutritional values will virtually guarantee success regarding weight management.  The principal components of personal success are KNOWLEDGE and DESIRE.  One does have to come before the other, and both have to be present always.  That is why I keep coming back to Calorie Count, it provides me with instant information on nutritional values, and I get instant feedback on why a particular combination of food did not create the nutrtional balance that I was looking for.  All in all, I've found that the closer I get to a Medditeranian/Vegetarian/Holistic diet the easier it is to plan my meals and hit my targets. It's rarely perfect, but it is nice to have tools to support my KNOWLEDGE base.  My DESIRE as of late is a result of a physical exam and ensuing blood work.  My tri-glycerides were through the roof, and I had gained 20 pounds just this last year. I am a 50 year old male, and jumped from 165 to 185. I clearly fell off the wagon nutritionally.  My DESIRE is strong and I have lost 3 pounds in a week eating vitually a holistic diet. This will change, but in 6 weeks when I have my blood work done again I want to have an entirely different set of results. I am eating aprroximately 1600 calories/day at a 55/25/20 ratio. I was pretty hungry late yesterday but it paid off. Also, I've added the treadmill to my exercise plan (I had no plan recently so this add is it). Thirty minutes 5x/week.  I just walk by the weight machines:(  Maybe later.

If anyone is interested in buddying up for a couple of months on shedding pounds I'd be happy to help spur you on.

#7  
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His protocols are valid but are aimed more at bodybuilders than anyone else. Following his P+C and P+F meal plans will probably not have any noticeable effect.

Original Post by for_zev:

I do sports nutrition and have been reading berardi for years.  Just as an FYI - he no longer proposes the macro separating.  He got a LOT of flack for it, as his hypotheses about insulin and fat storage aren't actually correct.

 

While insulin is a storage hormone, you don't need insulin to store fat.  And, in reality, any excess calories will eventually be stored as fat - the mechanism will just differ.  Combining a fat and a carb in the same meal will result in either 1) both being used for energy if you are at a deficit or 2) carbs being used for energy and fat stored.  BUT, if you are under maintenance, you will eventually mobilize that fat for energy anyway.  If you are over maintenance, your goal is gain regardless.

Fat doesn't use insulin to be stored anyway.

 

So, don't worry about it.  He does have nice suggestions on meal frequency and eating healthy, but the whole P/C and P/F meals are bunk.

Thank you very much! Glad to know that it has been disproved, was getting a little obsessed there.

Original Post by imccarthy:

His protocols are valid but are aimed more at bodybuilders than anyone else. Following his P+C and P+F meal plans will probably not have any noticeable effect.

No they aren't.  Even he says that having low GI with fats is acceptable.

 

P/C and P/F timing only helps people to avoid high fat/sugar foods.  The only time macro combining is useful is post workout, when you would want to avoid fats.

#10  
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Original Post by for_zev:

Original Post by imccarthy:

His protocols are valid but are aimed more at bodybuilders than anyone else. Following his P+C and P+F meal plans will probably not have any noticeable effect.

No they aren't.  Even he says that having low GI with fats is acceptable.

 

P/C and P/F timing only helps people to avoid high fat/sugar foods.  The only time macro combining is useful is post workout, when you would want to avoid fats.

He is correct in saying carbohydrates are best tolerated during and after exercise. His point is that other than the most insulin sensitive of the population, most of us would benefit from limiting the bulk of our carb consumption to during exercise and post-workout.

His protocol is written for those looking to gain weight/muscle so it has nothing to do with avoiding calorie dense foods.

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