What’s the best macro split for carbs, protein, and fat? One of the main features of various diets is how they approach these three macronutrients. The first commercial low-carb diet was launched 50+ years ago (1967). The high-protein feature is a little outdated but the diet was a game-changer at the time. Today a more likely approach would be a high protein high-fat diet. Atkins allows unlimited protein and fats and tweaks carbs for the 4 phases. Keto is different since makes fats high and protein mid-range. They’re similar approaches since carbohydrates are still low.
High-fat diets have been trending in recent years due to the popularity of the Keto diet. This diet focuses on good fats like olive oil, fatty fish, and avocados. It’s quite high at about three-quarters of your total calories. While protein isn’t “high” it’s higher than other diets. It even allows protein sources like bacon, pepperoni, and pork rinds. Atkins is probably closer to a diet that’s high in fats and protein since it makes them unlimited. These are two different macros so we should look closely at how effective both of them are at weight loss. This will answer the big question: does it work?
Low Fat vs. High-Fat Diet
It might seem illogical that a high-fat diet would be more effective than a low-fat diet for losing weight. Is it possible? That’s what studies seem to show.
It depends on the types of fats you’re consuming. Studies show that unsaturated fats seem to be the healthiest ones. These include many plant-based foods like avocados, olive oil, nuts/seeds, and others.
Fatty fish is another good source of omega-3s. They include:
Seafood like shellfish is another good source of omega-3s. Today you can also find fish oil supplements on the market that can boost your intake of fatty acids.
Another option is krill oil. These oils are from a shrimp-like sea creature that also is high in good fats.
Saturated fat can also provide some benefits. It’s not clear “healthy” since it raises good and bad cholesterol, for example. However, a limited amount of this fat seems to provide some health benefits based on studies.
Various studies have been done that show a low-carb, high-fat diet can provide more weight loss than a high-carb, low-fat diet.
Healthy fat is needed for different body functions. They include heart health, nutrient absorption, energy source, and body temperature. These are all important functions for our day-to-day lives.
One of the main benefits of the fat macro is it’s very nutrient-dense. There are about 2x more calories in fat than protein and carbs.
This helps you feel fuller after consuming a high-fat meal. The key is to make sure you’re getting good fats so it’s also full of nutrients.
The type of fat you’ll want to avoid is trans-fat. This fat was invented for so-called tub margarine. Today many deep-fried foods and snack foods contain this unhealthy fat. Make sure to ask restaurants what type of oil/fat they’re frying foods in, and read labels of pre-packaged foods.
High Protein, High Fat Diet
In terms of macro splits, you can’t make both of them “high.” A high protein high-fat diet is what makes Keto. Protein can go up to about 25% on this diet so you’re getting a moderate amount of protein.
Atkins allows unlimited protein. Besides not having a cap for protein there’s also unlimited fat. The “problem” with this approach is there’s little evidence showing a high-protein diet is just as helpful as a high-fat diet for weight loss.
That said, protein can help with shedding weight:
1. Metabolism Speed
One of the main ways to lose weight is to burn calories/fat faster. This is done by boosting your body’s metabolism.
This is another key benefit of a higher intake of protein foods. Protein seems to increase metabolism better than carbs/fats.
Protein increases can boost it by up to 35%, while fat/carbs boost it by up to 15%. That’s a 20% difference.
Not only can protein boost your metabolism but it can be long-term. This benefit can last for hours after you’ve consumed a meal.
A protein boost might help to control hunger and even make you feel full for hours after you’re done eating a meal.
What’s the reason? When you consume protein, it boosts certain hormones. This helps you experience feeling fuller/satisfied.
There’s also an interesting so-called “hunger hormone.” When the level of this hormone drops you feel less hungry. Less hunger can produce weight loss because you’ll eat less.
Various studies show how high-protein diets can help to reduce appetite and boost fullness.
3. Fat Loss
When you lose weight, you can also burn fat. That’s because every pound of fat equals 3,500 calories. Many studies show this benefit.
The results of many studies show that boosting protein can also help to increase weight/fat loss.
Top High-Protein Foods
1. Greek Yogurt
It’s not just for the Mediterranean Diet. This is a thick yogurt with many nutrients and a creamy texture. Nearly half the calories are from protein. One serving is low-calorie and high-protein.
Oatmeal is a good option for whole grains. It’s loaded with nutrients like Vitamin B1, manganese, and magnesium. It’s also high-fiber so good for digestion.
You get 15% of oat products’ calories from fiber. Oats are also naturally gluten-free. They sometimes contain gluten because the same equipment is used to process grains like wheat and barley.
3. Pumpkin Seeds
During the next Halloween make sure to save the pumpkin seeds from your jack o’ lantern. They’re loaded in nutrients like zinc, magnesium, and iron. You also get about 15% of all calories from protein.
These are high in lots of nutrients like iron, magnesium, and manganese. You also get lots of fiber. If you’re looking for plant-based protein sources these are some of the best options.
Protein makes up over one-quarter of its total calories. If you’re on a vegan diet then beans and peas are some of the best protein sources.
This is one of the healthiest tree nuts you can eat. It’s full of nutrients like magnesium, manganese, and Vitamin E. Protein makes up 13% of the nut’s total calories.
6. Cottage Cheese
This food is low in calories/fat and also high-protein like other dairies. It makes up nearly 60% of the total calories.
This superfood is easily one of the world’s healthiest protein sources. You get lots of minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and healthy fats.
A whole egg is high-protein but the whites nearly 100% protein. How about the yolk’s cholesterol? It’s high in good cholesterol. It debunks health experts’ claim it was just high-cholesterol so it’s good for high protein high-fat diets.