In my previous article I explained how to determine the number of calories needed on a daily basis to lose weight. Remembering that this isn’t an exact science you need to log your results to see if they are working for you. This article will give you one method of dividing up your food portions known as the 40/30/30.
The 40/30/30 method
This means 40 percent of your food will come from carbohydrates, 30 percent will come from protein and 30 percent will come from fats. Let’s say that your eating plan calls for you to eat 1500 calories per day. The break down would be 600 calories from carbohydrates, 450 calories from protein and 450 calories from fat. Question is how do we get those calories from each food type? Easy, look at the grams on the label.
How many calories per gram?
There are 4 calories per gram of carbohydrate and protein. This means if something has 30 grams of carbohydrates or protein, 120 calories will be from those carbohydrates or protein.
There are 9 calories per gram of fat. This means if something has 10 grams of fat, 90 calories are from fat.
If we were to take a look at the label for full fat milk it would look similar to this:
Serving Size 8 FL OZ
Calories – 150
Total Fat – 8g
Total Carbohydrate – 12g
Protein – 8g
Adding all of that up looks like this: 8g protein = 32 calories, 12g carbohydrates = 48 calories, 8g fat = 72 calories. 32 + 48 + 72 = 152. The label is rounding the number of fat calories down to 70.
Easy right? OK, now back to the 40/30/30 method
Now that we understand how to calculate calories based on grams of each food type we need to figure out how many grams per day we should consume on a daily basis. We are going to take each percentage of our food calories (40/30/30) and divide it by the number of calories per gram of each good type. Going back to the 1500 calories here is how it breaks down.
Carbs (40%) 600 Calories = 150 grams (600 / 4 calories per gram)
Protein (30%) 450 Calories = 113 grams (450 / 4 calories per gram)
Fats (30%) 450 = 50 grams (450 / 9 calories per gram)
On the 40/30/30 plan at 1500 calories per day we will eat 150 grams of carbs, 113 grams of protein and 50 grams of fat.
What kind of foods should I eat?
As far as carbs are concerned, I’ve had the most success with the following carbs: Brown Rice, Grain / Protein Pasta, Fruits, Veggies (you can have all the green veggies you want), shredded wheat, oatmeal and grain bread. These are known as complex carbohydrates and there are examples of these all of the web. Here’s the key to eating carbs… Eat most of your carbs in the morning, preferably after waking up, and within 2 hours of exercise. Why? After being in a fasted state all night or after a workout your body will rapidly absorb those carbs (even high sugar ones) much easier than if you’ve been sitting down all day. If you need 150 carbs per day try to eat 50 of those carbs immediately after waking up and 50 immediately after working out.
Recommendation for carbs – Eat mostly veggies and low glycemic index fruits (grapefruit, bananas, apples, etc) throughout the day and eat most of your high glycemic index foods (rice, pasta, etc) after a workout or in the morning. One of my favorite breakfasts is a few scrambled eggs with hot sauce and steel cut outs with a little honey. Yum!
Recommendations for proteins – This one is pretty easy – Chicken breasts (PLEASE USE POULTRY SPICES!), lean ground beef (PLEASE USE BEEF SPICES!), lean steak (AGAIN, SPICES!), Eggs, Egg Substitutes, Whey Protein Powder, cottage cheese, fish and Pork Tenderloin. Any lean meat or vegetarian source of protein will do.
Recommendations for fats – You should mix up your fat sources between saturated and unsaturated fats – Butter (in moderation), cheese (in moderation), avocado, olive oil, nuts (peanuts have very little nutritional value, you’re better off with anything but peanuts), salmon (good protein as well)
Following the 40/30/30 is pretty simple. Just calculate your daily caloric needs and stick to it. Remember to adjust the numbers as you lose weight. Every 5 pounds or so you should recalculate your daily calorie needs.
On final tip: The best advice I got for shopping for food as a supermarket is this: Avoid the middle isles of the supermarket. Stick to everything that surrounds the isles like the produce section, meat section, seafood section and dairy section and you should be in good shape. That doesn’t include the bakery or deli though.
The 40-30-30 Nutritional Plan