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Thread: Confused about the role of carbs, proteins, & fats page

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    Kj94's Avatar
    Kj94 is offline Junior Member
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    Confused about the role of carbs, proteins, & fats

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    I've been on and off with the paleo/primal thing for a while but recently have been encouraged to do it again because my boyfriend finally said he would do it with me. What I'm confused with is how everything all works together. I'm in nutrition for my major and I'm fairly new to it, but I've always been told that carbs are the main source of energy and that when your body utilizes fat for energy, it takes protein with it which makes me wonder. I know its worked for lots of people but can the diet alone make a difference or is it the combination of diet plus the workouts that help maintain muscle?

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    Drumroll's Avatar
    Drumroll is offline Senior Member
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    It's both in my humble (and non-medical) opinion. Weightloss is 90% diet and 10% activity in my opinion.

    Muscle maintenance is a bit more complex. You need protein to maintain or put on muscle, but I think that being in ketosis tends to spare your protein because logically, I believe the body knows what is more efficient.

    "Ok, no carbs for energy, what to do? Burn 1 gram of muscle for 4.5 calories of energy, or burn 1 gram of body fat for 7.5 (burning body fat is less efficient than burning dietary fat) calories of energy?"

    Well, 7.5 (from body fat) > 4.5 (from muscle burning). Body is going to say, "of course fat is more efficient, I'll eat that first!"

    Yes, you need some glucose for a few body functions that can't use free fatty acids or ketones for energy. But this can easily come from dietary protein intake so that it doesn't have to burn the protein already contained in your muscle.

    The only time you have a problem is if you're like this hyper-lean individual with absolutely no body fat on you for your body to burn.
    "The cling and a clang is the metal in my head when I walk. I hear a sort of, this tinging noise - cling clang. The cling clang. So many things happen while walking. The metal in my head clangs and clings as I walk - freaks my balance out. So the natural thought is just clogged up. Totally clogged up. So we need to unplug these dams, and make the the natural flow... It sort of freaks me out. We need to unplug the dams. You cannot stop the natural flow of thought with a cling and a clang..."

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    Kj94's Avatar
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    That makes sense. I've been trying to eat more veggies so that should help with adequate carb intake anyways. Thanks (sorry for my late responses I'm terrible at responding asap lol )

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    Your body has the ability to run without carbs but I think it puts a metabolic strain on you having none. Many animals run on very low carb diets..,sheep do ironically. They run on fat produced by symbiotic microbes in their intestines. Lions don't eat carbs and they are lean as you like. Glucose and starch are the best carbs to get in your diet as they can be directed to the muscles to be stored as glycogen and don't necessarily become converted into fat. So as long as you use glucose or starch to just top up muscle and liver glycogen they won't ruin your blood numbers or your waistline.
    Fructose is not so useful, the body can and does use small amounts for metabolism but as it cannot be stored in muscle once the liver is topped up...that fructose is converted into triglycerides (not good).
    Protein is what you are mostly made but not all protein is the same quality. Protein is made from 20 different amino acids that we need in certain proportions. Whey protein and eggs have similar amino acid profiles to the human body wheras soya protein doesn't. Protein makes you feel nourished and is necessary for health.
    Fat is probably the most complicated aspect. There are a myriad of different molecules in the diet that can be classed as fat. Animal fats are advocated by primalists alongside coconut oil, these are best processed and digested by the body and can be very satiating. PUFAs or poly-unsaturated fatty acids tend to come from plants and are generally accepted as being pretty unhealthy with the exception of some omega 3 fatty acids (docosahexaenoic acid especially) which most (not all) people consider to be beneficial. It's the one that is found in oily fish.
    Personally I benefit from running on animal fats as my primary fuel source. I occasionally have a carb fest to let my body know that I am not starving it and increase my metabolism. I eat oily fish twice a week and eat as much high quality protein as I can get my hands on.
    Man seeks to change the foods available in nature to suit his tastes, thereby putting an end to the very essence of life contained in them.
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    Neckhammer's Avatar
    Neckhammer is online now Senior Member
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    Protein is structural... carbs and fat are energy. When your dieting make sure you can maintain your structure (i.e. protein). Restrict energy, but not so much so as to make life hell. Either fat or carbs can supply your energy. Depending on the type, duration, intensity, and frequency of your preferred method of exercise.... you may choose one over the other.

    As far as it one or the other... I believe resistance training to be THE biggest factor in retaining lean mass while losing fat. Next is sufficient protein. Anything after that is likely pure speculation or anecdotal N=1 stuff. When leaning out I would eat fat and protein in the form of whole chicken thighs, ribeye steak, whole eggs, ect... and do resistance training 2x/week. There are those that prefer egg whites, skinless chicken breast, and some carbs (so low fat approach). The constant is protein and resistance training.
    Last edited by Neckhammer; 10-06-2013 at 11:54 AM.

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