How to Determine Your Macro Breakdown

How to Determine Your Macro Breakdown

Question:

I would like to know how I determine what my macro breakdown should be? How do I know how to calculate my split as far as protein/fats/carbs based on my weight & height? And what carbs are good for me? Female, Weight 170 lbs., Height 5’2’, Weightlift 5 days per week Cardio 3-5 times per week. I need help (guidance) with the nutrition part of my weight loss journey.

– Yolanda G.

Answer:

Given your current exercise regimen, your estimated daily energy needs for weight loss are about 2,000 calories if 20-30 years old (subtract 75 calories per decade older). Not knowing anything about your present intake, I’d recommend a rough caloric distribution of 30% fat, 20% protein, and 50% carbohydrates. Breaking down the 2,000 calories would give us 67 gm fat, 100 gm protein and 250 gm carbohydrate per day.

I’m so glad you asked about which carbohydrates are good! That indicates you’re aware that quality matters as much as quantity – for all three macronutrients. Complex carbohydrates that are more wholesome (less refined) are preferred over processed sources. Think of oats, quinoa, corn, potatoes, and vegetables complimented by simple carbohydrates from fresh fruit and milk products.

Here’s a one-day sample 2,000 calorie menu providing 27% fat, 22% protein, and 51% carbs*:

  • Breakfast – 1 Cup bran cereal, 1 Cup 1% milk, 1/2 grapefruit, and 1 large egg
  • Lunch – 3 oz. tuna, 1 Tbsp. mayonnaise, 4 rye crisp crackers, large dark green salad, ½ C. chickpeas, 2 Tbsp. of oil-based or ‘green goddess’ dressing
  • Dinner – 4 oz. skinless chicken breast, 1 Cup of broccoli, ½ Cup of corn

3 Snacks –

  • 1 large apple with 2 Tbsp. of peanut butter
  • 1 carrot + 1 celery with ¼ Cup of hummus
  • 6 oz Greek-style plain yogurt with 1 Cup berries

* Calculated by Registered Dietitian Nutritionist using Fitday.com’s food log function. Findings were used along with RDN’s professional judgment.

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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Should You Try Fasting Before Your Next Morning Swim?

Should You Try Fasting Before Your Next Morning Swim?

Question:

I have been swimming for 30 minutes, 4 days a week, at 6AM. Is it best to not eat a sensible breakfast until after I swim? My son is a varsity state swimmer and says not to eat until mid or late morning so that my fat is burned as fuel first.

– Lorin and Diana S.

Answer:

Tristen Alleman, one of our Pro Results® Personal Training Directors, shared that it’s best to do your morning aerobic work while fasted in order to burn more fat. Theoretically, since the body has been using glycogen overnight (fasted) while insulin levels drop, it shifts toward greater fat utilization in subsequent exercise. Most research supports this notion, though it may not be the case during energy restriction. There is also a lack of evidence showing resultant changes in body composition.

I’d advise eating your breakfast just after your morning workout and not waiting until mid-morning, both for your muscle recovery as well as for convenience – it’s easier to eat your sensible meal before getting to early work.

Resources:

  1. Beneficial metabolic adaptations due to endurance exercise training in the fasted state. K Van Proeyen , et al. Journal of Applied Physiology. 2011;110(1):236–245.
  2. Body composition changes associated with fasted versus non-fasted aerobic exercise. BJ Schoenfeld, et al. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 2014; 11:54.
  3. Training in the fasted state improves glucose tolerance during fat-rich diet. K Van Proeyen K, et al. The Journal of Physiology. 2010; 588(Pt 21): 4289–4302.

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

Ask our Dietitian

Have a nutrition question? Our registered dietitian is ready to help!

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Are Sun-Dried Raisins Actually Healthy?

Are Sun-Dried Raisins Actually Healthy?

Question:

What are the good and bad points of sun-dried raisins?

– Anthony A.

Answer:

Raisins are typically from Thompson Seedless Grapes in California that have been sun-dried (on vine or on paper trays), shade-dried or mechanically dehydrated. Regardless of the drying method, raisins usually undergo additional processing such as rinsing, stem removal and in the case of golden raisins, the addition of sulfur dioxide (to retain color). The benefit of sun-drying to a dark brown color is that the raisins are not chemically treated.

A ¼ Cup serving of raisins provide approximately 120 calories, 2 gm fiber, 310 mg potassium, 6% DV iron, 2% DV calcium, and antioxidants known as catechins. Depending on your perspective or weight goals, the energy density of raisins could be a good or bad point. Though they are more sugar-rich (by weight) than grapes, their vitamins and minerals are more concentrated, too. This is true of all dried fruits versus fresh.

Resources:

  1. The California Raisin Industry. CalRaisins.org accessed 4/9/2019
  2. Raisin growers find their place in the sun. Ching Lee. California Country Magazine, Jan./Feb. 2010. http://www.californiabountiful.com/features/article.aspx?arID=651 accessed 4/9/2019

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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Have a nutrition question? Our registered dietitian is ready to help!

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The Different Types of Olive Oil and Their Purpose

The Different Types of Olive Oil and Their Purpose

Question:

I don’t understand the different types of olive oil. There is robust, extra virgin, virgin, refined, etc. Is one better for cooking? What about using as a dip for bread? Can olive oil be used in cooking? I know olive oil is supposed to be better for you, but I fear I’m using the wrong types of this oil in my cooking!

Answer:

Olive oil provides the same calories from fat that other oils do, though its cardiovascular health benefit is in the favorable ratio of unsaturated fats. Olive oil’s high ratio of monounsaturated fat is linked to reduced blood LDL cholesterol which is associated with a lower risk of heart disease.

The terms you mention have to do with the processing of olives into oil. There are over 50 olive varieties – thank the Greek gods that their oils are not kept separate or it would get really confusing! Here’s a rundown of what the different olives oils are and how best to use them:

  • Extra virgin olive oil is low-acid virgin oil containing less than 0.8% free oleic acid with excellent flavor (slightly fruitier) and odor (bolder aroma). Lower smoke point (temperature at which it burns) makes it suitable for stir-frying and oven cooking.
  • Cold-pressed entails minimal processing which retains beneficial antioxidants and sterols. Also, can’t be used for high heat due to its lower smoke point. Best for salad dressings and dips like hummus.
  • Virgin olive oil has reasonably good flavor and odor with no more than 2% oleic fatty acid content. Flavor is more neutral than extra virgin. Good for sauces and marinades.
  • Refined olive oil is virgin oil refined to an oleic acid content of 0.3%, flavorless and odorless. Solvents and filters are used to reduce acidity and other undesirable characteristics. Best for all-purpose cooking, including searing and deep-frying.
  • “Robust” and “light” terms relate to the flavor or hue of olive oil, not the calories or processing. Their intensity is best matched a food of similar flavor strength (e.g. robust for asparagus, light for white fish).

At present, the USDA’s National Nutrient Database doesn’t differentiate between the various types of olive oil and provides nutritional information for a singular standard reference “olive oil.”

References:

  1. Olive Oil and Olive-Pomace Oil Grades and Standards. USDA. https://www.ams.usda.gov/grades-standards/olive-oil-and-olive-pomace-oil-grades-and-standards Accessed 3/25/2019
  2. Heart-Healthy Oils: They’re Not All Created Equal. Judith Thalheimer. Today’s Dietitian, 2015 Feb. 17(2): 24.
  3. Olive Oil California Style! This Golden-Green Liquid is Fragrant, Flavorful, and Bursting with Heart Health Benefits. Sharon Palmer. Today’s Dietitian, 2011 Oct. 13(10): 30.

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

Ask our Dietitian

Have a nutrition question? Our registered dietitian is ready to help!

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The Best Time to Eat Starchy Carbs

The Best Time to Eat Starchy Carbs

Question:

I have a question about starchy carbs. I was reading an article online that said to eat starchy carbs (i.e. brown rice, sweet potatoes) only on days when I lift weights or do cardio. It said to avoid them on rest days and stick with veggies for carbs on those days. What’s your opinion on this? 

– James B.

Answer:

Thanks for asking my opinion, James. There is no nutritional minimum for starches as a source, only for the carbohydrates they contain (at least 130 grams daily*). So, if a person can meet his/her carbohydrate needs – which may still be quite high on rest days – I’m all for maximizing vegetables along with fruit and milk products for carbs. Although it would provide lots of micronutrients, consuming 300 grams of carbohydrate only from vegetables would probably overwhelm your gastrointestinal system.

Starch (complex carbohydrate) from grains, tubers, legumes and seeds, and products made from them (like pasta, cereals, bread and fries) provides a concentrated source of extended energy suitable for physical activity. Although I follow the logic to reduce carbs on non-workout days, there is no evidence that replacing starches intermittently will benefit your performance or physique. Besides, you’re still physically active outside the gym, right? If you’re completely sedentary in bed all day but not sick, then feel free to skip them on your off days.

* Institute of Medicine, Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes: energy, carbohydrates, fiber, fat, fatty acids, cholesterol, protein, and amino acids. Washington: National Academies Press; 2002

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

Ask our Dietitian

Have a nutrition question? Our registered dietitian is ready to help!

Email nutrition@lafitness.com or submit your question below and it may be featured in an upcoming article!

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