High protein and low carb diet charts: How they can be used for healthy meal planning.
There are so many variations of low carb diet plans, each with their own style of carb-counting, acceptable foods, and foods to avoid but they can be hard to stick to, especially if long-term weight loss is the goal. Sometimes, rather than adhering to a restrictive regimen, it’s better to create our own, personalized strategies that we know we can live with. After all, when a plan fits into our lifestyle and suits our preferences, we’re more likely to succeed. This is where protein diet charts can come in handy.
The information and links that follow can allow you find a balance between protein, carbs, and fats, while zeroing in on how these groups fit into overall calorie intake. This is important, because ultimately, our total intake in terms of calories is what determines whether we lose weight or not.
Tip: 1 gram of carbs = 4 calories. 1 gram of protein also = 4 calories. Merely replacing carbs with protein (without keeping total calories in mind) can just set us up for needless suffering because overall calorie intake will remain the same. Even worse, diets high in animal-derived protein can become high in unhealthy fats, thus adding even more calories. 1 gram of fat = 9 calories. These are two big reasons why some people don’t see results from their high protein diets.
What makes higher protein diets successful is not fully understood, though it definitely has much to do with the how protein affects our appetite. We’re left feeling fuller for a longer time than with carbs, which means we’ll tend to eat less overall.
The main pitfall of these plans is that they can easily become nutritionally unbalanced and very high in unhealthy saturated fats. To avoid this, consider a moderate protein diet. This should enable you to include vegetable sources of protein that are not only low in fat, but also high in fiber and other nutrients which is great for curbing appetite and maintaining adequate overall nutrition. Including some carbs in your diet is also better for your brain, since it prefers them over protein as a source of energy. It can also be much easier to stick with too, since as you’ll see by comparing the following diet charts, a “high” protein diet is a drastic change from the typical Western diet.
Typical Western Diet, Moderate Protein and High Protein Diet Charts:
When reviewing the following diet charts, keep these points in mind.
- The Institute of Health’s Dietary Recommendations allow for a wide range of protein intake — anywhere from 10% to 35% of total calories — for normal, healthy adults.
- In the typical Western diet, 10%-15% of daily calories come from protein.
- The portion of total calories derived from protein is what defines a high-protein diet.
- For a moderate protein diet, this number ranges between 15-30%.
- For a high protein diet, this number ranges between 30%-50%, but 25% is also considered high protein for many people.
|To use one of these charts for creating your own diet plan, here’s how: How to Use a Diet Pie Chart.|
For comparison, this is what the Typical Western Diet looks like:
- Fat: 42%
- Protein: 15%
- Carbs: 43%
Moderate Protein, Low Fat Diet Chart:
- 30% protein
- 20% fat
- 50% carbs
Moderate Protein Diet Chart II:
Based on The ZONE Diet: Aims for a balance of fat, carbohydrates, and protein at every meal. Proponents of this plan believe this regulates the production of insulin, a hormone that triggers fat storage.
- Fat: 30%
- Protein: 30% -
- Carbs: 40%
High Protein Diet Charts:
Similar to Atkins Phase I: This plan has hardly any room for carbs and lots of room for proteins with high fat content.
- Protein: 30-35%
- Carbs: 0-5%
- Fat: 60-65%
Similar to Atkins phase II: This diet chart allows plenty of room for higher fat proteins, but little space for carbs or plant based sources of protein.
- Protein: 30-35%
- Carbs: 5-10%
- Fat: 50-55%
Based on the Atkins’ maintenance phase: This plan allows for a long-term diet of high-fat proteins but they are now accompanied by a moderate amount of carbohydrates.
- Fat: 40%
- Protein: 30%
- Carbs: 30%
McKinley Health Center: Macronutrients: the Importance of Carbohydrate, Protein, and Fat
Institute of Medicine: Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids
Atkins International: www.atkins.com/
Low–Carbohydrate Diets Health Advisory: Nutritional Concerns and Typical Menus