This sounds like an intimidating topic, but it doesn’t have to be.
Let’s make it super simple.
First of all, if you follow the PaleoFlip diet as prescribed, and eliminate all dairy, legumes and carbs (including sugar, sweeteners, and alcohol), then you’ll have a great ratio of proteins, carbs, and fats.
Here’s why: It’s almost impossible to eat too much protein, because due to the Leptin effect (You remember Leptin, right? The “full-ness” hormone?) you will just not be able to sustain enough appetite to overstuff yourself with protein. Scientific studies show that replacing carbohydrate with protein from meat, poultry, and dairy foods has beneficial metabolic effects and no adverse effects on health (1).
It is also almost impossible to eat too much good fat. Why? Because up to 50% of calories in your diet from healthy fat is good for you, and quite frankly, it is very difficult to consume that much healthy fat in your diet. Unless you’re eating lard out of the bucket with an ice cream scoop, you shouldn’t have to restrict your good fat consumption at all.
Since you are not eating any starchy vegetables or carbs (including sugar, sweeteners, and alcohol), your only risk of eating too much carbs comes from possibly eating too much fruit. If you limit your fruit consumption to half a cup to a cup a day, it doesn’t matter how many non-starchy vegetables you eat, so long as you eat your protein and fat you simply cannot stuff your tummy with too many vegetables to make you fat.
So there you have it. Go easy on the fruit, avoid carbs and bad fats, and otherwise eat all the great Paleo foods you now know and love. Follow this simple recipe for success and you will keep your Protein-Fat-Carb ratio in good order. Simple, right?
Now let’s make it more difficult 😉
For the geeks among you who REALLY want to know and who want to be super precise, let’s geek out here.
Let’s first talk about protein.
There is a range of protein that Paleo nutritionists recommend, but generally you should aim for about 1 gram of protein for every 1 pound of lean body mass.
It works like this:
Let’s say you are a 140 pound woman and your body fat percentage is 20%. If we do the math, that means you have 28 pounds of body fat, and 112 pounds remaining of lean body mass. With this lean body mass, you should aim for 112 grams of protein a day. To put things in persective, a 16 ounce steak has about 112 grams of protein.
Not sure what your fat percentage is? This familiar image from superskinnyme.com can help you guess. Do you see yourself in any of these models?
Now let’s talk about carbs.
Here it’s not quite as simple as with the protein. Let’s start with this: your minimum carb consumption should be about 30 grams, which represents all the vegetables you MUST eat to stay healthy.
If you are working on a steady sustainable weight loss and don’t want to limit yourself, a good number to start with is 50 – 100 grams of carbohydrate per day.
Again, virtually ALL your carbs should be in vegetables and fruits, but skewed heavily towards vegetables. In fact, you will be completely fine and get the most bang (aka nutrients) for your buck (aka carbs) in vegetables compared to calorie-heavy fruit.
Hypothetically speaking, (and we don’t recommend it because too much protein ain’t that great for you either), but if you were to eat too many (say, 4000?) calories in protein and fat a day while keeping carbohydrate intake around 50 grams, do you think you’d gain weight?
NO. Without the insulin that comes from carbs, your body will just NOT store that fat! It will instead speed up your metabolism in order to use those extra calories (2).
OK – moving on to fat.
Here, again, a disclaimer peeps. We cannot trust what the TV, the marketers, or even the goverment says. We need to read some of the studies showing saturated fat has no impact on heart health whenever we feel like we’re in doubt.
So we know saturated fat (from animals) is ok. We know monunsaturated fat (avocado, olive oil) is good. We know polyunsaturated consists of omega 3 (grassfed aminals, wild caught fish, some nuts) and omega 6 (some nuts, and a lot of the vegetable oils), and in 1:1 ratio they are good too. How to get to the 1:1 ratio? In short, eat grass fed or wild caught animals, avoid eating animals that were fed corn, and absolutely avoid vegetable seed cooking oils as much as we can.