In answer to a similar question recently I posted this. It relates to timing and general guidelines.
The latest research information shows that timing and ratio are very important for attaining the best results from exercise. The generalized recommendation is to eat as soon as possible after a workout. And that timing meals to coincide with workouts is best whenever possible. The timing that has been shown to significantly improve muscle recovery, muscle mass, and replenishment of energy storage is to eat immediately after the end of a workout or upto one hour after. Outside of this window it has been demonstrated to have very little difference to not eating at all after a workout. The ratio that was found to be most effective (also generalizing) was 1:3 or 1:4 protein:carbs. And the recommendation was to consume 20 grams of quality protein along with at least 40 grams of quality carbs (1:2 ratio, this was found to be more acceptable/had greater adherence with study participants). The 20 grams protein to 60 grams of carbs, yeilded better results/recovery, as did the 20 grams protein to 80 grams of carbs, but participants were found to be less likely to consume the higher amount of carbohydrate outside of a controlled environment/research study. The amount of fat consumed did not appear to be significant in recovery, but the overall summary of research still suggests keeping fat consumption to better fat sources (non-animal sources, mono unsaturated, and omegas) and around 20 percent of total calories consumed overall. There were some guidelines for extremely strenuous exercisers to increase protein to about 25/30 grams post exercise, but again this would not be needed for the vast majority of exercises. Non-post exercise meals are recommended to follow the current guidelines (which change every 5 years? or so) and to consume the total calories needed to maintain healthy weight/body composition (Which is an entire other topic.)
As an example, one can (16 oz.) of vegetarian refried beans meets these guidelines with 21 grams of protein,60 grams of carbohydrates, 20 grams of fiber, 7 grams of fat (0 grams saturated fat), a decent amount of iron/magnesium, and would unfortunately also nearly cover a days worth of sodium. But if you have ever attempted to eat an entire can of refried beans, it is not that easy to do for the average person. This is one of the reasons that protein supplements have become so popular. I would recommend trying to get most of your protein from whole food sources, but cannot argue with the convenience of supplements in a busy schedule.
All good answers. The recommendation from the ADA is approx. 60-65% carbs (less than 10% simple sugars), 15-20% proteins, 15-20% fats (less than 10% saturated.) I agree with these recommendations. Keep in mind that glucose is the primary energy nutrient for the metabolism of ATP production. There has to be the metabolite of glucose (pyruvate) for fatty acids to enter into the mitochondrial metabolism of ATP. Basically just eat what you know you’re supposed to most of the time. Have a hot fudge sundae once in awhile!
I personally go with 50% Carbohydrate (with no more than 10% from Sugar); 25% from Protein (your body can’t really assimilate more than that regardless of your training or activity); and 25% from fat (with no more than 7% from saturated fat). This isn’t to say that I believe this should be the same for everyone; amounts may vary depending on needs, activities and personal preferences of the person.
For clients, I suggest healthy ranges of 45-65% carbohydrates, 15-25% protein, and 20-35% from fat.
I follow a 50-30-20 myself, and I consider myself more active than average. I have recommended many people to dieticians and nutritionists though and have seen some wild ratios based on individuality. If you’ve never been to one of these professionals before, I highly encourage you to undergo the experience. You will quickly realize why I’m always saying “When it comes to a personalized diet, refer to a professional.” As for ‘Average Adults’ … there are none. But there are a plethora of unique individuals.
This is a good question, and perhaps one of the most controversial ones as well. I recently read a study that compared the most popular ratio methods you described above and how much weight was lost by the participants, and to my surprise, none of the ratios showed a distinct advantage over the other. But, what I usually go by is 50% from carbs, 30% from protein and 20% from fat.