As a health coach, I'm constantly asked about the ideal amounts of carbs and protein for weight loss.
First, I think it's important to address that there is no magic formula because ultimately, everyone is unique, and I fully believe in the principle of bio-individuality.
That being said, I find some general things hold true for most people. When it comes to sustainable weight loss, balanced meals are key.
So while many people swear by no-carb, high-protein diets to lose weight, I have found that small amounts of carbs coming primarily from vegetables is very important and can aid in weight loss.
Healthy fats are also crucial for your health, will help keep you full, and can help you burn fat.
I usually suggest making half of your plate be vegetables (primarily low-starch), and the remaining can be divided between lean protein and healthy fats. But way more important than the percentage of carbs, protein, and fats is your source of these macronutrients!
Here are my top tips for maximizing your macronutrients to achieve sustainable weight loss:
Your carbs should only come from fiber-rich complex carbohydrates, meaning mostly vegetables, low-sugar fruits, and small amounts of whole grains.
You should avoid simple carbs such as white flour and sugar, even white rice or white potatoes. Instead, opt for sweet potatoes, brown or wild rice, oats, and quinoa.
But for weight loss, I suggest limiting even whole grains and fruits for a short period of time and getting most of your carb intake from nutrient-dense, low-calorie veggies. Then you can gradually increase fruits/grains/starchy veggies.
Your protein should be lean, and try to stay away from conventionally raised animal protein filled with hormones and antibiotics.
Some amazing sources of protein include legumes, raw nuts and seeds, organic eggs, wild-caught fish, free-range chicken and turkey, wild game, and small amounts of grass-fed beef.
Fats are necessary for your cells, especially your brain, and can help lower your bad cholesterol and even shed weight, but the quality is important.
Best sources include avocados, extra-virgin olive oil, coconut (including coconut milk and coconut oil), grass-fed butter, ghee, and all omega-3 sources including wild fish (like salmon and sardines), nuts (especially walnuts), and seeds (especially chia, flax, and hemp).
When it comes to long-term sustainable weight-loss, aim for balanced meals with all three macronutrients, based on nutrient-dense foods filled with vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants, and omega-3s.
Cut back on simple carbs, and always include some protein and healthy fat in each meal to keep you full and your metabolism strong. But don't overlook the importance of vegetables, which are some of the most nutrient-dense foods in the world, an excellent source of carbs that offer lots of nutrition for fewer calories—key for weight loss!