Functional Fat Loss

Plate of healthy foods

Functional Fat Loss

If you’ve been a long-time waist-watcher, perhaps you remember the popular nutrient ratio of 60-30-10? It means a diet of 60 percent protein, 30 percent carbohydrates and 10 percent fat. This ratio was all the rage for quite some time. It was touted and practiced by many, from every day dieters to hard-core body builders.

Functional Fat Loss Fact: There is no single nutrient ratio that is perfect for everyone.

Since, body builders nutrition experts found that perhaps that was a bit too heavy on protein and too light on carbohydrates. Carbohydrates perform many vital functions. What has now been discovered is that a ratio of 50-30-20 seems much more suitable to just about everyone. It doesn’t matter if you’re an average dieter or a body-builder. So for daily dietary intake, now we’re talking the following.

  • Functional Fat Loss Food Plate
    Functional Fat Loss Food Plate

    50 percent protein.

  • 30 percent carbohydrate.
  • 20 percent fat.

Functional Fat Loss Calorie Conversions

  1. 1 gram of carbohydrate = 4 calories
  2. 1 gram of protein = 4 calories
  3. 1 gram of fat = 9 calories

If functional fat loss is your goal and you want to achieve it the healthy way. Meaning, without losing muscle or energy.  You can’t go wrong starting a diet at a daily intake of 50-55 percent carbohydrates, 30 percent protein and 15-20 percent fat.

Since all this number crunching can be annoying, you don’t have to be rigid with this. In other words, you can be a bit flexible to suit your own tastes and needs. Altering each percentage around 5 percent or so won’t hurt. The key is to use this as a starting guideline and adjust according to your needs and your body’s response. That means you are practicing functional fat loss.

For example, if you know you have a fast metabolism, you could aim for around 55 to 60 percent carbohydrates. For those with a slower metabolism, 45 percent carbohydrates may be a better place to start. At this point, much depends on your body type.

The 3-2-1 Method

An easy way to estimate your nutrient ratios is to follow the 3-2-1 rule. Here’s how it works.

Imagine your plate divided into six sections like slices of a pie. Fill up three slices (50 percent) with natural carbohydrates. This would include foods like potatoes, yams, oatmeal, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Fill up two sections (33 percent) with lean proteins like egg whites, chicken or fish. Finish with one section of fat (17 percent). This simple method puts you very close to the optimal ratios for a baseline diet. You don’t need to be a math whiz to figure it out.

The point is to establish a starting point, then experiment and adjust as needed. And if the 50-30-20 ratio produces good results for you, don’t change a thing. Most diet programs begin with some kind of quick start crash diet program. They are extremely restrictive because the creators want you to see quick weight loss right at the start. This is not realistic, healthful, nor sensible. You’ll never stick to it and could damage your health.

In Summary

The 50-30-20 ratio is balanced and healthy for long-term use. A balanced diet in these ratios using a wide variety of foods is important to make sure you get the right balance of all the essential nutrients, including protein, carbohydrates, essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. A truly balanced diet is one that you can comfortably maintain as your new lifestyle.

Author: Jeni

Certified by the Professional School of Fitness and Nutrition in March, 1995; honored for exemplary grades. Practicing fitness and nutrition for over 20 years. Featured in the Feb. 1994 issue of "Shape" magazine. Featured in Collage in the spring issue of 1995 Low fat recipe's published in Taste of Home, Quick Cooking, and the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, among others. September, 2001: Featured in "Winning The War on Cholesterol" By Rodale Publishing