T Nation

Add BCAA's, Subtract Protein?


I recently read CT's recommendation for BCAA intake as .2 grams/pound of body weight (I hope I didn't misquote and I'm only using CT as an example as it was the last thing I read. The quote is only used as an example).

That would be 40 grams of BCAA for a 200 pound individual. My question is this: If a person eats a very strict food regimen, meaning that every gram of protein, carbohydrates and fat are monitored daily and changed depending if their body weight fluctuates up or down (losing fat / gaining muscle), would those 40 grams be subtracted from their total daily protein requirements as those 40 grams are considered protein on the bottle.

I would assume so based on the idea that if they were not subtracted your calories would be higher than your daily allowance which may cause your weight to stabilize or go up which would be bad if you were trying to shed those last few pounds of fat.

Same idea with fish oils. For every gram of fish oil i would assume that you would subtract those grams from your total daily fat requirements.



BCAA's and fish oils are used for energy etc, so if you are trying to shed some fat you have to consider them in your macronutrient balance.

If bulking, it would not matter too much as 40g of BCAA equals roughly 160kcal, if I didnt miscalculate anything.


Yes in principle. What you say is completely sound.

In practice probably few do this, as it's fine tuning to a degree so fine as to make little difference.

While one might say, "Well, 160 calories a day adds up to 4800 calories a month, which is the energy content of almost 1.4 lb of fat, so in a 2 month diet plan I could wind up almost 3 lb fatter that I would otherwise if I don't make this adjustment," in practice particularly when the change is relative to a quite-low-calorie diet plan, the resulting difference in bodyfat is considerably less than such a calculation would predict.

It might even be zero.

But if it's half as much, which is a reasonable ballpark guess, then the effect of making this adjustment could easily be not even quite a pound-and-a-half of fat over 8 weeks.

So yes in principle you are completely right but in practice it will not make much difference in fat-loss results.


Another consideration is this:

Let's grant that the author's diet plan is exactly optimal for the average person in his target audience.

The thing is, individuals will vary in what is optimal for them, compared to this average target-audience person, by at least 160 calories per day. Quite easily more, actually.

And so adjusting a diet to what works best for you individually is more important than being exact to within less than 160 calories of the published plan.

Not to say that the published plan may not be a great place to start. What I am saying is that assuming that it is necessarily even a mistake at all to be 160 calories per day different, is not the case.


Thank you very much for the input. It has helped me a great deal in deciding whether or not to take BCAA's right now!