T Nation

Putting A Diet Together

I’ve been looking up info on putting together a muscle building diet by working out calorie requirements & macro nutrient breakdown.

Based on the info I’ve gathered, you do the following:

First, you work out your calories.
Then, you work out amounts for protein, carbs & fat.
Divide food intake over 5-6 meals

The theory’s fine - putting it into practice is another thing entirely.

Let’s say you’ve worked out that you need 25g of protein at each meal. You work out how much chicken breast you need to achieve this. But what about the incomplete protein in the rice your’e having with it?

OK, you could work out the carbs first, then subtract the protein in the rice from your protein requirement, which would give you the amount of protein you’d need from your chicken breast.

Trouble is, you’d have to eat a different amount of chicken with rice than you would with pasta because of the difference in protein content of rice & pasta.

With this approach, you can’t just mix & match.

What about the concept of portions?
For example, at each meal you would eat one portion each of protein & carbs:

1 serving of protein = eg. poultry, meat or fish roughly the size of a pack of cards
1 serving of carbs = eg. rice, potato etc. roughly the size of your fist.

This idea seems more in line with T.C.'s Chanko Diet.

What do you guys think?

I think you are making things too complicated. What I do is just add up all my protein and just make sure I’m getting enough good(meat,protein shakes) protein. As for the portions, just get a food scale and weigh all your meat. After a while you will get good at it and will not need it. Just get the nutritional info off the web somewhere and do a little calculating to see how much protein you will need. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it sounds like you got your info from the Body for Life program.

Read the “Missing Ingredient” article at T-mag if you haven’t yet. You really are overcomplicating this.

Wow! Was that ever a mouthful.

Pixel, the difference of 100 Cals in your diet is not going to make a great deal of a difference. Neither is 5 g of protein, or an extra few grams of carbs. These things are all guidelines, not hard and fast rules. That’s why every article has a different way of calculating caloric needs.

I’m not over complicating anything, I’m just making an observation - that the calorie-counting, macro nutrient approach isn’t very practical.

It’s the guys recommending this approach that are over-complicating things.

I was just wondering if there was a more realistic approach, such as the portion idea.

Just follow the T-mag article mentioned above and stop looking for the lazy way out.

And before you say you’re “too busy”, buddy, we’re all “too busy” but we do it anyway.

Seems like a reasonable way to simplify things would be to only include complete sources of protein as ‘protein’. That way you don’t have to count the few grams of semi-useful protein found in bread or pasta or whatever. Just a thought.

-Zulu

Who said anything about looking for the lazy way out?

I’m just looking for a practical, common-sense approach. Just because I don’t want to live with a fork in one hand & a calculator in the other, does’nt make me lazy.

I believe in keeping things simple - & by SIMPLE I don’t mean EASY.

It’s too easy to over-complicate things, often to the point of being anal.

I agree that you’re not being lazy or making things to simple, in fact many people can make great gains simply by making sure to eat 4-6 healthy meals a day and just understanding basic protein requirements. But you have to understand that at this level of simplicity if you either stop making gains or aren’t happy with your progress then it’s time to start getting a little more in depth (start counting cals, paying attention to insulin, etc.)

Point being that contrary to popular opinion you don’t have to be an anal nutrition scholar to make gains, but at the same time don’t expect tremendous support later on if the level of simplicity you’ve given your diet, which can vary greatly, is sub par to what most people on this board are accustomed to… at which point the best way that we can help is to provide a link to a good article…