T Nation

Quality of Macronutrients for Body Comp?


Hello coach!

It's probably a stupid question but I have to ask :

Let's say somebody eats 3000 kcal a day. Only healthy food with proteins, fats and carbs. This person switch to a diet where he still eats 3000 kcal but only proteins and fats. Will that person see any differences in his body composition after a few weeks? He is going to see a change in his weight and/or BF% (because of the ketosis maybe)?

In other words : when your calories intake stay the same are all macronutrients equal for your body composition?


Thermic Effect of Food (TEF) would equate to a no. I'm sure CT will chime in with a lengthier response


Very difficult question to answer and is probably one of the greatest questions (I'd like to see what CT has to say). And Jehovah's witness, if we only take into account TEF, then the diet with both carbohydrates and fats (assuming equal amount of "energy" nutrients in both diets) will cost more calories to digest, however there are many other variables to take into account.


So my question is not that stupid, I'm glad! lol!


No answer as I expected...


Yes he would.

  1. Carbs make you hold water. Each gram of carbs stored in your body will bring 2.7g of water along with it. A 200lbs bodybuilder can store roughly 500g of carbs in his body, 500g + 500gx2.7 = 1850g or 1.85kg (4lbs). So right off the bat, if you stop eating carbs you will lose a lot of that stored water and carbs.

  2. Insulin is the main storage hormone. The higher it goes, the more energy you store. Carbs are 100% insulinogenic, protein are around 50% insulinogenic fats are 0-10%. Without carbs it is harder to store nutrients either in the muscle or as body fat.

  3. Protein costs more calories to digest that carbs (or fat) so a higher proportion of protein = more calories burned simply from digestion.


But if we to take the example to an extreme say 3000kcals of donuts daily against 3000kcals of steak daily surely we would see a difference in body comp


that's what I was saying, lol. When calories stay the same, but the macros change, it is not the same for body comp as there will be change


Here's a Q

from a body composition viewpoint

say I had 200g protein, 100g carbs, 80g fat [just random numbers]

what difference would it make if the carb and fat sources were the same

but I changed the protein sources, so I got most of my protein from whey concentrate VS chicken/beef,etc...

so the amounts are the same, just the source different


Thibaudeau, are you insinuating that low carb or ketogenic diets offer some sort of metabolic advantage over higher carb or non-ketogenic diets?

are you aware that dietary fat can be stored as bodyfat with nearly 100% efficiency even in the complete absence of insulin?


There is also the fact that fat has only a very minor thermic effect compared to even carbohydrates.


Dude, hell yea they offer a huge metabolic advantage, especially for those with poor insulin resistance. If insulin is the main "fat storage" hormone, and you keep insulin levels to a minimum, you prime your body to use fat (stored bodyfat, and fats eaten throughout the day) for energy.

As far as your last statement, no offence, it's completely absurd! Carbs in a traditional diet serves as the main energy source. Without carbs, your body will be forced to swith to fat as long as your protein/fat ratios are correct. Its that simple. By the way, Where did you hear/ retrieve this information from?


three things:

1) insulin isn't the "main fat storage hormone"

2) when total calorie and protein intakes are matched, ketogenic diets offer NO measurable advantage over non-ketogenic diets.

3) my last statement isn't completely absurd. ingested dietary fat can and WILL be stored as bodyfat in the presence of a caloric surplus, even in the total absence of insulin.


J Lipid Res. 1989 Nov;30(11):1727-33. Links
Metabolic response of Acylation Stimulating Protein to an oral fat load.

  • Cianflone K,
  • Vu H,
  • Walsh M,
  • Baldo A,
  • Sniderman A.

McGill Unit for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease, Royal Victoria Hospital, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Acylation Stimulating Protein (ASP) is a small (mol wt 14,000), basic (pI 9.0) protein present in human plasma. When examined in vitro with normal human cultured skin fibroblasts and adipocytes, ASP appears to be the most potent stimulant of triglyceride synthesis yet described. In this study, a competitive ELISA assay for ASP has been developed using immunospecific polyclonal antibodies, and ASP levels have been measured in seven normal subjects. Following an oral fat load, a sustained significant increase in ASP occurs, whereas after an oral glucose load, ASP levels do not change significantly. These responses are entirely opposite to those of insulin, which rises sharply but transiently after an oral glucose load but is unchanged after an oral fat load. Both the fasting and peak ASP levels were significantly related to the postprandial lipemia. These data provide the first in vivo evidence that Acylation Stimulating Protein may play an important physiological role in the normal response to an oral fat load.

Am J Physiol. 1999 Feb;276(2 Pt 1):E241-8. Links
Effects of an oral and intravenous fat load on adipose tissue and forearm lipid metabolism.

  • Evans K,
  • Clark ML,
  • Frayn KN.

Nuffield Department of Clinical Biochemistry, John Radcliffe Hospital, Headington, Oxford OX3 9DU, UK.

We have studied the fate of lipoprotein lipase (LPL)-derived fatty acids by measuring arteriovenous differences across subcutaneous adipose tissue and skeletal muscle in vivo. Six subjects were fasted overnight and were then given 40 g of triacylglycerol either orally or as an intravenous infusion over 4 h. Intracellular lipolysis (hormone-sensitive lipase action; HSL) was suppressed after both oral and intravenous fat loads (P < 0.001). Insulin, a major regulator of HSL activity, showed little change after either oral or intravenous fat load, suggesting that suppression of HSL action occurred independently of insulin. The rate of action of LPL (measured as triacylglycerol extraction) increased with both oral and intravenous fat loads in adipose tissue (P = 0.002) and skeletal muscle (P = 0.001). There was increased escape of LPL-derived fatty acids into the circulation from adipose tissue, shown by lack of reesterification of fatty acids. There was no release into the circulation of LPL-derived fatty acids from skeletal muscle. These results suggest that insulin is not essential for HSL suppression or increased triacylglycerol clearance but is important in reesterification of fatty acids in adipose tissue but not uptake by skeletal muscle, thus affecting fatty acid partitioning between adipose tissue and the circulation, postprandial nonesterified fatty acid concentrations, and hepatic very low density lipoprotein secretion.
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Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1998 Nov;22(11):1096-102. Links
The influence of oral lipid loads on acylation stimulating protein (ASP) in healthy volunteers.

  • Charlesworth JA,
  • Peake PW,
  • Campbell LV,
  • Pussell BA,
  • O'Grady S,
  • Tzilopoulos T.

Department of Nephrology, Prince Henry Hospital, Little Bay, New South Wales, Australia.

OBJECTIVES: To examine the hypothesis that a sustained rise in plasma acylation stimulating protein (ASP, C3a desarg) accompanies the elevation in triacylglycerol that follows the ingestion of an oral fat load. DESIGN: Following an overnight fast, blood samples were obtained from healthy volunteers while fasting and 15 min, 1, 2, 4, 6 and 8 h following ingestion of: (i) a liquid meal, rich in dairy fat (eight subjects) and (ii) a semi-liquid meal, with higher total fat content and rich in polyunsaturated fat (six subjects). SUBJECTS AND METHODS: Four male and four female volunteers (age range: 22-51 y; body mass index (BMI): 17.9-26.9 kg/m2) received the first meal. Six subjects (age range: 32-60 y; BMI: 18.0-28.4 kg/m2), including three from the first study, received the second meal using the same protocol. ASP and C5a were measured by radioimmunoassay (RIA) and the complement proteins C3, factor B and C5 by radial immunodiffusion or nephelometry. Tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha was measured by enhanced ELISA, and plasma cholesterol and triacylglycerol by an automated enzymatic method. The presence of chylomicrons was assessed in post-prandial plasma samples taken after the second meal. RESULTS: There was no significant change in mean ASP concentration in either group at any time point, following ingestion of either meal. However, there was a significant positive linear trend in ASP following the second fat challenge (ANOVA; P < 0.05). There was also no change in complement proteins, plasma cholesterol or TNF-alpha. Plasma triacylglycerol rose significantly after the first and second meals (P < 0.05 and P < 0.001 at 2 h post-prandially); the mean maximum rise above the fasting level was 58 +/- 41% and 89 +/- 38% respectively (mean +/- s.d.). Chylomicrons were detected in samples taken from each subject after the second meal. Analysis of individual ASP data showed a sustained rise in one subject after the first meal and two subjects after the second meal. Substantial variation in ASP concentration was observed in samples taken in the first 2 h post-prandially. CONCLUSION: There was no significant change in ASP nor other complement proteins for either group of subjects following ingestion of the lipid loads. Individual data showed substantial variation in post-prandial ASP, but multiple plasma sampling did not define the basis for this variation.


2) when total calorie and protein intakes are matched, ketogenic diets offer NO measurable advantage over non-ketogenic diets

Um, this is not true(trying to be nice here).

Upon changing to a full ketogenic diet and eating MORE calories, I gained muscle and lost fat. Simply due to my insulin resistance...I hate to break it to you, but the body operates more like a chemistry lab, not a calorie counter.

Not here to argue, just what I have experienced first hand with myself, my friends and ALL of my own coaches clients.



I completely agree with you. I as well have also experienced gains in lean mass and loss in bodyfat when i switched to ketogenic style diets. I started to see all of my abs by eating close to 25-30g of fat per meal. Most people would say im crazy, but i've LOST fat by eating this way. Also carbs= water retention (especially in my case). Your body does react more like a chemistry lab than a calorie counter. Some of you people get too crazy with numbers. I have been eating cheeses, butter, and, fatty cuts of meat in my diet, and have seen results.


It's great...at first, it didnt make any sense as to why, but you can't argue with proof, can you.

Typically, those with issues with insulin handle this type of diet very well. I will add carbs back in when I improve my insulin sensitivity, and even then it will be paloe carbs.



I love the fact that i carb up once a week and replenish glycogen. Its also, which is to say the least, my favorite day of the week. i carb up with about 500g's. Eating, lean meats, veggies, potatoes, organic cereals, whole grains, rice pudding, etc. Rice pudding is so damn good, lol. Add some cinnamon and now you have something to help regulate your insulin.



since when does subjective personal experience count as "proof" of anything?

If you're privy to an as-yet-undiscovered mechanism in the human body that allows one on a keto diet to lose more fat (while apparently gaining muscle) at an equal caloric intake, I'd love to hear it.

wait wait...lemme guess, its got something to do with "teh fat-storing hormone insulinzz" right?

help me out here.


From all the posts that I have read of yours, you seem unable to or willing to believe that DIFFERENT THINGS WORK FOR DIFFERENT PEOPLE. You have made mentioned on numerous occasions now that regardless of the macronutrients, you have to simply be in a deficit to lose fat. I and many others I know have tried it this way and I simply lost strength, muscle and fat with it all. Yet whilst dieting using a ketogenic approach, I experienced FAR better results. Later, after seeking the help of a biosignature practioner, I found that I was rediculously insulin resistant and that why I respond well to this diet.

I am not saying that you are wrong, rather that there are other approachs to this crazy game.



while I commend your civility, and acknowledge the fact that some people do better on low carbs while other do better on high carbs (due to insulin sensitivity, training volume, and other factors) I do not agree that this necessitates a ketogenic approach (not that there's anything wrong with keto diets per se)

If someone is "carb intolerant", they can certainly do well on a diet of, say 40%F/30%C/30%P. Furthermore, with regards to gaining muscle, the keto approach is probably the WORST way to go about it IMO.