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The Battle of Macronutrients

The Battle of Macronutrients

Gregory Susinger RD


Today we frequently hear about cutting carbohydrates, following a low carbohydrate diet, or counting macronutrients. If we rewind ten, twenty, thirty, heck even fifty years back, the focus use to be on watching your fat intake. With lingering concerns of a high fat intake and the more recent phenomena of cutting carbohydrates, I often wonder what people are left to eat? Some folks ask “Well what does the science say?” Better yet, they and myself, are burnt out on the science and could care less what it says.

So, how is it that we are hearing about such divergent discussions and recommendations? It depends on your source and from where the research is delivered to you. I would say most classical clinicians still work under the premise that a high fat intake is the causative factor for the high prevalence of heart disease. The majority of these stances are formed around data presented from the Seven Countries Study, and the ensuing research that suggests a correlation to fat intake with cholesterol levels and other health related complications. I do not prefer to provide my conclusions, but I would like to say that I am not a fan of providing recommendations related to epidemiological research which has become a common practice among most news outlets over the last twenty years.

Most research involving randomized controlled trials (gold standard for eliciting causation) have yet to tease out a specific mechanism. Now some of you may be herefor health implications. Many other folks, however, are drawn to the health and fitness market for aesthetics or drawn to a common phrase, “I want to lose weight”. Here is where fat may also acquire a negative factor. Many folks often cite the fact that fat is very dense in terms of energy. At 9kcal/gram, we can quickly see how an increase in fat intake can increase total caloric intake.

Total caloric intake is without a doubt related to one’s success, but how someone establishes caloric equilibrium or deficit is left to the individual. Factors to consider for further evaluation at our next article: Appetite stimulation and suppression, hormonal responses to macronutrients (carbohydrate, fat, and protein), factors influencing meal termination. I look forward to next month’s article and hopefully you do too. For further information on some of the topics discussed (both sides) please see the links below.,_Bad_Calories