They give a higher protein than for maintaining a healthy weight because studies have shown that a diet higher in protein helps one to feel fuller and more satisfied and therefore helps a lot of people to be okay with a reduced total calorie dietary intake.
They give that slightly higher protein recommendation largely to discourage people from eating empty carbs and excess fat. If someone sees that they "need" more protein according to their graphs, they usually add lowfat yogurt, milk, tuna or other fish, lean meat, beans, and so on-- all foods that carry lots of extra vitamins and minerals as well as the protein. If they see that they "need" more carbs, they're likely to have a bowl of cereal, some crackers, or another slice of bread, which wouldn't provide quite as many micronutrients that they're not already getting. If people saw that their carbs were low and thought, "I'd better eat some more broccoli," we'd be fine with a higher carb target. It's the same with fat. If you're below your fat target and you reach for an avocado, that's a good thing. If you're below and you think, "Oh, I'll put butter on my sandwich instead of mustard," then you're sort of defeating the purpose.
There's also the question of what makes you feel full when you're restricting calories. Most people find that carb calories don't "stick with" them quite as long as the same number of protein calories.
You don't necessarily have to hit those percentage targets exactly to lose weight. It's just what works for most people. Personally, I do best when I keep my carbs over 60% and my fat under 20%, but I just found that out by experimentation when I was using another program that didn't give ranges for macronutrients. I don't recommend it for anyone else, but it does show that the ranges are sensible guidelines, not ironclad rules.
Fitness Minutes: (8,220)
436 7/4/12 8:13 A
Thanks Unident, I'm relieved to hear that because I've been worried that I wasn't eating enough protein. Why does Spark give such a high range for protein if not that much is needed?
Actually, Spark's recommendations for protein are only 20% and even that is set at higher than for "normal" because a higher percentage of protein helps with weight loss. So even for adding muscle, as high as 25% would be considered VERY high indeed, and no, previous poster, you do not need more than that to put on muscle.
ALLISONAZ the Spark goals are 50%C, 20%P and 30%F. Your numbers are very close to that. There's no particular reason to take 5% off fats and give it to proteins - remember that fats play an important role in your body too! Low fat isn't necessarily healthy. :) But your numbers aren't a long way off Spark's suggestions so they wouldn't be harmful or anything.
If you're looking for an idea split, then go with 50/20/30 rather than 25 each for P/F.
I think it depends on what you want your body to look like. I lift weights so I need more protein than that to build serious muscles.
Fitness Minutes: (8,220)
436 7/3/12 9:53 P
I have been aiming to eat 50% carbs, 25% fat, and 25% protein. I recall reading somewhere that this was the proper division of macronutrients. is this the case or am I trying to meet a goal that is arbitrary?
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