Macronutrient target confusion

I am a 70 year old Caucasion male. I am 6'3". 170 lbs.

3 months ago I switched to a mostly plant-based diet. At that time I did not reset any Macronutrient targets. Now I have really dialed in my new eating habits to where they are consistent and repeatable day to day. My weight is down to 170 from a high of 212 last summer, 9 months ago. I am happy with that, though I still have some belly fat, maybe 10lbs, and my waist size is 39, down from 43.

So now getting serious, I feel the need to have an understanding of what my real carb/fat/protein intake is and what it should be if I were to maintain a desired ratio of 50/20/30.

I need help with how to set it up on Cronometer. About a month ago I reset my daily calorie intake target to 1500 as I am eating between 1200 - 1500. But today I am confused....

The question is:
in the macronutrient settings menu using the fixed values option, what values should I put in for the number of grams per day of Carbs/Fats/Proteins? I put in 100/40/60 but I seem to then be eating way too many carbs while on this diet. HELP!!!


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    Oops. Ignore this and/or delete it. I posted it to bug reports, it should be in 'ask an expert".

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    Macronutrients are not as useful as individual grams of nutrients on a plant-based diet. Here's my advice:

    1. Stick to eating whole, unprocessed plant foods as much as possible (think 80-90/10-20 for whole foods to "fun foods")
    2. Keep your calories in target
    3. Aim for at lest 1 g of protein per kg of healthy body weight. For you, I'm looking for ~80 g per day
    4. Get a lot of fibre (40 g per day is what I recommend)
    5. Keep fat between 20-25% of total calories (and choose whole food sources)
    6. Don't worry about sugar that's from whole foods (as fruit tends to have a satiating effect)

    This is my "formula" for weight loss on a plant-based diet.

    Kind regards,

    Susan Macfarlane, MScA, RD
    Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
    As always, any and all postings here are covered by our T&Cs:

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    Thanks your quick response! Wow. That is a lot of protein! So in an effort to adjust my settings, I just found this, are these accurate?

    Carbs = 4 calories per gram
    Fat = 9 calories per gram
    Carbs and Protein = 4 calories per gram

    If so then:

    for a 50/20/30 C/F/P on my target of a 1500kcal/day diet which was my setting recently:

    C = 1500 x .50 = 750 kcal
    F = 1500 x .20 = 300 kcal
    P = 1500 x .30 = 450 kcal
    total 1500 kcal

    converting to grams per day, that works out to be:

    For C: 750/4 = 187.5 g
    For F: 300/9 = 33.3 g
    For P: 450/4 = 112.5 g

    So to adjust to come up with 80g day of P with no more than 20% F:

    For C: 600/4 = 150 g
    For F: 300/9 = 33.3 g
    For P: 320/4 = 80 g

    if X times .30 = 320, then solve for X: = 1067

    Which gives this result

    C = 1068 x .50 = 534 kcal
    F = 1067 x .20 = 213 kcal
    P = 1067 x .30 = 320 kcal
    total 1067 kcal

    Now if I change my settings to those numbers (1067, 534, 213, 320) and I look at my diary for the last couple of weeks to see what I have been eating I am way shy of 80g P per day, logging P at about 50% or 40 g, and I am way over budget for C and F.

    So then I looked at what of the foods I normally eat these days I could increase to get the protein up. The easiest thing to add to my dinner is red or black beans. But it would take 500 g or 1lbs of boiled red beans per day to reach that much protein.

    What am I missing here?

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    Great math and problem solving skills! I think my main message is that I would look at macros only from a curiosity standpoint but really focus on hitting targets for calories, protein, and fibre. Keeping fat to 20-25% helps to keep calories in target...

    If you're looking to just increase protein, I'd consider adding:

    • Texture veg protein
    • Vital wheat gluten
    • Tofu
    • Tempeh

    Hope this helps!

    Susan Macfarlane, MScA, RD
    Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
    As always, any and all postings here are covered by our T&Cs:

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    I have also found that getting 20% of calories from protein is very difficult using only whole food vegan sources (would have to eat mostly leafy greens and select beans)..I don't eat exclusively vegan, but wanted to increase my protein without increasing my consumption of animal products, so I supplement with a little pea protein powder (~10g/day). Of course Susan's recommended processed vegetable protein options are great too.

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    I find it actually quite easy to reach the protein target by having lots of beans and lentils. I love them and I bought an instant pot so I can make them myself and can avoid salt and BPA from the cans.
    I am starting my day with a large bowl of fruits, black lentils, ground flax sees and some nuts. The lentils are a great alternative to oats or other grains especially if you want to avoid gluten.
    If I really don`t reach my protein target I am using Vegan protein powders from Alpha foods. All quite tasty.
    By the way - plant protein is not inferior to animal protein since the body can store the amino acids over several meals. Overall protein deficiencies are rare which implies that the protein target recommendations have a large safety margin included.
    If you are excercising a lot you will need more protein of course...

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    Yes. Agree. I make hearty soups in a slow cooker now, 2500 g at a time, with servings of 500g per meal. Very satisfying.
    Curious. Do you measure your quantities with a gram scale to know how much you eat in a given day?
    My body does not feel as though it is protein deficient at the 60-70 grams per day I typically ingest. I am going to go with that, and ignore the math I created showing I should have upwards of 112 grams on the days when I do the most exercising and eat 1500 calories, or even the 80 that is indicated when my total intake is 1100 calories per day. I will add a few beans and other things, but nothing like the 225g of cooked black beans it would take to meet the targets I calculated. That is not sustainable day after day for me. I am going to be more concerned with monitoring some of the other things like the B12 that is not typically covered with my plant-based diet.

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