What Are Protein, Carbs, & Fat?

Apr 27, 2020

 by Sunny S.


1 Gram of Protein = 4 Calories

Muscle is made up of protein, and consuming complete protein provides all of the essential amino acids (protein building blocks) needed to build muscle. Protein intake is also essential for shedding those unwanted (fat) pounds. First, it helps you burn more calories because of the thermic effect of food (TEF).

Fat has a TEF of 3%, carbs have a TEF of around 8%, but protein’s TEF is between 20-30%!

So one-quarter of the protein calories you eat will be burned just from eating it. By increasing protein intake in your diet, you are burning extra calories (since the extra protein will be replacing either carbs or fat intake). Also, protein is needed to maintain and build muscle mass. The more muscle mass you have, the higher your Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) will be, since muscles are such high energy burners. When they are bigger, they will require more energy, which means extra burned calories for you. Protein also increases satiety or fullness, so people report feeling less hungry after meals when eating higher protein. This leads to less snacking and greater compliance with their diet (less cheating).

With all of that said, I’m sure you aren’t surprised to hear that this diet is high in protein. The protein in your plan will be based off your lean body mass. It will change depending on your goal, but you will always have enough protein to ensure adequate recovery between workouts.

Tip: If you see your protein requirement and it’s a lot more protein than you are used to eating, don’t jump right into it. Try a more gradual approach. Start by eating 50-75% of your required protein at first and add 3 grams a days until you reach your goal. This will help you digestive system get used to the higher protein and help to avoid digestive issues. You can make up for the lost calories in these early days by adding 1 extra gram of fat for every 3 grams of protein you subtract for the day.

Protein Powders

We like everyone to consume protein from whole food sources like meat, fish, dairy, and high protein veggies. But, we know life gets in the way sometimes and you’ll need to reach for a shake to hit your goals.

Try to make sure that you are getting at least ⅔ of your protein requirement through whole foods.

If you have no dietary restrictions, whey and casein protein are our top choices. Whey is fast digesting and great for post workout recovery. Casein digests slower and will keep you full longer.

Some of these powders are very high in carbs and added fat. Don’t waste your money on extra carbs and fat! Look for powders with:

Less than 2 grams of fat - Less that 5 grams of carbs - More that 20 grams of protein - Per Serving

Costco has great options if you are looking for the most bang for your buck.

If you do have dietary restrictions, egg, pea, and hemp proteins are our next favorite. They all have great amino acid profiles.

High Protein Food Sources:

White Fish
Wild Game - elk, deer, moose
Cottage Cheese

Greek Yogurt
Whole Eggs
Egg whites

Deli Meats
Canned Meats - Tuna, Salmon, Chicken

High Protein Vegan Friendly Foods:

Green Peas
Black Beans

Pumpkin Seeds

Amaranth Flour




1 Gram of Carbohydrates = 4 Calories

Carbohydrates have gotten a bad rep over the past decade, and rightfully so. Carbs are very easy to get your hands on. Bagels, donuts, candy, chips, soda, and the list goes on.

These foods + lack of activity = disaster

The truth is, carbohydrates aren’t the enemy, you just need to earn them. Your body stores carbohydrates as glycogen. If you’re a super active person and constantly using your glycogen storage, carbs will be used to restore it. If you aren’t very active and aren’t using your glycogen storage, those carbs will be stored as fat instead of glycogen. As long as you follow your macro plan, you will be eating the right amount of carbs to support energy levels and reach your goals.

High Glycemic Index VS. Low Glycemic Index Carbs

The Glycemic Index is a way to measure how fast a food will raise your blood sugar levels after you eat them.

High Glycemic Index (Simple) Carbs are very fast-digesting and raise your blood sugar quickly. They typically have less nutritional value (fewer vitamins and minerals) and less fiber. Because of their fast digestion, they won’t keep you full as long.

Tip: A great time to eat simple carbs is immediately post-workout. They spike your insulin and will lead to quick restoration of muscle glycogen.

Example of High Glycemic (simple) Carbs

White Rice
White Bread

Fruit Juice
Jams, Jellies

Low Glycemic Index (complex) Carbs are slower digesting and don’t raise your blood sugar as quickly as simple carbs. They are often rich in fiber, keep you full longer, and are packed with more vitamins and minerals.

Complex carbs usually contain much less carbs by volume than simple carbs.

= 7 carbs
= 2.6 Fiber

White Rice
= 28 carbs
= .4 Fiber

So, choosing these foods will keep you full longer AND you can eat way more of them which will obviously keep you satisfied even longer.

Example of Low Glycemic Index Carbs

Brown Rice


Since complex carbs are packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber, we give you a fiber goal to hit every day to go along with your macros. Hitting your fiber goal with help to ensure a well balanced diet.



1 Gram of Fat = 9 calories

If you aren’t paying attention to your fat intake you can get into trouble really quick, but fat isn’t the enemy! Fat is vital for many important functions in your body:

  • It provides the structure of cell membranes and nerve fibers
  • It transports nutrients throughout your body
  • Your hormones are produced from fat

Your goal with this plan will determine the amount of fat you will be consuming. But, even if extreme fat loss is your goal, you will still be provided enough fat to maintain healthy bodily functions.

It’s easy to consume too much fat because fat is contained in so many of the foods we eat, especially on a high protein diet. A lot of high protein animal products are high in fat.

Eat Lean Protein.

The nutrition templates are set up for 4 meals a day consisting of 2 lean protein choices and 2 moderately lean choices. Planning your day like this is one of the simplest ways to make sure you keep your fat in check.

Some good lean protein options are chicken, turkey, deli meat, white fish, egg whites, and non-fat greek yogurt.

Watch your sauces and dressings.

A lot of salad dressings are loaded with fat. Opt for fat-free options or use sparingly. The great thing about oils and sauces is that a little goes a long way.

Be conscious of how you cook.

One of the easiest ways to unknowingly add too much fat to your meal is cooking with too much oil. Put a small amount of oil in the pan and rub it around with your hand or opt for cooking spray.

Other great cooking alternatives are the oven, crockpot, and BBQ.

High-fat food sources:

Ground Beef

Olive Oil