What is a Fat Protein Efficient Diet?
As an ever-emerging buzz phrase, the "Fat Protein Efficient Diet" continues to gain notoriety and may provide a different perspective to how you approach food selections in the future.
The basic theory aligns with our general philosophy towards nutrition at AGN Roots that focuses on individualism grounded in trial and error more so than a well-marketed panacea in a plastic tub or a "superfood."
Understanding how your specific metabolic type responds to different macros is compelling information to wield in search of your optimal diet.
No matter what the current dieting or fitness trends are today, the ability to build a dream body or reach the pinnacle of health will always depend on a few fundamental principles.
- Everyone is different
- There are no universal solutions
- Listening to your body will never let you down
This article breaks down the basics behind the fat protein efficient diet and discusses what it means and how characterizing your metabolic type may be the missing link you have been searching for to get results.
How Metabolic Types Impact Dieting
Suppose you have tried changing up your diet. No matter your goal, you already know that fad diets tend to cater to the masses and not individuals.
While a one-size-fits-all approach to making health and wellness gains is a fantastic notion, our bodies deal with caloric intake and energy expenditure differently.
One of the most influential factors is metabolism. Metabolism is not as simple as “fast” or “slow.” If someone you know lives a sedentary lifestyle yet stays effortlessly trim, that does not mean they have a fast metabolism.
Our metabolism represents a dynamic behind-the-scenes process constantly underway on a microscopic level in your body. This process is responsible for creating, transferring, storing energy (glycogen or fat), and clearing cellular waste .
These metabolic cycles happen in the name of homeostasis or to reach a state of balance. It not only regulates energy but also has an impact on weight. Your basal metabolic rate, or BMR, dictates how many calories you need for your body to have the energy to perform essential functions at rest. These include
- Circulating blood
- Regulating hormones
- Regulating temperature
- cellular growth
The number of calories (or energy) needed varies between people of different ages, genders, and body compositions. For example, men with high muscle mass tend to have a higher BMR or burn more calories at rest.
In addition, you are than women with a similar weight and age. Your metabolic rate can be affected by factors like medications, health, and, perhaps most importantly, the type of food you eat.
So, what does that mean for dieting?
As you may already know, the effectiveness of our metabolic processes varies from person to person, meaning the way specific macros convert into energy for me is not necessarily the same for others.
The theory is known as metabolic-type dieting . Metabolic type diets fit into three categories
- Fat protein efficient
- Carbohydrate efficient
- Mixed metabolism
What is the Theory Behind Metabolic Type Dieting?
In 1939, a Canadian dentist known as Weston A. Price, through a series of publications concluded that diet alone is only a single piece of a complex puzzle in terms of creating a desirable impact to an individual's health.
The food we consume represents pieces of the puzzle that, for the most part, are within our control. In contrast, other elements like genetics and the local environment are not so easy to finetune. When the pieces come together and the puzzle is complete, it represents a system that either works for you or doesn't.
During the 1970s, Price's research continued to provide a backbone for others to expand on his ideas.
A theory arose that metabolism varies from person to person and is mainly dependent on two questions as follows -
- Which part of the nervous system dominates between the sympathetic and parasympathetic branches?
- Oxidation Rate: How fast does the body break down certain types of food to utilize or store the resulting energy?
Is the Fat Protein Efficient Diet a Fad?
Yes, by definition, the Fat Protein Efficient is considered a fad-diet as it is just now becoming popular and seems to be a rebranding approach to Keto, Paleo, and the Atkins diet.
Undoubtedly, the claims are unreasonable. Without a history of study, those marketing this trend can not responsibly make fast weight loss or health improvement claims. This logic and reasoning for the marketed efficacy come from past diet studies yet is packaged in a way to claim it as "new."
What is the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS)?
The autonomic nervous system consists of three divisions, two of which play a critical role in your efforts to reach upper echelon body composition and health.
Your body's sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems represent two sides of the same coin and control most of your physiological processes that make up our "metabolism," which include:
- Heart rate
- Blood pressure
- Respiration rates
What is Autonomic Nervous System Dominance?
The sympathetic nervous system and parasympathetic nervous systems are responsible for how our bodies conserve (store) and consume energy.
These two factions of the nervous system represent two opposing systems the ‘give’ and the ‘take’.
Sympathetic: "Give" you a heart attack (adrenaline rush)
Parasympathetic: "Take" a breather and relax
Depending on which nervous system dominates the other within the ANS determines how the body handles caloric consumption.
Sympathetic Nervous System Dominant -
If you live a fast-paced life, there is a good chance SNS characteristics dominate your body. If you don't know if your life fits are synonymous with a "fast" descriptor, here are a few fast-life components for context -
- Highly productive & hardworking
- Fast-paced and enjoy the daily grind
- The highs are highs & the lows are low
- You hit the sheets hard and wake up on a mission
- Caffeine is a must, and you commit to relaxing or not
- Ambient stresses are endemic to your existence
- Melatonin before bed helps you sleep (Stimulates the PNS)
The daily exposure to acute stress may or may not be suitable for you. Living in the SNS world, your body is in overdrive and a state of high cellular activity.
This nervous system is famous for the embodiment of the involuntary flight-fight high high-adrenaline situation.
Is Being SNS Dominant Healthy?
It depends on many factors; however, the mountain of scientific evidence suggesting that many critical systems undergo suppression is beyond reproach. When your body is operating in this stressed state for extended periods, the impacts are likely to include  -
- Immune System Degradation (autoimmune disease)
- Insulin inhibition
- Reproductive Issues
- Digestive Issues (Irritable bowel syndrome)
Parasympathetic Nervous System Dominant -
In contrast to the fast-life, If you've afforded yourself a lifestyle of low stresses (different from sedentary) and or handle pressure with ease (retired after a wild career), your ANS may be PNS dominant.
PNS dominant people are generally more relaxed and go with the flow compared to the classic A-type personality. Consistent and prolonged stimulation of the PNS creates the healthiest version of ourselves -
- Constriction of pupils (relaxes or dilated)
- Lower blood pressure
- Slower heart rates
- Constriction of bronchial muscles
- Increased digestion efficiency
- Increase in urine secretion (removal of toxins)
Can I Switch from Being SNS to PNS Dominant?
Although it is not common to execute a hard-wire flip-flop from SNS dominance to PNS dominance, the question alone represents the need for an approach change.
There is great value in understanding that our diets and stress levels contribute to a balance between the nervous systems, and this balance is where harmonious optimization occurs.
The key to being healthy while living a Sympathetic Nervous System dominant lifestyle is the ability to stimulate the PNS on-demand during the day when nourishment and healing are needed to recover.
Asking yourself the following questions may help determine if you need to focus on switching from SNS to PNS.
- Can you fully unwind every day or during the weekends?
- Do you meditate, take salt baths, put your feet up, receive massage?
- Do you exercise and enjoy the release of all the associated hormones?
- Do you celebrate the small victories?
The other side of this equation is easier to diagnose. The symptoms of high stress are endless and indicate work is desperately needed to reset your body and take care of yourself.
What is Cellular Oxidation?
Cellular Oxidation (metabolism) is how your body converts the macronutrients of protein, fat, and carbs into usable energy.
There is a unique process our cells undertake for breaking down each macro nutrient (fat, protein carbohydrates).
What is a Fast Oxidizer?
A fast oxidizer is a person that quickly converts food into energy to store or burn and compared to slow oxidizers are very efficient at converting protein and fats into energy.
Fast oxidizers tend to spike blood sugar levels after consuming carbohydrates, which makes it essential to balance the carbohydrate intake with slow-burning proteins and fats that offer stability in the blood sugar space.
Fast oxidizers can get in trouble with the exhaustion of vitamin B and magnesium resources, which are heavily spent during the conversion process from food to energy.
Indications of being considered a fast oxidizer include -
- You run naturally hot, hard not to sweat in bed
- You like to kick the day off with a solid breakfast (medium to heavy)
- Strong appetite and eat frequently with the occasional energy crash
- Thought to have more of a short fuse relative to your community
- Anxious and can get wound up quickly compared to others
- Belly fat is the first to be impacted by poor diet choices
- You consider vegetables and fruits as snacks
As an SNS dominant fast oxidizer, there is plenty of benefits to realize if your diet is high in protein & healthy fats compared to simple or complex carbohydrates.
What is a Slow Oxidizer?
On the other hand, parasympathetic, slow oxidizers have lower metabolic rates and benefit from high-carb diets.
Slow oxidizers require greater quantities of carbohydrates than fast oxidizers in order to maintain their energy levels. Slow oxidizers are not very efficient at gaining energy through fats.
Indications of being a slow oxidizer include -
- The body runs naturally cold
- Not considered a "high-energy" person
- Routinely experiences sugar cravings
- Weight gain tends to impact the hips and legs most
- Craves lighter, more hydrating foods such as fruits and vegetables
- Feels weighed down and fatigued after eating animal proteins or nuts
- You may be hypoglycemic (low blood sugar)
What is a Carb Efficient?
If you are carbohydrate efficient, it means that you are naturally sympathetic nervous system dominant and require a diet heavy in complex carbohydrate allocation compared to protein and fat to stimulate your parasympathetic branch.
A carb-efficient diet (slow oxidizer) looks like the following macro allocation and is abundant in vegetables, whole grains, and fruit.
- 70% carbohydrates
- 20% protein
- 10% fat
While a carb-efficient diet may be best for some, eating healthy complex carbohydrates is critical for ectomorphs to avoid adopting an undesired body composition.
Carbohydrates, straightforward carbohydrates, are the easiest for cells to convert to energy and digest rapidly (blood sugar spikes); thus, the recommendation is to consume any simple around or during training sessions.
Carb efficient diets should include a healthy mix of complex carbs. Here is are some examples of some foods to integrate into a carb efficient diet:
- Whole grains
- Lean protein (white meat chicken)
- Whitefish (tilapia, cod, catfish flounder)
- Beans and legumes
- High-carb vegetables (yams, corn, beets, squash, Brussels sprouts, carrots)
- High-carb fruits (bananas, mango, apples, dates, raisins)
A few examples of meals are oats and natural nut butter, beans and quinoa, whole-wheat pasta, and grilled chicken.
Am I Carbohydrate Efficient?
If you identify as a slow oxidizer and sympathetic nervous system dominant, you may very well belong in the metabolic typing category of "carbohydrate efficient."
Below are a few indicators to cross-reference -
- You struggle to find a full appetite and don't eat very often
- Your plate typically has empty spaces and isn't piled with food
- You like sweets and usually crave chocolate over pretzels
- You can pack on the pounds very quickly (the opposite of a "hard-gainer)
Below is a table that outlines the recommendations for macro-intake allocation as a function of oxidizer type (Slow - Medium - Fast).
|Diet Choice||Oxidizer Type||% Protein||% Fat||% Carb|
Mixed Metabolic Type
The second diet is a mixed metabolic type. It is less common than the other two plans.
A Mixed Metabolic diet looks like the following macro allocation -
- 33 1/3% carbohydrates
- 33 1/3% protein
- 33 1/3% fat
People who enjoy this diet typically have healthy appetites, do not favor sweets over savory foods and tend to have no trouble maintaining their weight.
As the name implies, a mixed metabolic diet consists of equal amounts of carbs, protein, and fats. The somatotype that best resembles the mixed metabolic type is the "mesomorph."
Those with a mixed metabolic type are not sympathetic or parasympathetic dominant and have steady cellular oxidation rates.
Therefore, mixed metabolic types have typical appetites and process indiscriminately between carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
Learn More: Somatotyping Explained
What Does Fat Protein Efficient Mean?
So, what is fat protein efficient?
In contrast to carb efficient and mixed metabolic type dieters, those who are fat protein efficient tend to have more substantial appetites, favor salty, savory, or fatty foods and are not satisfied with high-carb meals.
This metabolic type is most common in mesomorphs and slightly less so in endomorphs. These dieters are parasympathetic dominant and have higher oxidation rates.
Being fat protein efficient may make it difficult to follow diet plans that require you to restrict calorie intake or limit dietary fat. Trying to follow the wrong diet plan may cause -
- Weight gain
- Excessive hunger
For the above reasons, determining your metabolic type is essential when considering dialing in your diet.
A meal plan will include high sodium foods, healthy fats, protein, and low in simple carbs.
Am I Fat Protein Efficient?
The somatotype endomorph is typically more fat protein efficient and, when consuming carbohydrates, may see the impacts immediately in terms of weight or shape changes. The good news is that many recent diet trends work very well with this somatotype and metabolic type.
If you are Fat Protein Efficient, the following diets will most likely work for you if your goal is to lost weight -
- Keto Diet
- Atkins Diet
- Paleo Diet
- Fat Protein Efficient Diet
Below represents a few markers that generally align with this community.
- You have an ambitious appetite and tend to eat till you are full
- You are routinely hungry and won't let a salty snack go to waste
- You are more satisfied with meals that contain fewer carbohydrates
- Carbohydrate meals like pasta put you asleep and make you sluggish
Fat Protein Efficient Diet Examples
As those who are protein fat efficient should follow a ratio of 40/30/30 fat, protein, to carbs, the diet will be highest in fatty and purine-rich food.
Foods that you can incorporate into this type of dietary meal plan are:
- Meat and poultry (red meat and dark meat chicken)
- Organ meats (chicken and beef liver)
- Lean pork loin
- Fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel)
- Full-fat dairy products (yogurt, butter, cheese, eggs, and cream)
- Low-sugar fruits (berries, grapefruit, kiwi, avocado, oranges, melon)
- Low-carb greens (bell pepper, mushrooms, spinach, kale, broccoli, cauliflower)
- Nuts, legumes, and seeds
- Oils (olive, coconut, avocado, MCT)
Fat Protein Efficient Diet Vs. Keto Diet?
The keto diet does focus on fat and protein intake over carbohydrates; however, it is not the same as being fat protein efficient. Fat protein efficiency refers to your metabolic type and how your body uses those nutrients to power you. Keto is simply a meal plan that emphasizes protein and fat over carbs to sustain ketosis.
Fat protein efficient types may find keto diets more satisfying, and this type of diet may be better for weight loss efforts. However, the standard ketogenic plan advises you only take in 5 percent of your daily intake of calories in the form of carbs. So, unless your goal is to reach a state of ketosis, this is not strictly necessary for weight loss or satiety.
Additionally, the low carb intake vs. high-fat intakes outlined in keto diet requirements may leave you irritable, foggy, nauseous, constipated, or feeling "off."
These side effects, commonly referred to as the "keto flu," are potentially linked to withdrawal from carbohydrates. Making any significant changes to your diet will likely cause some unpleasant effects in the first week or two.
When switching from high to low carb diets, your body has to adapt to using dietary fat and fat stores for energy rather than easily converted carbs.
Will the Fat Protein Efficient Diet Help with Weight Loss Goals?
To meet your goals, whether they are weight loss, weight gain, or increasing muscle mass, the first step is determining your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) rate of calories. There are various resources found online that can calculate this to an adequate degree of accuracy.
What is TDEE?
Your specific TDEE is a function of 3 components.
- Basal Metabolic Rate
- Thermic Effect of Food
- Physical Activity
The output of the formula is a simple estimation of calories you naturally burn throughout each day. A starting point is all it's suitable for, perfect as a starting point is most needed.
From the starting point, whether you are eating to lose, gain, or maintain your body composition, slight adjustments will speed up or slow down the results to accommodate goal adjustments as a function of season or sport.
Macronutrients (macros) are carbohydrates, fats, and protein. If you have used a fitness tracker or manually recorded your intake, you have likely seen your calories from fat, protein, and carbs .
- Carbs contain four calories per gram
- Protein contains four calories per gram
- Fat contains nine calories per gram
Using your TDEE, you can determine the calorie amount you want to eat to lose, maintain, or gain weight. These formulas will help you determine how many calories from each macro you should eat on a fat protein efficiency diet (for a 1700 calorie plan):
- 1700 calories x 40% fat = 680 calories from fat
- 1700 calories x 30% protein = 510 calories of protein
- 1700 calories x 30% fat = 510 calories of fat
Then, divide those calories by the calories per gram of the macros to learn the quantity of fat, carbs, and protein in grams you should eat per day.
Meeting Your Macros
When you begin tracking your macros for the first time, you may be surprised to see how many of your calories come from a particular category, packaged foods. Most of us that thrive on convenient choices eat too many packaged or processed foods that lack protein .
After determining your daily caloric needs and macro ratios, you can build a weekly meal plan that will fit within those parameters. One trap beginners easily fall into is eating something or including food in their diet solely because it will help reach macro goals as observed in the design phase.
Once you enter the execution phase and you are routinely consuming a food or ingredient that doesn't resonate with your body, the action is on you to evolve your diet and remove the element. If you are not going to listen to your body, then metabolic typing is a futile effort.
If you are looking to meet a daily fat intake of 30% (for fat protein efficiency), one of the easiest ways is to add full-fat dairy products like grass-fed butter, yogurt, or whole milk. Oils like olive, coconut, or MCT are healthy and easy additions.
As for protein, if you cannot get enough through your diet, a truly grass-fed whey is the only supplement worth taking due to its concentrated conventional food nature; it contained macro and micronutrients.
Is Metabolic Diet Typing a Myth?
Understanding your metabolic diet type—fat protein efficient, carb efficient, or mixed metabolic—is vital as no diet is one-size-fits-all. This particular dieting mechanism uses your body as input thus is recognized as superior in many ways compared to regimented programs.
Attempting to live on the wrong diet leads to cravings, irritability, fatigue, excessive hunger, and difficulty reaching your goals. Determining your metabolic type helps you tailor your diet and find what combination of food makes you feel the best.
Keep in mind, determining your metabolic diet type is a small part of this process. Metabolism is subject to change, and a fat protein efficient plan may work well now but require modification later on.
Which Metabolic Diet is Right For You?
The main takeaway - Listening to your body is full-proof!
A person’s ability to lose, maintain, or gain weight depends on many factors, many of which are not understood and vary drastically person to person.
What we can offer to help meet your protein macro-needs is the best grass-fed whey protein isolate available. Clean and unflavored certified grass-fed whey may be your best tool to leverage your efforts in building a better you.