Last updated on April 12th, 2017
For lunch today, I made salmon patties, which I ate with some canned spinach, butter, and a few olives. (Yes, canned spinach. I like fresh and frozen spinach, too, but canned spinach is what I ate as a kid — what Popeye the Sailor ate to get strong — so I have a soft spot for it. I like it, especially with melting butter on top.)
The salmon patties were an experiment. I added a tablespoon of chia seeds to my usual recipe. I wanted to test the chia as a binding agent. It didn’t work all that well, but then maybe a tablespoon isn’t enough. I’ll play around with the amount to see what works.
Now, this was a low-carb lunch, no doubt of that. What you see there on the plate totals about seven grams of carbohydrates (mostly in the spinach), but of that four or five grams are indigestible fiber, so the net carb count is three or four grams. Three meals of four net-carbs works out to 12 net-carbs for that day. Even adding a couple low-carb snacks, I could easily stay under 25 net-carbs for the day. That’s low-carb eating in anybody’s book!
Ketosis, here we come!
Or maybe not.
Indeed, probably not.
The problem is in the balance of carbs, protein, and fat. In terms of percentages of total primary macro-nutrients, the breakdown for my lunch is roughly as follows:
Net carbs = 5%
Protein = 49%
Fat = 46%
The fat content includes the butter on the spinach, and the coconut oil that I used to cook the salmon.
It’s good, natural fat, but was there enough of it?
That is, was there enough fat relative to the protein? Three meals of this type would give me over 125 grams of protein for the day.
At most, I probably need 90-100 grams of protein.
It would be one thing if my body could store the extra protein, pending, say, a muscle tear. But it won’t. Any protein that isn’t used to build and repair muscles will be turned into glucose. It’s glucose production that I’m trying to restrict with a low-carb regime. Blood glucose triggers the release of insulin, that oh-so-helpful hormone that locks away a percentage of glucose as fat. And then keeps it locked away.
For my purposes, extra protein is as bad as carbs.
It was a tasty lunch, and healthy in many respects, but it was protein-heavy.
I’m aiming for a daily diet of 70-75% fat, 20-25% protein, and 5-10% carbs. That’s a high fat, moderate protein, very low carbohydrate diet.
However, those percentages above are the percentages of calories from the three types of macro-nutrients. That puts a different spin on things! A gram of fat has 9 calories, and a gram of either protein or carbohydrate has only 4 calories. Looked at that way, then, the percentage of fat content in my lunch was significantly greater than the percentage of protein content. (About 63% calories from fat vs. 31% calories from protein.)
Significantly greater, but was it greater enough?