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Weight Loss and Macronutrient Ratio

author image Jessica Bruso
Based in Massachusetts, Jessica Bruso has been writing since 2008. She holds a master of science degree in food policy and applied nutrition and a bachelor of arts degree in international relations, both from Tufts University.
Weight Loss and Macronutrient Ratio
Calories are more important for weight loss than macronutrient ratios. Photo Credit Svitlana Senchonok/Hemera/Getty Images

The best diet for weight loss isn't the same for everyone. You need to create a calorie deficit by exercising more and eating less so you burn more calories than you eat, and you need to be able to stay with the diet you choose until you've reached your goal weight. Additionally, some people might lose weight more successfully by adjusting the ratio of macronutrients they take in.

Overall Weight Loss

When it comes to the amount of weight you lose, the exact macronutrient composition doesn't make that much of a difference. A study published in "The New England Journal of Medicine" in February 2009 found that diets have similar effects on weight loss after two years regardless of whether they emphasize carbohydrates, fat or protein. You don't have to give up carbohydrates or fat to lose weight, you just have to control the number of calories you eat.

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Body Composition

To build muscle, boost your protein intake. Increasing the ratio of protein to carbohydrates can result in greater improvements in the ratio of lean muscle mass to fat mass in your body as you lose weight. A diet with a ratio of 3.5 grams of protein to each gram of carbohydrate is more effective than one with a ratio of 1.4 grams of protein to each gram of carbohydrate at increasing fat loss while minimizing muscle loss, according to a study published in "The Journal of Nutrition" in February 2003. This protein-to-carbohydrate ratio also resulted in greater feelings of fullness.

Heart Disease Risk

Following an energy-restricted diet that is high in protein but low in fat to lose weight may improve your triglyceride levels more than a traditional low-fat diet while still resulting in the same amount of weight loss, according to a study published in "The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" in June 2005. Both diets resulted in decreases in LDL, or "bad," cholesterol with weight loss.

Insulin Resistance

Diabetics who need to improve their insulin resistance may be better off with a Mediterranean diet that contains plenty of vegetables, limits red meat in favor of fish and poultry and has no more than 35 percent fat, with most of this fat coming from healthy monounsaturated fat. This type of diet produced a similar amount of weight loss to low-fat and low-carbohydrate diets, but improved insulin resistance to a greater degree, according to a study published in "The New England Journal of Medicine" in July 2008.

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