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What's a good nutritional balance?

Written by Moez Aryan

Just a question regarding diets. What's a good nutritional balance? And do you think the nutritional balanace makes any difference in a any diet given that the caloric intake remains the same?”

Nutritional Balance is a diet that consists of all healthy food groups (Carbohydrates, Fats, Proteins), Minerals, Vitamins, Water and Fibre.

“Any given diet” to me has a purpose and the purpose of that diet for 99.9% of us is improving body composition, health and performance. Your short term and long term goal will dictate the nutritional balance of your diet. However, a balance that improves ONE factor (body composition, performance, health) at the cost of another is predisposed to fail. In other words, you won’t be able to sustain it for long without destroying one or few markers of health (energy level, nutrient deficiency, muscle loss, brain function, etc...). True, calories are still calories, but nutritional balance does matter cause you have to improve all three factors not just one.

Most popular diets will improve one (make you lose weight, for example) at the cost of another (feeling drained and lethargic all day and poor sleep quality). Sounds familiar? Next time you want to go on weird called diet remember nutritional balance.

What percentage of the diet has to be carbohydrates, fats, proteins or fibre really depends on the individual’s lifestyle, bodyweight, muscle mass, age and gender.

As a general rule,

You need at least 1 gram of protein per pound of lean muscle mass. However, this is the minimum daily protein requirement. If you engage in intense physical activities you will need something from 1 to 2grams of protein per pould of lean muscle mass. Different foods have different protein contents. A simple search on google will tell you the protein content of protein sources. Optimal protein intake is essential for immune system function, metabolism, performance and weight management so I wouldn’t have anyone below 1 gram per pound of body mass.

If you want to lose fat aggressively you can drop carbs. But you need to keep in mind that you don't want to hit a plateau any soon. (note that overall calorie intake should not go too low or you are going to reduce your base metabolic rate in the long run - a deficit of about 3500 calories per week will ensure a pound of weight loss per week). The intake of dietary carbohydrates should be inversely proportional to dietary fat intake. The more fat in the diet, the less carbohydrate. The more carbohydrate, the less fat. However, you don’t need to take it so far. You will need something between 0.5 to 3 grams of carbohydrate per pound of lean muscle mass per day depending on your current weight, goal, gender etc. The more active you are and the higher your metabolism the more carbs you can take. You need to make sure that you get most of your carbs from complex carb sources though - oats, yams, rice, potato etc.

Dietary fat is also an important energy source. In fact, it’s the most energy dense macronutrient – I guess this is where the idea of nuts are fattening is coming from in Pakistan. But in no sense they are bad for you. They are extremely essential for manufacture and balance of hormones, in the formation of our cell membranes, in the formation of our brain and nervous system (if you have studied in Pakistan you must have heard your teachers telling you to have almonds right? They knew almond is good for you but didn’t know why. Yes, it provides your brain with essential nutreints), and in the transport of the fat solube vitamins A, D, E, and K. Moreover, dietary fat provides two essential fatty acids that the body can’t make – Omega 6 fatty acids (plenty in nuts, eggs) and Omega 3 fatty acids (found in Fish Oil, Flaxseed, Chia Seeds and Sesame seeds). The healthiest dietary fats are coconut oil, olive oil, palm oil, fish oil, fats found in nuts, and also to some extend the fat in beef and other protein sources. The worse fat and the ones you should avoid at all costs is transfats and vegetable oil (the hydrogenated fats that is used in restaurants). Transfats not only raise the bad cholesterol they also lower the good cholesterol and are related to a host of diseases. You can take anything from 0.1 to 0.5grams fat per pound of lean body mass.

Minimum fibre intake per day is 25 grams. Average American diet has about 10 grams per day. The average Pakistani diet is no better as far as fibre is concerned. Moreover, the Pakistani diet has the highest amount of unhealthy oils. Optimal amount should be 35 grams for women and 48 grams per day for men. Fibre increases satiety, lowers blood fat and cholesterol, reduces risk of colon cancer, regulates intestinal motility, and boosts overall gut health. That’s why I am such a big fan of green leafy vegies. Note: process foods and fast foods have ZERO carbs in them.

Coming to the part "Do you think the nutritional balanace makes any difference in a any diet given that the claoric intake remains the same"

The answer is YES. Absolutely. It does make a difference. Show me one phisyque competitor who got on stage at 3-5% body fat sticking to counting calories and not worrying about what she put in his mouth.

It just doesn't work that way. A calorie from lean organic beef isn't equal to a calorie from sugar, or fructose or almond. Each of these have a different role in the body and release certain hormones. Calorie counting is for certified morons. Doesn't work for real world results. Yes, we do have to stay in a caloric deficit to illicit weight loss but you need to know how to manipulate your macronutrients. It just doesn't end with calories. Please read this article for a detailed breakdown of which foods you need to take and how much of each. It's pretty explanatory.

Do share with friends if you found this article helpful and ask me your questions at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Moez Aryan
Physique Coach & Nutritionist


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