Macros Matter.

As I mentioned in the previous post, I’ve been managing Diabetes 2 naturally for about 10 years. Up until yesterday all my blood glucose numbers were well within “normal” range for a non-diabetic, except one. My morning fasting blood glucose levels have been consistently high between 105 and 125 – acceptable for a diabetic, but not the “normal” of a non-diabetic person. My goal is non-diabetic normal.  Because my A1c tests have always been good, I felt confident sticking with my natural management methods and working to find something to bring that morning fasting number down naturally.

I’ve tried everything I could think of to lower my fasting blood glucose levels. I read everything I could find on morning fasting levels from everybody I could think of, including the American Diabetic Association. Nothing worked. I tried various glucose lowering herbs and supplements, I tried changing my eating schedule, I tried going for a short walk before bed, I added a bedtime snack– just nothing.

Until this week, that is. Earlier this week, as part of the certification class I’m taking, I sat down and figured out exact gram amounts for macronutrients. Macros are fat, protein, and carbs.

For me, my macro amounts are:

Fat: 129 grams This is about 60% of my daily calories, depending on where in the range my protein amounts fall that day.

Protein: 77-110 grams. This is 15% -22% of my daily calories

Carbs: 0-100 grams.  This is a maximum of 20% of my daily calories.                                                    Carb_Curve_x

How are these numbers figured? Actually, it’s kind of easy.

Determine protein needs:

  1. Determine your percentage of lean body mass vs body fat. I used an Android ap called BodyCal.
  2. Find out how many pounds of lean body mass you have.
  3. Figure your required protein range. To do this multiply lean body mass in pounds by .7. This is your lower number. Then, multiply lean body mass in pounds by 1.0 this is the upper range number. For example, my lean body mass is 110 lbs. So, 110*.7= 77. and 110*1.= 110. Which gives me a protein range of 77-110 grams of protein per day.

Determine the amount of carbs you want to eat per day. In my case, I’m using Primal Blueprint recommendations of 50-100 grams  of carbs for weight loss.

Determine fat needs:

  1. Understand that in the primal diet the remainder of your calories come from fat.
  2. Determine how many calories your body needs to maintain healthy, basic function. In the BodyCal ap that I used to determine lean body mass also includes several formulas for determining basal metabolic rate. I choose the option for Harris-Benedict formula simply because I’ve seen in recommended in several places. For me, it says I need 1960 calories per day to maintain proper health, and lose fat. There is a formula for figuring daily calories yourself, and I’ll cover that in another post.
  3. Now, it’s time for some simple math.
    1. Multiple your low protein and high protein numbers by 4 because protein contains 4 calories per gram. So- 77*4=308, and 110*4=440. I need between 308 and 440 calories from protein each day.
    2. Multiply your desired carb numbers by 4, because carbs also contain 4 calories per gram. In my case my lower range number is 0, so there is no need to do the math. My high range number is 100. 100*4=400.  My max amount of calories from carbs is 400.
  4. I know I need to eat about 1960 calories each day to properly fuel my body and still lose fat.  For the sake of our calculations, let’s assume that I am going to eat my maximum allotments of my protein and carbs. That gives me 440+400 calories, for a total of 840.
  5. Subtract 1960-840= 1120

Why is any of this important? Because I did my calculations on Sunday. On Monday and Tuesday I made it a point to eat this way. Granted, I did not use the maximum numbers, and I certainly didn’t eat 1960 calories. Monday I ate a total of 1884 Calories — 55 grams of carbs, 96 grams of protein, and I went over on fat with a total of 140 grams of fat. Tuesday I ate 1582 calories– 40 grams of carbs, 110 grams of fat, and 105 grams of protein.

My fasting blood glucose numbers were 98 on both Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. For as long as I have been tracking my blood glucose numbers I have NEVER had a “normal” range fasting blood glucose. It’s been about 8 years, maybe more, so this is pretty significant. By comparison, Monday’s fasting blood glucose was 105. The only difference is that starting on Monday I paid close attention to my macro numbers and ratios.

Now, I will give you that it might be too early to make any kind of solid determination here. It’s only been two days, after all. It’s possible it’s a fluke. But, I have been testing my morning fasting blood glucose every single morning for the last 8+ years and I have NEVER had a number under 104. Monday was the first.

In addition, I weigh myself once a week, and today was the day. Honestly, with the extra calories and fat on Monday and Tuesday, and the fact that I’m retaining fluid because of the heat,  I expected to be up a pound or two. But I wasn’t. I was down two pounds from last week.

I was convinced  about two months ago that Primal is the best way to eat, but I wasn’t paying attention to macros. I ate what I wanted, within the Primal guidelines, but didn’t pay too much attention to calories, or protein and fat amounts. I pretty much let my appetite guide me, but it’s possible the hormones that control my metabolism are messed up. I can eat as little as 900 calories a day and not be hungry. Science tells me there’s something wrong with that, so I need to listen.

Macros matter.                                                food_pyramid_bw



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