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Steak or Potatoes?
Choosing the Macronutrient Composition of Your Diet

by Marie Spano, MS, RD, and Chad Kerksick, PhD, CSCS*D, ATC, NSCA-CPT*D

With that in mind, how should you make decisions about your own dietary makeup now? A good first step would be sitting down with a knowledgeable physician or dietitian to discuss your goals, your current eating habits, and any medical conditions you may have besides diabetes (such as kidney disease) that may affect what is safe and healthy for you to eat. You may also want to get out your calculator and a good nutrition resource to figure out what the proportions of carbohydrate, protein, and fat are in your current meal plan and what sort of changes you would need to make to alter them. And of course, you need to consider your overall calorie intake.

If you decide to increase the proportion of protein in your meal plan, it’s important to identify sources of protein that are low in saturated fat, such as skinless poultry, fish, soy products, nonfat or low-fat dairy products, and legumes. (A high intake of saturated fat can contribute to high LDL cholesterol.) In addition, talk to the members of your health-care team about how long to maintain your increased protein intake and how often to check in with your team to assess your health. (Click here to see two sample menus with varying degrees of macronutrients.)

If you cut the amount of carbohydrate you eat, it may be necessary to also cut back on the amount of blood-glucose-lowering medicines you currently use. This is also worth discussing with your physician.

No matter which way you cut it, losing weight requires burning more calories than you’re taking in. Research suggests, however, that — at least in the short term — having a higher percentage of protein and a lower percentage of carbohydrate in your diet may keep you from feeling overly hungry as you cut calories and may have additional benefits as well.

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Menu Comparison



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