High Protein, Low Carb or High Fat, Low Carb?

credit: Ben Greenfield Fitness

By now, you’ve probably heard about low-carb eating, and may have even adopted the lifestyle yourself. If you’re a little new to the whole low-carb thing, it’s not just about weight loss. Health benefits can include reduced risk of diabetes, increased HDL (good cholesterol), improved insulin sensitivity, decreased blood pressure, and it is also thought to reduce the risk of certain types of cancer. Sounds good, huh? But cutting carbs is only the first step.

It might be easy for an individual to decide on a low-carb diet based on their specific goals, but there are still two macronutrients left. So how to fill in the gap? Recently one of Ben Greenfield‘s listeners asked just that: Which is better, low-carb/high-protein or low-carb/high-fat?

Ben Greenfield is a leading source worldwide for people to learn how to use the most efficient techniques possible to transform their bodies, achieve their physical goals and, to put it simply, become superhuman. He hosts a regular podcast on his website, Ben Greenfield Fitness, and we definitely think they’re all worth a listen. In Episode #202 below, he starts talking about high protein versus high fat at about 1hr4min. He also discusses hip dysplasia, how to deal with a baker’s cyst, how carbs are listed on packaged food, trouble sleeping after evening workouts, what type of milk is best, HUUB websuits, over-the-counter testosterone creams, Muscle Activation Technique work, and ENG3. Give it a listen:


Ben Greenfield’s Fitness Tips: Episode #202


Ben talks about the importance and benefits of achieving a ketogenic state through a low-carb, high-fat diet. Ketosis may sound like a scary term. However, it simply indicates the presence of ketones in the body, which are produced from the breakdown of fatty acids. It means your body is using mainly fats as fuel and, depending on your goals, this can be a good thing.

Here are some of the take-away’s from Ben’s talk on high protein versus high fat diets.

  • The ammonia smell some people experience in their breath is caused by the breakdown of proteins as primary fuel by the body. This can indicate either the breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue (i.e., reduction of lean body mass) or too much dietary protein.
  • In a ketogenic state the body uses primarily fats or ketone bodies as fuel as opposed to actual protein. This process produces acetone, which can be present in the breath and urine. However, this has a fruity smell, much different than that of ammonia.
  • When adopting a low-carb diet, it’s recommended to aim for 60-70% calories from fat, 15-35% from protein and 5-15% from carbs. Making your protein 60-70% (essentially an Atkin’s diet) leaves very little room for fats, and thus is not recommended.
  • Prolonged high-protein diets are possibly unhealthy for your kidney or your liver.
  • Benefits of being in a state of ketosis include: accelerated fat loss, reduced risk of diabetes, better mental focus, reduced risk and potential treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and cancer, improved cardiovascular health, and better preservation of lean body mass (which becomes very important when trying to lose weight).

Check out the full post over at Ben Greenfield Fitness here and be sure to tune in regularly to his podcast!

Which Is Better: High Protein, Low Carb or High Fat, Low Carb?

The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice of any kind. Any information in these posts should not be acted upon without consideration of primary source material and professional input from one's own healthcare professionals.