40-30-30 Diet

40-30-30 means eating the right balance of carbohydrates, protein, and fat. When you eat a 40-30-30 meal, 40% of the calories in that meal are from carbs, 30% from protein, and 30% from fat.

When you get the right amount of carbs, along with the right amount of protein and good fats, your body naturally burns fat. And, you aren’t hungry between meals. Plus, you feel better – your mind is clearer and you have more energy. For endurance athletes this ability to utilize fat as a fuel source is something we all need. The old adage of carbo loading’and consuming vast quantities of carbohydrate is slowly but surely being tipped on its head with the smart athlete now consuming considerably less carbs in preference for a more ‘balanced’ diet and one that uses the GI scale to help consume proper calories to maximize performance.

You can listen to a podcast on the 40-30-30 diet with Ian Corless from Talk Ultra and Marc Laithwaite HERE

WHAT

40-30-30 is a specific nutritional balance of 40 percent calories from carbohydrates, 30 percent from proteins, and the remaining 30 percent from fat.

Dr. Barry Sears originally created The Zone Diet for cardiologists, to teach them to use food as if it were a drug. He advocated diet as treatment for heart disease and diabetes. Those two diseases are also tied to excess production of the hormone insulin, the underlying hormonal disturbance that also causes obesity.

Patients on the program quickly reported that eating balanced meals made them feel better. Most of them also noticed that they were losing weight. When you eat a nutritionally balanced diet, your body naturally adjusts to keep you healthy – including dropping those extra pounds you don’t need.

HOW

It’s adjusting the amount of three key macronutrients you eat to keep your body in hormonal balance. The ideal is to:

  • Provide enough low glycemic carbohydrates to feed your brain and keep you sharp mentally, without spiking your blood sugar and triggering an insulin response.
  • Provide enough protein to maintain muscle mass, and to trigger fat burning through release of the hormone glucagon.

Provide enough fat that the body can absorb fat-soluble vitamins – A, D, E, and K, and Linoleic acid (necessary for growth and reproduction).

GI – Glycemic Index

The Glycemic Index (GI) is the measure of the amount and the rate of an increase in blood sugar after eating a carbohydrate. The higher the GI, the larger the rise in blood sugar, and the more insulin is released. Unfortunately the more insulin in your system, the more fat you’ll retain.

Eating 40-30-30 reduces your glycemic load. High glycemic foods (like candy bars) will give you fast, abundant energy, which unfortunately fades quickly, and is replaced by sleepiness. But when you eat low glycemic carbohydrates like an apple, an orange, pear, or strawberries, you are less hungry between meals and more mentally clear. You feel great, you lose fat, you have more energy, and your mood will be stable.

A low glycemic diet is not a low calorie diet. It is possible to eat fewer calories and not be hungry.

Nutritional Standards

Glycemic Index is based on a scale of 0 to 150.

  • Low is within the range of 0-35,
  • Medium is 36-70,
  • High is 71-100,
  • and Very High is over 100.
  • The Glycemic index cannot be calculated, only measured in lab testing on humans

Learning about GI can be very interesting and certainly you may be very surprised by some of the results that you find

Here is a very useful tool. You can input your food choice and find out its index. Click HERE

  • To search for a food, enter the name only.
  • To generate a list of all high GI foods, enter > 55 in the glycemic index field.
  • For a list of low GI foods, enter < 55 in the glycemic index field.
  • If you enter bread in the name field and < 55 in the glycemic index field, you’ll get a list of all breads with a GI less than 55.
  • Foods containing little or no carbohydrate (such as meat, fish, eggs, avocado, wine, beer, spirits, most vegetables) cannot have a GI value.
  • No carbs = no GI.

Putting it into practice

Adopting a 40-30-30 diet is not difficult. You can view a guide to GI tables here. In principal you want to maintain the balance of 40-30-30 and when eating carbohydrate ensure that it is low GI. When eating breads, pasta and rice ensure they are brown or whole-wheat. Eat good lean proteins and ensure that your fats are good fats such as those that come from oily fish, olive oil and nuts.

In simple terms, the 40-30-30 diet involves cutting out most carbohydrates such as breakfast cereals, rice, potatoes, pasta, noodles, bread, bagels, croissants, muffins, crisps, pastries, pies, chocolate, sweets, sugar and preserves, as these have the greatest effect on blood sugar levels and therefore insulin levels.

Most fruit and vegetables, however, are allowed. Low-fat protein-rich foods such as skinless chicken, turkey and fish should be eaten with every meal. Meanwhile, eating fewer foods that contain saturates and choosing foods that are rich in monounsaturates, such as olive oil, avocado and nuts, is recommended.

Divide your plate into three equal sized sections and then filling one section with low-fat protein such as chicken – making sure it’s no larger or thicker than the palm of your hand – and the remaining two sections with vegetables and fruit. Adding a little olive oil, avocado or a few nuts will help to boost intakes of monounsaturates!

Of course as an athlete you need to think about your food choices in relation to your exercise and racing. For example, reducing carbohydrate intake and eating fats before long training sessions or races will teach your body to utilize the fats that are within your body and use them as fuel. Initially you may feel a little unusual and crave carbohydrate but after 2-3 weeks you will adapt well. During exercise and racing you will need to refuel, particularly for longer races but think about the pace you are running/ cycling at and the energy requirements your body needs. Gels are not always the answer but if you hit a low spot or if you feel flat a gel may be just what you need to ‘lift you up’.

The important thing is that we are all individual. You need to play around with your diet and find out what works for you.

RECIPES linked to iwantfreehealthyrecipes.com

Aragula Scramble: This is a quick breakfast, but because you don’t see arugula used much, it seems kind of elegant.

3 eggs
1 cup arugula

1/2 tomato, diced
1 tbsp Parmesan cheese
2/3 cup dry quick oats
1 1/3 cup water
1 cup skim milk

First, get your oatmeal & water cooking in the microwave. Chop the arugula & tomato roughly. Scramble the eggs. Spray a nonstick frying pan with Pam and preheat to medium. Stir-fry the arugula just until wilted, maybe about a minute, then toss in your eggs. Stir over medium heat until almost cooked, and stir in your tomato for the final minute or two. Top with about a tablespoon of grated Parmesan cheese. Serve alongside the oatmeal and milk.

48 g carbs (39%)
36 g protein (29%)
20 g fat (32%)

Popeye Fritta: A fritatta like this is a great make-ahead breakfast. Put it together while your making dinner the night before, and you can just pop a slice into the microwave in the morning, and get rolling out the door!

4 eggs
3/4 cup cooked chopped spinach (1 pkg. of frozen spinach)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
1/4 cup chopped tomato1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. chopped garlic
1 tbs. margarine
4 chopped green onions
1 tbs. chopped hazelnuts, walnuts or sesame seeds

Beat eggs. Combine with spinach (make sure it’s well squeezed first!), parsley or cilantro, garlic and sea salt. Saute the green onions in a medium oven proof frying pan, using the margarine. When the onions are slightly wilted, add the egg mix. Cook over a high heat until the egg starts to set up, shaking constantly to prevent burning. Finish under a broiler for several minutes. Top with the chopped nuts. Makes 2 servings.

Santa Fe Chicken Soup: This is one of our family’s favorites. We eat it all the time in the winter. Even our normally picky kids love it.

1 1/2 lb. chicken breasts
2 large green peppers

2 cups onion
2 cups carrots
1 cup tomatoes
1 1/2 cups corn kernels
1/2 cup green chiles
1 qt. water
1/3 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 cups wheat flour
5 tbs. butter
6 cups milk
2 tbs. garlic powder
1 tsp. white pepper
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tbs. cumin
1 tbs. Cajun spices
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tbs. seasoned salt
2 tbs. onion powder
5 tbs. chili powder

Start by broiling the chicken. When cooked, shred or dice it, and place in a large stock pot. Dice the peppers, onions, carrots and tomatoes.

Note, we normally add the chopped veggies to the pot now. But if you’ve got picky eaters at home, you could always give these a quick shot in the blender first. It’ll grind them up so they’re unrecognizable, but they still give the soup a ton of flavor, and some added thickness as well.

Add in all remaining ingredients except for the butter, flour and milk. Bring to a boil, then let it simmer on a low burner.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. In another saucepan, heat the milk until steaming, then remove from the burner. When the butter is melted, slowly whisk in the flour. Avoid lumps. As the mixture becomes too dry to work with, slowly alternate adding the flour and the milk. When you’ve combined all of the butter, flour and milk, whisk this mixture slowly into the simmering soup. Let the whole thing cook on low for another 20 minutes.

Makes 10 servings. It will keep in the refrigerator for about a week, and freezes well.

Almond & Chicken Casserole: 2 lb. cooked chicken meat (light and dark)
2 lb. red potatoes
4 stalks celery
1 medium onion

4 cloves garlic
2 cans cream of chicken soup (Healthy Choice or other reduced fat)
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 tbs. olive oil
3/4 cup bread crumbs

Shred the chicken. Chop the potatoes into bite-sized pieces, and steam or boil until about half cooked. Dice the celery & onion, and peel and chop the garlic finely. Mix all of that in a big bowl with the almonds, soup, broth, juice, salt and pepper. Stir it all well, and pour into a greased 13 inch X 9 inch pan. Mix the oil and bread crumbs thoroughly, and sprinkle on top. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes. Serves 8

Chille Casserole: 12 whole green chille’s
4 oz shredded jack cheese
4 eggs
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup (4 oz) shredded, sharp cheddar cheese

Split each chille the long way. Remove the white pith and seeds. Stuff the chilles with the Jack cheese, wrapping each chile tightly around the cheese. Spray a 1 1/2 quart baking dish with nonstick spray, and arrange the chiles in one layer in the pan.

With an electric mixer, beat the eggs on medium-high until thick and foamy. Add the milk, flour and baking powder, and beat until smooth. Pour the egg batter evenly over the chiles. Sprinkle the top with the shredded cheddar cheese.

Bake the chiles uncovered at 375 until the dish is somewhat puffed up (about 1/2 hour). Makes 6 side dish servings.

NOTE: I included this recipe because it’s a great dish, and in terms of carbs vs. protein, the proportions are right on. On the other hand, I’m sure you noticed it has a HUGE fat content. So unless you’ve had a really bad day, combine a small portion of it with a lowfat burrito.

Chicken & Pineapple Stir Fry: 1 lb. boneless chicken breasts
1 lb. broccoli tops
1 medium red pepper
1/2 cup chopped green onions
8 oz. can pineapple chunks
1 tsp. chopped fresh ginger
2 tsp. cumin
1 clove garlic
2 tbs. soy sauce
2 tbs. corn starch
1 tbs. sesame oil
2 tbs. pineapple juice.

3 cups cooked brown rice

Cut the chicken breasts and broccoli into bite-sized pieces. Slice the pepper into thin strips, and chop the green onions. Crush the garlic, and chop the ginger finely. Heat the sesame oil in a nonstick skillet on high heat. Stir fry the chicken and broccoli. Add the ginger, cumin, garlic , pepper and green onions. Cook for about 5 min. While that’s cooking, drain the pineapple chunks and add about 2 tbs. of the juice to the cornstarch. When the stir-fry mixture is cooked, add the pineapple, soy sauce and cornstarch mixture. Continue cooking briefly until the sauce thickens, and serve immediately over brown rice. Makes 6 servings.

More menus are available here: linked to iwantfreehealthyrecipes.com

BREAKFAST

LUNCH

DINNER

SNACKS

6 thoughts on “40-30-30 Diet

  1. “The higher the GI, the larger the rise in blood sugar, and the more insulin is released. Unfortunately the more insulin in your system, the more fat you’ll retain.”
    So you say, that if an obese person, who totally stop eating fat (3-8% of total calories comes only from fat) and start eating 80-90% of his diet from carbs, will stay fat ? Bcse, “the more insulin in your system, the more fat you’ll retain” ? That is just never ever gonna happen. Examples: whole China, Thailand, African countries … Rice, corn, potato, bread from morning till evening, every day through out a whole life, and these are one of the leanest countries.
    The other thing is, try this 40/30/30 diet without exercising, and without any calorie restriction. The result will talk about it selfs…
    However on an only carb diet, nobody ever ever ever get fat. Rice 4-5-6 times a day, fruit all day long every day, pasta , quinoa, corn …. without restriction, till you are full, every time.

    Doug Graham 80/10/10, China Study, Starch Solution, The Great starvation experiment, Dr. Neal Barnard’s Program for Reversing Diabetes, Rich Roll: Finding ultra, Scott Jurek – Eat and run.
    30-40-50 years of experience, supported with clinical data, studies and statistics.
    (I would like to see how someone runs 100miles on a gel solution of 40-30-30. However at this moment the fast runners are cruising exclusively on sugary drinks, sugary gels, chews, shots)

    Btw, interesting article, thanks for sharing it. Keenly waiting for the next show. Talk Ultra rocks.

    • You make a good point! However, calorie intake in China etc tends to be restricted. The main issue with carb in the Western world is excess! In regard to your comment on ‘racing’ I fully accept the need for calories whilst running but the speed you run at very much determines the rate of carb/ fat usage.Certainly running at pace and the need for ‘fast’ carb will be more essential than slow carb.
      Your comment “The other thing is, try this 40/30/30 diet without exercising, and without any calorie restriction. The result will talk about it selfs…” – But of course! Calories are calories and too many calories, even in a 40-30-30 diet will lead to weight gains. 40-30-30 is not an open invite to eat more and more! It is all about a balanced diet, sticking to sensible daily calorific need. It promotes the same daily calories but reducing calorie intake from Carb, making it low GI and shifting a little more emphasis to fat and protein.
      The 40-30-30 diet is getting increased usage and even Dr Tim Noakes is ripping out his nutrition section in the ‘Lore of Running’ and re writing it.
      As I said, we are all individual and the 40-30-30 provides an alternative solution. It is one I have seen work and one that I have felt the benefit of personally!
      Appreciate the debate.

      • I appreciate the debate too, at least there is something to talk about, and discuss.
        I think calorie intake from rice and crops in those countries including China, is not restricted at all. They have unlimited source, and they eat a lot of it. What is restricted is meat, fish, and fruit and dairy intake, as it is so damn expensive, that even if people get some, they rather sell it than eat it, to be able to buy more rice.

        In my opinion, a healthy diet is, when one should not restrict calories, at all time, never, ever. As the smallest calorie “restriction” in a diet definitely means, eating disorder. Imagine if a gorilla, or a giraffe or even a lion would say, ahh, today I am not gonna eat, just half of my portion to stay lean. That does just not exist in nature anywhere.

        I am eating huge amount of fruits, cereals, grains and more fruits and vegetables. Every meal till I am absolutely full. 1-3 sort of ingredient at a time, as often not the food, but food combinations create problems. Even if I am having an off period from training, I am still taking unlimited amount of calories. Never ever gain fat, and my weight is stable. Lots of people are on the 80/10/10 or the high starch diet have the same experience. Stabilized bodyweight through out a whole life. Minor changes are possible due to hydration levels and glycogen store depletion/loading.

        You say that in the western world, carb consumption is excess. That is not true in my opinion. Refined sugar intake is excess, but still that won’t cause the obesity epidemic. In 99% of the western diet followers, daily fat intake is 30-70%. However in a healthy diet it should be 3-10% for a man, and 12-15% for a women, these numbers are true to the body fat composition as well.
        The donuts, the burgers, the beef, the fries, the nuggets, the sausages the cheese, the butter, the milk, the oil, the snickers and the pancakes … are all very high in fat, and we blame the coke and the orange juice and the sugary cereals for making us fat.
        And the government ads to this, by promoting healthy fats…””Eat 100%Extra Virgin olive oil for your health”” And we start pouring it all over our salads and food. It is 100% ultra refined fat. The fat you eat, the fat you are.

        Thanks 😀

      • This may offer a good read – http://www.meandmydiabetes.com/2012/08/11/western-states-100-low-carber-wins-ultramarathon-steve-phinney-and-jeff-volek-study/

        One has to accept with China that what s available influences food intake and this may well be 80-10-10 but adaptation takes place. Give them a Western diet and see what happens!

        “Imagine if a gorilla, or a giraffe or even a lion would say, ahh, today I am not gonna eat, just half of my portion to stay lean. That does just not exist in nature anywhere.” It’s called survival and not knowing when or how the next meal will come. We pop to the shops, go to the fast food store, snack, consume and over eat; simple!

        “I am eating huge amount of fruits, cereals, grains and more fruits and vegetables. Every meal till I am absolutely full. 1-3 sort of ingredient at a time, as often not the food, but food combinations create problems. Even if I am having an off period from training, I am still taking unlimited amount of calories. Never ever gain fat, and my weight is stable” I know lots of people who junk, smoke and consume vast calories and are skin thin; doesn’t make it right!

        My post on the 40-30-30 diet was very much geared towards athletes (although all can learn from this) and is about a healthy diet. It’s not about removing carb but reducing and making what carbs you eat lowGI.

      • “Imagine if a gorilla, or a giraffe or even a lion would say, ahh, today I am not gonna eat, just half of my portion to stay lean. That does just not exist in nature anywhere.” “It’s called survival and not knowing when or how the next meal will come. We pop to the shops, go to the fast food store, snack, consume and over eat; simple!”
        Well the Gorilla or a Rino does not really survive in nature, but thrive. Due to the abundance of food and lack of natural predators.

        One has to accept with China that what s available influences food intake and this may well be 80-10-10 but adaptation takes place. Give them a Western diet and see what happens!

        That is true, no doubt. Anyone on a western diet would be suffering, including not only humans, but cats and dogs and all mammals…

        “My post on the 40-30-30 diet was very much geared towards athletes (although all can learn from this) and is about a healthy diet. It’s not about removing carb but reducing and making what carbs you eat lowGI.”
        My point on that is: as I already mentioned, that people are starting changing their eating habits towards, as thought a more healthy one. They keep their caloric %-ages the same what was already too high in protein and fat, and replacing them with more “”healthy”” fats. So a kellogs/mcdonalds/burgerking diet will change to a wholewheatpancake with fruits/fish & and chicken & roast beef/ salad with avocados and olive oil and nuts diet.
        Sure it is a big change, but there won’t be too much positive health benefits as the fat intake is still 30% or more. Too high ! The problem is not slow/low/high/ fast carbs, but with the high fat and excess protein intake. And we still top it up with fish oil supplements, udo’s oil, virgin coconut and olive oil, Omega 3-6-8-10 supplements, protein powders…
        40-30-30 is already present in our life, nearly every people follow it…

        Just make an experiment in spar/tesco/sainsburries. Try to look into the shopping basket of others, and you’ll be able to see that a 40-30-30 is not a new thing at all, we already had it for a long long time. And I think regardless that someone is an athlete or sedentary, the same diet should suit him, the differences would be only in caloric intake. But both should eat till full, every time, every meal till, 100% satisfaction.

        A vegan/vegetarian diet looks back into the past till Pythagoras. ” A vegetarian is, who lives on vegetation. ” That never changed, it is the same since then.
        However the science of nutrition as it is today, is less then 100year old, and went through a lots of changes.

        I know that we wouldn’t get into an end with a discussion like this. Bcse we have our own believe systems. I still appreciate your comments and answers, and thanks. We’ll see again in the near future how new and old dietary habits will pop up and submerge. And what can float longer. I wish we could look back into this discussion in 5 years time, and change opinions again. ( Mine be the same, as it was 5 years ago )

  2. Pingback: Timothy Olson – Low Carb | Ian Corless host of Talk Ultra podcast

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