Diet nutrient split: what's the right balance for triathletes?
Wondering what sort of split you should be looking for in your diet and what the right balance of carbs, protein or fat, is? Lucy-Ann Prideaux explains all
Normally speaking, we need approximately 50-55% of calories from carbohydrate foods, 15-20% from protein and 30% from fat. For sporting performance (especially endurance), a higher percentage of carbs in the diet is usually required, but only after the types of carbs have been addressed, as well as an insight into how the individual responds to and handles carbs.
Proportions of carbohydrate, fat and protein in the diet are highly individual, and very much depend on a person’s body type and particularly their metabolic response to carbs. Other factors also come into the equation, which may determine an appropriate macronutrient balance for an individual. Such things include the amount of lean muscle mass, training load, genetic predisposition to weight gain, individual response to sugars and carbs, stress levels, food sensitivities and so on.
So, it’s important to consider all possible factors involved, as each of us are highly complex and individual organisms. It’s crucial too, to consider food as far more than just basic macronutrients. When we think only in terms of carbs, fats and proteins, we miss or forget the fact that not all carbs, proteins or fats are ‘equal’.
Food contains so much more than calories, amino acids or fatty acids. While these are all important to health and performance, so are a multitude of other things. So, I’d urge you to consider the quality of your diet and food choices and then seek out a relevant professional to have your dietary ‘balance’ assessed and optimised to meet your individual health and performance needs.