Both carbs and fat end up getting converted into the same chemical energy used by the body to power muscle repair, so why is it always recommended in macronutrient calculators to eat more carbs than fat?

Is it a matter of how fast the conversion takes? (I don't think so since many articles emphasise how nutrition timing is largely irrelevant). I'm confused.

1 Answer 1


There are a few reasons I can think of:

  1. Glycogen stores. Glycogen is an energy source that your body turns to when it needs energy fast. This is what you use when you lift heavy weights, run really fast, or basically do any activity that requires an almost immediate increase in produced energy. Because of this, it is very helpful when working out.

    Carbs/sugar gets stored as glycogen. Fat does not. When you work out you obviously have a lot less glycogen, so some people think you need to replenish it immediately. Eating carbs throughout the day is a good strategy to make sure it's tapped out.

  2. Insulin. It is thought that insulin promotes protein synthesis. There are other schools of thought that insulin stops muscle catabolism, or breakdown. We know that carbs dramatically increase insulin while fat doesn't really increase insulin at all. So the logic would be that you take carbs to increase insulin to build muscle. This is probably the main reason carbs are considered to be so important.

    However, protein also increases insulin to some extent so there are some that also believe that you don't need as many carbs so long as you get the appropriate amount of protein.

  3. Because for years, government food standards, particularly in the U.S, taught people that carbs where important if not vital for a healthy life. So it could be some calculators are still based off this information. To some extent that is true since vegetables and fruit are almost entirely carbs.

  4. The calculators may be adjusted for the audience, and carbs are cheap and abundant. If you're diet is mostly fat, then it would consist of a lot of nuts, cheeses, or fatty plants like avocados. Those things are cheap. Oatmeal and rice on the other hand are very abundant, and you could buy a month's supply for half the price. So people would generally gravitate to calculators that fit their lifestyle, and those become popular.

You could easily find calculators that adjust for other various diets. There are calculators that adjust for people with diabetes for example that would probably not have such an importance on carbs. Then of course in the keto community, you would find calculators that basically set carbs to near zero.

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