The PE Diet
We all know there are three macros right? Fat, Carbohydrates and Protein. If you remember from school, fat has 9 calories per gram, carbohydrates and protein have 4 calories per gram. So since we are all told that we should eat a certain number of calories per day, eating 11 grams of fat is the same as eating 25 grams of carbohydrates, is the same as eating 25 grams of protein, Right?
Sorry to spoil the surprise, but let’s get a little background first and I’ll explain why. Then we’ll get into the PE diet.
The Three Macros
Here at wearesuperiormen.com, we have 3 great articles taking a deep dive into each macro, I encourage you to read them to get a bit more background info, however, I’ll provide a quick summary below each link.
TLDR; Fat is a very energy-dense macronutrient, more than twice as much energy as the same size carbohydrate. Excess dietary fat is stored in adipose tissue. Fat can be readily used as energy in the body when carbs aren’t present.
TLDR; Carbs = sugar. Carbohydrates are the easiest form of energy our body uses; if there are any present our body will use them first. If we have too much sugar in our blood (more energy than usage) our body will convert the sugar to fat and store it.
TLDR; Protein isn’t energy, well sort of, protein = amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of muscle and various other tissues in our body. Our body has the ability to create glucose from protein ONLY when carbohydrates and triglycerides(fat) isn’t readily available.
Yes, your body can break down protein into glucose through a process called gluconeogenesis, however, it is a 7 step process with lots of very long fancy-sounding words. Your body does it, but it doesn’t want to do it, and only will if your body NEEDS glucose and its not available in your blood for some reason. With that being said you only produce about 25 gm of glucose a day from protein via the gluconeogenesis process.
What is a Calorie?
A calorie as we think of it in terms of nutrition is actually a kilocalorie (Kcal). But for the purposes of this article, I’ll use calorie instead of Kilocalorie.
To Understand the PE diet, you need to understand the calorie. A calorie is a measure of energy. For example, a Kg (2.2 pounds) of coal has 7,000,000 calories. However eating a block of coal won’t make you add on any weight, because your body can’t really do anything with it. Your body can’t process it into anything worthwhile it can use.
In 1 pound of hay, there are about 1,000 calories (depending on the type of hay). However, just like the coal, your body can’t turn that into useable energy like a cow or a horse can. In 1 pound of our own body fat, there are about 3500 calories. If we know how our bodies work, we can easily unlock that for usable energy.
In purely energy-related terms, a calorie is how much energy you’ll need to raise 1 gram of water 1 degree Celsius. That’s what it is. A calorie is a unit of energy.
Our Body’s Fuel
Our body uses carbohydrates and fat as fuel, that’s the “E” in the PE Diet. Excess of either will be stored by the body for later use in adipose tissue. Carbohydrates are the first fuels used, and evolutionary speaking this makes sense. 10,000 years ago there were no supermarkets to shop at.
Hell, 300 years ago markets were hard to come by. You ate what was local, what was fresh, and what was in season. Quick sources of energy (carbohydrates) are not readily available year-round in most climates. Thus when there was a harvest of sweet sugary fruit, you indulged, until the harvest season was over. Your body storing all of that extra sugar as fat for later, leaner times. After this point, we reverted back to eating meat and fish and supplementing with our excess body fat.
All of this makes perfect sense in non-modern times. However, now you can get an endless supply of sugar year-round. There is no feast and famine. Since we continually add sugar every day, we never give our bodies a fighting chance to lose any weight.
Hormones and Energy
The more carbohydrates you eat without burning them immediately, the more you are telling your body to produce the hormone insulin. Think of insulin as a door opener. It unlocks the door into your adipose tissue, telling your body to store the extra unused blood sugar as fat. When the hormone Insulin is present, excess blood glucose flows into the adipose tissue(vast oversimplification) and is stored as fat. When insulin is not present, the door can open the other way, allowing the stored energy to be released back into the bloodstream.
This is an amazing system that has been the foundation of human survival since the beginning. With globalization and the world getting smaller, we have access to “seasonal” fruit year-round. With the advent of prepackaged foods, we can have a quick hit of refined grains on a daily basis. This is something that has only been available to humans in the past couple hundred years. Our bodies haven’t evolved to the point where we can ingest sugar all day, every day and not suffer adverse effects such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, etc.
Protein to Energy(Fat + Carbs)
This really isn’t that difficult of a concept, but something that totally made things align in my brain. Since, for all intents and purposes, protein isn’t an energy source we use it as our guide, our starting point.
You should be ingesting about 1 gram of protein per pound of IDEAL BODY WEIGHT. For me, a 40-year-old male who is 6’4, that looks like this:
So somewhere between 173.6 and 201.1 pounds according to this calculator. Your Ideal might be higher if you intend to have or keep above average muscle mass. For example, @ruscles on IG, who is 6’4, is a BEAST. I doubt he is anywhere close to 201 lbs.
The PE Diet
On the other side of the protein equation is energy. That’s the total of Fat + Carbs. Take a look at the graphic below and at this link to calculate your own foods.
There are a few ways to handle your diet according to the macros:
Low Protein + high fat + high carb = SAD (standard American diet)
This indeed is a SAD way to eat – too much energy and no balance.
High Protein + low fat + low carb = PSMF – or starvation if done wrong
We as WASM support PSMF when done correctly, however, understand that it is controlled starvation.
High Fat + low carb + moderate protein = Keto or NSNG
The Ketogenic diet is all kinds of popular right now, and rightfully so. It gets you off of the drip-drip of carbs/sugar. NSNG (No Sugar No Grain) coined by Vinnie Tortorich, is just like it sounds – don’t eat any sugar, don’t eat any grain.
High protein + balanced fat and carbs = PE Diet
PE takes into account all of the good things with Keto, NSNG, and PSMF, and puts it in a nice little package.
Before I go further into recommended macros let’s take a look at several foods.
A Tale of Four Foods:
Egg Whites – PE ratio: 12
Egg whites are just about pure protein. Little to no carbs or fat. PE ration of 12 means there is 12 times the protein to the amount of energy. 3.6 grams of protein to .3 grams of energy.
Ribeye Steak – PE ratio: 1.31
Ribeye seems to be the trendy steak now, but its a great example of perfectly balanced food. Since the Ribeye steak is a 1.31, it’s very close to being protein to energy balanced. 21 grams of protein to 16 grams of energy.
Butter – PE ratio: 0.008
Butter is virtually pure energy. 0.1 grams of protein to 12 grams of energy. Butter is good, but be aware that you can’t have unlimited amounts.
Cupcake – PE ratio: 0.05
It shouldn’t be a surprise that a cupcake is pure energy, but the combo of high fat and high sugar wreck havoc on your system. You can’t burn the fat because sugar is present, so all of the fat will get stored. Additionally, unless you are running a marathon, you also won’t burn the sugar, so that gets stored as well.
Lessons from the four foods?
We need energy to exist. But our food choices make profound differences in our overall health. Our bodies crave protein to build and rebuild muscle. If there is a lesson to learn here choose your foods wisely. But what the hell should I eat?
What to Eat on the PE Diet?
The majority of every meal should be protein. This is any kind of animal protein, Meat, Fish, Eggs, even vegetable protein. As long as its at least 50% of your total.
Eat the fat from the animal, don’t shy away from it. Lard, Beef tallow, Butter, Fruit oils (olive oil, avocado oil, Coconut oil, etc)
Fibrous Non-Starchy Vegetables(above ground vegetables)
Basically any vegetable that grows above ground is good to eat as much as you want. Root veggies, while delicious, should be consumed in moderation – ie, they are very starchy (read sugary) so they should be limited, not eliminated.
What Not to Eat?
Hopefully, this is evident by now. Stay away from Bread, Grains, and anything that is shelf-stable in a bag. If it has more ingredients than you have fingers, odds are it some weird frankenfood. Take a look at the “Impossible Burger label”
If this isn’t a great example of a Frankenfood, I don’t know what else is. 21 ingredients, my personal favorite is “Soy Leghemoglobin”, gross.
STAY AWAY from highly refined oils (vegetable oils, seed oils – I’m talking to you rapeseed/canola oil). The closer to the source the better. Think of how much processing it takes to turn an ear of corn into oil. And absolutely stay away from margarine, shortening, the trans fats.
What about macros?
Keep net-carbs under 50 grams
Try the protein over/under
Keep grams of protein over your desired body weight (pounds)
Keep non-protein under your desired body weight
Frequency – How often you work out
Duration – How long you work out for
Intensity – The level of effort in your work out
FDI stands for Frequency/Duration/Intensity. No matter what you are doing to work out, this is the cycle. First work on Frequency, get that consistent. For example, once you are working out 3 days a week, then move to the next – Duration. Start upping your duration second. If you are running 3 days a week, try running two miles instead of just one. Lastly, work on the Intensity of the workout. In your 2 mile runs start incorporating periodic sprints.
The FDI Method works for progressing whatever your preferred workout is, and whatever your goal is.
- Establish/Increase Frequency
- Add Duration
- Work on Intensity
- Start over
What workouts should you do?
Strength – weights, bodyweight
Cardio – run, bike, swim, HIIT
Bottom line, Do what you enjoy doing, but do something
The PE diet is a great way to not get carried away with the “eat all the fat you want” idea of Keto and puts some perspective on the SAD (Standard American Diet). It’s easy to follow, and something that is more of a lifestyle, than a crash diet.
- Training Smart: Understanding Frequency, Duration, and Intensity
As Always – Stay Superior!!