What’s at Steak?

There is as much dietary advice out there, as there are training plans. This then must be controversial, as to say anything on the topic is bound to contradict many strongly held beliefs and practices.  Rather than promote a ‘right’ way, instead I’d like to pose a question:

While I follow a particular theory, the most commonly given dietary advice, is to eat a balanced diet.  What then, does that mean?

In Britain, the following split of macro nutrients is recommended by government:


The problem with charts like this, is that plates of food don’t easily lend themselves to measuring macro nutrients in this way and the total demand for energy is personal and is influenced by gender, age, metabolism and activity intensity.  What I’ve tried to do below is show in real terms, what an ‘average’ person might choose to eat:

Name: GI Joe

Age: 35

Height 5’10” (178cm)

Weight 12st 0lb, (168lb) (76Kg)

Current activity level: Moderate

Using that data, we can estimate Joe’s resting metabolic rate (RMR) and Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE):

RMR    1645 kCal

TDEE   2879 kCal

Joe needs to consume 2879kCal on a typical day in order maintain his energy balance, giving him enough energy to continue his current activity level and maintain his current body weight.

Let us assume that Joe eats three meals per day with snacks in between and takes in his energy as: Breakfast 25%; lunch 25%; dinner 25%; and intermediate snacks 25%.  This would fit in with the ‘little and often’ maxim that can accompany the balanced diet.

Joe is having dinner and selects rump steak, chips and garden peas as his meal choice. For readers in the states, by ‘chips’ I mean thick-cut French fries, not potato chips you’d buy as a snack food.  Joe needs to get 25% of his TDEE from the meal, which is 747kCal.

Based on current balanced diet advice of 65% carbohydrate, 20% fat, 15% protein (as represented in the pie chart above):

Food Choice Quantity Carbs Fat Protein
Steak 100g 99kCal 110kCal
Chips 300g 444kCal 42kCal
Peas 50g 30kCal 3.5kCal
Totals 728kCal 474kCal 144.5kCal 110kCal

Here’s Joes plate – it looks familiar… Lots of white, not much green and not much meat.  This might be what’s served up as a pub meal in UK.



What if Joe were to meet his energy requirements through an equilaterally balanced diet? By that I mean 1/3 energy from each of carbohydrates, protein and fat.  He can still do this with a steak, chips and peas meal but the proportions of each food changes:

Food Choice Quantity Carbs Fat Protein
Steak 240g 216kCal 240kCal
Chips 120g 178kCal 14kCal
Peas 100g 61kCal 7kCal
Totals 716kCal 239kCal 237kCal 240kCal

That’s the data but his plate would look like this:


Clearly, this shows more steak, more peas and fewer chips.

The idea for balancing macro nutrient energy sources as an interpretation of what a balanced diet should be, came from the properties of whole milk, which aren’t exactly equilateral but are pretty close.

I’d like to think this is neither low carb, nor high fat but more naturally balanced.

I know which plate I’d choose (if I were forced to eat chips).

How about you?


GI Tri Coach

This piece is derived from work originally co-written with Dr. Jennifer Burr, Senior Lecturer at University of Sheffield, UK.


Breakfast muffins

For those that saw the energy bars post, apologies for not yet delivering on the follow up food related posts but wait no longer!

I’ve been following a low carb diet for around two years now and the biggest complaint I hear from other low carb eaters, it the monotony of the breakfasts.

Here is more of the same, whipped up slightly differently, to convince you just enough, that you’re not eating bacon eggs AGAIN:

Breakfast muffins:

3 eggs

1 rasher bacon  (seriously this isn’t bacon and eggs, honest!)

1 tomato

1 medium mushroom

1 oz / 25g butter

1/2 cup single or double cream

just about anything else you like


Who’s checked the quantity of mushrooms?

Use half the butter to grease the muffin tray.  Chop everything up into small pieces (de-seed the tomatoes) and by the time you’ve done that, the tiny bits of butter will be warm enough to smear around the tin:


Fry off the ingredients in the other half of the butter and once soft split them into six equal portions:


Beat the eggs and cream together and add them equally to the muffin tins. Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes on 180C or 350F, until the muffins have risen but have not browned :

Eat them warm, or cold, filled with anything you like.

Of course they’re just mini omelettes really and aren’t muffins at all but who doesn’t love food that you can just pic up and eat? The Ironkid thought they were fun to make and so I thought I’d share!


GI Tri Coach