I see a lot of posts asking what macro nutrient breakdown is the right one to use so I thought I would start a thread on the different types of diets. I'm going to focus on 4 different approaches to diets and go over what I see as the advantages and disadvantages of each. I know a bit about each type but I am not a dietitian or anything so please feel free to add information.
There is one diet that I'm not including. It's the typical "American" diet which has been popularized by numerous fast food restaurants. Very few people tout this diet as being healthy but it is very easy to find foods in this category and very inexpensive. The diet consists of high fat, high carb, low protein. Lots of red meats, lots of breads and starches, lots of added oils.
Another thing I won't go into is the types of carbohydrates. In general, there are 2 distinct types of carbohydrates: starch and fiber.
I refer to the macronutrient breakdowns as C/P/F.
Ketonic: The ketonic diet is based on high fat, high protein, low or no carbohydrates. This diet relies on ketone bodies instead of glucose to fuel the aerobic energy pathways. Fats should be focused on EFA's and it is imperative to take vitamins to supplement this diet.
The ketonic diet has a general breakdown on 0/35/65. Because ketone bodies are not able to be utilized in the anaerobic energy pathways, it is not appropriate when doing cardiovascular exercise or heavy lifting because the body will have to cannibalize muscle tissue to produce glucose in order to go into anaerobic respiration. Several versions of this diet that address this particular situation have become popular such as the CKD or TKD.
It has been very successfully utilized by many people for rapid weight loss. It's very popular in weight lifting and fad diet circuits for a cutting diet.
Low fat, High carb: This is the standard AMA diet. It incorporates very high carbohydrate levels and very low fat levels but does not give much consideration to protein levels. This diet should be able to produce enough natural vitamins so that supplementation is not required.
The breakdown of this diet is generally 60/20/20.
This diet has long been used by endurance athletes because of the rapidly accessible carbohydrates. Because it has a low protein level, it is not generally used when adding body weight is imperative.
Low fat, High protein: This is generally a good starting diet for most people because it allows for a wide variety of foods. The diet consists of low fat intake with equal (or almost equal) intake of protein and carbohydrates. Fats are focused on EFA's. This diet should not need to be supplemented and can be used for endurance sports, gaining mass or losing mass.
The breakdown of this diet is usually 40/35/25.
This diet has been popularized in bodybuilding and endurance sports. It is the basic diet used in the popular "Body for Life" and has been successfully used by many people.
Isocaloric: The isocaloric diet is a good starting diet and is a useful starting point to find what diet system works best for you. As it's name implies, it equally distributes all of the macronutrients. This diet may require supplementation if utilized in a cutting cycle and is not preferred for lifting or endurance but works well for both.
The breakdown of this diet is 34/33/33.
Not popularized often this diet is usually cited as a 'starting point' but can be very successful as a lifetime diet.
Feel free to add your feelings or details to any of the diets listed. I'm hoping that people will follow up with posts that help to guide other readers through each of the different diets. How to fine-tune them, what to watch out for, etc. Please remember that any diet can be successfully used for bulking or cutting, and I'm hoping that this doesn't become a "this diets best, that one sucks" kind of thread because all of the diets listed have their advantages and disadvantages.