Before you go thinking that a low-fat diet leads to a lower body fat – it doesn’t!
There is a difference between dietary fat and the fat on your body. If you over-eat foods high in fat, sending you over your recommended calorie intake, then yes it may be the cause of weight gain but it is down to the fact you ate more calories than you should have, not because you ate fat.
The same would happen if you over-ate on vegetables and meat (healthy whole foods) if you are overeating beyond your daily calories, you will gain weight no matter what foods you eat.
When it comes to fat sources, be sensible with your portion sizes, make good choices & you can happily enjoy it on a daily basis without worrying about whether it will make you fat or not. People tend to worry more about fat as it has a higher caloric density than protein or carbohydrates, containing 9 kcals/g whereas protein and carbohydrates contain 4 kcals/g.
Let’s face it, fast food tastes good for a reason, it is laden with fat, simple as. We can still enjoy fried foods, oils etc. but we just have to be careful with quantities.
Why is it important?
Healthy fats are necessary for our hormonal function which is so important for the daily functions within our body. Similar to protein, fat makes you feel fuller for longer. Also, in order to absorb fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E & K (needed for normal function, growth & maintenance of the body), we must consume fat from food.
If you are on a low-fat diet, you are probably not getting enough Omega-3 which is essential in combatting inflammation, nerve conduction & essential for blood function (basically all the important stuff!).
As you can see, there are definitely more reasons to eat fat than there are to avoid it, as well as the fact it makes our food that bit tastier!
How much should I eat?
You should aim to consume around 20-30% of your daily calories from fat sources. For example, if you eat 2,000kcals a day, aim for around 400-660kcals from fat.
How many grams of fat is that?! Well remember that there are 9kcals/g of fat, therefore you divide the calories by 9 and it gives you the amount of fat in grams:
400/9 = 45g and 660/9 = 73g, so there’s your range, 45g-73g of fat per day if you are on a 2,000 calorie diet for example.
What foods should I eat?
Get your daily fat intake from foods such as oily fish (salmon, mackerel), whole eggs, nuts, nut butters (natural), seeds, coconut, coconut milk/oil, grass-fed butter & avocadoes.
Avoid trans-fats where possible, which are found in processed, packaged foods, pastries – basically junk food in general.
Last week’s article covered protein, which you can read here & make sure to check back next week for the last article on ‘Macronutrients 101‘ which will be all about carbohydrates.