T Nation

Determining Right Amount of Fat

I’m planning my diet out for this month, and would like to experiment with cutting back on fat. I’m wondering what the lowest recommended levels are for fat consumption (in grams per lbs of bodyweight or some form like that). So far everything I’ve found has to do with recommended saturated fat intake- which I’m not very concerned about.

Does anyone know where I can find a specific recommendation?

Also, I’m planning on cutting back on meat (I plan on including it in one or two meals per day, but not all of them) and making up any lost protein with whey protein powder. This has been working really well so far- I eat a lot of legumes, whole grains, lean chicken, tuna, salmon, and milk products. Whenever a meal has less than 20 grams of protein, I have a shake.

Any comments and advice would be appreciated.

WHY are you cutting back on fat? WHY are you cutting back on meat? (Salmon, tuna, and chicken are meats, by the way.) Tell us that first.

Diets can vary in fat from 10 to 70%, depending on what you want to do.

I really have no idea what you’re trying to do.

By the way, a nutrition consultation is 150 bucks for an initial meal plan and half hour phone call.

Try using the search engine of this site and Google and picking up some basic nutrition books and magazines.

This may or may not help, but I plan my diets this way:

How much protein do I want to aim for?

How many calories do I want to aim for?

How many carbs do I want to have daily (usually I fluctuate this daily depending on demand, i.e carb cycle)?

Now I know how many calories are coming from proteins and carbs, so I fill out the rest of my energy needs with fats. I usually don’t think of my macros as percentages towards each other. Maybe that helps.

Elusive, you’re a systematic guy who gets results. This guy hasn’t provided us with any basis as to why he wants to cut back on fat intake.

I’m just curious though. Why do you not count macronutrients as percentages. Obviously you know what you’re doing, but there are reasons to take both grams and percentages into account.

Low-fat diets suck in the long run for most, except if you’re just someone who does great on a high-carb diet. Most people don’t do well on a low-fat, high-carb, moderate-protein diet.

Fat intake should be set at 20 to 30% for most on a lifestyle diet.

[quote]Bricknyce wrote:
Elusive, you’re a systematic guy who gets results. This guy hasn’t provided us with any basis as to why he wants to cut back on fat intake.

I’m just curious though. Why do you not count macronutrients as percentages. Obviously you know what you’re doing, but there are reasons to take both grams and percentages into account.

Low-fat diets suck in the long run for most, except if you’re just someone who does great on a high-carb diet. Most people don’t do well on a low-fat, high-carb, moderate-protein diet.

Fat intake should be set at 20 to 30% for most on a lifestyle diet. [/quote]

I’ve been experimenting with my macronutrient ratios for a while and found that I look the best when I eat <20% fat with whole grain carb sources. I generally keep my protein intake around 30-40% and let carbs fill in the space (much like what most people on here do with fat). I found that when I pay attention to fat, I eat less nuts, and less fatty meats, which is really what I meant by cutting back on meat (I’ve been eating several pieces of meat with each meal, by cutting back I mean that I’m going to eat healthier meats, and less per meal). I’m doing this for cholesterol reasons (mine is nearly off the chart), and because I have an extensive family history of heart problems.

The reason I wanted to know about the recommended minimum grams of fat per pound bodyweight or whatever is because I want to know if I’m cutting back too much. I basically want to have a floor on the grams of fat per day that I need in order to continue making progress in the gym. In other words, if I dropped below this number, my body might not regulate hormones effectively. It’s a precaution.

[quote]Bricknyce wrote:
Elusive, you’re a systematic guy who gets results. This guy hasn’t provided us with any basis as to why he wants to cut back on fat intake.

I’m just curious though. Why do you not count macronutrients as percentages. Obviously you know what you’re doing, but there are reasons to take both grams and percentages into account.

Low-fat diets suck in the long run for most, except if you’re just someone who does great on a high-carb diet. Most people don’t do well on a low-fat, high-carb, moderate-protein diet.

Fat intake should be set at 20 to 30% for most on a lifestyle diet. [/quote]

I should definitely clarify what I posted. I DONT count them as percentages towards each other, but I AM mindful that the percentages do have importance for lifestyle, health and well being. The percentages just seem to always fall into place, even when I’m not thinking of them.

For example, this is probably my most common diet set up (thinking pattern) when I first dive into a cutting mode.

-300 grams of Protein (i usually hit this number within 10 grams +/-)

-3,000kcals (for sanity sake, I have a fast metabolism and especially if I plan on dieting for a while and am fearful of metabolic slowdown OR I don’t plan on cutting down much BF).

-300 grams of CHO (this number is usually just right for me. I’ve cut before with this as high as 400 grams if my activity was high enough).

Thats a total of 2,400kcals from protein and carbs which gives me 600kcals from fat left over. So my fats are now 20% of my intake and I haven’t even thought of the percentages pre hand. I guess it all works out because I aim for reasonable numbers, in relation to each other. I think if people aim for reasonable grams, they will happen to fall into reasonable percentages and/or vice versa.

However, I do acknowledge that the average dude will probably fuck this up if left to do it by himself. I was just offering on what I do personally. I do see your point though.

[quote]balls wrote:

[quote]Bricknyce wrote:
Elusive, you’re a systematic guy who gets results. This guy hasn’t provided us with any basis as to why he wants to cut back on fat intake.

I’m just curious though. Why do you not count macronutrients as percentages. Obviously you know what you’re doing, but there are reasons to take both grams and percentages into account.

Low-fat diets suck in the long run for most, except if you’re just someone who does great on a high-carb diet. Most people don’t do well on a low-fat, high-carb, moderate-protein diet.

Fat intake should be set at 20 to 30% for most on a lifestyle diet. [/quote]

I’ve been experimenting with my macronutrient ratios for a while and found that I look the best when I eat <20% fat with whole grain carb sources. I generally keep my protein intake around 30-40% and let carbs fill in the space (much like what most people on here do with fat). I found that when I pay attention to fat, I eat less nuts, and less fatty meats, which is really what I meant by cutting back on meat (I’ve been eating several pieces of meat with each meal, by cutting back I mean that I’m going to eat healthier meats, and less per meal). I’m doing this for cholesterol reasons (mine is nearly off the chart), and because I have an extensive family history of heart problems.

The reason I wanted to know about the recommended minimum grams of fat per pound bodyweight or whatever is because I want to know if I’m cutting back too much. I basically want to have a floor on the grams of fat per day that I need in order to continue making progress in the gym. In other words, if I dropped below this number, my body might not regulate hormones effectively. It’s a precaution.
[/quote]

You really only need ~15g of EFA’s to function. Look up a thread on here that Brick started a while back called “Rapid Fat Loss vs. V-Diet.” The RFL diet is probably THE most extreme diet around for anyone interested in maintaining lean mass from bodybuilding an cutting calories as low as possible. You are correct about the drop in hormone regulation and energy levels. Not to mention eating ~1,000 calories is a bitch.

Personally, I’d recommend:

  1. Get your protein in first
  2. Eat your carbs around workouts
  3. Cut out/back cheeses, oils, nuts and fattier meats like you said.

See what happens from there…no need to be SUPER meticulous at first by counting calories and breaking down your macros, just keep an eye on the scale.

Yes, it’s true that you only need a paltry amount of EFAs to FUNCTION as a normal human being. But I don’t know if I’m so concerned with minimal metabolic functioning as I am with what is OPTIMAL.

I believe, because of education and experience, that low-fat diets (<20%) suck for MOST, though not all, situations.

I understand the concern for hyperlipidemia, especially if someone has a family history of it. But the real killers are concentrated sweets and trans-fats and excessively high carb intake. Mono- and and some polyunsaturated fats lower LDL and TGs. Some polys also increase HDL. So discarding nuts, oily fishes, nut butters, whole eggs, some stringy meat, and various oils isn’t a good thing to do. There have been people who have lowered their cholesterol with an Atkins and South Beach type of diet, and these diets have considerable fat content.

(I might have forgotten the role of each kind of fat regarding how they affect HDL and LDL; it’s been some time since I took metabolism classes).

I know I might be a raging fuckhead again, but people should really get some basic nutrition education, especially in nutrition metabolism if they’re inclined to discard things from their diet based on flawed reasoning. If you really want to get a lowdown on how fats affect metabolism and the EN VOGUE topic of INFLAMMATION, I suggest you get the book Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism. Although I’m not the MOST well-read person around, it’s the best book I’ve ever seen on nutrition metabolism.

And there really is no unhealthy meat, considering that saturated fat does offer health benefits too, especially stearic acid in beef. RDs and nutritionists, Lowery and Berardi included, recommend fat intake be split for 1/3 saturated, and the other 2/3 for poly- and monounsaturated. So people should have some cheese, whole eggs, coconut oil, stringy meats (gasp), and some butter (double gasp) in their diets IN THE RIGHT AMOUNTS.

I also vouch for the method of 1) set your protein target, 2) set your carb target (high carb, low carb, whatever), then 3) have your fats fill in the rest.

A “reasonable” low fat diet would still probably have 20% of its cals from fat. Which ends up being elusive’s percentage some days (he’s a verifiable carb machine).

For your crappy blood profile, make sure to get your fish oil and eat a lot of fiber.

Bricknyce- I agree with you on all of your points, and I guess I should be more clear in that I’m not throwing any food out the window. In the past, I would eat beef with all of my meals in a day, snack on nuts in between every meal, and eat six whole eggs for breakfast. My fat percentages were usually around 26-35%, and I was gaining more fat than muscle. So what I am doing is adding more variety- replacing several servings of nuts with beans, using eggwhites with whole eggs, and whatnot. I haven’t officially cut anything out of my diet though.

You might be interested to know that I have felt much more energetic and less hungry since I reduced my fat intake. It’s too early to tell if this is really working, but it seems to be going well.

EasyRhino- Noted! Because I’m getting so little fat from food sources, I’ve actually been making up the difference with fish and coconut oils (if I hit less than 50grams in a day through diet), and I naturally get a lot of fiber trying to keep the fat low.