T Nation

How Little Fat Can Be Healthy?


Hey All,
I've just decided to lose some fat. I have over 100 lbs. to lose, so I think 1500 calories a day is a goal to shoot for. Pretty much vegetables and meat.
How can I get enough fat without screwing up the calorie count??


Dude, your going about it the worng way. Fat is not your enemy, fat is your friend. If your looking to shave off excess calories, start with the carbs, but don't go under 1/3 of your calories, or you'll start to feel like shit.

Do a search on John Berardi in the Author's section (left side of the page).


You'll want to cut carbs for sure, perhaps cycling them (more carbs on workout days, fewer on "light" days). Avoid eating carbs and fat in the same meal. Eat all your carbs for breakfast (fruit, oatmeal), directly after workout and then ~90 minutes after that. Eat greens with every meal; they're mostly fiber which will help you feel satiated. For protein eat mostly lean cuts of meat, and whatever you have left calorically, fill in with fat in the form of olive oil and nuts.

Don't be afraid of fat, because dietary fat does not turn into body fat unless it's in excess, whereas poorly timed carbs can be stored as body fat. As to how many calories you should be eating, figure out your maintenance caloric intake and drop that by 20-30%.

As you lose weight, if things start to slow down, you'll obviously need to drop more calories. However, I wouldn't advise dieting for too long if you want to maintain strength. So eat maintenance for a week (but keep it clean) every six-eight weeks let's say. And this info is not necessarily optimal or the most detailed; if you want that there are plenty of great articles on this site. I'm just providing some general guidelines based on what I've read and what has worked for me.


First of all,going on a startvation diet of 1,500 calories isn't the right way to start.BEFORE DOING ANYTHING you need to PRACTICE good nutrition(clean eating).Girls eat more than 1,500 calories a day!!

And you surely wouldn't want to look like a girl now.
If I were you, I'd cut 500 calories out and do cardio.
If you start cutting thousands of calories out you're gonna lose a lot of muscle;when you've lost all the weight(muscle) and you go back to eat "normally" you're gonna gain everything back because you've decreased your metabolic rate by losing lean LBM during your dieting phase(since LBM{MUSCLE} is what keeps your metabolism active(high).

Second of all,FAT doesn't make you fat.
You actually need essential fatty acids to process body fat metabolism.

That means you need fat to burn fat.
Get some fish oil and start taking it(or Flameout from Biotest which would be much better).
Start cutting out ALL refined carbohydrates(simple sugar).
You need some carbs for your workouts and cardio(and you will be lifting weights and doing cardio,right??)
Focus on complex carbohydrates that are higher in fiber(fiber is essential for high protein diets).

Cut carbs after six or seven.
Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits(the best carb source).
Cut out ALL soda and juices.
LOTS of water.
Eat enough protein (1 gram of protein per pound of body weight).
I gave you the simple basics to get started.If you start out on that starvation diet you'll regret ending up as a "skinny fat person".

Listen to what we say,eat more,and you won't become a skinny fat person.
Good luck.
PM me,cthulhu.


It sounds like he's asking how to keep enough fat in his diet while staying within the 1500 Kcal/day regime. 1500 cals is not a very realistic goal even with 100 lbs to lose. I agree with the other posters and say go to a reduced carb plan. Get your protein from lean meats and shakes, don't skimp on the veggies and get your fats from fish/flax/olive oils and nuts.

If you go overboard too soon reducing calories your body will go into starvation mode and hang onto its fat while scavenging muscle. Dial your diet in slowly while working to add some muscle which will raise your metabolism. With 100 lbs to lose you must accept that your in it for the long haul. Take your time and do it right. Don't get discouraged, set some goals and stick to them.


Hey All,
Kruiser is right. I don't hate dietary fat. I want to consume as much good fat as possible while cutting colories.

On a reduced calorie diet,though, I have to cut calories from fats,protein,and carbs.Maybe.at least carbs and fat.

What I was wondering is, where is the amount that you shouldn't go below, or have health problems.Dry skin,low testosterone,etc.


Why don't you post us your plan now?

How are the 1500 calories broken down?

What is your meal timing?

Also, what kind of workouts are you doing?

Those things, together with your current height and weight, will get you some very concrete feedback.

For me, food selection and meal timing are many times more important than just calorie counting.
I was eating 1500 cals a day and very frustrated because I had stalled out losing weight. Luckily I found this site and went to 2600 cals a day with 6 meals a day. The weight dropped off steadily for four months. Fish oil, olive oil, and nuts are big parts of my diet now.


I think you'll find the same general problems apply with respect to total calories...

If you go too low, your body will just shut down the "extras".