How much fat do/should you eat?

I’m starting strength training in addition to cycling, in the hopes of primarily losing weight and secondarily getting faster on the bike (for the next 3-4 months anyway).

I know I’ll need a caloric deficit to lose weight. Much of what I’ve seen advocates close to 1g per pound of body weight to avoid losing muscle along with the fat. I’m not sure about fat intake though. I know I’ll need carbs, especially on the bike, but I also know some fat is certainly needed.

Is there a rule of thumb for fat intake? Does it scale with weight, or is there a basic amount you can get away with? I’m trying to get it from healthy sources (yogurt, avocados, fish, etc) but I want to get the right balance to maintain a deficit while also getting plenty of carbs.

Any tips are appreciated!

I shoot for 50g or less, but don’t fret if I go over. If you have a couple of eggs and butter your toast, it’s honestly hard to keep it under 50gs. I actually kind of prioritize protein since it’s not easy to get close to 1g per pound of body weight unless you plan around it. Protein, I feel, is a good choice for a diet because approximately 30% of those calories are used up splitting off the nitrogen that you pee out. So it doubles as lean mass building and a good starter for a calorie deficit. Then I focus on fiber. It helps you choose good non-ultra processed carbs that are the basis for those glucose stores, but also helps with caloric deficit because high fiber foods aren’t absorbed at 100% either. If I make good choices around those two things, then I kind of let fat do it’s thing. I don’t go out of my way to get it, nor avoid it, but making good decisions on the other two macros, it keeps it manageable and prioritizing protein and fiber helps lose weight.

5 Likes

I think the rough rule is ~1g/kg of body weight. My understanding is that there’s a baseline amount you need for general health, but beyond that there’s not much of a benefit in the physical sense- though some people may prefer a higher fat intake from a satiety or taste standpoint. Most western diets are high enough in fat that it should be pretty easy to meet the recommended amount without much additional thought, unless you’re avoiding certain food groups or your overall calories are very low.

A simple way to approach it is to meet your fat/protein requirements, and the rest is carbs up to your desired caloric intake. Adjust to personal preference. :slight_smile:

2 Likes

Here are some general guidelines:
Start with your protein needs (~1.2-2.0g/kg body weight per day, depending on goals/preferences), then fill add your carbohydrate needs (5-12 g/kg per day, depending on goals/preferences). Then fill in the rest with fat. The recommendation for fat is 20-35% of total calorie intake.
There are online calculators to help switch between grams/calories/percentages if you don’t feel like doing math :slight_smile:

2 Likes

I often hear the protein as x grams per y weight…but would this be my total weight, lean mass (actually have per recent DEXA), or target weight?

Body weight in this case! If your goals include weight loss and strength gain, aim for the higher end of the recommended range.

2 Likes

Speaking figuratively here so I don’t mean you per se OP, but IMO I think normal / naturally occurring fat in food is good for you (whole milk, full fat cheese, fat in fatty meats, eggs, etc). I think added fats are probably not good - French fries, veggies sautéed in vegetable oils (olive oil included), etc. The ‘science’ is pretty fickle on this.

I would eat full fat everything and avoid the cooking oils.

If you’re overweight (or a person who feels they need to lose weight - whatever you’d like to call that) in 2021, it’s most likely because you either outright eat things with added sugars, or nearly everything you eat subtly has added sugars mixed into it. IMO, focus on cutting out any and all food/ drink with added sugar (and juices etc) from your diet unless you’re purposely want to have a dessert on occasion. This is a lot harder to do than say bc your body is essentially addicted to it.

Everyone would lose lots of weight doing this (also replacing refined ‘white’ flours and other grains with whole grain).

I don’t count it but I prob eat tons of fat including plenty of saturated fat in a given day. Healthy normal fat keeps you sated (obviously, it has the most cal per gram).

2 Likes

I agree with the 1g fat per kg of body weight. That is the guidance in at least three nutrition books I own.

1 Like

there will be some individual variation, sure, but just getting enough calories and going for a rough 60-20-20 split will get most of us where we need to be without a lot of hair splitting.

I eat about 3500 calories a day. My usual weekday workouts are always 1500kj (largely for weight management). At 75kg, that rough 60-20-20 split gets me in the ballpark for each of the macros.

1 Like

Ive heard minimum is about 0,3 per pound of bodyweight. That’s what I follow. During recovery weeks I tend to consume a bit more fat than usual.

1 Like

I also focused on Protein when losing, and now maintaining. I would’ve researched it at the start of me changing diet, but I recall reading (and then doing) that the protein requirement is the target weight not really current weight in that regard.

I’ve tried to add in “healthy fats”, but really just leave overall fat levels to look after themselves (for better or worse). Some nuts of my porridge, some 85% plus dark chocolate are really my “go to’s”. I’ve never found full fat yogurt or milk to have much impact on satiety - protein seems more impactful in my n=1 case.

2 Likes

Don’t be scared of fat and think of it as something you must seriously minimise in your diet. It’s a vital part of the overall nutritional mix and eating fat in food shouldn’t be confused with the fat on your belly.

If you look at some of the foods that are high in fat such as nuts, seeds and oils these are some of the healthiest things you can eat. On paper they are full of fat but if you eat lots of them you will almost certainly find yourself getting thinner. Eat plenty of good fats but reduce the carbs and sugar and that will probably help with weight loss. Save the large amounts of carbs for when you’re doing a lot of hard efforts. The rest of the time you can have a higher fat to carbs ratio in your diet. Fat is way more satiating and slower burning than carbs, this also stops you snacking.

My N=1 is that i eat loads of fat in nuts, seeds, avocados and olive oil etc and i’m pretty skinny (and fairly fast)

2 Likes