Low fat protein options

Hey folks. I’m on a low volume plan and I’m trying to lose a few pounds while getting ready for some upcoming races. I started using Cronometer, which I really dig, and I set up target kcal per day, and macro ratios of around 44% Protein, 48% carbs & 8% fat. (Big shout out to both the “Cycling Nutrition: Everything You Need To Know” and “Cycling for Weight Loss: How To Lose Weight Through Cycling” articles by Trainerroad!).
So this puts me at 150 grams of protein per day and 10 grams of fat. My breakfast smoothie has 4 raw eggs to give me my first ~25 grams for the day…and 20 grams of fat. Needless to say, this doubled my fat allotment and it was only breakfast. Yes, I could cut my eggs down to 2, and then not have another gram of fat for the day, but I’m now wondering how on earth people take in all the protein they need and still stay under their fat threshold? I would love to hear some example meals that folks out there are eating which comply. For the record, 4 of my own go to’s outside the smoothie are quinoa/lentils, oats/nonfat greek yogurt, lean meat/veggie, whey powder/nonfat milk. The macro ratio above is geared towards fat loss, but I don’t think it’s too out of the ordinary. Thanks so much!

8% fat seems extraordinarily low…
Where did you get that number from?


I would agree that 8% is on the low side and probably not a very good long term strategy.


Low fat greek yoghurt
Tinned tuna
White fish
Chicken breast
Egg whites
Lean beef (steak) mince

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I feel like I’m running a pretty low fat diet currently and can’t imagine going as low as 8%

This was my grams of carbs, fat, protein for today


There’s plenty of lean protein options out there, but to get as low as 8% you’re going to need to be extremely militant, ditch the eggs entirely, no processed foods, no oils, etc

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I just took a look.

I dont think this can actually be done, unless you’re only eating extraordinarily processed foods. You’d need to rely on almost entirely non-natural food options. Basically gummy bears and whey protein mixed with water…

Even just eating lean chicken breast for protein, you’ve basically already met your fat limit, which means you will have zero fat mixed in with the other 1000+ calories of the day. That’s completely unsustainable, if it’s even possible.

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Are you sure it said to only eat 8% fat and not to stay below 8% UNSATURATED fat?

I ask because that is a crazy low number, and I’m not sure I can think of any benefit to your diet to keeping ALL fats below 8%. This is most definitely “out of the ordinary”.

Way too little fat…

Blockquote this puts me at 150 grams of protein per day and 10 grams of fat. My breakfast smoothie has 4 raw eggs to give me my first ~25 grams for the day…and 20 grams of fat.

I don’t know your stats, but at minimum even for a small female you need 30 grams for a guy, 40-45. This is to support your hormonal needs, dietary needs for fat soluble vitamins, etc.
Your protein goal is spot on - 150 grams (I’m assuming a goal weight of 150??

The rest of your macros should prioritize carbs - and you can spare some fat by using cooking spray, or minimal amounts of cooking oil. You can use low fat sources of dairy, consume lean cuts of meat, etc. You’ll probably end up with 50-ish grams of fat doing this which will be fine while in your deficit.

What’s your current weight and whats your goal weight?

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Actually…I just rethunk this. You could probably hit those numbers eating rice and beans cooked with zero fat, supplementing with whey protein. Still a bit extreme…

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He could do it with nonfat Greek yogurt as a huge percentage of his diet, wouldn’t need to be whey powder

But…just because something is possible doesn’t mean it should be done

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Any good diet is sustainable and contributes to your health if you ask me.

Chicken breast
Clams ( shellfish)
Pork loin or tenderloin
Beef tenderloin
Turkey breast
Rice and beans
Legumes in general

Just a few low to lower fat proteins, you can do million things with chicken and shrimp.

I found the TR article where you got these numbers, but can’t work out how they were derived.

As such, I’d be treating them with extreme caution.*

*completely ignoring them, in other words

ETA: it’s a real shame that fat (as in body fat) and fat (as in the macronutrient) are the same word. It leads to all sorts of issues.


Those seem quite low numbers in general. What’s your kcal goal? And how do you account for energy burned by training?

BlockquoteLet’s take a look at an example of a cyclist that weighs 220 pounds (99.7 kg), with a daily caloric intake of 2,000 calories. First, they will determine how much protein they are going to need. Using 2g/kg of body weight (recommend when training and losing weight) comes out to almost 200g of protein (or 800 calories.) The remaining 1,200 calories should focus on healthy carbohydrates. What about fats? Typically those will take care of themselves with the other foods you eat.
But what about when you workout and burn 1,000 Kjs on a ride? This is where finding out the percentages are helpful since that scale-up. Even though you are working out, you still want to keep a sensible calorie deficit. In the example above, the percentages generally work out to about 44% protein, 48% carbs, and 8% fats. This is just a general guideline, so you’ll want to adjust based on what works for you.

A little digging - the 8% was based off of a 3000-calorie day - so that would equal, 240 calories which is 26 grams which is still bonkers low… I wouldn’t follow that advice despite the article’s good intentions.


Awesome responses! Thanks everybody. The food suggestions are great and appreciated.

To be clear, I was indeed basing the ratios on that article. I will take a step back and recalculate. I did not separate unsaturated from saturated. And truth be told, it does seem quite low and I could use more satiety.

Sounds like the first piece of advice, however, which is to figure out your protein needs, is solid. I’m 170, trying to get to 165. I was using 2 grams protein per kg which is about 150. Lots of opinions out there from 1.6 to well over 2.0 based on activity levels so I feel 2 is a good place to start, but always up for the latest and greatest advice. Then there’s those two doctors telling everyone to keep it less than 0.7 for the sake of the kidneys. Time will certainly tell. At any rate, the article then says to make up the rest in carbs and let the fats take care of themselves. Perhaps this is where the train leaves the tracks. Any article suggestions that make more sense would be appreciated.

Stevie_Dee: You mentioned 40-45 grams fat for a guy for hormonal needs; I can certainly believe it, but curious where this beta comes from. Sounds like you calculate protein first, then fat, then carbs.

So it sounds like a better general consensus would be a protein 150gm (37%), carbs 163gm (40%), fat 40gm (22%)?

For the past decade I’ve been on the carbs bad/fat good train, and all things keto in general, but upping my carbs on the bike has been a paradigm changer. But finding the macro balance in all this has been a challenge. Really appreciate all your advice.

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My question is are you currently tracking calories and macros? If so what is your current intake and breakdown without trying to lose weight? Then, how active or sedentary are you without including exercise? Then what does your weekly exercise plan look like? Once you have all that info you can start tweaking your intake to get started on losing some excess weight. You don’t have to jump to a 500 cal deficit right away.

My guess that a diet that low in fat is almost impossible (or at least difficult) even if you eat zero fatty food. There’s little bits of fat in many foods that one wouldn’t think of as containing fat. One tiny 4oz chicken breast contains 2 grams of fat. A serving of oatmeal has 3 grams. Any amount of added oil will throw you way over

One of the best macro diets I ever tried was the Zone diet. The premise was 33.33% each of fat, carbs, and protein. I lost weight and had great power on the bike. I didn’t maintain it because it was a lot of work to create these meals with the perfect ratios. This was well before apps that would do all the work for you.

This sounds both much more manageable and advisable.

For what it’s worth…if we’re ignoring bike performance…I’ve always been of the opinion than the macros dont particularly matter that much, as long as you get enough protein.

Everything else is more a matter of, what is easier to sustain. Lower fat tends to create more volume of food…but not necessarily. I’d be completely happy eating fatty meats/cheese/sausage with an enormous amount of veggies.l accompanying it. It’s just the relatively low dose of carbs isnt great for training.

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Let me introduce you to my friend, Tofu.

Below are some general daily guidelines from a registered dietician with a PhD in applied exercise physiology and masters in sport nutrition. She is the nutrition coach at JoinBaseCamp dot com.

  • 1 to 2 grams/kg of high-quality fat
  • 1.6 to 1.8 grams/kg of protein, evenly spread out through the day (each meal ~25-40 grams of protein)
  • rest/recovery days lower carbs of 3-6g/kg daily, upping to 10-12g/kg on longer/harder training days. One to two hours before key training sessions, take in at least 1 g/kg and up 4 g/kg carbs. Post workout 1g/kg within 30-60 minutes. Remaining carbs during the day and training.

Pulled that one up before the FasCat and CTS guidelines.

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