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ModernSCOOPS: The Truth About Eating Fat






Fat is one of the most misunderstood nutrients when it comes to fat loss. For decades, fat has gotten a bad reputation as part of a fat loss diet due to simple-minded thinking. It has gone like this:


  1. “I want to lose fat so I shouldn’t eat fat”
  2. “Fat contains the most calories per gram (9 calories/gram) so cutting out fat is the most effective way to reduce calories and lose weight”


Hopefully these two statements sound ridiculous to you. While they may sound ridiculous now, they were mantras for years, especially in the bodybuilding community. I can remember reading articles in different muscle magazines about the “10 Worst Foods for Fat Loss” and foods like salmon and almonds were on the list because they are high in fat! These could be two of the best foods to eat for fat loss. Limiting the amount of fat that you eat because you want to be burning more fat makes no sense biochemically.  In fact, eating more fat could help your body burn more fat as your body’s fat burning pathways will be primed and already working at top speed.





If you are cutting fat from your diet because it is so calorically dense, your approach to fat loss is too simplified. Calories matter, but they aren’t the only thing. Excess carbohydrates, especially the refined kind (the kind they put in fat-free products) may have less calories per gram, but the negative repercussions on fat loss hormones when you cut out fat and replace it with carbohydrates has both short and long term negative effects. In the short term, you will be stuck with an over release of insulin, a hormone that can instantly put the brakes on fat being released from fat cells and burned off. In the long term, lower fat diets lead to lower levels of adiponectin. Adiponectin is a hormone released from your fat cells that supercharges your muscle’s ability to take up and burn carbohydrates. Adiponectin is a true lean body hormone.


Eating more fat also makes fat loss diets easier, as you won’t find yourself as hungry. Fat slows the rate in which your body digests food, causing your body to feel fuller faster. Fat also kicks off a cascade of biochemical signals which end up in your brain notifying it that you are full and satisfied.


Now that you fully understand the necessity of fat in your fat loss diet, what is the best way to use fat to your advantage?



Start eating ⅓ of your calories from fat


Start your fat loss diet with ⅓ of your calories coming from fat. This level of fat intake is high enough to support healthy hormone production while also giving you enough fat at each meal so that it enhances satiety and fullness.

As you begin to reduce your calories, you should reduce the amount of carbohydrates that you are eating. This will cause the percent of calories that you are eating from fat to increase, and by the end of your diet you may find that you are eating almost 50% of your calories from fat.


Starting Calorie and Fat Levels: 2500 calories per day, 92g of fat per day = 33% calories from fat.

End of Dieting Calorie and Fat Levels: 1750 calories per day, 92g of fat per day = 47% calories from fat.


Here’s a chart to help you easily determine how many grams of fat you should be eating each day based on your calorie needs when starting out your fat loss diet.



Grams of Fat
















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Eat a variety of fats, don’t overdue one type


Now that you have your fat intakes set, the next step is to determine where you are going to get your fat. Don’t overdue or minimize one type, except for industrial trans fats found in hydrogenated oils, as they are terrible for your body. Currently, saturated fat and coconut oil is the fat to be eating. If we are being honest with ourselves, we would admit that there are no magical and mythical properties to coconut oil (so get over it). Newer research has shown that saturated fats are probably not as bad for our health as we once thought, but that doesn’t mean that overeating them provides you any benefit - it doesn’t. Eat saturated (e.g. butter, animal fat, etc.), monounsaturated (e.g. olive oil, nuts, etc.), and polyunsaturated (e.g. fish oil, nuts, canola oil, etc.) fats each day. Each type of fat has its own benefits, and eating a balance of all 3 will allow you to reap the benefits of them all.


Here’s a list to get you started:


  • Olive oil
  • Canola oil
  • Flaxseed oil / Flaxseed
  • Coconut oil
  • Eggs
  • Low and Full Fat Dairy Products (Cheese, Cottage Cheese, Milk, Yogurt, Kefir)
  • Meats (Chicken, Beef, Pork)
  • Oily Fish (Salmon, sardines)
  • Nuts (Walnuts, Almonds, Macadamias, Pistachios)
  • Avocado


Don’t worry about the old school myths about eating fat. Use fats to your advantage to fuel your fat loss success and get leaner than you’ve ever been.




The Truth About Eating Fat

Michael Roussell, PhD


The information provided in this article, as well as this web-site blog is intended for informational and educational purposes only and should not be interpreted as medical advice for any condition. Always consult a qualified medical professional before beginning any nutritional program or exercise program. By reading this disclaimer, you hereby agree and understand that the information provided in this column is not medical advice and relying upon it shall be done at your sole risk.