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Don’t Fear Fat When Trying to Get Shredded

Not only will dietary fat not make you fat — it could help you get leaner. Here’s how to maximize this important macronutrient.

Don’t Fear Fat When Trying to Get Shredded

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If you’ve sworn off all high-fat foods to lose weight and/or get leaner, I’m happy to inform you that you can add fat back into your diet and still achieve your goals.

Cheese, peanut butter, guacamole, flavor-rich oils, even bacon — these fatty pleasures can all be fair game and part of a healthy nutrition plan if you follow some simple guidelines. In this article, I’ll share what those are so that you can start enjoying your fat-loss diet!

The Myth of Fat Consumption

For decades, there has been a pervasive fear surrounding the consumption of fats in our diet. This apprehension stems from the misconception that eating fat leads directly to gaining body fat. However, scientific research shows that this is not necessarily the case. Understanding the role of different types of fats and how they’re metabolized can actually help you get leaner.

The idea that consuming fat will make you fat is a simplistic view that ignores how different fats interact in the body. Not all fats are created equal, and some fats, like those found in coconut oil, are metabolized in unique ways. Short- and medium-chain fats, for example, are predominantly used for energy and are rarely stored as body fat. This means that these fats can be included in the diet without the fear of unwanted weight gain, provided they’re consumed in moderation.

Besides that, your body needs a certain amount of fats to function properly — namely, essential fats including omega-3 fats found in fatty fish and avocados (as well as my Omega JYM fish oil.  These fats have been shown to play a key role in muscle recovery and growth, protect against heart disease, improve brain function, and even help keep body fat off. That’s right, consuming fat can help you stay lean!

Saturated, Mono, Poly: Balancing the Different Types of Fats

A balanced diet includes a variety of nutrients, and fats are no exception. The three main types of fats we get in our diets are monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and saturated, and each plays a crucial role in our health —  from supporting cell structure and hormone production to reducing inflammation.

Aside from the essential fats (ie, omega-3s) found in polyunsaturated sources, monounsaturated fat can be considered a healthy fat because it provides numerous benefits and is readily burned for fuel rather than being stored as body fat. And believe it or not, saturated fat is also beneficial; research in athletes has shown a positive link between saturated fat consumption and high testosterone levels.

An optimal ratio for fat intake involves consuming roughly equal amounts of the three main fat types  — 33% saturated, 33% monounsaturated, and 33% polyunsaturated.

Not sure what the best food sources of each type of fat are? Here’s a quick cheat sheet:

  • Monounsaturated fats: Olive oil, canola oil, avocados, almonds and almond butter, pecans, peanuts and peanut butter, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds.
  • Polyunsaturated fats: Oily fish (including salmon, mackerel, and black cod), sunflower seeds, flax seeds, flaxseed oil, canola oil (source of both mono and poly), peanuts and peanut butter (source of both mono and poly).
  • Saturated fats: Coconuts, coconut oil, eggs, red meat, pork, cheese.

How Much Fat Should I Eat Every Day? 

For active individuals, managing fat intake is particularly important. Just as you shouldn’t fear fat, you also shouldn’t go hog wild and endlessly eat bacon (pun intended) and peanut butter.

I recommend a fat intake of around half a gram of fat per pound of body weight daily. This makes for pretty easy math. A 200-pound individual, for example, would aim for about 100 grams of fat per day; if you weigh 160 pounds, shoot for 80 grams of fat, and so on. These amounts will help ensure adequate energy and nutrient supply without overconsumption.

Moderate, Don’t Eliminate

The key to a healthy diet is balance, not elimination. Fats are an essential part of the diet, and when consumed in the right proportions, they contribute to a well-rounded, nutritious, and satisfying diet.

Embracing a balanced approach to fats can not only enhance athletic performance but also improve overall well-being by providing essential nutrients that support various bodily functions. Instead of fearing fat, learn to incorporate it wisely into your diet. My two simple rules of thumb for fat intake — 0.5 grams of fat per pound daily, split more or less evenly between saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated — will help you do just that.

So go ahead, eat that peanut butter and even a little bacon! 


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