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Macronutrient Breakdown, Part II: The Truth About Fat

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...and why it's all that

 

Fats have seen a nice surge in popularity over the past few years.  After being vilified in the 80s and 90s as the cause of weight gain (fat makes you fat!), fat caught a break when the blame shifted to carbohydrates.  Following that, the trend towards healthy fats and omega-3s (which, if I recall, began with flax oil) started in full, and fat started to get some respect.

Still, some of the old hate remains—for a lot of people, fat is not generally thought of as a nice word, especially if one is trying to drop some extra pounds.

However, your body needs fat to function properly, just as it needs protein. In fact perform a variety of specific and necessary jobs.

But, I’m getting a bit ahead of myself.  First and foremost, we should get an overview of what we’re even talking about.

About FAT: What it Be

“Fat” is a catch all term for a substance which consists of a heterogenous collection of chemically related substances, the fundamental unit of which is the fatty acid.

Without getting too bogged down in chemistry, a fatty acid is made up of a long chain of carbon atoms on which hydrogen atoms are attached. At one end of the chain is an acid group. There is a lot of potential variation in structure of acids, and that results in a large set of distinct “types” of fats that behave quite differently in the body, but still fall under the term fatty acid.

First, I’ll go into what makes each type different from the rest, and what comprises the distinctions.  After that, we’ll discuss them each briefly.

The major distinction among fatty acids is the degree of saturation.

Saturation refers to the amount of hydrogen atoms that are attached to the carbon chain. If all the available space is occupied, the fatty acid is called a saturated fatty acid. If less than the maximum amount is found, then the fatty acid is unsaturated.

Unsaturated fatty acids result from a chemical structure called a double bond. One double bond in the fatty acid  results in what is called a “monounsaturated fatty acid”; not surprisingly, if there is more than one bond, we refer to it as a polyunsaturated fatty acid.

This is important because of the way saturation affects the fat, which will in turn determine (to some degree) how that fat will react in our bodies.

One of the most important things to consider is that the degree of saturation influences the melting point of the fatty acid, which we’ll touch on in each section.

But, before we get there, we should touch on why fat is so damn important.

About FAT: What It Do

Firstly—and perhaps most important— on a chemical level, fatty acids are an integral component of the plasma membrane of every cell in the body. The composition of the cell membrane in terms of the fatty acids that make up the membrane are known to affect the quality and degree of signaling across the membrane—which is crucial since cellular responses to hormones, uptake of nutrients, and discharge of waste all require activity at the membrane.

Fat has several other functions that are necessary for optimal health.

Fat plays an important role in helping to form the barrier to water in the skin; also fat is also a critical component of nerves which are coated with fat. This coating serves to speed up conduction down the nerve.

A final function of fat is to serve as the substrate for a whole set of hormones known as eicosanoids. Although less well known than some hormones that I’ve written about, eicosanoids are essential for numerous functions that regulate things like blood pressure, inflammation, blood clotting, and labor. In fact, a pregnant, fat-deficient animal cannot go into labor.

Thus, fat has a place in our diets and a major role to play in basic physiology.

Now, from a nutritional standpoint, it may seem somewhat silly to spend so much time talking about fat, when you consider that our bodies can actually manufacture fat as needed; however, the problem is that not all the necessary fats can be produced.  More on that below.

Got it?  Okay, good.

Now, let’s breakdown the various types of fats, so that you know what’s what.

Different Types of Fats

MONOUNSATURATED FAT

Monounsaturated fats are found mostly high fat fruits, such as avocados, as well as nuts like  pistachios, almonds, walnuts, and cashews. This type of fat can also be found in olive oil.

Monounsaturated fats help lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol, which is a very good thing. It’s also been proven to help fight weight gain, and may even help reduce body fat levels.

As for temperature, monounsaturated fats are typically liquid, particularly at room temperature, but will become cloudy when placed in the refrigerator.

POLYUNSATURATED FAT

Like monounsaturated fat, this good fat helps fight bad cholesterol. You can find polyunsaturated fats in foods like salmon, fish oil, sunflower oil, seeds and soy.

Polyunsaturated fats contain Omga-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, which have largely been processed out of our food.

Yes, I’m about to go on the Good Fats Rant. I know this is re-hashing a lot of what you’ve heard, but if I didn’t cover it I wouldn’t be doing my job—so bear with me.

As you probably know, there is a subset of dietary fatty acids, specifically linoleic acid (known as omega-6) and linolenic acid (known as omega-3)—you have probably heard these referred to as “good fats” or even “fat-burning fats.”  And of course to an extent, that is true.

More importantly, you’ve heard them referred to as Essential Fatty Acids, or EFAs—which means it’s necessary either consume them in food or through supplementation.  The reason is that these CANNOT be manufactured by out bodies, and so it becomes essential to ingest them.  Makes sense, right?

Put another way, these two types of polyunsaturated fatty acids that our bodies cannot manufacture are not interconvertible with one another.  And so, the important thing to remember is that “good fats” (especially sources high in Omega-3s, like krill oil) are needed by your body to remain healthy and to function at optimal levels.  Since these cannot be manufactured, you’ve got to each the right foods or supplement with the right stuff.

Polyunsaturated fats stay liquid even in the cold because their melting point is lower than monounsaturated fats.

SATURATED FAT

I’ll have the most to say about sat-fat, so get ready to read!

Depending on your perspective, saturated fat is either the best, or possibly the worst. No matter what you think about total intake, there are positive aspects to sat-fat;  Similarly, however, it gets some bad press because of a few studies. You see, there have been studies (well, one study, really) linking high intake of saturated fats to heart disease.   

To give this a bit more context, the whole idea that saturated fat has been “proven” to be anything other than delicious goes back to a pretty flawed research study from the 1950′s where a scientist named Ancel Keys published a paper that laid the blame on dietary fat intake for the increasing heart disease phenomenon around the world.

However, there were major flaws to his study. For one, in his conclusions he only used data from a small portion of the countries where data was available on fat consumption versus heart disease death rate. When researches have gone back in and looked at the data from all of the countries where data was available, there actually was no link between fat consumption and heart disease deaths. In retrospect, it seems that Keys jumped the gun here and landed on conclusions that didn’t really have a basis in fact.

Secondly—and this is really where I think we ought to focus—his blaming of fat intake for heart disease was only one factor that was considered. There was no consideration of other factors such as smoking rates, stress factors, sugar and refined carbohydrate intake, macronutrient combination, exercise frequency, and other lifestyle factors.   In fact, to my knowledge none of the subjects were at all fit. Eating a bunch of cheeseburgers and not exercising might lead to heart disease, sure.

To drive my point a bit further home, I need to just point out that nearly anytime there is a study which compares subjects who exercise against those who don’t, we are consistently made aware that you really can’t compare to which creatures.  Simply put: lifestyle habits completely change the game.

All of which is to say that have yet to see compelling evidence that demonstrates that saturated fat would be truly damaging to people who lead a lifestyle that includes exercise and a generally good diet.

Unfortunately, Keys study has been cited for over five decades now as “fact” that saturated fat is bad for you.

As you can see, all of this is ultimately more hypothetical than factual; conclusions that blamed heart disease deaths on fat intake were, in actuality, a shot in the dark about what a possible cause may have been, even though all of those other factors I just mentioned, plus many others, may be (and probably are) the more prominent cause.

Since that time, numerous other studies have been conducted trying to link saturated fat intake to heart disease. The majority of these studies have failed to correlate ANY risk at all from saturated fat. A couple of them made feeble attempts at linking saturated fat to heart disease, however, it was later shown that the data was flawed in those studies as well.

To say I’m not convinced that saturated fat is bad for you might be the understatement of the year; however, research is research and once again, I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t give you all of the information available.  So, either you agree with the Keys study or you don’t, and you can structure your intake or avoidance of saturated fat accordingly.

Saturated fat also gets a bit of a bad rap because it has also been shown to elicit and increase in cholesterol in the blood stream.  Again, I have to say that this is not as scary as the media makes it seem—cholesterol concerns are a highly overblown.

The truth is, cholesterol actually acts as an antioxidant against dangerous free radicals within the blood and is also necessary for the production of certain hormones that help to fight against heart disease.

When there are high levels of undesirable substances in the blood (caused by the dietary intake of damaged fats, highly processed “unhealthy” foods, and large quantities of sugars), cholesterol levels rise in order to combat these substances.

Having said that, fact of the matter is that foods containing saturated fats are usually pretty calorically dense, as well.  Overeating anything isn’t going to lead to fat loss, obviously, and eating very calorically heavy foods is a good way to gain weight–both fat and muscle, depending on a number of other factors.

You can find saturated fats in foods such as dairy, eggs, red meat and some seafood.

While saturated fat can’t be put on our ‘good fat’ list, if consumed in reasonable doses it’s completely fine. However, you can limit your intake by selecting the foods you favor most and avoiding others. 

On the more positive side, it should be noted that saturated fats have some pretty positive effects on muscle gain and, consequently, fat loss.  I touched on this more completely in this post on red meat.

Saturated fats have a high melting point and consequently are solid at room temperature. The fat that is visible in beef is due to the high content of saturated fat.

TRANS FAT

And here is the black sheep of the fat family. Trans fats are the worst fats—and in truth, one of the worst “foods”—that you could possibly consume. It’s found in foods such as French fries, potato chips, and most fried food.

While some trace amounts of trans fats are naturally occurring in meats and other food, by and large most are not naturally occurring.  Instead, they are generally man made.

Trans fats are made by a chemical process called partial hydrogenation. Liquid vegetable oil (an otherwise decent monounsaturated fat) is packed with hydrogen atoms and converted into a solid fat. This made what seemed an ideal fat for the food industry to work with because of its high melting point, smooth texture and its reusability in deep-fat frying.

Essentially, trans fats come about as a result of over-processing our foods in order to offer consumers a longer shelf life.

If your food is pre-packaged, it’s a pretty safe bet it has its fair share of Trans fats. You should try to avoid Trans fats at all costs if you are serious about your goals.  Or if you just don’t want to be eating plastic garbage.

Of course, I take a moderate approach.  If you’re limiting your intake of junk foods, exercise regularly, get good nutrition otherwise—including a variety of healthy fats—then chances are if you have the occasional Twinkie once every few months, you’ll be okay.

As for energy: fat (all types) yields 9 calories per gram. 

Okay, so that’s the truth about fat, and various types thereof.

NOW!  With all of that out of the way, as promised, I’ve got some great recipes for you.  One is a delicious smoothie based on the worlds’ second-best sammich, and the other is a delicious pork tenderloin recipe.

Before we get to that, though, you may want to check out my other posts in this series:

These recipes fall under the category of “PROTEIN + FAT Meals” as discussed in my post on macronutrient combination.

And, here we go…

PB & J Smoothie
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1 scoop Vanilla ProGrade Protein
  2. 1/3 cup Greek yogurt
  3. 1/2 cup water
  4. 1 teaspoon natural peanut butter
  5. 5 frozen strawberries
  6. 5 ice cubes
Instructions
  1. Blend. Serve. Mmmmmm.
Notes
  1. - Per Serving -
  2. CALORIES: 237
  3. PROTEIN: 39g
  4. CARBS: 9g
  5. FAT: 5g
Roman Fitness Systems http://romanfitnesssystems.com/
 

And now for something a little different…

Caribbean Style Pork Tenderloin
Serves 4
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1 pound pork tenderloin
  2. Grated zest and juice of 1 orange
  3. Grated zest and juice of 1 lime
  4. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  5. 2 garlic cloves, minced
  6. 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  7. Pinch of cayenne
  8. Salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Combine orange zest and juice, lime zest and juice, oil, garlic, cumin, salt, pepper, and cayenne in large zip-close plastic bag; add pork. Squeeze out air and seal bag; turn to coat pork. Refrigerate, turning bag occasionally, at least 2 hours or up to overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 450oF.
  3. Lightly spray roasting pan; drizzle marinade over top. Roast 5 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 F and roast 15-18 minutes.
Notes
  1. - Per Serving -
  2. CALORIES: 176
  3. PROTEIN: 23g
  4. CARBS: 5g
  5. FAT: 7g
Roman Fitness Systems http://romanfitnesssystems.com/

Hope you enjoyed the recipes!

Both of these come from Dave Ruel’s amazing cookbook, Metabolic Cooking.

all about fat recipes

Next up, it’ll be all about the big daddy:  PROTEIN.

NOTE: Here is a quick link jump to the entire series:

Roman’s Rules for Macronutrient Combinations

Macronutrient Breakdown Part I: The Truth About Carbs

Macronutrient Breakdown Part III: The Truth About Protein

About the Author

John Romaniello is a level 70 orc wizard who spends his days lifting heavy shit and his nights fighting crime. When not doing that, he serves as the Chief Bro King of the Roman Empire and Executive Editor here on RFS. You can read his articles here, and rants on Facebook.

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  • Very nice informative blog about fat through this I got many knowledge about the diet and nutrition of the men and came to know that how many calories may a person need in day.

  • Turdy MacGurdy

    Just ONE TEASPOON of peanut butter in that shake? How’re you supposed to taste that it’s even there? Lol And I don’t like pb&j with strawberry, I like it with grape!

  • KOh

    Thank you.

  • MattandRachel Ramsey

    Good Read…. I have heard that coconut oil is processed differently by our body because it is a MCT. Is this true? If so, what effect does it have in helping/hurting?

  • Maria lalet

    Big fan! Thanks Roman for another informative post! I will try pb shake. Love my nuts and pb.

    • “New” in the sense that while I’ve published the information before, I’ve edited and added new stuff.

  • nickjaa

    you touted this as a NEW blog post!

  • GinosT

    “Polyunsaturated fats contain Omga-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, which have largely been processed out of our food. – See more at:” – Sorry to point this out but this sentence has a spelling mistake. You forgot the e at Omega-3.

    This article is awesome by the way. Thanks for sharing.

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  • Ahamed Nuzhan

    BTW where is the distinction between saturated fat that is close to nature and the ones manipulated by man made processes. Extra virgin coconut oil and refined coconut oil are NOT THE SAME……

  • Micky

    In “fat loss forever” how much saturated fat should be consumed? It says I need 141g of fat and jus wanted to know about saturated fats…great article

  • Vventure23

    Great post! Easy to understand for a newbie like me but with a ton of excellent info, definitely appreciated :)

    The one thing that worries me is that for newbies we read stuff and don’t know what to believe, it seems like for everything I read there’s atleast 3 other things saying the exact opposite thing (like what you’re saying for sat fat).I’m just going to eat natural foods and hope everything works out? xD

  • Michele

    Great Post John. Clear and concise; a nice balance of science and fact.  In the sat. fat section you should mention the benefits of using coconut oil and butter from grass-fed cows, especially when cooking due to their stability at high heat.  I would also like to know more about the benefit of coconut oil for alzheimer-dementia issues — maybe something for another blog post….

    • Great point – I’ll be coving in another post on the benefits of certain fats. Thanks so much!

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  • The great scientist Johanna Budwig wrote about the dangers of trans fats and the benefits of natural, unsaturated fats. The former kill, the latter heal, even cancer.

  • John,

    Overall a really nice article!

    I think you might want to do a little more research in to omega-6 fats.

    While I don't dispute that most people are deficient in n-3 PUFA, if you look in to n-6 PUFAs a different picture becomes evident…

    N-6 pufa intake has increased by 213% in the US since 1909, and the literature shows this to be extremely damaging to our health.

    This makes sense in the grand scheme of things as concentrated nut/seed and vegetable oils were never available in the human diet until the industrial revolution.

    check this out: http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2011/04/us-omega-6-and-omega-3-fat-consumption.html

  • check your email.

    ALSO, IT HAS BEEN SHOWN THAT TYPING IN ALL CAPS ACTUALLY SLOWS DOWN METABOLIC RATE AND FAT BURNING.

    So you should try to avoid that in the future.

  • All things I'd like to touch on myself. However, consider my audience.

    A good percentage of my readership would find that information a little dry to add into a post that was already 3000 words long.

    I'd have to address each of those individually, going forward, in a series of posts.

    I'm certainly willing to do that, depending on need, but for the purposes of my blog–rather than published articles–I prefer give enough information to start a conversation and then (depending on how much interest there is) follow up in future posts.

    Makes things more manageable in terms of both time and content dissemination.

    All good ideas, though, sir.

  • Good stuff as always John. I'd love to see you further embrace the health aspects of saturated fat to a greater extent in future blog posts.

    You took a neutral/conservative stance, which is a large step in the right direction compared to most health professionals.

    However, natural saturated fats are far more useful to the human body than monounsaturated fats, and yet even more so than polyunsaturated fats.

    Most of my diets are designed around fat intakes of 50% saturated (unrefined coconut oil, grass fed butter, red meats, whole eggs, whole dairy for those that can handle lactose, etc), 40% monounsaturated from nuts, avocados, natty nut butters, room temperature or cold olive oil, and 10% poly's coming mainly from fish oil and whatever comes along with the good saturated fats and monos.

    I'd also love to see you address more on the truths/misconceptions about cholesterol instead of using the vague terminology of “high vs. low”, and incorporate particle sizes (small/dense vs. large/buoyant), and HDL-2 vs. HDL-3, as well as Lp(a), etc.

    We can't really talk about cholesterol responsibly without addressing these crucial components, because what may raise total LDL levels may also shift the particle sizes to Pattern A vs. Pattern B, which is extremely beneficial, yet will be demonized by the medical community and establish grounds for a statin prescription.

    I've reviewed so many VAP bloodwork profiles from my clients that would appear to look either great or awful had they been done with the standardized HDL/LDL/Trigs test, yet breaking it down to particle sizes we can identify the exact opposite of what a doctor would have concluded.

    Anyway, keep the good info coming buddy.

  • kuljit

    Hi, I WOULD LIKE TO LOOSE 15LBS. IS THERE ANY HELP I CAN GET FROM YOU. I PURCHASSED YOUR FINAL FAT LOSS BUT HAVNT RECEIVE YET. STIIL WAITING AND I DO WORKOUT FIVE DAYS A WEEK TOO . I REALLY LIKE WHEN PUT YOUR OWN VIDEO AND SAY SOMETHING ABOUT EXCERCISE AND NUTRITION . IT TELLS ME TO TRUST YOU TOTALLY. THANKS

  • kuljit

    Hi John,I really like your blog. I understand totally about fat. I really liked it. thanks.

  • DSW

    Roman,

    I am a dedicated gym rat in my 3rd week of the FPFL 2.0 program. I am 6'3, 271lbs, 14% BF, 40 yrs old.

    I want to get to about 9% or lose approx 30 lbs. I started the program and on 3/30, I was at 272lbs, 4/8 I weighed 267. 4/13, I weigh 272lbs. I eat about 2300 cals a day. What am I doing wrong?

  • Marwan Killu

    Like your posts Roman, you make them very easy to understand.

    I quite like the comparison of the fats chart.

  • Brian muckells

    I've been using rice and pea protein instead of whey and caseins for about a year and seems to be getting the same results too many hidden nasties in whey protein these days such as aspartame,some ingredients you can't even pronounce

  • Welcome aboard, friday! Appreciate the comment, and please let me know what you'd like to see in the future =)

  • Good tip, and thanks for the comment, Martin! NY at heart =)

  • Oh man I could do a whole post on eggs. And, in fact, I think I might.

    Tell your husband to be on the lookout =)

  • Thank you, Laura, I really appreciate that! Means a lot to me. I know there's so much out there, I'll do my best to keep solid, easy-to-read information coming at you!

  • I know a number of people who use hemp powder and seem to like it.

    It serves the same purpose as any other protein.

  • On it! Coming up next.

  • cryx

    I would like to hear more about protein!

  • Pedram

    What I meant earlier with natural protein powders that I had heard about was

    hemp and brazilian nut protein powder.

    Ring any bells? Ive never heard anyone use them.

    ~Pedram

  • martin

    good job people get mixed up when it comes to fats!!! I grew up in Queens like hearing from NY. Im a body builder at age 55 and have a show 4-23-11 IND state natural I use a lot of olive oil.

    one of my tricks is putting a table spoon of olive oil in my protein shake after I train in the morning

    keep the faith and dont quit.

    Martin

  • Darren

    Thanks Roman, another great article and im learning a lot about the P+C, P+F breakdown…tweaking my diet to see what keeps the bodyfat up. Awesome!

  • Jefe

    Fat fighting fat. nice! Good info, Roman. Thanks!

  • Sharon

    I've been trying to make my husband see that eggs aren't as bad as he thinks they are… that we really need some of the nutrients he thinks are bad for us. ;-) At least we still have scrambled eggs on Sunday mornings. I need the protein to make it through.

  • IShbel

    Hi Roman,

    Thanks for that – the breakdown of the different fats was great. That is the first time I have seen that chart. I've just bought coconut oil, and am looking forward to seeing the difference it makes!!

  • Dave

    Good work John, i love the recipes,mmmmmmm

  • friday

    Thanks for the information, John. I've never followed someone's blog before and find yours to be informative and helpful. As a science teacher, I appreciate your research. However, I teach earth science and am still struggling on how to fit in the right amount of working out (and do it in the “right way”). The diet side is making sense to me and you're helping.

  • Marcel

    Hi Roman, great blogs and very informative. Looking forward to the next one.

    Have you heard anything about rice bran oil? I have read from other sources about instability of canola oil, etc to produce trans fat on high heat. There isn't a great deal of info on rice bran oil, which has a really high smoke point 490F (254 C). Any thoughts? It is touted to be the next super oil, but that is just coming from the manufacturers' own marketing rather than any reputable research that I can find at this stage. Thanks!

  • Laura

    Dear John ~ If I only have time to read one blog (which happens most of the time), yours is the one I read. GREAT INFO written consisely and SO EASY TO READ!!!! Please keep them coming! Thank you!

  • Patrick

    Very well written and informative. Thx!

  • chris

    awesome info as usual! thanks roman.

  • Charles Mclaughlin

    Hi Roman,

    Thanks for posting such a nice article. You sure put into a lot of effort into your blog. I was discussing this very topic with some Gold Gym Personal Trainers and they didn't even have a clue what is the difference between Omega 3, 6, or 9. It kinda shock me that a Personal Trainer should have a least some working knowledge of Nutrition. I will point them to this article. I hope to keep seeing great post like this in the future.

  • BRSU

    Hi, i read this article with an interest.

    Many people in the world have a problem with thyroid gland. Would you like to share information about special diet with hyper and mostly with hypo thyroid function.

  • Ed

    Didn't sign up too long ago but the info one gets here is great. Been in the fitness world for awhile and much of this contradicts the typical however so correct. I'm certified Fitness Specialist and Aerobics Instructor at the age of 55 and I too have a little battle going on here with a small inter-tube that developed and can't get rid of. So I read intensely. Thanks and good info all!

  • Hi, Roman,

    Well, I am in agreement with the comments in FAVOR of this blog information. I'm printing it out and reading it thoroughly as I'm leaving in the morning for Charleston, SC. I'm looking forward to the information on Protein, also, because that's what I'm trying to learn all about over anything else. I, too, only cook with coconut oil and/or a little butter. As SOON as I started using coconut oil, I dropped 10 pounds. There is lots of information proving that “Using Coconut Oil helps lose weight” Google it, folks, and you shall see. Thanks, Roman, for all of the free advice. (And, again, for cutting off your hair; brave, kind gift for children!.)

  • Sam DuBois

    Thanks for the clear explanations. One thing I point out to people is another myth – that humans can make fat out of protein or carbohydrates. Fat is not only energy-dense, but we can only store fat we've eaten. Another argument to watch which fat, and only eat something we need to use!

  • Michael kerlz

    Moar bloggs!!

  • Reka

    Good point on the cholesterol, the other parts were not new to me but it was a great summary. What are your recommendations (grams maybe) for the different types of fat? I can guess omega 3 consumption because it is everywhere, and also trans fats (between zero and null probably) but what about the others? Or is it enough to take the fish oil and then the rest doesnt matter much?Thanks for your article, Im really looking forward the protein one too.

  • Thanks for the info. I can't even believe the misinformation that we have gotten about fat over the years.

    I still subconsciously get nervous every time I eat eggs because I was convinced by the system as a kid that I was going to have a heart attack from the cholesterol in the eggs.

  • Anthony

    Hi, great stuff, especially on saturated fats. I always wanted to ask, when you take fish oil, do you count it in your overall caloric intake? It seems to me that it can make a lot of calories add up.

    Also, you suggest Cheat Your Way Thin as a nutritional program in your Final Phase Fat Loss, but shouldn't we be consuming carbs before and after workout? (what if we're on a low carb day?) I've just completed my first Dynamic training with success (I took some carbs because I don't do well without them) and am looking forward to Week 6 for the amazing results. (Not looking forward to tomorrow and Lactic Acid, but no pain no gain!)

  • Deirdre

    Great Post! I've been reading your emails and posts for a while now and you never let me down. Got the Metabolic Cookbook last week and it is GREAT! Atomic Smoothie … yummy. Keep up the great work! You are inspiring us all to live healthier, happier lives. Bless you!

  • Risto

    Thanks for the blog post!

    I have no issues with the fact that a lot of what you wrote here has also been written in many other place. But you have your own readers, some of whom didn't know this yet. If we were allowed to write only about new stuff, there would be only a handful of people talking so to speak.

    What caught my eye was the pork recipe. I have a few questions to ask because I've never used a plastic bag for marinades like that. What kind of a bag should I use? Is there any other way to make sure that the marinade gets into the the meat nicely?

    One more thing. I understand that this interesting font is your style, but it makes a bit more difficult to read for me. You can completely ignore this feedback, but just so you know how I feel and maybe some other do too.

  • Ray

    Thanks–I appreciate the modesty in your posts. You don't sensationalize dietary guidelines, but rather give direction in a moderate and healthy diet.

  • Kat Girard

    good post. i appreciate reading the science behind what we hear on a daily basis; i am now more informed. =)

    When reading your recipe with its one teaspon of pb, i had to wonder, what is the ideal percetage of calories that comes from fat? We read the 30 and 15 and anywhere inbetween. Thoughts?

  • Excellent! I'm glad I can help. I always strive to make the information as accessible as possible, so. Can't use it if you don't get it, right?

    Thanks for the comment!

  • Susan Avila

    I think you give great information, in a style that's really easy to understand. I have read about the 4 kinds of fats till I'm blue, but this is the first time, after reading your article, that I truly understand it! thanks again. Susie

  • You make a good point.

    Saturated fats have a number of benefits, particularly hormonally.

    Regarding inflammation, I think that I'd need to see some compelling evidence to show that Omega-3 are really a concern. Omega-6 seems more likely, particularly when consumed in high quantities.

    I am personally willing to say that I prefer and see no probably with Sat-Fat over Poly-Unsat, primarily because I DO eat this way and I have only seen positive effects, including on cholesterol profiles and all that.

    I've only read a little of Dr. Harris' work, but the guy seems to know his stuff.

    Like anything else I take a pretty moderate approach and say that you don't need to cut out oils completely.

  • Well, for people who don't like using protein powders I tend to recommend whole foods. And in general I prefer whole foods over powders, excepting pre/post workout shakes.

    Which eco-friendly substances where you referring to? I could give my opinion but before I do I'd rather know more specifically what you're asking about.

  • Liz

    Personally I know alot of this already but it never hurts to read it again. Noone can memorize it all perfectly. I find the chart helpful and love the recipes!

  • Chances are, if those people added some fish oil into their diet they'd shed those pounds pretty quickly! Thanks for the feedback!

  • Excellent point, and a blog post for another day. As the chart illustrates, and as you point out, most of our fat sources are quite high in linoleic acid. Plus, you can't go wrong with animal fat.

  • Fred

    @ Roman – Gotcha. I've been doing around 12 grams daily but I'll up the ante on that one and try out your metod.

    Thanks for the good stuff man, always a pleasure!

  • I mostly cook with coconut oil or butter. I have a few paleo tendencies ;)

  • Much appreciated, Trevor!

  • Thanks for the feedback, on both FPFL and this blog series. I appreciate it.

    The strength workouts are no joke! Keep at it, sir =)

  • Good question!

    I like to “back in” to my fat intake.

    First I figure out how many total calories I want to take in. I'll use my calorie formula here for that:

    http://www.romanfitnesssystems.com/blog/calorie-calculations-for-body-recompositioning

    Next, I figure out how many grams of protein I'll need for my goal (I'll do a post on this tomorrow or the next day).

    Then, I figure out how many grams of carbs I want. Usually, for me, it's about .5g per pound of LBM.

    Finally, I add up the calories from the protein and the carbs, and subtract that from my total.

    The remaining calories will be my goal fat calories. As fat has 9 cal/gram, I divide that number by 9, and that's how many grams of fat I take in.

    Having said that, most people can probably use 1g fat per pound of LBM as a good jumping off point.

  • Steve

    I avoid any and all seed oils due to the high linoleic acid content. Americans ingest way too much Omega 6 in relation to Omega 3 EFA's. I don't need to supplement with fish oil because I keep a proper ratio of about 2:1 in my diet. I only cook with butter, lard or coconut oil.

  • Larry Pederson

    That was a fantastic post. My mother has been an RN for 38 years and has been swayed toward the “factual” medical industry for years. There is so much information on the internet, some you cannot trust and others you can. Just like before the internet you have to go back and look at the original studies in order to get the whole truth. Your insights about fat are dead on in my opinion. I have many friends around my age who could NOT lose those last 15 pounds, even though they hadn't eaten an ounce of fat for years.

    I enjoy your blog, thanks!

  • Pedram

    Hi Roman!

    I think these “fact” on carbs, fats and protein are great. Well explained and it gives a nice overlook on the topic for the lazy one!

    My question for you is:

    What other alternatives do we have if we do not like to eat protein-powder? Ive heard that there are a few eco-friendly and – most important – natural powderlike substances that are just as good.

    Whats your take on that?

    Cheers and keep em comin'

  • Greg

    John,

    What do you think about omega 6 and 3 as being highly unstable and n6 being pro inflammatory? The SAD n3 to n6 ratio is anywhere from1 to 4 to 1:15. Having said that I think more emphasis should be placed on saturated fat which is highly stable and has been shown to have many benefits on hormones and overall health Dr. Kurt Harris has stated that saturated fat is diesel fuel for the body. It seems from what I have readrhat saturated fat should be used more than PUFA. Looking forward to your thoughts.

    Greg

  • Jaime

    Hey Roman… I just would like to know what oil you use for cook? I know avocado oil it's good for high temperature… But do not taste great =S haha.

  • Great post as always, its alway good to get this info out there again, alot of people dont know the difference in types of FATs, so to explain in simple terms is always useful

    Great Blog

  • Paul

    Great series, I'm really enjoying it. It is helpful to have some confirmation for some of the information I have been learning for a while. Also I started the FPFL workouts last week. I have been working out for a long time and am also involved with martial arts, but I like to try different workout routines to break the monotony. Did my first “strength” workout yesterday. Ridiculously hard! Thank you! I highly recommend it!

  • Chris

    Great info. I had not read it all in one place before, so thanks. Question…or did I miss this? So, breaking it down, how much fat is enough? (___grams/day?) Too much?

  • Thanks, Damon, I appreciate that!

  • Good question.

    Personally, I like to do two doses throughout the day – one at about 5pm and one around bed time.

    I've tried the mega-dose at bedtime, and it just gave me stomach problems; not only did my tummy hurt while I was trying to sleep, I also wound up having other issues in terms of bowel stuff.

    It seems there may benefit to taking it all before bed, but I can't see making a huge sacrifice in lifestyle for a 3% increase in efficacy.

    A lot of it will have to do with how much you're taking.

    I normally take 20g per day, so it's not hard to see why that wouldn't sit right in your gut if taken all at once.

    For most people, if you're taking the standard 2-8g per day, I would imagine taking it all at once wouldn't give you the same problems.

  • Enjoy them!

  • Fred

    Lol, let me know when you start publishing your peer reviewed journal.

    What's your take on fish oil when it comes to actually getting it down;

    1) spread out throughout the day, or

    2) One bad ass mega load just before bed time?

  • Linda

    The recipes look great!

  • Great post! I haven't read a lot of your past posts and I'm glad that you're providing your readers with this info- whether it's new or not. Keep up the good work, awesome website.

  • Good resource! Thanks for that!

  • That's really good insight, Alden. Thank you for sharing, I'll look into some stuff!

  • Lol, okay.

    That's why it's a blog post and not a published piece in a peer reviewed journal.

    To be clear, you're suggesting that, to be worthwhile, every article I post needs to be groundbreaking? That's ridiculous.

    I dont believe I said anywhere that I was posting “new” information.

    Simply, I believe that for my site to be as complete as possible, it should have articles which cover as many topics as possible, many of which have been written before.

    Keep in mind that not everyone who reads my blog has read this info before, so it's helping them.

    The goal is to make this place a complete resource, and that will, by necessity, involve posting information that people will have seen before.

  • Ooooh double postingzz!! U are extra serioussesese!!!

  • Dave

    Your article hasn't shown anything new. You've just repeated the same thing that's been stated years before, which is “Eat in Moderation”. And the part about 'Keys study group” not having the lifestyle that most readers here enjoy, shouldn't be a factor, his study was 60 years ago. All you got to do is ask Journal of Nutrition to start a control study on three groups and repeat Keys hypothesis to modern day. In fact I'm sure any Heart institution would probably have a few studies done on saturated fats + trans fats linked in one form or another to heart disease. Its the results that matter not the conclusion of the studies done. Plus ANY study can be use 'out of context' to support any other related study.

  • Dave

    Your article hasn't shown anything new. You've just repeated the same thing that's been stated years before, which is “Eat in Moderation”. And the part about 'Keys study group” not having the lifestyle that most readers here enjoy, shouldn't be a factor, his study was 60 years ago. All you got to do is ask Journal of Nutrition to start a control study on three groups and repeat Keys hypothesis to modern day. In fact I'm sure any Heart institution would probably have a few studies done on saturated fats + trans fats linked in one form or another to heart disease. Its the results that matter not the conclusion of the studies done. Plus ANY study can be use 'out of context' to support any other related study.

  • rocky

    Great post Roman. I've been trying to explain the saturated fat thing to people for awhile now. Now I finally have a place to send them.

  • Alden

    We hear all the time about fats in relation to cholesterol and weight loss however, anyone have any good resource for fats and it's neurological effects? My general impression is that it is essential to brain (since a majority of it is made of fat) and central nervous system function and I wonder how the different types of fats affect this. For example is this another detrimental affect of trans fats?

    In an extreme case, I deal with someone on a daily basis who has a severe lack of any fat in their diet because they can't digest it and their cognitive reasoning and motor functions have simultaneously plummeted gradually as their fat intake diminished. Purely observational but could be another good reason not to be scared of fats, it helps your brain and and your muscles communicate better in physical tasks like exercise.

  • Izaak Red

    FIRST!!!

    lol…great post…I've had the Anabolic cookbook and just got the Metabolic cookbook. I've already made some great recipes.

    I try to stay away from most fried foods and packaged meals and try to make all the food I eat from fresh meats, veggies, fruits.

  • Jonathan

    Roman,

    Great to see someone setting the record straight about saturated fats. For further reading on where the recommendations came from to avoid saturated fats, check out this PDF.

    http://www.nutritionandhealth.info/downloads/softsciencefat.pdf