Fat Facts

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This past couple of weeks I have written about carbohydrates and protein.  Today I would like to talk about fat.

How much fat do we currently eat?

According to Dr. Doug Graham, Americans consume one-third to one-half of their calories as fat.  Or said another way 33% to 50% of the calories in their diets come from fat.  He believes the average to be about 42%.

Why do we need fat?

Fat is a source of essential fatty acids and is source of all fat-soluble vitamins.  Fat is essential for the production of hormones.  Fat insulates the body and protects us from cold and heat.  Fats play a vital role in maintaining healthy skin and hair, insulating body organs against shock and promote healthy cell function.

What are the results of eating too much fat?

Eating too much fat can result in the under eating of carbohydrates to maintain weight.  The consequences of this include lethargy, cravings, bingeing, and emotional instability.  Overeating fat while under eating in terms of total calories can result in over eating of some nutrients and under eating of others.  Lastly, overeating fat and overeating for total calories leads to being overweight, obesity, lethargy, digestive illnesses, and a reduced life span.  In addition, the under eating of carbohydrates (fruits and vegetables) can leave us nutritionally deficient.

So…How much fat do we really need?

I believe Dr. Doug Graham is right on with his 80/10/10 diet.  I know that when I follow this format and my fat consumption is at 10% or less over time, I feel the best.

Aside from my opinion, others support this belief as well.  Over the years I am sure you have heard of the Pritikin Diet and Ornish Diet created by Dr Dean Ornish, both of these diets recommend a diet that is 10% in fat or less.  These diets have high rates of success for heart disease reversal and have lead to greater health for many people.

Dr. Graham’s book, The 80/10/10 Diet lists a number of physicians and PhDs that are famous for their work in nutrition and have written about the health benefits associated with reducing dietary fat consumption.  These include John McDougall, Michael Klaper, William Harris, Ruth Heidrich, Michael Greger, and Neal Barnard.

How can I eat a diet with only 10% fat?

The easiest way that I have found to achieve this goal is eating a diet of fresh, whole, ripe fruits and vegetables with limited nuts, seeds and avocadoes.   If you are just starting out, shoot for getting your fat calories to be less than 20%. Once you have achieved the target you can work on lowering it.  To track your calories and percent of carbs, protein and fat in your diet go to www.nutridiary.com and create an account.  Here you will be able to log the food you eat and see exactly where the fat is in your diet.  You do not have to eat 10% or less every day but you should average 10% or less overtime.

Good luck!

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