Having covered energy balance (Calories) and Protein, we are taking things a step further and looking at Fats & Carbohydrates.
Firstly, a quick recap from parts 1 & 2:
I used an example in Part 2 for someone who has maintenance Calorie requirements of 2500Kcal, meaning for fat loss this person would require around 2125kcal – 2250kcal. (If you are unsure how we work all this out check out Part 1)
This person is 70kg, and using our 2g/kg approach for working out Protein requirements we arrive at, 140g Protein (140 x 4 = 560Kcal).
This means we have 1940Kcal to allocate between our Fats and Carbohydrate.
SO as always, boring bits first, what are they and what do they do?
Much like Protein, Fat is essential.
Our body NEEDS fat to function. Fats will positively effect:
Over the years Fat has received a bad reputation for the increased levels of Obesity and Obesity related health issues. This is however not the case. (See the Fat Myth blog)
Where possible we should look to get our fats from Polyunsaturated, Monounsaturated sources and some Saturated Fats too. Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s) have to come from our diets, the main ones you will of heard of would be Omega 3 and Omega 6.
The fat we should look to limit is Trans Fat. These are man made and have shown links to health issues that said a little bit in our diets is totally fine.
Although essential and very important Fat is also 9Kcal per gram. (you can now understand why the low fat diets had success, you just remove a tonne of Calories from your diet)
If we consume a too many then we can easily go over our Calorie allowance.
This has become fairly common place. Fat is now trendy.
For example, Coffee shops are jumping on the ‘Poached Eggs and Avocado Smash On Toast’ bandwagon, butter being added to magic overpriced coffee and Joe Wicks doing his hair with Coconut oil are all doing very little to help people understand exactly how to drop fat and keep it off.
As with everything people take things to extremes… we’ve gone from chronically low fat (not good from a health perspective) to super high fat (not good when there is no consideration for energy balance). We will get onto how much we NEED a bit later on.
Some examples of ‘good’ fat sources:
Nuts – e.g. Cashew Nuts (40g Serving)
Oily Fish – e.g. Salmon (100g Serving)
Oils – e.g. Coconut Oil (15g Serving)
Avocado – 1 Medium
Dark Chocolate – e.g. Lindt 85% (40g Serving)
Yet another area of basic nutrition that people are stressing over these days without fully understanding what role carbohydrates play and how best to utilise them.
Carbohydrate isn’t essential like Proteins and Fats. This means if we CAN live without them, our body has the ability to convert Fats and Protein into glucose for energy. In response to low blood glucose levels, Glucagon is released. This then stimulates the liver to break down stored Glycogen for use and also triggers the body to break down amino acids (Protein / Muscle) and stored fat and convert these to glucose too. This process is called Gluconeogenesis (Fancy I know).
“Right, its not essential, lets sack it off then”, hold on one minute!
So the low carb zealots will say that Carbs are the devil! However, they can and should form part of your fat loss nutrition and here is why:
What about Insulin, I’ve heard someone who sounds clever talk about it? Check out the carb myth blog of more on this.
Again, Carbohydrates (like fat and protein) have a caloric value.
They are 4Kcal/g, so yet again when people go low carb, they remove a tonne of Calories.
Sources of Carbohydrate:
Fruit – e.g. Banana (1 average banana)
Starchy Vegetables – e.g. Sweet Potato (Medium 200g Potato)
Fibrous Vegetables – e.g. Broccoli (100g Serving)
35kcal (can see why getting plenty of these in is a good idea)
*Fibre is also important (for another blog… just eat plenty of veggies)
Grains – e.g. Oats (50g Serving)
A good way to look at this, is as a percentage of our daily intake.
From a health perspective 20%-40% is where you would ideally fall.
So, to make things easier aim for 30% as a start point.
Using our example above, 30% of the 2250Kcal required is 675Kcal.
We know that fat is 9kcal/gram so 675 divided by 9 = 75.
So 75 grams of Fat.
Other methods may say 1g/kg, thats 70 grams
0.5g/lb, thats 77 grams.
The difference is minimal and not worth stressing about. (you may wish to have higher or a little lower depending on your food preferences anyway)
Just pick one a stick with it… remember Calories are the most important thing.
This bit is now fairly easy as we’ve a certain amount of Calories left over.
We just need to divide them by 4 (Carbs are 4Kcal/gram remember)
So we have our 2250Kcal
We have Protein set a 2g/kg so 70 x 2 = 140 (560kcal)
We have fat set at 30% of total Calories so 675kcal divided by 9 = 75g
This leaves 1015kcal, meaning 254g of Carbohydrates.
So if you prefer to choose higher fat, you have less Calories for carbohydrate its that simple.
Now you have some figures to use in an App like My Fitness Pal.
Click the image to go the My Fitness Pal website.
A few side notes:
Hopefully you are now building up a basic understanding how this fat loss game works.
I can’t stress enough, how valuable this information is.
Yes, it can be frustrating and feel complicated but its worth learning if you finally want to ditch the yo yo, on it off it approach.
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