Low-Fat Diet to Lose Weight and Build Muscle


How much fat per day to lose weight?

To lose weight, you need to take in fewer calories daily than you need to maintain your weight, or create a calorie deficit. Protein, carbohydrate, fat and even alcohol provide a certain amount of calories per gram. It so happens that fat is the most ‘energy-dense’ or provides the most calories per gram, nine. Thus, it makes sense that cutting down on your fat intake will slash calories more drastically than cutting down on protein, carbohydrate and even alcohol, which provides about seven calories per gram. Restricting fat to less than 20% of total calories might leave you feeling too hungry. Even for weight loss, most experts recommend that 20 to 30% of your total calories come from fat but no more than 10% from saturated and trans fats. On a 2,000-calorie diet, this calculates to about 44 to 66g and on a 1,800-calorie diet, 40 to 60g.

How much fat per day on a low-fat diet?

There is no standard set to define a ‘low-fat diet.’ Limiting total calories from fat to 30% may be considered low-fat. According to the American Heart Association, a very low fat diet may be one in which ≤15% of calories are derived from fat (33g on a 2000-calorie diet and 30g on an 1800-calorie diet). With such a low fat diet the fat calories are distributed approximately equally among saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Very low fat diets are typically high in carbohydrate, deriving about 65 to 70% calories from carbs and moderate in protein (15 to 20% of total calories).

How much fat per day on the Atkins diet (a high-protein, high-fat diet)?

The Atkins diet is a very low-carbohydrate diet. It recommends restricting all carbohydrates, particularly processed and refined carbohydrates to a daily total of 15 to 60g per day, which is the equivalent of about one to four 1-oz. slices of bread. Protein and fat consumption are encouraged. The premise of this diet is that by restricting carbohydrates, which are your body’s primary energy source, it will turn to its next source, fat, for energy. The body cannot completely break down fat (solely) for energy without producing byproducts known as ketones. The presence of large amounts of ketones in the body (ketosis) suppresses your appetite, making you less hungry. You will eat less but are allowed unlimited amounts of fat and protein.

How much fat per day for athletes?

While there is an emphasis on consuming carbohydrate and protein-rich foods for the athlete, along with plenty of liquids for hydration, fat is an alternate source of fuel during exercise. How much fat is metabolized for energy depends on factors such as the intensity of the sport, its duration and the fitness level/condition of the athlete. For this reason, according to sources such as the Colorado State University (Extension), athletes should devote 15 to 35% of total calories to fat, while limiting saturated and trans fats to <10% of total calories. Restricting fat to less than 15% of total calories tends to hinder performance.

What are some low-fat foods?

Many foods are naturally low in fat. Some examples include nearly all fresh fruits and vegetables (except avocadoes, coconuts and olives), whole-grain breads and cereals, such as brown rice, whole wheat pasta and old-fashioned rolled oats (oatmeal), yogurt (comes in low- and non-fat forms) and skim milk. Skinless, white-meat turkey breast is the leanest of all of the meat and poultry products.


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