Not Enough Fat

I have a vivid memory as a husky fifth-grade kid being in school and being told; Fat equals fat.

He showed us how you would get fat if you ate foods with fat, like whole milk. It made sense to me and helped me… gain more weight. So I would eat all the SnackWells my mom would buy.

In college, I learned that calories in need to equal calories out. I was losing weight in high school because of the sheer amount of time I was working out and just staying away from food. When you are playing sports, and in school from 6a to 5p, there’s not much time to put extra calories in your body.

I saw more weight come off when I started running in my thirties. But as my body got used to the activity, I needed to manage my eating. I found that having 100 grams of protein kept me full and my muscles strong. Of course, I would still eat sugar, but I figured I was okay.

However, I am probably being naive. I am encouraging fewer carbohydrates and fats by raising my protein intake and keeping my calorie intake relatively unchanged. All food is some combination of the three. I significantly reduce my fat intake by increasing protein and sugar (carbohydrates).

But who needs fat anyway, right?

Endurance athletes.

When I run my eight miles at a casual pace daily, I rely on my fat more than carbohydrates for energy. This is because there’s no single macro percentage for everyone. But I decided to dig deeper when I realized I was always cold and never felt full. So I started taking more vitamins, but that didn’t change much. However, after eating some brazil nuts with my protein shake, I started noticing a difference.

I looked back at my FatSecret food entries and the percentage breakdowns of the previous months and was surprised to see my macros were in-line with what is recommended.

~45% Carbs. ~32% Fat. ~23% Protein.

I take pictures of my food daily, but I don’t always record all my food. Especially after lunch or dinner when I have a lot of desserts. This would probably raise my carbohydrate percentages some, but no more than 50/30/20. So maybe I was getting enough fat, but the wrong type?

There are four different types of fats.

  • Monounsaturated
  • Polyunsaturated
  • Saturated
  • Trans

Saturated and trans fats should be avoided as they don’t provide the same energy benefits as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.

Butter, for example, is 63% saturated, 26% monounsaturated, and 4% polyunsaturated fat.

Butter is the largest source of fat for me. My protein bars and shakes have a little fat content. I usually eat chocolate chip cookies or my wife’s sourdough with butter. Maybe I’ll have some premium ice cream.

I guess once you turn 40, you need to eat less crap and some more nuts.

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