I'm new to paleo, have been reading a ton, but can't seem to get a straightforward answer on how much fat to consume. Robb Wolf mentions in his book to eat lean meats, but then I hear all this talk of fatty bacon and fatty steaks. Help a brother out - thanks :)
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The truth is, we don't know for sure. We can't agree. Some feel that fat is the least damaging to blood sugar and very healthy with lots of nutrients. Plus it tastes good! And there are a number of very healthy native populutions that do well eating a very high percentage of their calories as fat. Fat is also essential, along with protein. You would die without them. But carb is not because the body can make it's own glucose if the need arises, ie if you aren't eating any orally. Many also find that being eating lowcarb and lots of fat, they can lose a lot of flab and really lean out. But if you eat high protein low carb, and too low fat, you can get to feeling really sick (the innuits call it 'rabbit fever') So you can't eat super high protein and feel good, and most paleos do not feel super high carb is healthy, but many feel super high fat might be healthy.
On the flip side, some paleo eaters feel that most natural hunger gatherers would not have had access to tons of super high fat meat because wild animals are leaner than farmed meat is today. However, we do suspect that paleo man probably targeted organ meats and fat supplies like in marrow. If they were very successful hunters, and they probably were at least in better environments, and if they know a lot of other fat sources like fatty fish, fatty grubs, etc, they may have had access to more fat then we know of. Plus in polar regions, animals have blubber to keep warm and so those animals have tons of fat.
But really the jury is still out. Different populations probably had drastically varying access to fat in their diet. In recent years as we see no actual strong evidence against consumption of healthy fats, ie not grain oils, many paleo eaters have been heading towards better acceptance of more fat in the diet. The thing is that most science against 'fat' consumption turns on closer scrutiny to be against grain oil fat consumption. Other research blaming problems on fat, on closer scrutiny, show that multiple other variables like high carb, high sugar, etc could also have been to blame but for some reason, the researchers like to only single out fat as the possible culprit, refusing to consider carb or other possible variables that were also present.
Personally, I don't specifically target eating a lot of fat, but I'm not afraid of it either, just so long as it is healthy fat and not grain oils.
Many of us eat 75% fat, 20% protein and 5% carbs in the form of either yams or salads or green/yellow veggies....as measured on www.fitday.com Be sure all those veggies are slathered in butter for better nutrient absorption.
Personally I eat 4-6 eggs panfried in coconut oil, 1/8 lb bacon, and a small yam with butter for breakfast. No lunch as I have no desire. Dinner is always a steak, or chicken, or fish, or lamb or liver & onions with leafy green salad with olive oil & vinegar. Green cooked veggies only twice a week.
I lost 50 lbs eating this way. Body fat went from 33% to 10% 6'2" 160 lbs. 67 year old.
Use as much fat as you intuitively think is right for yourself. Just remember your body does not convert eaten fat to anything that can be stored as fat in your cells. That only happens with carbs and to a small extent protein. Convert your body to a fat burning machine...both your intake of fat and your stored fat.
And also know that there are no essential carbohydrates. Humans can do just fine on meat & fat.
Don't get hung up trying to figure out which meats to eat. Just eat meat and fat and you will do just fine.
I wouldn't say you need a specific amount of fat grams per day, it's best to look at it as a percentage. I would say between 50-70% of your calories should come from fat. You can determine this by entering your food for a day or two in a free website like Fitday.com or livestrong.com, both will break out your percentages of fat, protein and carbs for you.
The lean meat suggestion from Robb Wolf is coming from assuming you are eating conventional meat, rather than grass-fed. The fat isn't as good for you in conventional meat. Your best sources aren't always meat, but things like avocado and coconut and their oils, butter/ghee too, if you are doing dairy.
It depends on what your goals are. If you have much overweight you could benefit from a very low carb or even no carb diet. If you do not have weight problems, or if you train and want to gain muscle you can be much more open towards carbs coming from vegetable sources such as squash, potatoes, rice or sweet potatoes. Your question has different answers for different people or needs!
These two books really helped me http://astore.amazon.co.uk/lc0e7-21/detail/0983490716 http://astore.amazon.co.uk/lc0e7-21/detail/0983490708 the content is backed up by studies but I personally like them as they are very prescriptive on amounts of carbs, protien and fats...it's taken me two years to obtain optimal energy. Two years ago I lost 2 stone but it was so hard, I also had no energy, so much so I went back to carbs as my sporting performance was shocking. I did put all the weight back on. Having read these books a couple of months ago I have lost a lot of weight but this time have plenty if energy and I even did an Olympic triathlon two weeks ago in no carbs at all; no performance problems this time...lots of fat!!! My fav is desert spoonfuls of coconut oil.
For those who say hunter gatherers didn't have access to a lot of fat due to the fact that wild animals are lean, think about nuts. I'm not sure how many nuts were available to them, but I'm sure they got some of their fat from nuts.