5

votes

Frustrated about different Paleo information...how much fat.

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 30, 2011 at 2:20 PM

I swear, it's annoying. I go to Wolf's site, read cordain, Mark's primal, KGH's PaNu, and it seems as though there's no clear consensus on how much fat (percentage-wise) I'm supposed to be taking in daily. Some say copius amounts of fat (PaNu, Paleolifesyle.com). Some say lean meats and small amounts of good fat (Wolff, Cordain). I'm supplementing daily fat to 75-80% of daily calores, using cream, butter, meat drippings, but then I find a source that says I'm NOT supposed to be doing that. Which is it? And then lots of fruits and veges or very little?

What I'd like is a easy reference site that'll allow me to compare and contrast the differences in intake of macronutients calorie/percentage wise.

PLEASE! Someone clear the mud for me! Thanks!

Medium avatar

(10611)

on July 10, 2012
at 02:44 PM

This is one of the more well-thought-out-and-tested hacks I've read here. Macronutrients are recognized for what they are, and are not put into the usual good-vs-evil categorization of a pattern diet.

698db94d83dee10d6ada8cc0128d45fc

(1048)

on May 13, 2011
at 03:10 AM

I find that if you aspire for 1lb of protein per LEAN body weight (as I cant for the life of me get 200g of meat based protein in without dairy) then for a 200lb person with 20% body fat you should aim for 160g of protein. 160g of protein is 640calories, keep carbs at 50g or less so thats 200 calories (total 840 now) and then you want 1200 calories (to bring you to around 2000 for day) in fat which is 300g. Total ratio is around F/P/C 60/30/10 which I would wager the majority of people fall in +-5 from each category.

8508fec4bae4a580d1e1b807058fee8e

(6259)

on May 13, 2011
at 12:01 AM

I recommend keeping a food log/diary for 4-8 weeks and weekly measuring waist and weight and adjust your food intake accordingly to the results you wish. You may wish to keep the log longer, or write in when you introduce (or reintroduce) items. The optimum varies on an individual basis.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 12, 2011
at 11:48 PM

nice one. Im even higher on the carb - ive been tinkering for a while now with upping starchy carbs generally and I'm thinking that 40-40-20 pro-carb-fat is working well for me. Leaned me out.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 12, 2011
at 11:45 PM

i would take issue with your saying "If you're doing Paleo, you have cast your lot with the high fat." I'm strict paleo and i been for over two years but that doesn't at all dictate how much fat or carb i eat. Its about not eating things that are deleterious to our health. I have found that something along the lines of 40%protein 40% carb and 20%fat keeps me feeling good, cut up and lean, and keeps my lifting performance high.

8a8129d053df7365c6529b0c2ac95efb

(284)

on May 12, 2011
at 06:44 PM

Very good answer! :)

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on April 02, 2011
at 12:18 AM

Hey Joey, The percentages are % of your calories. If you track on Fitday or Livestrong or some other kind of program like that, they will break down your ratios of fat, carbs and protein for you. Because we all have different caloric needs, sometimes percentages are an easier way to figure out what you should have.

669790861549f3c6d54d88a65296ed19

(452)

on April 01, 2011
at 09:11 PM

I see lots of percentage ratios,but it's never clear to me what I should think of.For instance 20% carbs is how much carbs/weight in grams?What does 60% fat mean?Cooking fat+fat from meat/fish or does it also entail whole avocado's,nuts,coconutmilk,cheese/dairy on a daily basis? It would be very helpful to me,if I had some standard to start from,cause now I'm always anxious on when to use or add some extra fat to a meal without being able to do heavy exercises. What veggies are considered carby?some consider red beets&carrots&squashes carby(which I love with cinnamon)

69a2a5deb24d5b8d3aae3d9652fac564

(1020)

on March 30, 2011
at 10:45 PM

If you don't adhere to 80% paleo, fat will kill you? How so? I thought the point was that fats contributing to vascular accidents of any kind was a myth, regardless of other macro-nutrient intake?

69a2a5deb24d5b8d3aae3d9652fac564

(1020)

on March 30, 2011
at 09:44 PM

Thanks a ton! I'll see what happens from here. Between crossfit and being a RN, I'm pretty active. I've lost 10 pounds being semi-paleo since February...I'll continue and tweak.

Cab7e4ef73c5d7d7a77e1c3d7f5773a1

(7304)

on March 30, 2011
at 05:55 PM

I'd recommend cronometer. It's available online.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on March 30, 2011
at 05:09 PM

Personally, I think as a newb, focusing on the RIGHT FOODS is the most important. After that, I think a great starting point for percentages is 60% fat, 20-25% protein, 15-20% carb. If your goal is to maintain your weight and just be healthy, it's probably a great place to be. If your goal is to lose weight or gain strength and those percentages aren't working, that's when you tweak.

2f54dbe892ec89b12d1db686568e885a

(919)

on March 30, 2011
at 04:52 PM

very succinct and helpful

69a2a5deb24d5b8d3aae3d9652fac564

(1020)

on March 30, 2011
at 02:45 PM

I'm on fitday, i'm looking for a site with guides on recommended percentages....but it sounds like no norm is the norm... makes it hard for the newb...

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19 Answers

best answer

15
Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18472)

on March 30, 2011
at 04:18 PM

The Japsican,

The "Paleosphere" is a highly active and rapidly evolving world of information. Much of what has currently been figured to be the healthiest way to eat has been established and many of us are doing well with the information available, but it's always good to continue to seek and ask. Right now, there are enough people with a veracious enough appetite for the real truth, and that keeps things fresh and in check.

You seem to know of the good sources, so that's great. As others here have mentioned, there is no 'one source' that has all perfect answers in a connect-the-dot format for the masses. That's impossible. But by sourcing those that have risen to 'the top' of the stack with respect to the current leaders of the real food movement, you should be able to keep abreast with everything real time at least until you feel comfortable enough with your daily diet (not like fad diet... lifestyle diet) that you can sorta settle in to what works best specifically for you. That's the key.

Some do very well with dairy. Others here avoid it altogether for various reasons. Some use primarily coconut oil to cook with. Others use beef tallow or ghee. Some eat a fair amount of starch. Others are VLC. Bottom line... don't go too heavy with one thing or another. I'd make sure that you are getting adequate nutrition all the way around, with real food dominating your caloric intake.

Poke around here a bit. Peruse. And welcome to PaleoHacks.

2f54dbe892ec89b12d1db686568e885a

(919)

on March 30, 2011
at 04:52 PM

very succinct and helpful

69a2a5deb24d5b8d3aae3d9652fac564

(1020)

on March 30, 2011
at 09:44 PM

Thanks a ton! I'll see what happens from here. Between crossfit and being a RN, I'm pretty active. I've lost 10 pounds being semi-paleo since February...I'll continue and tweak.

698db94d83dee10d6ada8cc0128d45fc

(1048)

on May 13, 2011
at 03:10 AM

I find that if you aspire for 1lb of protein per LEAN body weight (as I cant for the life of me get 200g of meat based protein in without dairy) then for a 200lb person with 20% body fat you should aim for 160g of protein. 160g of protein is 640calories, keep carbs at 50g or less so thats 200 calories (total 840 now) and then you want 1200 calories (to bring you to around 2000 for day) in fat which is 300g. Total ratio is around F/P/C 60/30/10 which I would wager the majority of people fall in +-5 from each category.

15
5edbf85deaf83e13b176df023abb154d

on March 30, 2011
at 02:24 PM

No one is going to clear the mud for you. Sorry.

Everyone has their own ideas and everyone is experimenting and updating.

Find what works best for you and continue to keep an open mind.

10
7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

on March 30, 2011
at 02:57 PM

Please check out this thread here: http://paleohacks.com/questions/30108/paleo-fatigue-no-im-not-talking-about-eating/30118#30118

Same basic thing, too much information available and lots of different views.

Bottom line. YOU have to decide what works for you.

Basics of Paleo: No grains, no legumes, no sugar, no PUFA oils

The rest, the grams, the percentages, is up to you to figure out what works for you. Self experimentation is key.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on March 30, 2011
at 05:09 PM

Personally, I think as a newb, focusing on the RIGHT FOODS is the most important. After that, I think a great starting point for percentages is 60% fat, 20-25% protein, 15-20% carb. If your goal is to maintain your weight and just be healthy, it's probably a great place to be. If your goal is to lose weight or gain strength and those percentages aren't working, that's when you tweak.

669790861549f3c6d54d88a65296ed19

(452)

on April 01, 2011
at 09:11 PM

I see lots of percentage ratios,but it's never clear to me what I should think of.For instance 20% carbs is how much carbs/weight in grams?What does 60% fat mean?Cooking fat+fat from meat/fish or does it also entail whole avocado's,nuts,coconutmilk,cheese/dairy on a daily basis? It would be very helpful to me,if I had some standard to start from,cause now I'm always anxious on when to use or add some extra fat to a meal without being able to do heavy exercises. What veggies are considered carby?some consider red beets&carrots&squashes carby(which I love with cinnamon)

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on April 02, 2011
at 12:18 AM

Hey Joey, The percentages are % of your calories. If you track on Fitday or Livestrong or some other kind of program like that, they will break down your ratios of fat, carbs and protein for you. Because we all have different caloric needs, sometimes percentages are an easier way to figure out what you should have.

6
Medium avatar

on March 30, 2011
at 05:43 PM

The most important thing is for you to decide what your goals are. If your goal is to get leaner, then a huge amount of fat is going to be tricky. You can safely assume that nearly all of the fat you eat is stored as fat in your body. If you eat the fat in such a way that you get a lot of satiety and therefore eat fewer calories in general, then that can be a successful method of fat loss. It's really easy to overshoot that threshold and gain fat, especially with a mixed diet. Keep in mind that by weight about 20% of meat is protein and 20% of tubers are carbs, but butter is something like 85% fat by weight. So, not only is it more than twice the caloric density, but our fat sources tend to be more than 4x the macro density.

The reason this is important is that if you're making vegetables or mashed potatoes or something, you can make a ton of calories disappear into it by adding butter if you're not careful. Same goes for drinking a lot of coffee with heavy cream. A pint of cream has about 1600 calories. When you ingest fat, the chylomicrons send it to your adipocytes. Obviously those adipocytes are constantly in flux and are releasing the fat rapidly as well, but if you constantly flood them, you can have a net gain in body fat easily. A highly active primitive culture constantly exposed to the elements can make better use of the energy density in fat than relatively sedentary westerners. The take home point is that if someone tells you to eat a lot of fat and it causes you to gain weight or at least to not lose fat, it's not that you're cursed, it's that you've simply overshot the threshold.

In my personal experience the macro ratios that are most effective for fat loss tend to resemble those employed by bodybuilders when they're cutting. This is a group of people who are greatly invested in rapidly losing fat and thus they're really not going to do things that don't work, though they generally have, uh, exogenous assistance. Most of their strategies are lowish in carbs and fat and high in protein. It produces a lot of satiety without too many calories.

For me personally, after experimenting with a lot of different dietary compositions, the one that results in an ideal intersection point between feeling the best, losing the most fat, performing the best in my workouts etc. is about 100g of carbs from sweet potatoes (a bit more on workout days) a lot of eggs and meat and some fat here and there where it's appropriate.

What that ends up actually looking like is a 250g sweet potato for breakfast with a bit of butter, and as many eggs as I can fit in my stomach on top of that, usually about 3. Another sweet potato like that for lunch and as much lamb as I can eat on top of it. Then for dinner I mostly eat meat. Breakfast and lunch end up yielding about 5 hours of satiety and of course dinner takes me to breakfast the next day. The carbs just replete glycogen stores without interfering with fat oxidation and the protein is sufficient for repair and satiety. If you want to accelerate fat loss, find some resistance training that you enjoy doing and do it a few times a week. Additionally, walking as much as possible is really effective.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 12, 2011
at 11:48 PM

nice one. Im even higher on the carb - ive been tinkering for a while now with upping starchy carbs generally and I'm thinking that 40-40-20 pro-carb-fat is working well for me. Leaned me out.

8a8129d053df7365c6529b0c2ac95efb

(284)

on May 12, 2011
at 06:44 PM

Very good answer! :)

Medium avatar

(10611)

on July 10, 2012
at 02:44 PM

This is one of the more well-thought-out-and-tested hacks I've read here. Macronutrients are recognized for what they are, and are not put into the usual good-vs-evil categorization of a pattern diet.

6
Ce57a94251224f9696faf47f9ca630a0

(858)

on March 30, 2011
at 02:51 PM

Relax. This type of diet is not like the low-fat, calorie-counting drudgery you are used to. part of the reason so many of us enjoy this type of diet is that we eat lots of fat and meat and some veg and if we feel good, we are good. For some people it takes a few weeks or months of experimenting to find the right balance, as we are all different, with different needs and goals.

Take a deep breath, keep your carbs low and your meat and fats as clean as possible, and you will be fine.

3
A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on March 30, 2011
at 05:24 PM

We are all unique snowflakes - just like everybody else. It really depends a lot on your situation and goals. Are you obese, diabetic, epileptic or having other brain or metabolic dysfunction? Then maybe really high fat, perhaps even ketogenic would be best. Are you lean and athletic? More protein and carbs.

In any case protein should probably be in a range of 10%-30%, so maybe shooting for 20% is a safe average. Carbs anywhere from 5-30%, depending on goals, most people are around 10-15%. And the rest is fat - 50-85% or so. I probably hit 70-75% most of the time, when I actually track it, which is almost never...

3
9aa2a816c61170cc0183a68be0386ba5

on March 30, 2011
at 02:23 PM

How do you feel? If you feel fine - I'd say you're doing ok. If you're feeling oddly, you could reduce it down to 60% or so and do more protein. Do what feels good. If you feel ok, then you're OK!

By the way, welcome to PaleoHacks!

2
03fa485bfd54734522755f47a5e6597e

(3944)

on May 12, 2011
at 10:18 PM

"Paleo" isn't a specific diet, like Atkins or Ornish, with ratios and limits. It's a general concept of eating (and living), that says we'll probably be healthiest if we stick to eating A) foods that humans have been eating for ages, allowing us plenty of time to become adapted to them, and B) foods that may not have been around that long, but are similar in content to those long-time foods. Even within that vague a definition, there is still disagreement, with some people rejecting foods in the second category like dairy. The only foods absolutely rejected by all paleos would be those that are completely new and unlike anything we ate before, like artificial sweeteners and refined grains. No specific foods are required in the sense that, say, fruit is required on a fruitarian diet. Paleo man certainly ate animal organs, but you don't have to -- as long as you get that nutrition somewhere else.

That leaves a lot of latitude for authors writing books or blogs about "their" paleo diets. You can make your personal paleo diet low-fat or high-fat, low-carb or high-carb, or even low-fat and low-carb (also known as rabbit starvation). I suspect that if you're writing a paleo diet book and hoping to sell a lot of copies, you're better off making yours low-fat. That has to improve your chances of getting promoted by the Oprah gang, for starters.

So if you're looking for a specific diet plan to tell you exactly what to eat, pick one of the books and follow it. If you want to know what's going on and tailor a paleo diet to your needs and circumstances, you'll have to read various sources (Kurt Harris's Archevore blog is a great place to start for the basics) and make a plan of your own.

1
69a2a5deb24d5b8d3aae3d9652fac564

(1020)

on April 01, 2011
at 03:49 AM

I think that Dr. Harris answered this question quite well in a brilliant post recently on his PaNu Blog. He refers to paleo as a Chimera... read and you'll get it. Very interesting.

Here it is: http://www.paleonu.com/panu-weblog/2011/3/30/paleo-20-a-diet-manifesto.html

1
3b803506ca7d7b5796bc16ee5b9f11d3

on March 30, 2011
at 05:03 PM

Maybe think of Paleo as helping you decide what not to eat, vs. how much of what you should eat. In general, avoid excess poly-unsaturated fats (industrially extracted vegetable oils), excess fructose (don't sweat it about fruits), and grains in general. That's the big chunk of it. Some will tell you to go further and avoid dairy, legumes, nightshades... start with the basics, then self-experiment with the details.

0
669790861549f3c6d54d88a65296ed19

(452)

on May 13, 2011
at 01:14 PM

I always wonder ,when spoken about lean meats. Eating higher protein&carb vs fat....lamb,beef,eggs etc. are mentioned,but eggs,lamb and for instance ground beef still has lots of fat in it. Then there's also dairy...the cheeses recommended by most contain lots of fat too.

Are these fats counted as well...or just the use of extra butter/oil,avocado,coconut milk etc.?

0
Ffc7e0ecad8e8831b528c5d4921377cc

(942)

on May 13, 2011
at 04:59 AM

Once you have been off sugar and grains for a while, you can generally trust your body to tell you what it needs.

0
698db94d83dee10d6ada8cc0128d45fc

(1048)

on May 13, 2011
at 03:12 AM

Im in stats so math always helps me break it down:

I find that if you aspire for 1lb of protein per LEAN body weight (as I cant for the life of me get 200g of meat based protein in without dairy) then for a 200lb person with 20% body fat you should aim for 160g of protein. 160g of protein is 640calories, keep carbs at 50g or less so thats 200 calories (total 840 now) and then you want 1200 calories (to bring you to around 2000 for day) in fat which is 300g. Total ratio is around F/P/C 60/30/10 which I would wager the majority of people fall in +-5 from each category

0
D0578c3826123f66a80b034cd3e78816

(565)

on April 01, 2011
at 03:56 AM

A diet is either high fat or high carb. If you're doing Paleo, you have cast your lot with the high fat. How high fat doesn't matter. 60-85% can work depending on your personal preference so just make sure you eat enough and feel good. You cannot make up lost calories with vegetables and fruit unless you mean starchy vegetables (thus increasing carbs) because of how few calories they have and how much bulk they have. That's why raw food vegans have to eat tons and tons of produce, that's the only way to get anywhere near sufficient calories. So balance your fats and carbs until you feel nice. You've already gotten rid of the most dangerous stuff. Macronutrient ratios are fungible and personal an can work from Kitavan ratios (~70% carbs) to Optimal Diet ratios (~85% fat).

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on May 12, 2011
at 11:45 PM

i would take issue with your saying "If you're doing Paleo, you have cast your lot with the high fat." I'm strict paleo and i been for over two years but that doesn't at all dictate how much fat or carb i eat. Its about not eating things that are deleterious to our health. I have found that something along the lines of 40%protein 40% carb and 20%fat keeps me feeling good, cut up and lean, and keeps my lifting performance high.

0
669790861549f3c6d54d88a65296ed19

(452)

on March 30, 2011
at 08:24 PM

A while ago in a conversation,with someone doing SCD,about my fear of ot knowing how much fat to use,he told me once you hit your natural setpoint the body will just get rid of excess fat through your stool. Is this true? 'cause on some days my stool seems more 'slimey'.

I also find it curious that there's so much controversy about fruits and even veggies. While I hear no one,doing SCD, on those issues. One regular recipe calls for sliced ripe banana to add to your fried egg.Small amounts of raw honey are even tolerated. I already had fear of high-fat products,but Paleo turned out a nightmare.I now also fear eating (too much) of (certain) veggies. It gave me an even bigger eating vs moving-disorder.

0
4b0ad5227f47a5434d38b1441779064f

on March 30, 2011
at 07:06 PM

Eat well, according to general "paleo" guidelines, and that's that!

0
9e7039b63b656582f66d84c5255b436d

(1132)

on March 30, 2011
at 05:59 PM

Partially I fear the problem is ( certainly in Art de Vany and Loren Cordain's case ) that they are scared that readers will partially take onboard the advice but not fully, so they kind of suggest fat is still bad. Because fat is bad and will kill you, if you don't adhere 80% to a paleo diet. They certainly don't want to kill anyone, so they still endorse a fear of fat. I think Gary Taubes is great, because he just sits on the fence. Probably best to read all, experiment and work out your own diet.

69a2a5deb24d5b8d3aae3d9652fac564

(1020)

on March 30, 2011
at 10:45 PM

If you don't adhere to 80% paleo, fat will kill you? How so? I thought the point was that fats contributing to vascular accidents of any kind was a myth, regardless of other macro-nutrient intake?

0
0c0c5c65612425e497b7231c21516943

(1354)

on March 30, 2011
at 04:07 PM

If you are just getting started, I wouldn't worry about it. Once you get closer to goal, start seeing what works for you. If you have an Ipod or Iphone, the loseit app does percentages. It is very convenient.

0
3450a7a95355e686d7d5896d55a9cd24

on March 30, 2011
at 02:37 PM

You said you were looking for a site? I use fitday.com and it's free and keeps track of your caloric intake and percentages of fat, carb, and protein. It also lets you know how much fiber you've taken in.

69a2a5deb24d5b8d3aae3d9652fac564

(1020)

on March 30, 2011
at 02:45 PM

I'm on fitday, i'm looking for a site with guides on recommended percentages....but it sounds like no norm is the norm... makes it hard for the newb...

Cab7e4ef73c5d7d7a77e1c3d7f5773a1

(7304)

on March 30, 2011
at 05:55 PM

I'd recommend cronometer. It's available online.

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