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How much saturated fat is optimal?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created November 12, 2010 at 10:08 PM

Or, alternatively, how much sat fat does everyone here eat per day?

218f4d92627e4289cc81178fce5b4d00

on November 12, 2011
at 01:35 PM

I have never counted grams in any of my food lifetimes.

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6 Answers

2
E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on November 13, 2010
at 08:26 AM

I don't think there's an "optimal" amount, since intake of SFA isn't essential. You need to eat omega 3 and omega 6 (of the right forms!) but you don't need to eat saturated fat at all. Articles like this one might give the impression otherwise (saturated fat is indeed used in all manner of biological functions), but you'll always have pretty sizeable quantities of saturated fat stored on your body and so will rarely if ever experience any substantial 'saturated fat deficiency' if you don't consume any. Indeed, you might take it as a sign of how crucial saturated fat is, that if you eat a diet of exclusively sweet potato and lean meat, you'll instantly turn almost all of the sweet potato into saturated fat. Any claim that you can have a deficiency of non-essential fats or carbohydrate, is almost by definition overblown.

In any case, the way to work out quantities is simply to work out how much you need of the essential components of your diet and then just fill up the rest of your required calories with fat. For me that's a bit over 100g (400 calories) of protein and up to 40g (160 calories) of carbohydrate, meaning that I get the rest of my calories from fat (approx 2000 extra calories). That's 15% protein, 6% carbohydrate, 78% fat personally.

The fat component is almost exclusively butter (minus whatever animal fat is consumed with my protein) with some coconut meat sometimes thrown into the mix. The butter is roughly 51 SFA:21 MUFA: 3 PUFA, the animal fat roughly balanced SFA:MUFA, the coconut is of course almost exclusively saturated, so that drags the numbers higher towards SFA, though like the butter it's partly MCT so I consider its SFA a bit of an unknown quantity. PUFA typically makes up around 10g/3-4% of my total calories and is pretty balanced. 2-3g of daily omega 6 comes from the ~100g butter, another 2g from whatever meat I'm eating (e.g. 500g beef mince) but mostly from eggs' 4.2g per 6 eggs (2-3 a day), with salmon making up the rest.

If I were to make my fat ratios out of thin air, without attendance to the practicalities of achieving it with food (i.e. what I think is ideal), I'd go for a higher MUFA:SFA ratio, assuming that I want my body fat to be more like that of a healthy grassfed animal than a coconut or a pint of cream. But I'm hoping that the magic properties of the MCT/SCT in the coconut/butter offset whatever minimal downsides there might be to eating more SFA than is normal. There's no evidence that I'm aware of that these figures are substantially important: just fill up your calories with SFA/MUFA fat while minimising and balancing PUFA.

2
5841391284e7af8c495c54bd90d3a795

(2764)

on November 13, 2010
at 03:08 AM

I don't know. I don't count grams anymore.

218f4d92627e4289cc81178fce5b4d00

on November 12, 2011
at 01:35 PM

I have never counted grams in any of my food lifetimes.

1
21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on November 13, 2010
at 03:23 AM

On regular days, saturated fat is probably about 30-50% of my fat intake.

On coconut days, it is 40-60% of my fat intake.

0
1a641bbff1a7b0a70f08410376bbdf6b

(1587)

on November 13, 2010
at 09:49 AM

Anybody see a (health) problem with eating about 500ml of organic, grass fed cows whipped cream/day as long as the carbs are kept low (PaNu style ;))?

0
D10ca8d11301c2f4993ac2279ce4b930

(5242)

on November 13, 2010
at 07:41 AM

Proper sourcing is more important than fat type, IMO. Health fats come from healthy animals.

0
62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on November 13, 2010
at 07:38 AM

My daily caloric intake comes from about 50% fat. THe fat I eat is mainly animal fat, cream, buttter, coconut oil, coconut milk and cheese. Animal fat by far tops the list. It would probably be a big pain to calculate exact numbers though as most fats sources contain a combo of various types of fat in various proportions.

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