Updated: May 27, 2020
Fat used to be deemed evil when it came to health and weight loss goals. Now, scientists understand the role of fat in essentially every function of our body.
✔️You need it to absorb fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K
✔️Fat reduces your hunger hormone ghrelin
✔️Various fatty acids are used to decrease inflammation in your body
✔️Even your brain is made up of mostly fat!
Having too little fat can be detrimental to your health, halt your weight loss goals, decrease mental clarity, and increase your risk of various chronic diseases. But exactly how much fat is the right amount? Today I'm breaking it down for you so that you can implement the right amount of fat for your body and achieve your wellness dreams!
But first... what are healthy fats?
Just like there are tons of different veggies, there's also a variety of fats that you should be getting daily. These include anti-inflammatory omega 3, healthy sources of omega-6 (yup! you still need this one!), omega-9, short chain fatty acids, medium chain fatty acids, and long chain fatty acids. As long as you're eating a diet rich in a variety of fats, you'll easily be hitting all of the categories. Healthy fats include: avocados, nuts, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, olives, wild-caught salmon, hemp seeds, coconut butter, coconut oil, grass-fed butter/ghee, grass-fed beef, and extra virgin olive oil. This by no means is an entire list, but it's a great place to start!
Side note: the only true "essential" fatty acids (ones that your body can't make) are omega 6 and omega 3. However, in order to achieve optimal health, it's necessary to get a variety of fats to balance everything out.
Benefits of increasing your healthy fat content
Healthy fats are great tools to use for balancing your blood glucose levels, increasing fat burning mechanisms, improving brain function, decreasing gut inflammation, increasing fat loss (ironic, right? future posts on this to come!), boosting energy levels, clearing your skin, and decreasing anxiety levels. It also works amazingly when paired with Intermittent Fasting to amplify all of the above results!
Learn more about Intermittent Fasting 101 HERE.
How much should you be eating?
When it comes to macronutrients and micronutrients, it's ALL about the timing, AKA "nutrient timing". Studies (like this, this, and this) show that it's not so much WHAT you're eating but WHEN you're eating it that results in achievement of wellness + weight loss goals. With my clients, I have an extremely easy rule to follow in regards to healthy fats: the 4-3-2 rule. I have used this tool with hundreds of people with massive success! I utilize this protocol with my clients as well as in my 21 Day Intermittent Fasting Program.
What is the 4-3-2 rule?
This is one aspect of nutrient timing that I use specifically for fats in order to tap into fat stores, decrease bloat, and boost energy levels. Best part? It's super easy to follow. Each number in the rule represents a serving of fat. Fat helps to stabilize your blood glucose levels from a fasted state while you sleep to a fed state during the day. If you don't have higher levels of fat in your first meal, you will get hungry every few hours and have spikes and falls in energy levels - not good for achieving wellness + weight loss goals. Because of that, in the morning (or with your first meal), you want to have your highest amount of fats - or 4 servings. Throughout the day, you want to gradually decrease your servings (to 3 at lunch then 2 at dinner) to allow for more healthy carbohydrates (read more about that HERE).
General guidelines for servings of fat:
1 serving =
1 Tbsp. nut butter or coconut butter
1 Tbsp. seeds (hemp, chia, pumpkin)
4 oz. fatty protein (wild-caught salmon or grass-fed beef)