LA Weight Loss - Does the amount of fat in your diet count?

05-14-2006, 10:37 PM
I've been wondering this. As long as you count your calories, does it matter whether it comes from Carbs, Fat, or Protein when you're trying to lose weight? There are several 'reduced-fat' products that have the same amount of calories as the original (ex: PB). I'm wondering if it even matters whether I'm buying them rather than the original.

Misti in Seattle
05-15-2006, 01:51 AM
I think it matters a LOT, especially if you are focusing on actual health. And a lot of those reduced fat items have more sugar and junk added to make up for the taste taken away by the reduced fat. An overall balanced diet is important IMO. Also I a firm believer that not all calories are processed the same by our bodies... they are DESIGNED to process natural whole foods, and I believe they do so most efficiently. But I am sure there will be others who say it doesn't matter what you eat but only the calorie count is important. :)

Suzanne 3FC
05-15-2006, 02:21 AM
I agree, ...mostly :) In general, weight loss is based on calories in vs calories out, and a calorie is a calorie is a calorie in that respect. But our bodies are happier, healthier, and more energetic if we choose our calories more wisely. Misti brings up a good point that when manufacturers reduce fat, they replace it with something else, and it's not always a good switch. The food may contain more junk as a tradeoff. If the calories in both versions are about the same, then you are probably better off buying the regular version, but even that depends on the kind of fat. If it's trans fats, then put it back on the shelf. If it's saturated fats, then think twice and be careful with portion sizes, since sat fats should make up only 10% of your daily calories. Total fats should be between 20 to 35 percent of calories, with most from unsaturated fats. Some studies have shown that diets ranging on the higher end of that (35%) are more successful than diets that are on the lower side. This is probably because you are not restricting your choices as much, so your diet is easier to stick to longer.

05-15-2006, 09:06 AM
Several times here at 3fc, I've seen the folks recommend that you start by simply counting calories. As you go along, you'll figure out more about the nutritional content of foods.
For me, fat is empty calories. I can get a lot more nutrition in 100 calories of something else. Added fats are one of the easiest things to cut back on in the beginning.
You do have to read labels, like you've found with the peanutbutter.
I never worry about not getting any fat. It's very difficult to cut it out completely. Even oatmeal has a little fat content. And the odd day slipping up adds more fats than I need ;)
My caveat is that fat has satiety value. It leaves you feeling full longer. As you go along, you'll learn how to get the same effect from protein and good whole grains.
You'll learn alot about nutrition. I sure did.

Misti in Seattle
05-15-2006, 09:15 AM
Well yah I think Suzanne said it better than I did. :) And Susan, I too have seen a lot of people say just count calories; I just don't agree with it, as IMO there is no way 1000 calories of "junk" equals 1000 calories of nutritious food. But yes, it may be a starting place if people honestly don't know nutritional content of food. But I just find it really hard to believe that there are people who honestly don't know that veggies are better for you than cookies. :) The health industry has spent zillions of dollars in research to figure out what we should eat, and what have they come up with? Your mother was right... eat your fruits and vegetables. :)

05-15-2006, 10:20 AM
I think healthy fats are important to have. The people that live along the Metateranian (sp?) eat around 40% fats and they are some of the healthiest people in the world. So I don't think it's the amount of fats you eat, but what kind of fats. If you are getting them from extra virgin olive oil, canola oil, avocados, nuts, etc. Then you are doing a good job. Those are all healthy fats to have. But if you are getting them from things like potato chips, cookies, chicken skin, animal fats, etc. Then you need to rethink the way you eat.

I personally get around 30% fats each day. I think it's a good number. But I'm no professional. All I can do is give you my opinion and the information I've learned.

As far as the peanut butter goes... you can try organic peanut butter if you are worried about it. Otherwise I say just pick the kind you like. It's a trade off between fat or sugar.

05-15-2006, 10:37 AM
On the other hand, I do think that there is room in a healthy, balanced diet for a certain amount of fat. I certainly use olive oil almost every day, and butter almost every time I bake (which is several times as week)- and what can I say about cheese....

Of course it isn't a good idea to get all of your calories from cake and ice-cream, but as long as you are eating a good variety of vegetables and grains (and plenty of them), and as long as you are choosing lean cuts of meat, I see no reason to ban fat from the kitchen entirely. That being said, you might be surprised at just how little fat you need to use in a meal and keep it tasty. My favorite example is a recipe for stir fry that I've been making for years with 2 tbs of oil. I now make that same recipe with 2 tsp, which lets me double the amount of vegetables and still use fewer calories-and it tastes great.

05-15-2006, 04:06 PM
I wasn't thinking of filling my calories each day with ice cream or chocolate bars or anything crazy like that. I was just wondering if eating things likes nuts, PB, olive oil, and avacados would be okay or if fat content of these items would wreck my diet even if they are considered healthy.

I admit I eat wayy to much of those 'healthy' processed foods. I just switched from RF Peanut butter to the natural stuff. I looked at the label and was shocked to realize there was 5x more sugar in the reduced fat stuff.

05-15-2006, 04:59 PM
Peanutbutter is the for :devil: me. Once I start, I can't stop!
I buy a no-name one. It seems to have the least 'extra stuff' in it. I just can't do the dollars for organic all peanuts or I would.
A calorie is a calorie but peanutbutter is supposed to be a protein and healthy fat so you're smart to wonder.

05-15-2006, 05:55 PM
And don't forget, we need some fat in our diet for such things as fat-soluable vitamins. Almost every time I "stall" in my weight loss (and am being honest about what I'm eating :) ) I find that I've cut waaay back on fat. Adding just a little - like 1/2 an avocado, or 1-2 tsp of olive oil a day usually gets the scale moving again.

05-16-2006, 02:26 PM
When comparing products on the shelf, like non-fat yogurt vs low-fat if the calories are the same I'll go with the low fat. In fact most of the time when a fat free version of a product is available I read the label and if the calories are close I'll go ahead and get the regular.

I find that I tend to eat more of the low-fat, fat-free products then if I'm eating a full fat version of the product. My mouth tells my stomach that it's happy and doesn't want more.

I do try to stear towards the unsaturated fats-avacodos, olive oils, natural peanut butter (well only sometimes because it's the :devil: for me too. Who ever said that a serving is only 2 T? I mean, who's tablespoon are the using anyway?;) )


05-17-2006, 02:47 PM
Haha, reduced fat PB is the worst for me. It's so sugary-sweet I used to eat it straight from the jar. That's why I switched to natural. There's no way I could eat that stuff without jelly on a sandwich. Thanks for answering my question. I tend to go for the light stuff rather than the f/f these days.

05-17-2006, 03:30 PM
Calories made of fat are harder to burn off than other calories aren't they? If you eat a diet full of fat than your body stores it as such whereas if you eat a diet that's balanced your bod is able to whittle down what you don't want easier with exercise. N'est pas? :?: So in that respect calories aren't the same.

08-18-2006, 07:17 PM
Calories aren't the same. Yes, it is true that to lose weight, you have to burn more calories than you intake. But you do not just burn calories through exercise, you have a basal metabolic rate which includes calories burned in digestion. Sugar is digested very quickly. And when I say sugar, I mean carbohydrates, as well. They turn to sugar in your mouth. Protein takes longer to digest than carbs and fat takes the longest to digest. Any food you eat takes longer to digest if fiber is present, so that is why it is better to eat high fiber carbs.

Fat is important for many bodily functions, but it is best to eat monounsaturated fat. Many of you have mentioned the best items, which are olive oil, olives, avocados, and nuts. Fat is also important to have healthy hair and nails. If your hair is falling out or your nails are brittle, it's likely you are not eating enough fat.

With peanut butter. Natural peanut butter is best. And I don't mean regular as compared to reduced fat. I mean natural. If you don't want to eat natural, I would go with the regular. Like others have said, with pb, the reduced fat is replaced with extra sugar. If you are going to get the same number of cals, It's better to get them as fat than sugar because sugar digests quickly and fat digests slowly. Fat will keep you fuller longer. With dairy products, it is better to go with the lower fat items because the reduction of fat is usually not replaced by sugar, so skim milk has less calories than whole milk.

One last thing about calories. If you eat 1200 calories of junk as compared to 1200 cals of a well balanced healthy diet, it won't equal. It's best to eat nutrient dense cals so that when you restrict your calories, you are still intaking as many nutrients as possible. Not only will this keep you healthier, but a fine tuned machine (your body on healthy food) will run better than one on low nutrients. If you are less tired, you are less likely to skip going to the gym. You also want your weight loss to be fat and not include muscle. If you eat 1200 cals a day, you will lose weight, but if you lose muscle, it will decrease your basal metabolic rate, which will make it harder for you to lose weight. In order to be healthy and fit, you want your basal metabolic rate to be as high is possible, which means you want as much lean body mass as possible (muscle).

Misti in Seattle
08-19-2006, 02:52 AM
Hi Dreamcrusader

Wow what a great message! I've tried (unsuccessfully) in the past to express WHY "all calories are not equal" but was never able to word it so it made sense. You did a great job of explaining why it is important to eat healthful foods. Thanks!

08-21-2006, 05:06 PM
Thanks, I'm glad I could be of help. I probably think of things a little differently than most people, since I have a degree in biology. Most people just think about losing weight and don't really think about how it happens or what happens to thier bodies. I think about more than just losing weight, but what exactly goes on in the body from every aspect. Everyone is always concerned about their weight, bu the scale isn't the most important number. I've seen people lose a lot of weight, but also lose so much of their muscle tone that they don't look that much better. I would like to keep my muscle and just lose the fat! I've also seen people that don't eat enough fat have brittle nails, dry hair and skin, and a pale, sallow complexion with dark circles under their eyes. I don't want to be thin, but look like I'm sick.

08-21-2006, 05:33 PM
Hi there.... I hope that the fats in olive oil and avocado are not detrimental fats?

08-21-2006, 05:42 PM
The fat in olive oil and avocado are not detrimental, they are actually the best kind, monounsaturated.

08-21-2006, 05:54 PM
No, they are the "good" fats. As was mentioned earlier, they are monounsaturated fats. One that I use, that wasn't mentioned yet is flax oil and seeds.

Also wanted to mention one of the benefits of "mono" as opposed to "poly" fats is that the mono fats actually increase the "good" cholesterol while decreasing the "bad" cholesterol. The poly fats simply decrease all cholesterol, not exactly the optimum situation. :carrot: