What is the Right Amount of Fat to Eat?

There’s a lot of debate about what the right amount of fat to have in your diet is. Really there is no “right” amount of fat to eat, although the ratio of fat to carbohydrates will probably be higher on the Hunter gatherer diet than many other diets out there. One of the main things to consider when deciding what macro-nutrient ratios to aim for is what your personal goals are and what your lifestyle and activity levels are.

A diet consisting of 50% fat, 35% protein, and 15% carbohydrate is a good starting point. However, the more weight a person is aiming to lose the lower there carbohydrate intake should be and the higher their fat intake. Regardless of ratio a person looking to lose weight should try to keep their carbohydrate intake below 100g a day, because intake above 100g can cause fat loss to stall out due to excess glucose and insulin response. This ratio should also keep protein intake at about the right .7g to 1g per pound body weight.

Almost any modern version of the hunter gatherer diet you might find will have fat representing the largest proportion of the diet and as the primary nutrient used for fuel. This might be surprising to some, since the Hunter Gatherer diet is known for causing fat loss and because the conventional wisdom is so against high fat intake. This represents another instance where the conventional wisdom is incorrect. In reality when fat intake is high the body starts switching to a fat based metabolism which makes the body burn off fat faster.

Having a high fat intake does make it more important to eat fats from sources that have good ratios of omega-3 to omega-6 fats. Historically, a hunter gatherer would have been eating Omega-6 to Omega-3 fats in close to a 1-to-1 ratio, however in the modern diet this ratio has shifted to be dominated by pro-inflammatory Omega-6 fats. In order to get the correct natural ratio of fats you should try to eat pastured grass-fed meats with a better omega-3 to omega-6 ratio than grain fed factory farmed meats.

– Jack

Photo by Naotake Murayama