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Fat Macro

mylittlerainbowmylittlerainbow Member Posts: 580 Member Member Posts: 580 Member
As a vegetarian, my protein comes from nuts, dairy, tofu, and added protein powder. I buy everything low-fat and low-sodium, but I have gone over my fat macro every single day in the two months since I've been on transition and then maintenance, because these sources are all rather high in fat even in the reduced version.

I have not gone over my calorie ceiling and I have not gained weight and I do drink plenty of water, so I'm asking here more about general health than weight loss/maintenance: It seems to me that too much fat is bad for you. I know we need some fat or our skin and hair quickly show the lack (that happened to me during the weight reduction phase, when I was diligent about limiting fat, but now I'm trying to get enough protein every day). But too much fat seems like an unhealthy way to get something to burn as we exert ourselves physically. It seems that our preferred fuels would be carbs and protein.

I know I could reset my macros, but that seems a bit like gaming the system. What do you all think about having excessive fat on a daily basis if everything else (including water, exercise, and weight itself) is in balance?

Replies

  • mylittlerainbowmylittlerainbow Member Posts: 580 Member Member Posts: 580 Member
    PS my daily goals are set at:
    calories =1,400 carbs =175 fat = 31 protein = 105 sodium = 2,300 sugar = 45
    (My journal is private and I intend to keep it that way, but this data could be helpful in looking at my question.)
  • janejellyrolljanejellyroll Member Posts: 24,310 Member Member Posts: 24,310 Member
    Are you currently experiencing training difficulties that you're attributing to lack of fuel?

    31 grams of fat seems to me to be a rather low goal -- that is, one that you set manually. Was that based on specific medical advice?

    Setting your macros to reflect how you prefer eating while still meeting your nutritional needs isn't "gaming" the system in a negative way, I think it's actually key to sustainability.
  • DevietteDeviette Member Posts: 908 Member Member Posts: 908 Member
    Why do you think that too much fat is bad for you? (as a percentage of overall calorie balance)

    The idea that fat is bad for you was very much a trend. In the same way that currently carbs are the enemy! Unless you have a specific reason to limit fats that extend to more than "oh but isn't fat bad for you", there's no reason to limit fats so low.

    So why make it harder than you need it to be? If you're maintaining fine on higher fat, why not just make that amount your goal.
    edited November 4
  • janejellyrolljanejellyroll Member Posts: 24,310 Member Member Posts: 24,310 Member
    Oh, also have you considered using beans for some of your protein needs? They're a protein-dense, lower fat food. As someone who doesn't eat meat, diary, or eggs, I find it pretty easy to hit my macro goals when I'm regularly eating beans. Nuts are too calorie dense for me as a primary source of protein, although it's certainly nice to have the protein in them supplement what I'm getting from higher protein foods.
  • LivingtheLeanDreamLivingtheLeanDream Member Posts: 13,177 Member Member Posts: 13,177 Member
    I really wouldn't worry about going over on fats, the proof is there already for you that all is well saying you are maintaining your weight :smile:
  • sijomialsijomial Member Posts: 17,252 Member Member Posts: 17,252 Member
    But too much fat seems like an unhealthy way to get something to burn as we exert ourselves physically. It seems that our preferred fuels would be carbs and protein.

    I know I could reset my macros, but that seems a bit like gaming the system. What do you all think about having excessive fat on a daily basis if everything else (including water, exercise, and weight itself) is in balance?

    Regarding the bolded - depends on what level of exertion to a great degree. Yes carbs are a great energy source for exercise but it's not until you are pushing quite hard that carbs become the predominant fuel. When I was tested in a sports science lab it wasn't until I was hitting 130bpm (max of 176 for context) that carbs equalled fat as fuel being used. Protein really is a very, very minor player in fuel for exercise, for most actually insignificant until you get into very long endurance durations. Fat and carbs are very much the preferred fuels, it's not carbs then fat - it's a blend of both nearly all of the time.
    Unless your exercise is very long duration (or you are doing keto when timed carbs might be beneficial) it's actually pretty pointless to even concern yourself about which macros fuel your exercise.

    No personalising your macros isn't gaming the system as our needs and preferences are personal and not universal. For long term adherence seek to make life and diet easy and not hard!

    When I bothered to track fat intake (which wasn't for long as it was a non-issue for me) similar to protein I set a minimum goal that was fine to exceed, for me 0.4g per pound of bodyweight was my minimum but I exceeded that consistently so wasn't worth worrying about.
  • mylittlerainbowmylittlerainbow Member Posts: 580 Member Member Posts: 580 Member
    Thank you all. And so sorry - I did overlook beans and legumes, which are indeed a much-used source of protein for me. As for carbs being bad, I see them as the fuel for our bodies and think we can't live without them (although I know that people on some plans do depress them just during their weight-loss phase).

    And how I set my macros was percentage breakdown and MFP came up with grams of each for me accordingly. I guess I can change that breakdown or continue ignoring the fat column as long as none of the others exceeds the limits and protein gets close.

    Thank you again. This is reassuring.
  • DevietteDeviette Member Posts: 908 Member Member Posts: 908 Member
    Thank you all. And so sorry - I did overlook beans and legumes, which are indeed a much-used source of protein for me. As for carbs being bad, I see them as the fuel for our bodies and think we can't live without them (although I know that people on some plans do depress them just during their weight-loss phase).

    And how I set my macros was percentage breakdown and MFP came up with grams of each for me accordingly. I guess I can change that breakdown or continue ignoring the fat column as long as none of the others exceeds the limits and protein gets close.

    Thank you again. This is reassuring.

    Just to clarify: I don't think carbs are bad, I was just paraphrasing what the general diet industry message currently is (and how the massage has changed over the last 20 years). I agree with you, carbs are, like fats, fuels for our bodies. Sorry I wasn't clear enough with what I meant before!

    Best wishes :smiley:
    edited November 4
  • mylittlerainbowmylittlerainbow Member Posts: 580 Member Member Posts: 580 Member
    You were clear! I was speaking more to a general sense that they are bad (as in keto). Sorry that I wasn't clear myself!
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 17,085 Member Member, Premium Posts: 17,085 Member
    PS my daily goals are set at:
    calories =1,400 carbs =175 fat = 31 protein = 105 sodium = 2,300 sugar = 45
    (My journal is private and I intend to keep it that way, but this data could be helpful in looking at my question.)

    FWIW: It's unclear to me what size you are. As a vegetarian (ovo lacto if that matters), 5'5", 126 pounds (today 😉), and in maintenance, I target 100g protein minimum, 50g fat minimum, and "I don't care" for carbs (as long as calorie balance is OK).

    I'd agree that 31g seems really low, for fats. Personally, I like the idea of 0.35-0.45g of fat minimum per pound of weight, for women. (And for me, fat is the goal that I'm most likely to *undereat* if I don't pay attention. 🤷‍♀️). Without knowing what you eat, it's hard to suggest eating strategies.

    Others have done a great job explaining why more fat is fine, as long as it doesn't drive out other necessary nutrients or blow out your calorie goal. To me, that seems especially true if you're getting lots of MUFAs/PUFAs (as it sounds like), and giving some thought to Omega-3s to balance any Omega-6s (harder to tell about that, from what you've mentioned).
  • bold_rabbitbold_rabbit Member Posts: 839 Member Member Posts: 839 Member
    What does your blood work show?

    I'm 5'3", 55, and maintaining at 120 to 122 lbs - pescatarian, but mostly vegetarian.

    I eat about 1700 calories a day with exercise calories, and still struggle with not continuing to lose in maintenance (weighed 118.6 lbs this morning).

    I only watch protein, making sure to get an average > 80g (it's usually higher). But, I know when I check them, my fat grams are pretty high.

    My HDL is amazing, LDL is low, and triglycerides are so low they get flagged on my results (but my doctor says it's fine). I figure that I can continue to eat plenty of (mostly) healthy fats without worry.
  • mylittlerainbowmylittlerainbow Member Posts: 580 Member Member Posts: 580 Member
    "FWIW: It's unclear to me what size you are." I'm 5 feet tall and am at my goal weight of 101 (well, just a bit less than that). 72 years old, so although I try to rev up my metabolism, I'm sure it isn't what it used to be.

    My blood work is all well within the normal range - even though I can't see my doctor right now, I did have her request a full lab workup recently just to stay on top of things. This includes B12 and calcium, which had both been low not too long ago.
  • Retroguy2000Retroguy2000 Member Posts: 18 Member Member Posts: 18 Member
    I don't worry about the fat macro. I just track total calories and protein. If I'm getting enough protein and my total cals are in the right range, the fat macro likely takes care of itself.
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 17,085 Member Member, Premium Posts: 17,085 Member
    "FWIW: It's unclear to me what size you are." I'm 5 feet tall and am at my goal weight of 101 (well, just a bit less than that). 72 years old, so although I try to rev up my metabolism, I'm sure it isn't what it used to be.

    My blood work is all well within the normal range - even though I can't see my doctor right now, I did have her request a full lab workup recently just to stay on top of things. This includes B12 and calcium, which had both been low not too long ago.

    Ah, OK - really petite! So, by the 0.35-0.45g of fat per pound that I find a useful guide, your 31g isn't as low as I was thinking. Apologies!

    Still, I think others are right, that you needn't worry if you exceed it, if that doesn't cut into other needed nutrition, within calories.

    (For clarity, I wasn't questioning your metabolism in any way, and I'm 65 myself in a week or so, so we're not that far apart in age, either. I mentioned size only because I personally do like the "grams per (goal) pound" ways of estimating macro needs, and without size info, those totals aren't calculateable.)
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