Main | Protein | Carbohydrates | Fat
Ah, fat: The tastiest macro—and the one that's also the most widely and historically demonized. We want to set fat free of its bad reputation so you can feel more comfortable adding it to your diet!
Traditional bodybuilding diets are really low in fat because fat is particularly calorie-dense. Per gram of fat, you get 9 calories, which is more than twice the amount of calories you get from carbs and protein. So for cutting bodybuilders who need to watch their calories, fat doesn't always fit.
Although non-bodybuilders don't have to watch their calorie intake with so much precision, the outdated food pyramid taught many people that fat is to be feared. Low-fat dieters cut meat and cheese out of their diet, and the food industry started pumping out low-fat and fat-free snacks. Although the low-fat craze is slowly loosening its grasp on the world, the word still causes a lot of concern.
The Skinny on Fat
In reality, your body needs dietary fat to work properly. Your heart cells, for example, run almost entirely on fatty acids. Fat is also necessary for vitamin and mineral absorption, as well as cellular energy.
However, not all fats have the same nutritional value to your body. Trans fat found in vegetable shortenings and partially hydrogenated oils has zero health benefits. Despite its bad rap, saturated fat is safe to eat if eaten in small amounts—typically less than 10 percent of your daily fat intake. Unsaturated fats found in olive oil, plant-based foods, and omega-3 fatty acids have potentially healthy impacts on your body, including improved cholesterol, reduced joint pain, and protection against heart disease.
Eating fat is part of a balanced, healthy diet. But how much you need in your diet depends entirely on your body and your goals. Here's some information to help you easily measure 20 grams of fat without a scale!
Per 1/4 cup - 314 calories - 17.1 g carbs - 25 g fat - 10.3 g protein
If you get tired of almonds, cashews are a great alternative! They pack a powerful calorie punch, though, so don't snack on them absentmindedly.
Per 3/4 avocado - 241 calories - 12.9 g carbs - 22.1 g fat - 3 g protein
The avocado is the king of dietary fat. It's tasty, full of good nutrients, and pairs well with just about anything. We recommend starting your day with some eggs and avocado so you can program how your body uses energy for the rest of the day!
Adams Natural Peanut Butter
Per 2 tablespoons - 210 calories - 6 g carbs - 16 g fat - 7 g protein
We love peanut butter almost as much as we love avocado. The tricky part about peanut butter is the plethora of options you can find at the grocery store. Choose peanut butter that has little or no sugar and is made with very few ingredients.
Per 1/2 cup - 275 calories - 9.4 g carbs - 24.1 g fat - 10.1 g protein
Almonds are the perfect go-anywhere snack. They're full of good fat and actually provide a healthy dose of protein. They're also great because they can be easily measured, and they store well for a long time.
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
Per 1-1/2 tablespoons - 180 calories - 0 g carbs - 21 g fat - 0 g protein
Olive oil is just about the easiest way to get fat into your diet. You can cook nearly any food with it, add it to salads, and—in a pinch—even add some to your protein shakes or smoothies.