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Training & Nutrition Learn how to develop a training schedule that's good for you. What should you eat and drink on your ride? Learn everything you need to know about training and nutrition here.

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Old 01-27-06, 11:22 AM   #1
bykeryder
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Minimum fat intake in absolute not relative terms?

Hi!
What is the minimum amount of fat that you should be eating every day in grams or calories? I can only find the recommendations - up to 30% of all daily calories. This seems too much for a fit recreational cyclist. Also taking the percentages would mean that on your ride you should eat and dring stuff with 30% of fat which sounds ridiculous. Anybody got any ideas?
Thanx
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Old 01-27-06, 11:50 AM   #2
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A complex question which I believe has a different answer for each person. Without knowing metabolic rate, height weight, etc, it is difficult to determine an overall calorie intake requirement for a person. Additionally, one's caloric requirement changes with activity level. Staying below 30% of total calories required (whatever that is for you) is probably a healthy recommendation. As to an absolute minimum? -As long as you have body fat available to burn, I doubt there is a minimum.

Fat has 9 calories per gram. Calculate an ideal, goal or maintenance weight, a basal metabolic rate, add in calories for exercise and activity and using 9 calories per gram, calcualte your individual minimum.
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Old 01-27-06, 02:01 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by webist
A complex question which I believe has a different answer for each person. Without knowing metabolic rate, height weight, etc, it is difficult to determine an overall calorie intake requirement for a person. Additionally, one's caloric requirement changes with activity level. Staying below 30% of total calories required (whatever that is for you) is probably a healthy recommendation...
10-4 and where is that 30% comin' from? Things like French Fries, mayo and bacon? or things like avocados, nuts, fish etc...
Fat is NOT a four letter word Consier the source...
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Old 01-27-06, 02:15 PM   #4
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Fat as 30% of calories is NOTHING and is the absolute minimum that the Weston A Price foundation has noted in traditional diets. Where not talking volume here.

Fat is colorie dense. Fat has 9 calories per gram as opposed to 4 calories per gram in protein or carbohydrates. A gram of fat is also pretty much a gram of fat for calorie counting purposes where as with protein and carbohydrates it isn't because these foods come with water and fibre in them.

You only need to butter a couple of pieces of toast in the morning and you have 30% of calories as fat.

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Old 01-27-06, 04:01 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by webist
As to an absolute minimum? -As long as you have body fat available to burn, I doubt there is a minimum.
You do need to take in some fat for proper body function. Yes it is more calorically dense than proteins and carbs per gram so when restricting your calories it is a good thing to cut, but it is not a good thing to elilinate it all together.
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Old 01-27-06, 06:02 PM   #6
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The 30% refers to total daily intake of fat and would be ~66gm/day for someone consuming 2000 kcals. This does not mean you should eat 30% of your kcals from fat during a ride however, just 30% throughout the entire day. Also keep in mind that the type of fat also matters. All fat has 9 kcals/gm but, it is still more healthy to get most of your fat as poly or mono-unsaturated. Saturated fat should be no more than ~10% of total kcals intake.
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Old 01-27-06, 09:26 PM   #7
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My nutrition text book says you must have 15% of calories from fat for survival. So for 2000 calories a day, that's 33 grams of fat.
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Old 01-28-06, 12:14 AM   #8
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The 30% # thats been floating around is meant as a guideline for most americans. I'd say most Americans don't get their fat from olive oil and fish, but from other, more harmful sources (like meat and dairy etc.) I kept track of my calorie intake for a couple months, and I found on days when I ate less fat, i ended up eating more total calories. Fat breaks down over a long period of time so the energy is released slower.. your full onger. I see no problem with fat making up 30% of your diet. Unless you are actually trying to diet, otherwise just eat healthy versions of anything (oil instead of butter, fish instead of a burger) - these things might have the same fat content, but clearly one choice is better..
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Old 02-03-06, 07:52 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bykeryder
Hi!
What is the minimum amount of fat that you should be eating every day in grams or calories? I can only find the recommendations - up to 30% of all daily calories. This seems too much for a fit recreational cyclist. Also taking the percentages would mean that on your ride you should eat and dring stuff with 30% of fat which sounds ridiculous. Anybody got any ideas?
Thanx
I think the details are that only 10% of your calories should be from animal fat and 20% from vegetable fat and none form partially hydrogenated fat (transfat). I don't know about professional athletes, but for more "normal" athletes, I don't see why 30% is all that bad if you're body can digest it adequately. I think the issue is more one of timing. You have to not eat fat or even much protein to replenish glycogen quickly immediately or soon after prolonged stress; you want carbs.

The subject of sports nutrition is covered very well by Carmichael's Food for Fitness which is coauthored with a nutritionist. It seems constant with the 2005 USDA nutrition guidelines which is available with a free download.

Al
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Old 02-03-06, 08:01 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bykeryder
This seems too much for a fit recreational cyclist. Also taking the percentages would mean that on your ride you should eat and dring stuff with 30% of fat which sounds ridiculous.
Why should a fit recreational cyclist, who is burning calories regularly, avoid fat? Here's what a 30% fat menu looks like:

Yesterday my diet was right on target for my goals. I had one cup of coffee when I got up, and a bowl of Nature's Gate Optimum Power cereal (with flax seeds, fiber, and blueberries) in soy milk. In the mid-morning I had a cup of green tea and an apple, and for lunch I had a banana, hummus and a whole wheat pita. I had a Clif bar before my spinning class. For dinner, I ate about 4-5 oz. of baked salmon, about 1/2 c. of brown basmati rice, and about 2 c. of red leaf lettuce, mixed spring lettuce, cucumber, walnuts, cranberries, dressed with homemade olive oil and basalmic vinaigrette.

The Clif bar (a typical pre- or during-exercise food for me) was less than 14% fat, but it was balanced by the healthy oils and fish fats I ate throughout the day. According to Fitday.com, this menu was about 1600 calories; 55 g fat of which 11 g were saturated; 49/32/19 percent carbo/fat/protein.
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Old 02-03-06, 05:05 PM   #11
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Actually, per allison's comment, most folks probably need something on the order of 30% to be healthy. It's only the faddists and the media that come up with these strange ideas that fat is bad or carbs are bad or high fat/high protein (low carbs) is good (Atkins). The devil is in the details and one needs to learn them from reputable sources. That said, the scientists are still learning about nutrition so things will change some in the future. I think it was last year they discovered a new vitamin.
Your "one a day" could be obsolete.

Al
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Old 02-03-06, 05:28 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Al.canoe
Actually, per allison's comment, most folks probably need something on the order of 30% to be healthy. It's only the faddists and the media that come up with these strange ideas that fat is bad or carbs are bad or high fat/high protein (low carbs) is good (Atkins). The devil is in the details and one needs to learn them from reputable sources. That said, the scientists are still learning about nutrition so things will change some in the future. I think it was last year they discovered a new vitamin.
Your "one a day" could be obsolete.

Al
I've got nothing against a balanced diet. I just take issue with calling a 30% of calories as fat balanced. Its more like a minimum. If you look at what people actually eat to get 30% of calories as fat you see an almost total lack of obvious fat. If someone can't have an egg for breakfast, some butter on their toast and a glass of whole milk without going over 30% of calories as fat then I don't consider that to be a balanced diet.

Regards, Anthony
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Old 02-03-06, 05:33 PM   #13
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Dietary Fats and Heart Disease--Beyond the "30%" Recommendation

Many health agencies, including the American Dietetic Association, the American Diabetes Association, and the American Heart Association, once recommend limiting fat intake to 30% or less of total daily calories as a means of preventing disease. Today, these recommendations focus on limiting intake of saturated fat, and have relaxed a bit with regard to total fat intake. That's a move in the right direction, because there is no good evidence for any particular "optimal" amount of total fat in a healthy diet.

taken from
http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/fats.html
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Old 02-03-06, 06:28 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnthonyG
I've got nothing against a balanced diet. I just take issue with calling a 30% of calories as fat balanced. Its more like a minimum. If you look at what people actually eat to get 30% of calories as fat you see an almost total lack of obvious fat. If someone can't have an egg for breakfast, some butter on their toast and a glass of whole milk without going over 30% of calories as fat then I don't consider that to be a balanced diet.

Regards, Anthony

Seems to me that you'd have to have an ultra low calorie diet for those foods to get you over 30%. I eat peanut butter, almost all fat, and still problably stay around 30%. If you eat those 8 servings of fruit and vegitables that the USDA recommends, add the whole grains and you won't have the appetite to get over 30%.

There's nothing sacred about 30% anyhow. It's a rough guide for thoses without cardio problems. Nutrition is still as much art as it is science.

Al
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