Why Is the Low-Carb Diet Trending?
Seems like a lot of personal trainers are attracted to the low carb/moderate fat methodology because 90% of their clients are focused on losing fat. And while low-carb and medium fat dieting isn't necessarily more effective, it's extremely simple. So a personal trainer who doesn't want to spend a lot of time learning about nutrition can simply lower carbs and increase fat a bit and their clients will get some fat loss. However, it might not be best for everybody in every situation.
My Approach Over the Years
I used to be a low-carb guy. As such, the fat intake I recommended was on the high side. But the more experienced I became as a coach the more I learned to play with carbs (types, amount, timing) and the less I relied on fats in the diet.
Since I'm eating more carbs nowadays the reliance on fat for fuel is much lower. Fats still need to be included because you need several essential fatty acids to keep the body in an optimal functioning state. They're required for the optimization of the nervous system and maintaining testosterone. The proper type will even keep the cardiovascular system healthier.
I used to focus mostly on fat amounts and not quality. I'd simply add fish oil to the mix to have my healthy fats. When I was younger I didn't notice too many drawbacks from that... or maybe I just didn't pay attention. But I recently had a crash course on the importance of the type of fats.
A few months back I did a keto diet experiment. At first I did what pretty much everybody else did: consume a high amount of saturated fats from bacon, cheese, full cream (in my shakes) and fatty meats. Within two days my blood pressure went from 117/80 to 155/100! I actually felt heart tightness. When I changed my fat intake to include more monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats my blood pressure went back down and I felt better.
I now plan fat intake to cover all the required essential fatty acids. I also learned from Dr. Eric Serrano that it's important not to have an unbalanced fatty acid intake. Yes, fish oil is healthy, but if ALL of your fat comes from fish oil that's not good either.
Ideally you'd have a little of each of these daily:
- Fish oil (Flameout®)
- Olive oil
- Saturated fats (coconut oil is a good choice)
- CLA is a nice bonus
If you're eating meat during the day, supplementing with coconut oil isn't necessary. When it comes to health you really don't need a huge dose of these fatty acids. And a serving of Flameout will give you more than enough EPA/DHA and CLA for your day. For the other fats, 3-5g of each per day is sufficient for optimal health.
Remember, I don' t use dietary fat as a primary fuel source. So getting a total of around 25g of fats from these five sources (5g each) along with the fat included in your daily food (which might be anywhere between 15-60g depending on your food choices) is enough to keep everything functioning. That gives you anywhere from 40 to 85g per day. This would be the minimum that a client would consume under regular circumstances.
Now, the intake might be a tad higher if they need to eat a caloric surplus and don't do well with a very high-carb intake. But it's a nice place to start.