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Fat Deficient?

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  1. Ken Thomas
  2. Condition Related
  3. Wednesday, 23 August 2017
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In recent conversations regarding dietary fat and the pursuit of "good fats", I often mention that it is virtually impossible to be fat deficient - regardless how fat-free one tries to be (unless starving). I mention that every whole food has more than enough fat - even lettuce which has 8% fat and celery has 9%. Almost no one can believe this, and explains that when they look at nutrition labels for leafy greens, such as spinach, lettuce, etc. the fat content is always ZERO.

I would like to explain this discrepancy. It is due to the listed serving size. The total calories in many of these foods are so low that 8% of those calories are below the legal notation requirement, so it gets a zero.

To really determine the percentage of fat, go to the SELFNutritionData website and enter the food of interest. Here is a link to lettuce: http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2477/2. Scroll down to the Serving size pull-down box and select 100 grams. Then scroll down past the Nutrition Data box, down to the Calorie Information box. Calories are the real common dominator because grams measure mass, not the effect magnitude of an item. Note the total calories is 15 and fat calories is 1.3. From that, 1.3/15=8.6%.

Of course you can't stuff yourself with enough lettuce to get your daily calorie needs, but the point is that everyone knows that lettuce is a very low fat food, but it is still 8% fat (humans only need 6%). That means that eating any variety of whole plant based foods, even the lowest imaginable fat foods, still supplies more than enough fats. (In my personal experience, anything over 10% is too much.)

Still on the lettuce page, scroll down to the Fats & Fatty Acids box. There you will see that Omega-3 fatty acids are double the Omega-6 fatty acids. I find this to be true of most foods that are considered "fat-free", so, trying to be "fat-free" actually helps to ensure I get the desired Omega fats ratio.

Thanks for listening!

Ken

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Sean Carney Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
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Thank you so much Ken for sharing this information and for explaining how to easily look up the fat content and also the fatty acid ratios. This is great information. 

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  1. more than a month ago
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