News & Events

Fat Recommendations For Active People


Events, Fitness on 25th, YWCA News

Our Recommendation: First determine your protein and carbohydrate needs. All of your leftover calories are fat calories – most of which should be monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat.

If you’re an exerciser, body builder or strength trainer trying to stay lean, you should control your total fat intake to control your total calorie intake. For reasons around physical training, health and emotional well-being, you should hover around 25 to 35 percent of your total calories from fats, depending on your total calorie intake and specific training goals at the time. There are reasons that you might alter this percentage, and we will discuss those below.

There are many strategies for accomplishing this fat intake level. One less structured way is to follow the AHA guidelines for food choices. If the majority of your food choices are plant-rich from a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds, and you add in animal protein-rich foods from fish, meat, and dairy to round out your diet, your total fat intake is most likely to be in a well-controlled zone of about 25 to 35 percent of calories each day. I want to emphasize the word “variety.” If you neglect variety and choose a majority of high fat plant foods, like avocados, oils, nut butters, and seeds, you will have created a high-fat diet. Or, if you include dairy but avoid meats, and eat high volume of cheese, you are also creating a high-fat diet. So the label that you put on your diet doesn’t protect you from less healthy choices. You have to ensure the variety in your diet, which promotes health and performance.

Your diet should contain much more unsaturated than saturated fat: 5 percent saturated, 10 to 15 percent monounsaturated, and 7 to 10 percent polyunsaturated.

A much more saturated way to monitor your fat intake is by counting the grams of fat in your diet each day. To be honest, counting calories and macronutrient grams daily is probably the least favorite way to live life. I prefer that you plan a food template, perhaps monthly, of what you will include in your diet each day using food groups, with the knowledge of the macronutrient content of the foods in those groups. Then you can choose from within those groups as they fall in your plan each day, without constantly counting, and know that you are on your plan. This gives you so much more freedom to choose as life presents itself in your day, rather than structuring and restricting your life around your food plan. And you can be more comfortable around your diet at the same time. You can calculate your own daily fat intake by using the following formulas:


Total Fat

Total calories × 30% = daily calories from fat / 9 = g total fat

Example: 2,000 calories × 0.3 = 600 / 9 = 67 g total fat

Saturated Fatty Acids (SFA)

Total calories × 5% = daily calories from SFA / 9 = g SFA

Example: 2,000 calories × 0.05 = 100 / 9 = 11 g SFA


Following this simple approach, first determine your protein and carbohydrate needs. All of your leftover calories are fat calories – most of which should be monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat. Be sure of the foods you buy in the supermarket. The grams of fat are listed on any food package that provides a nutrition label.

Sources of Protein
  • Lean meat, poultry and fish
  • Eggs
  • Dairy products like milk, yogurt and cheese
  • Seeds and nuts
  • Beans and legumes (e.g. lentils and chickpeas)
  • Soy products like tofu
  • Some grain and cereal-based products
Sources of GOOD Carbs
  • Vegetables: all of them!
  • Whole fruits: apples, bananas, strawberries & etc.
  • Legumes: lentils, kidney beans, peas & etc.
  • Nuts: almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, peanuts & etc.
  • Seeds: chia seeds, pumpkin seeds & etc.
  • Whole grains: oats, quinoa, brown rice & etc.
  • Tubers: potatoes, sweet potatoes & etc.

Sources of Monounsaturated Fat

  • Nuts
  • Avocado
  • Canola oil
  • Safflower oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Peanut oil and butter
  • Sesame oil
Sources of Polyunsaturated Fat
  • Walnuts
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Flax seeds or flax oil
  • Fish such as salmon, tuna, trout and mackerel
  • Corn oil
  • Soybean oil


YWCA Fitness on 25th is a coed facility providing a range of fitness experiences in a welcoming environment to achieve your individual health and fitness goals. Watch for the next WYCA wellness article on our website blog and social media channels.

By Nima Nazemi


Source: canfitpro Official Magazine; NovemberéDecember 2018; pg. 34-35.