Calorie restrictions are usually the best way to achieve weight loss. This comes from the simple yet complicated rule of losing weight that says to lose weight you have to take in less calories than your body needs. Seems easy right? Well, it is not. There are things you need to be aware of when you are cutting your calories and creating a low-calorie diet. For instance, you are not allowed to go below 1200 calories in a day without medical supervision as that may lead to health complications, including malnutrition. Your diet should also contain all the different macronutrients in amounts that are needed by the body for you to stay healthy. With that said, today we shall look to answer the question, ‘How much fat should I eat per day on a 1200 calorie diet?’
Fats And Dieting
When most people are thinking of making a low-calorie diet, the first macronutrient they think of getting rid of is fats. Most people don’t know fats are just as important in a diet as proteins and carbohydrates. People think that fats are bad and that they are likely to increase the risk of various cardiovascular conditions. This is not entirely true.
There are healthy fats like the polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats that are found in plant foods. These two types of fats are known to help in managing your cholesterol levels and help in keeping your heart health safe. Although polyunsaturated and monounsaturated from plants are good for you, there are other fats which are not good for you and so you should look to consume the healthy types of fat and avoid the unhealthy ones.
The reason most people go on calorie restricted diets like the 1200 calorie diet is to lose weight. Most people would think that reducing that amount of fat intake in such diets is beneficial but this is not the case. Eating healthy fats while in a calorie restricted diet helps with satiety. This comes from the fact that fats are known to make a person feel fuller faster and for longer. Satiety in this case helps with weight loss. Satiety also helps prevent hunger pangs that are likely to be common in a 1200 calorie diet as the diet is very restrictive and the number of calories are very small, which means there is a good chance of a person feeling hungry most of the time, especially if they are highly active. These are some of the reasons why fats are important in low-calorie diets in terms of promoting weight loss.
There are only two secrets a person needs to know when it comes to fats and diets. These secrets are:
- You should consume the right type of fats. Good thing we will highlight all the types of fats and which ones you should consume in the later parts of this read.
- You should consume the right amount of fat. Yes, there is the right amount of fat and you should not exceed this amount if you want to stay healthy.
If you are able to follow these two rules, you are likely to have a healthy relationship with fats and be able to enjoy the many benefits of consuming fats.
Prove That Low-Fat Diets Are Not Better At Weight Loss Compared To Other Diets
Over the past hundred years, people have thought that low-fat diets are better for promoting weight loss as compared to other types of diets like the low-carb diet and the likes. A study in the Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology Journal aimed to prove whether or not this is truly the case by analyzing the research that had been done on low-fat diets and weight loss.
The group of researchers did systematic reviews by searching the long-term effects of low-fat dietary interventions compared to higher-fat dietary interventions. The data they got reflected the mean difference in weight changes between the two interventions, and weight maintenance between the two approaches (1). They looked at weight maintenance because sometimes losing weight is easy and the hard part of it is maintaining the lost weight. They want to determine which of the two methods could achieve sustainable weight loss (1).
From the results, it was clear that in terms of weight loss trials, the higher-fat interventions led to significantly greater weight loss compared to the low-fat approach (1). The low-fat interventions did also not lead to differences in weight change compared to the higher-fat approaches. The low-fat interventions only led to greater weight decrease only when they were compared to the normal diets (1). Similar results were made in terms of weight maintenance where higher-fat diets offered greater weight maintenance compared to low-fat diets and low-fat diets only offered greater weight maintenance when they were compared to normal everyday diets without any restrictions (1).
The results show that contrary to common belief, low-fat diets are not more effective when it comes to weight loss and weight maintenance compared to higher-fat diets. People should stop hating fats so much as they are beneficial when it comes to weight loss in one way or another.
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Types Of Fats
If you remember correctly, in the earlier parts of this read we mentioned that one of the important secrets you need to know when it comes to fats and diets is to consume the right type of fats. This then means that there are different types of fats some of which are good and healthy while others are bad and unhealthy to your body. The main types of fats are saturated fats and unsaturated fats. What’s even more surprising is the fact that both these types of fats are found in most fats and oils and the only difference is in the amounts they exist in.
In the battle of good and evil, saturated fats belong to the evil side of the spectrum. If you want to live a healthier life, you need to reduce your intake of saturated fats. Saturated fats mostly come from animal sources as well as some plant sources. Foods with a high content of saturated fats include; palm oil, coconut oil, most pastries, sour cream, some savory snacks, butter, ghee, lard, ice cream, cheese, fat cuts of meat, meat products like sausages, cakes, chocolates and so on. I guess that list has most of the foods that we eat on a daily basis.
Saturated fats are known to raise the levels of bad cholesterol in your body. A rise in the levels of bad cholesterol is likely to result in an increased risk of various cardiovascular conditions like heart attacks, stroke, and the likes (2).
To be on the safe side, the recommended consumption of saturated fats for men is not more than 30 grams a day. For women, it is not more than 20 grams a day and children should have less than both men and women. Another way to look at it is to try to stay below 10% of total calories from saturated fat.
This type of fat is also not good for your heart health. It occurs naturally in some meats and dairy products in small amounts. It is also the primary fat in hydrogenated vegetable oil, so you should check the list of ingredients of every product before you buy it. This fat is known to raise the levels of bad cholesterol in your blood, which means it increases the risk of getting various heart conditions like stroke, heart attack and all. Since trans fats are not healthy at all, a person should eat less than 5 grams of trans fats in a day (2).
These are the good fats. If you want to live a healthier life, these are the fats you should be going for. They are known to help reduce the risk related to the various cardiovascular conditions. Unsaturated fats are mostly oils from plants and fish. There are two types of unsaturated fats.
1. Monounsaturated Fats
Monounsaturated fats are mainly found in olive oil, avocados, almonds, peanuts and brazil nuts. They are known to help reduce the level of the bad cholesterol and increase the levels of the good cholesterol in your blood (2).
2. Polyunsaturated Fats
They also play a similar role to monounsaturated fats in that they help lower bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol in your blood. There are two main types of polyunsaturated fats and these are omega-3 and omega-6. These two types of polyunsaturated fats cannot be manufactured by your body so you have to get them from your diet (2). You can easily find omega-3 in oily fish like salmon, trout, sardines, kippers, herring and the likes. omega-6 can easily be found in vegetable oils such as sunflower oil, corn oil and the others (2).
Those are the different types of fats that most people consume on a daily basis. To live a healthy life you must reduce the consumption of fats that raise the levels of the bad cholesterol and increase the consumption of fats that raise the levels of good cholesterol in your blood.
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How Much Fat Should I Eat Per Day On A 1200-Calorie Diet
The different macronutrients; carbohydrates, proteins and fats have different quantities in which they should be consumed for you to have enough amounts of each so that they can perform the various tasks in your body. When it comes to fats, the National Academy of Medicine recommends that 20% to 35% of your energy should come from fats (3).
From that figure we understand that from a diet of 1200 calories, fats should constitute about 240 to 400 calories. 1 gram of fat is usually equivalent to 9 calories of fat. With that in mind it means a person should consume about 27 to 47 grams of fat a day when they are on a 1200 calorie diet (3).
This should go without saying, but your better option is to go for healthy fats that come from fish and vegetables.
The Bottom Line
The answer to, ‘how much fat should I eat per day on a 1200 calorie diet’, is somewhere between 27 to 47 grams of fat daily. Now that we have highlighted the different types of fats and their uses in your body, it is easy for you to make an informed decision on which fats to consume and which ones to reduce in consumption. Remember that fats are not bad for you and they are just as essential to your body as carbohydrates and proteins are. In order for fats to work in your diet program, you need to remember the two rules of fats and diets. The first one is to always consume the right type of fat and the second rule is to always consume the right amount of fat.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Effect of low-fat diet interventions versus other diet interventions on long-term weight change in adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis (2015, thelancet.com)
- Fat: the facts (2020, nhs.uk)
- How Many Carbs, Fats and Proteins You Need on a 1,200-Calorie Diet (2019, livestrong.com)