How much fat or oil should be contained in our diet?

how much fat should we consume

The slimming diet industry has long been saturated with miracle diets and other too-good-to-be-true diets. The common culprit to which most of these diets point is almost always fat. However, fat is fundamental to our health, although not all fats are the same. So we must ask ourselves the following questions: What type of fat or oil should we consume? How much fat should be in our diet?


  1. Oil, fats and weight
  2. Fats versus carbohydrates

Summary: Fats have been frowned upon in recent years, being blamed for increasing fatness. However, the blame has now shifted to carbohydrates. Also, in our shop in Las Rozas de Madrid we have a fantastic selection of olive oils at your disposal. High quality Spanish olive oils such as: Casas de Hualdo, Knolive and Vieiru.

Other related articles: Benefits of olive oil. Where to buy extra virgin olive oil?

1. Oil, fats and weight

Mark Hyman, director of the Cleveland Clinic, Center for Functional Medicine in the United States, is the man who coined the new point of view on fats and diets. He is also famous for his phrase “if you eat fat, you will lose weight”.

Seizing this moment in American history, Hyman is the medical advisor to Hillary and Bill Clinton, who in a few days will or will not be elected president of the United States.

Hyman was the one who convinced Bill Clinton to change his diet. Bill Clinton has gone from vegan after his quadruple heart surgery in 2004, where he had bypass surgery, to eating meat and eliminating carbohydrates from his diet on Hyman’s advice.

For Hyman, a 56-year-old doctor and current trend-setting author, there are two fundamental concepts that have been overlooked:

  • first, dietary fat does not, in fact, increase body fat.
  • second, all calories do not have the same value.
  • Concepts that people should take into account.

a) The food industry

The food industry and governments have been pushing information that is not entirely true. All calories do not have the same value. According to Hyman, “this is true in a laboratory analysis, when they are burned, but not when they are ingested by the human body”.

Hyman last year compared the effect of consuming 750 calories of soft drinks versus 750 calories of broccoli. The former causes numerous adverse effects on the body, including a spike in insulin in the blood: this spike causes an increase in fat storage in the body. Fat consumption, however, does not create this spike in blood insulin levels.

But what are the benefits of consuming fat? Hyman has written in his latest book, the soon-to-be-published “The Eat Fat, Get Thin Cookbook”: “Fat cuts hunger and speeds up metabolism, helping to prevent and reverse heart disease. Contrary to many nutritionists, who accuse it of causing heart disease.

b) Importance of fat quality

Hyman points to society’s obsession with calories and fat as the biggest culprit. This is because fats are more calorific than processed carbohydrates and sugars. He also points out that low-calorie diets are dangerous.

“The most important thing about a diet is its quality and composition, rather than the number of calories” This means that we should include healthy fats in our diet:

  • fats from fish: sardines, mackerel, herring, salmon, etc.
  • meat from grass-fed and pasture-fed animals
  • nuts
  • seeds
  • avocados
  • extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil.

As for sugars, he does not recommend eliminating them completely from the diet, but refers to them as a recreational drug. He places great emphasis on processed foods and urges people to eliminate them from their diets. For this he often uses the following phrase: “Abandon the food that man makes and eat the food that God makes”.

As for dairy products, he is not very much in favour of them. He also considers them a hybrid of the Paleo diet and veganism, or what he calls “Pegan”.

Our bodies have been designed through evolution and what we have been eating for hundreds of years. According to Hyman: sugar and flour are new foods for our body and we have now made them the basis of our diet.

c) Low-carbohydrate foods

Hyman recommends eating foods low in carbohydrates and starch, such as broccoli, mushrooms, tomatoes, peppers and Chinese cabbage. These should make up 75 % of the daily plate, accompanied by some protein.

In addition, following the advice of this diet, you can replace the squeeze of lemon or similar low-fat seasoning with a drizzle of olive oil.

According to various testimonials collected by Hyman, “I am now eating more calories and losing more weight, I eat fat at every meal. In addition, with fats like extra virgin olive oil, meals are tastier and more digestible.

hojiblanca extra virgin olive oil of Oro Bailen 500 ml

Photo 1: Oro Bailen Olive Oil

2. Fats versus carbohydrates

The scientific journal “The Lancet” has published a new research that has studied the diet of 135,000 adults. The study showed that people who reduced their fat intake lived fewer years than those who consumed butter, cheese and meat.

Nutritional advice that goes against the consumption of fat, according to the UK’s health system, NHS, is detrimental to health. What the NHS does advise is to reduce consumption of saturated fat and replace it with extra virgin olive oil. This will reduce blood cholesterol levels and prevent cardiovascular disease.

Low-fat diets tend to replace fats and oils with carbohydrates, such as;

  • bread
  • pasta
  • rice.

However, by not consuming fats and oils we cause major deficiencies of key nutrients in our bodies.

a) Carbohydrate-loaded diets

This new research shows that carbohydrate-loaded diets are the least healthy. In addition, the refined sugars hidden in many fast food and industrial products increase the risk of early death by almost 30%.

The research, carried out by a group of researchers at McMaster University in Canada, studied the diets of people living in 18 different countries. They presented their research at the European Society of Cardiology Congress in Barcelona, Spain. Here they found that low intake of saturated fat increases the chances of early death by 13%. They also found that consuming high levels of all fats reduces the chances of premature death by 23%.

One researcher in this study, Dr Andrew Mente, recommends that 35% of all the calories we consume should come from fat for good health. At El Cortijuelo de San Benito we recommend healthy fats such as extra virgin olive oil.

b) Latest research

The latest research is softening the limits that had been placed on the consumption of fats in general and saturated fats. They are now placing limits on carbohydrate intake. Recommendations by the UK’s NHS put a maximum intake of 30 grams of saturated fat for men and 20% for women.

Moreover, according to another leading research led by Dr. Mahshid Dehghan. He has concluded that anyone who gets 60% of their calories from carbohydrates is increasing their risk of premature death.


English newspaper, The Independent. Low-fat diets could kill you, shows major study August 30, 2017

The Washington Post: How much fat do nutritionists recommend?

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