Today we are going to get real nerdy about dietary fats. For a basic rundown of what dietary fats are, check out the “WTF is a Macro” episode (episode 4)

There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to fats, whether or not you should incorporate them into your diet, and how much of them you should eat. 

Diet culture has told us for a long time that fats are bad, mmmk. That isn’t true. Fats are necessary. They TYPE of fat you consume, does matter.


  1. Eating healthy fats trigger hormones to feel full.
    1. Studies have shown that your body releases hormones GLP-1, PYY, and cole-cysto-kin-in… they help you feel satiated.
    2. Fats also take longer to break down in your stomach than carbs, so you can feel fuller for a lot longer.
  2. Dietary fats affect testosterone production in men.
    1. Testosterone is a steroid hormone that is derived from cholesterol, so changes in your fat intake could alter your testosterone levels, gents.
    2. This is bad news bears if you’re looking to chase the gains… because testosterone is the hormone responsible for increased muscle mass.
  3. On the flip side, they also affect estrogen production in women.
    1. Estrogen is a hormone that directly affects the structure and function of tissues like muscle, tendon, and ligament. Estrogen improves muscle mass and strength, and increases the collagen in your connective tissues. And like in men, decreased fat intake affects how much estrogen your body produces.
    2. Ladies, all of those things we just mentioned, are good for you… so make sure you’re eating enough healthy fat to support estrogen production.
    3. In addition to regulating the menstrual cycle, estrogen affects the reproductive tract, the urinary tract, the heart and blood vessels, bones, breasts, skin, hair, mucous membranes, pelvic muscles, and the brain.
  • Maybe people are sick of hearing about my training for the half marathon last year, but during that training I had a coach. I had had a hard time until that point meeting my fats on a given day. My mood was all over the place, my cycle had been off and irregular…. once I accepted fat into my diet, that all evened out… because of fat!
  1. Too much saturated fat, and low fat diets equal low sex drive.
    1. This is no fun for anyone.Too much saturated fat can decrease blood flow down there because of clogged arteries.
    2. As we mentioned before, low fat diets can lead to low sex drive due to lack of testosterone or estrogen being produced. 
  2. Dietary fats can help fight PCOS, which is caused by a hormone imbalance.
    1. PCOS stands for polycystic ovary syndrome, and it sucks. 
  • It sucks because: Symptoms include menstrual irregularity, excess hair growth, acne, and obesity.
  1. There has been proof that women with PCOS benefit from a higher fat diet versus a lower fat diet; the women with the higher fat diet experienced more fat loss than the women with the lower fat diet.
  2. Weight loss isn’t always the goal, but in some women with PCOS, lowered body fat percentage can help improve symptoms.
  • Accoring to mayo clinic dot org: Your doctor may recommend weight loss through a low-calorie diet combined with moderate exercise activities. Even a modest reduction in your weight — for example, losing 5 percent of your body weight — might improve your condition. Losing weight may also increase the effectiveness of medications your doctor recommends for PCOS, and can help with infertility.
  1. Fat assists genes in certain growth and metabolism processes.


  1. Your brain needs fat to run at its best and it helps regulate your mood.
    1. Fat helps your neurons fire, and omega-3s are key in supporting learning and memory functions.
  2. MCT oil can help reduce insulin resistance in individuals who may be overweight or have diabetes.
    1. MCTs (medium-chain triglycerides) are taken up directly by your liver for immediate use as energy. They can be found in coconut, palm, and pure MCT oil.
  3. Omega-3s are beneficial to your heart.
    1. We’ve been told for many years that omegas are good for your heart because they reduce the risk of heart disease in both men and women.
    2. Omega-3 consumption has also been shown to reduce resting blood pressure and decrease body fat levels, both things that are also good for your heart.
    3. Some great and tasty examples of Omega-3 rich foods are: 
  • Fish and other seafood (especially cold-water fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring, and sardines)
  • Nuts and seeds (such as flaxseed, chia seeds, and walnuts)
  • Plant oils (such as flaxseed oil, soybean oil, and canola oil)
  • You can get your Omega-3s from Fortified foods (such as certain brands of eggs, yogurt, juices, milk, soy beverages, and infant formulas) if you don’t like  seafood, nuts, etc
  1. Polyunsaturated fats improve your cholesterol.
    1. These fats are generally plant-based, evidence has shown that in addition to deterring heart disease, polyunsaturated fats can also help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
  2. Dietary fats help you absorb certain vitamins.
    1. Healthy fats help your body absorb fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. 
  3. If one of your goals is weight loss, dietary fats can help.
    1. Fat keeps you full and prevents blood sugar spikes, and they add more flavor to your food which helps keep your meals satisfying.
    2. Since they’re filling and satisfying, healthy fats can help you eat less… which goes against everything we’ve ever been told about fat right? Dietary fats in moderation, DON’T MAKE YOU FAT. 


  1. 20-40% of your daily intake should be fats.
    1. A standard “low fat” diet contains 30% or less of its calories from fat.
    2. A “high fat” diet like keto will generally contain 75% of its calories from fat.
  2. Around 10% of that intake should be saturated fat.
    1. Not all saturated fats are bad, remember our friend MCT oil? Just make sure you’re limiting your saturated fats and working in healthier fats, and you’re good to go.
  3. These numbers are all a general rule. You may have dietary restrictions, different goals, or other things going on that will skew these numbers one way or another. As always, we recommend that you consult your doctor so you’re 100% sure where your intake should fall.

Fat, like carbs and protein, is an important piece to any balanced diet. If you need some ideas for healthy fat vs unhealthy fat substitutions, check out our handy substitution chart on our website, meathead test kitchen dot com. Find show notes, recipes, and our Amazon store there too. If you have any questions about your current fitness or nutrition plan, and you’re stuck… email us. hello at meathead test kitchen dot com. We’re here to help. And just another friendly remember, dietary fats… don’t make you fat. In moderation, they are just as healthy and helpful as any other nutrient you encounter in your daily life… just make sure you’re choosing wisely.

Episode sources:,%25%20fat)%20(%2013%20).

Need some inspiration? Here’s a list of our favorite healthy dietary fats.

Omega-3s are found naturally in some foods and are added to some fortified foods. You can get adequate amounts of omega-3s by eating a variety of foods, including the following:

  • Fish and other seafood (especially cold-water fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring, and sardines)
  • Nuts and seeds (such as flaxseed, chia seeds, and walnuts)
  • Plant oils (such as flaxseed oil, soybean oil, and canola oil)
  • Fortified foods (such as certain brands of eggs, yogurt, juices, milk, soy beverages, and infant formulas)


  • soybeans
  • corn
  • safflower and sunflower oils
  • nuts and seeds (walnuts, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, cashews)
  • eggs
  • Tofu
  • Peanut Butter

Monounsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature, but start to harden when chilled. (source:

  • They can help lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol level. Cholesterol is a soft, waxy substance that can cause clogged, or blocked, arteries (blood vessels). Keeping your LDL level low reduces your risk for heart disease and stroke.
  • Monounsaturated fats help develop and maintain your cells.

Most foods have a combination of all types of fats. Some have higher amounts of healthy fats than others. Foods and oils with higher amounts of monounsaturated fats include:

  • Nuts
  • Avocado
  • Canola oil
  • Olive oil
  • Safflower oil (high oleic)
  • Sunflower oil
  • Peanut oil and butter
  • Sesame oil



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