By Brett Franciosi

Let’s continue our nutrition discussion. Last time we chatted about how all three macronutrients played a role in the total caloric value of each food item. I would like to talk a little more in detail about each macronutrient, why it’s important and how our body utilizes it.

Let’s start by talking about fat.

You may recall that fat was unique from the other macronutrients in that it has a value of 9 calories per gram, as opposed to the 4 calories per gram found in carbohydrates and protein.

Why is that important to understand?

It’s important to understand for two reasons.

  • Caloric intake! When we look at the caloric density of fat it’s crucial to understand just how many calories of fat we consume on a daily basis. If you consume 10 grams of carbs that’s a total of 40 calories, but if you consume 10 grams of fat that’s 90 calories. That is more than 2x the amount of calories consumed when eating the same number of grams. If you continue that trend of over eating 50 extra calories at every meal for an entire week you would consume an extra 1,050 calories.
  • Energy! Believe it or not your body is a natural fat burner. I will say that again – your body is a natural fat burner. Now you may be wondering how is that even possible but think about it like this: If calories provide us with energy then why does our body store body fat? This seems like a puzzling question to most people, but it’s our body’s natural survival mechanism. Our body takes the extra calories we consume and because it has no use in it for, stores it, to utilize it at a later date.

So now you’re probably wondering well why you should even consume fat? If it is so high in calories and extra calories get stored as body fat then aren’t we essentially working against our goal?

The answer is NO!

Fat is essential for:

  1. hormone regulation
  2. absorbing nutrients
  3. protecting your organs
  4. supporting cell growth

and much more…

So here is my pro tip when it comes to fat consumption:

Fats are usually what makes certain foods taste delicious. Some examples of common fats are avocados, nut butters, oils and salad dressings. When it comes to any sort of topping, dressing or sauce that we add to a meal, remember the smallest amount we can use will help us save hundreds of calories each meal!

Brett is a certified personal trainer and certified vegan nutrition coach based out of Central Massachusetts. As a vegan athlete and fitness professional, Brett emphasizes the importance of a well rounded vegan diet and contributes most of his and his clients success to that approach. If you or someone you know is struggling with a vegan diet or are interested in transitioning to a vegan diet please contact him at bfranfitness@gmail.com.