In the above video, I discuss the dangers of low fat dieting, and how many grams of fat per day is optimal for proper gut health and digestive functioning.
Arguing against a low fat diet may seem a bit counter-intuitive to some but, as a nutritional scientist, I can assure you that the popular fad of low fat dieting is not something to be taken lightly, and studies are demonstrating that a long-term low fat diet can be a major contributor to your gut health issues and digestive symptoms.
In the above video, I explain exactly how many grams of fat per day is the perfect amount for optimizing gut health and improving digestion.
The Dangers of Low-Fat Dieting
Before I continue, I should make it clear that this video is NOT meant to scorn low-fat dieters. In fact, I myself used to be one! As a young girl, I fell victim to the cycle of low-fat dieting for years, because that’s what marketing, the media, fitness resources and even government guidelines propagate as the ‘correct’ way to be healthy and lose weight. If you’re subscribed, you will know how that story ended: with the development of a severe digestive disorder that took me years to overcome.
After filtering through countless studies that clearly demonstrate the digestive dangers of these low fat diets, I have absolutely no doubt that my extremely low daily fat intake was a major contributor to the deterioration of my gut health and the development of my digestive disorder.
To understand how many grams of fat per day is best for you, you must first understand the role of the gallbladder in fat digestion.The gallbladder is responsible for secreting digestive fluids, namely bile, in response to detecting food in the stomach.This digestive fluid provides some of our greatest aid for breaking down difficult to digest meals, such as those containing high levels of fat.
When fat is present in the stomach, the gallbladder contracts and ejects a large proportion of bile to assist digestion, however when little or no fat is present, the gallbladder releases minimal amounts of bile, as the aid of such digestive fluid is not highly necessary. This detection process works great when your diet is varied and balanced – however, several issues can arise when you consistently have low levels of daily fat intake for an extended period of time.
This is because low fat meals do not produce maximal emptying of the gallbladder, while also reducing stimulation of CCK, a hormone which stimulates bile release and the secretion of pancreatic enzymes. This means that low daily fat intake result in reduced production of both digestive fluids and digestive enzymes.
Through this process, diets which consistently encourage low daily fat intake can, over time, contribute to poor gut health and digestive symptoms.
So, the big question – how many grams of fat per day is the right amount for you?
As always, you’ve got a scientist on your side and I’m here to make things easy!
Instructions: How Many Grams of Fat to Maximize Digestion and Nutrient Absorption
In order to appropriately kickstart your gallbladder and digestion into gear, you need to reach a perfect balancing act of consuming enough fat to produce maximal release of digestive fluids and enzymes, while also not exceeding the amount of fat that your body and digestion can handle. That perfect balance of how many grams of fat per day to consume, appears to be reached by consuming a minimum of 10g of fat per meal.
Several studies have shown that consuming a minimum of 10g fat per meal results in maximum gallbladder emptying. Studies have shown that even higher amounts of fat may achieve even greater effects for digestive enzyme secretion. So if you can tolerate it, you’re welcome to increase your daily fat intake to much more than this, but if you’re just starting out, 10g of fat per meal is an absolute minimum for optimal digestive capacity.
As a personal example, if you want to know how many grams of fat per day I consume, I experience the best digestive results between 20-25g of fat per meal. Anything above is welcome, but doesn’t appear to enhance my digestion any further. In total, this puts my daily fat intake at a minimum of around 75g if I’m eating 3 meals in a day, but I’ll often consume much more.
I promise, this amount is not going to encourage weight gain if you’re worried about it, and in fact, consuming enough fat with meals has actually shown to better control blood sugar levels, therefore producing weight loss. So, the likely result of this is both a combination of weight loss and improved digestion. In fact, this feedback is quite common from my clients who increase their daily fat intake!
If you want to know more about how many grams of fat per day is going to improve gut health, and other ways to kick-start your gallbladder (with cool diagrams and everything!) check out this blog post.
Health begins in the gut,
Anita Tee, MSc Personalized Nutrition