Fat, the most dense of the macronutrients (Protein, Carbs, Fat) packing 9 calories per gram compared to 4 calories per gram for the others. If we know that weight loss and weight gain comes down to calories in vs calories out, an oversimplified solution to losing or gaining weight could just be to control our fat intake, right? If I answer yes to this question, my defense is that consuming less fat than protein and carbs will keep my calories in control since I'm limiting the most dense macronutrient, or the reverse, increasing just my fat will help me gain weight. If I answer no, I might defend my choice by saying a calorie surplus/deficit is created by eating the right number of calories, no matter if it's fat, carbs, or protein.
Now, as you know, I am all about finding the easiest (and safest!) ways to help everyone get the results they want...if you didn't know this about me, you probably didn't read the HUGE title on the first page of my website, and that's ignorant. Anyways, had you asked me a few weeks ago, of course the "politically correct" answer for a trainer is to support is the second answer, all macronutrients are important and any can cause weight gain/weight loss, which I do believe. However, based on a recent experiment, I am now more inclined to provide a simplier solution first, for you to try on your own.
So I have a couple of clients who eat really well, cook their own food, etc. but still weren't losing weight and didn't know why, and I didn't either. Though I don't promote counting calories right away for my clients, especially new ones, these particular clients were motivated enough to count their calories and macronutrients to figure out what the issue was. I must say, the results gave us the answers we were looking for...proper calorie counting ALWAYS DOES. What we found was that while we were looking for a protein to carb to fat ratio of 50% 30% 20% respectively, what we were getting was more of a 25% 40% 35% ratio, and sometimes fat even made up 40-50%! Unless you are doing a ketogenic diet, fat should not be the highest macronutrient you eat every day. Countless studies for weight loss support consuming most of your calories from protein.
So how did this happen? Well, fat is like the overweight hitchhiker quietly sitting in the back seat of your calorie car with protein and carbs in the front. You kind of forget about him/her because you are worried about keeping carb under control, they have a short temper. Eventually with protein as the main focus, consuming copious amount of it, especially animal protein (meat and dairy), and cooking with butter/oil, use condiments on your food, your fat hitchhiker slowly but surely keeps growing, and at a faster rate then protein and carbs in the front seat, and soon takes over the entire calorie car. Though you may have eaten 200g of protein or 800 calories of protein, all it takes is 89g of fat for the equivalent number of calories! Not only are your ratios all messed up, your compact calorie car now transforms into an SUV to support your fat hitchhiker. So, now I challenge all of you wanting to lose weight to eat LESS fat, and those of you wanting to gain weight to eat MORE FAT.
P.S. Eating out is never the answer.