I have seen two pieces of advice on losing body fat, one to consistently consume 500 calories below your maintenance threshold (which I read on a post here), the other that no more than 20% of total calories consumed should come from fat.

The current diet plan I have meets the first criteria but 40% of total calories are coming from fat. Is this going to slow my progress down a lot, or is it much more important to be in caloric deficit?

Thank you in advance.

  • 2
    Where did you read that no more than 20% of calories should come from fat? That makes no sense. Maybe they meant saturated fat.
    – Wood
    Commented Nov 15, 2019 at 1:46
  • 2
    Calories are the ultimate deciding factor. Certain macro spreads are more conducive towards certain goals, but the loss of bodyfat can occur with any macro spread provided that calorie intake is below expenditure. Commented Nov 15, 2019 at 2:13
  • 1
    I suggest listening to Jason Fung and Saschen Panda.
    – Chris
    Commented Nov 16, 2019 at 23:38

6 Answers 6


Yes, being in a caloric deficit is what drives fat loss.

The proportion of calories coming from fat is unlikely to make any difference to your results, assuming similar protein intake, and assuming that fat intake is not so extremely low that it causes hormonal problems. Commonly recommended minimum fat intakes are around 0.6-0.8 grams per kilogram or bodyweight, per day. You can quite safely get more than 20% of your daily calories from fat.


"Isocaloric [very low carb] results in similar fat loss than [very low fat and high unsaturated fat] diets low in saturated fat"


"The isocaloric [ketogenic diet] was not accompanied by increased body fat loss"


"After 3 weeks, the isoenergetic [very low carb diet] and [low fat diet] fed [obese] mice showed similar weight loss."


"Consuming energy primarily as carbohydrate or fat for 3 mo did not differentially influence visceral fat and metabolic syndrome in a low-processed, lower-glycemic dietary context. Our data do not support the idea that dietary fat per se promotes ectopic adiposity and cardiometabolic syndrome in humans."

  • Thank you for this, really helpful answer. Commented Nov 20, 2019 at 11:22

If you want a non-conventional view about losing weight & diet in general, I suggest you look at this video from Julien Pineau. The study is there.

Basically, the study shows that food does not matter as much as we think. Your nervous system matters a lot to lose fat. This also supports somehow the possibility to lose weight locally as advertised by some bodyduilders


actually increasing your fat intake to about 1g per kg of bodyweight(for 200lb person roughly 90g) is recommended to keep hormone levels balanced during a cut, as well as getting a chunk of your calories from to replace the carbs you are cutting out. it also helps with other things but that's a story for another day. you still need a calorie deficit. just make sure its healthy fat. the world health recommendation for saturated fat is below 16g a day for a 200lb person. carbs are the main macro you'll be watching like a hawk.. along with an incredible amount of protein to reduce muscle breakdown or loss of strength.

my suggested macros are below:

cutting: 1g or more protein per lb of bodyweight.. very important during a cut. 35 to 40%.

fat 1 g for every kg of bodyweight(notice its kg not lb) roughly 30%

carbs-..75 to 1g per lb of bodyweight. 30 to 35%

bulking: .protein-75 to 1 or more grams per lb . 30%

carbs -1.5 to 2g per lb. 50%

fat-20% of diet<-- this is the only time you want your fats to be lower. for a 3000 calorie diet this equates to 600 calories from fat or 67 g

if you need to reduce your calories, start with carbs, but Try to stay in a healthy range to avoid loss of muscle which occurs from lack of glycogen in the muscles. then protein then fat can be reduced. after a while your metabolism will adapt and you'll have to cut more calories or try carb cycling to continue cutting.

  • Thank you, very helpful. Commented Nov 20, 2019 at 11:21

Imo the less calories you get from carbs the better it is for loosing fat. The extreme being keto diet or skipping a meal (provided you do not snack, not a single gram of a glucose providing food) or more extreme fasting.

In addition to that, fats and carbs aren't digested the same way, at the same speed and do not impact insulin the same way. So it is unfair, probably unintentionally due to lack of infos, to compare fats calories and carbs calories as if they were the same.

In simple words, the lesser the carbs in your meal (more fat at the same time) the greater chances to not have an insulin spike, fast, and start building fat. The faster your body would be in a state of fat burning as fuel, instead of glucose.

Look at this article https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/theres-no-sugar-coating-it-all-calories-are-not-created-equal-2016110410602.


Yes, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lGsZfhHLsEU for a much better explaination on why you can even eat cake and still lose eight


to lose body fat current science supports 2 parallel actions, intermittent fasting and high intensity intermittent exercise. Intermittent fasting works by first slowing and reducing the release of insulin, increasing thyroid and growth hormone. Slowing or decreasing insulin allows your body to burn fat for energy which will have the effect of decreasing body fat. Increasing thyroid and growth hormone will facilitate the building of muscle. I knowmof no randomised control study supporting calories as a way to regulate body fat. Body fat is regulated by hormones,mprimarily insulin.

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