Eat LESS fat to lose more weight?
Eat LESS fat to lose more weight? , 01-09-2013 03:16 PM

Advanced Low-Carber

Before you all shoot me hear me out

As we all know, and as Steve Phinney will back me up on, I well formulated low carb ketogenic diet should be mostly fat, moderate protein, and low carb. Phinney says he probably eats about 80% fat daily, and I forgot the figures he estimated for protein and carbs. I'm guessing it was 17% protein and 3% carbs.

The reasoning is that your body needs a lot of fat to help in the gluconeogenesis process (as well as some protein) and the byproduct is steady glucose and ketones for energy.

I've been at a stall for over 6-8 months now and I'm quite good at sticking to a low carb/ketogenic lifestyle. I feel great and feel I'm doing it right. But I want to get to a very low BF%. Currently I am at 12% (down from my starting of about 25+ and measured by hydrostatic weighing) but I have lots of visible lower abs, lower back, and rear end fat (which is very odd as I am male). I try to aim for similar figures to Phinney. But my weight hasn't budged a pound in a while.

So I'm wondering if by aiming for such a high fat content, my body is meeting its daily requirements of fat so it doesn't bother mobilizing that last 10-15 pounds of fat I'm trying to lose?

So what I'm thinking of doing is cutting down my daily fat intake but importantly NOT upping carbs and protein intake by weight/calories. So let's assume right now I'm eating 2000 calories a day. That is 1600 calories of fat (approx 180 grams), 320 calories of protein (80 grams), and 80 calories of carbs (20 grams). Do you guys think it'll be helpful to keep the protein and carbs the same (80 and 20 grams) and cut the fat intake way down until I hit my target weight? The thing that concerns me is that this will become a very low calorie diet, but then again I never really get hungry anymore anyways, being all keto-adapted and all.

I'm thinking 500-700 cals fat MAX, and protein the same (still 320 calls - no change). That puts me around 1000 cals a day +-100. I know very low calorie diets can be dangerous but does that really only apply to people on a SAD diet and people who no longer have fat to mobilize? Since or bodies, while keto adapted, can create constant energy from dietary and stored body fat + dietary protein (and hopefully not too much muscle protein).

Let me know what you guys think!
RE: Eat LESS fat to lose more weight? , 01-09-2013 03:30 PM

Senior Low-Carber

I'm thinking 500-700 cals fat MAX, and protein the same (still 320 calls - no change). That puts me around 1000 cals a day +-100. I know very low calorie diets can be dangerous but does that really only apply to people on a SAD diet and people who no longer have fat to mobilize? Since or bodies, while keto adapted, can create constant energy from dietary and stored body fat + dietary protein (and hopefully not too much muscle protein).

Let me know what you guys think!
That seems very reasonable to me.... as a starting place not a place to stay.

I have been stuck in the same 5 pound range for the last few months but well off my highs of the past, so I feel your pain.

One of the things I've started to do in the new year is cut back protein as I suspect that is my culprit food. I just don't consume ANY carbohydrate except whats found in green leafy vegetables and my fat consumption has been steady for the last year. I'm not currently trying to increase my fats, but if I get hungry I am trying to address the hunger with high fat foods like Macadamia nuts or Cheese as opposed to my previous go-to which was a carrot or celery stick with perhaps some deli meat... in other words tilting to more fat.

I have always believed the advantage to a keto-adapted lifestyle was not so much the metabolic advantage of ketones over glucose as fuel, but the fact that caloric intake naturally drifts down as the percentages change. That would seem to be what you are describing and so long as you can do this and not get hungry then I'd say you are on a viable path.
RE: Eat LESS fat to lose more weight? , 01-09-2013 10:10 PM


I think you would like

If you are healthy and have been doing LC right for a while, you are ready for the next step-

Just eat less.

I think your system can handle doing what you propose without messing things up. Your fat burning should be in good shape, so put it to work.

When people speak of very low calorie diets that wreck metabolism, for you I think that would be like 800 or less, and you aren't going that low.

Here's something I wrote on how that works...
RE: Eat LESS fat to lose more weight? , 01-10-2013 05:32 AM

Advanced Low-Carber

yep, i agree. Overall calories are important during the weight loss phase. But you won't be hungry on a high fat diet. Once you are used to a low carb high fat diet it is very easy to cut back on quantity. believe me, at the right calorie level, the weight will fall off. Just be careful, because i find that if I let the fat content slip too low, I tend to start getting cravings and feeling like i need more food. Invariably I tend to up my carbs and end up in a worse place. if you feel hunger - eat more fat until you find a sustainable level.

My blog for freelance writers:

I lost 50 pounds on a ketogenic diet early 2012. I have kept it off ever since on a low carb high fat diet. My weight is now stable and "normal" for the first time in my adult life
RE: Eat LESS fat to lose more weight? , 01-11-2013 02:33 PM

Advanced Low-Carber

Thanks for the input guys! I'm definitely checking out So I'll go with my plan (which I guess is essentially "eat less"). I'll keep you all posted on my progress. This will be very weird going low carb, moderate protein... and low-ish fat. I was looking at everything I eat currently and it is no way low fat haha.
RE: Eat LESS fat to lose more weight? , 01-11-2013 06:52 PM

Expert Low-Carber

Bobbylayz, my personal experience when I let calories get too low is that weightloss stopped, and my thyroid around that time was pretty hypo according to the TSH (not a good measure, but all I could get from my HMO). When I realized how low I'd let my calories drop, I bumped things back up to about 1500/day, weight started to move down again, and my TSH went down (despite the endo's claims that diet has no effect on thyroid).

I'm not saying don't do it, just saying what my experience was. You may have a very different response. I know the argument goes that if a caloric deficit stalls weight loss then people would never starve. Of course you can get beyond a certain point and your body will start burning things to stay alive--my understanding is what usually burns off at that point is lean body mass, NOT fat.

Now, it may very well be that nutritional ketosis changes that picture by allowing the body to preferentially burn fat even in the presence of a significant energy deficit. So it will be very interesting to see how your body responds. But I would be concerned about the hormonal impact and watch it carefully. I think it's worthwhile to track thyroid (especially free T3, free T4, and rT3) and insulin during your experiement as well as weight and body measurements. And if you have some way to track whether weight loss is due to fat or lean body mass, I think that would be important as well.

And please keep us posted.
RE: Eat LESS fat to lose more weight? , 01-11-2013 07:07 PM

Advanced Low-Carber


I'll definitely keep you all posted. I would go get my thyroid checked out but my HMO won't let me check much either. I'm considering paying it out of pocket.

But I do have a way of testing body fat/lean body mass. I've done it a few times. Around here there is a mobile body fat testing facility that does hydrostatic body fat testing (the gold standard for body fat % measurement) where they weigh you underwater and out of water and do various calculations. The last time I got tested was right before my stall started at 12% body fat. That was probably last May or June (yes, I've been stalled for that long while not changing the diet at all). And to those of you who think 12% is low enough, when my shirt is off I actually still look a bit overweight/chunky. You can see some definition on the top two sections of my abs but it ends there.

I have results of my NMR Lipoprofile from back then as well where my LDL-P was sky high for some reason (>3000), but all other numbers were superb. I haven't tested since then since the test is very expensive. But I am planning on doing it soon to see if the year in dieting since then has made those levels drop down. But I'm afraid cutting out the fat in my diet that I am planning on doing will cause my HDL and all those other numbers to plummet. So I'm at a crossroad here. Do I do the NMR test after a month of trying this lowering of fat intake while in ketosis? Or should I wait til I am done lowering fat and going back to high fat for a bit to do the NMR?
RE: Eat LESS fat to lose more weight? , 01-11-2013 07:21 PM


The Paleo crowd has bought into the idea that doing LC will "wreck thyroid" and they use TSH numbers to back it up. The problem with that is that it is incorrect. Your TSH will move a little if you make some changes, but this shows an adjustment, not disease. TSH means thyroid stimulating hormone. It measures how much prompting your thyroid is experiencing for the moment. If you body adjusts, it will adjust. Nothing to panic about.

If you want to know if you wrecked metabolism by starving yourself, you need the rT3 number, not TSH. If your rT3 number is off enough to matter, you will know it when you look in the mirror. You won't be anywhere near 12% body fat.
RE: Eat LESS fat to lose more weight? , 01-11-2013 07:46 PM

Advanced Low-Carber

Yeah I've been struggling with those ideas for a while too. Whether or not most of the thyroid numbers should be focused on unless there is a huge problem. I happened upon that idea when I was panicking about my extremely high LDL-P numbers. I figured I'd wait a while and then test again (NMR Lipoprofile) instead of trying to micromanage the thyroid numbers.
RE: Eat LESS fat to lose more weight? , 01-13-2013 09:40 PM

Advanced Low-Carber

Just a quick update. I've been eating less fat and the same amount of protein and carbs (actually maybe a bit less protein since I'm keeping better track of protein now) for a few days now. It is premature to say, but I think I do see some slight visual changes in the mirror! I've also been doing some resistance training and light aerobic exercise (don't worry, no running) which might have made the visual changes more apparent.

Interestingly enough, even when ketogenic for a few months without a single day being above 20 grams of carbs (enough time to keto-adapt), I have ALWAYS shown color on the ketostix. I know for most people this color eventually goes away as your body adjusts and uses up all the ketones with no excess to spill in urine. So my theory was that I was eating more fat than my body needed so there were a lot of excess ketones never being used. Now, while I'm eating 40-50 grams fat a day (waaaay below what I usually eat), 100 (+- some) grams of proteins, and <20 grams carbs, I'm still showing color on the urinalysis sticks. Correct me if I'm wrong but that would imply that my body is still breaking down a fair amount of fat (both dietary [which isn't a lot these days] and stored), right?

Can the body switch gluconeogenesis to using primarily protein and still produce a lot of ketones? From my (surface level) understanding, gluconeogenesis requires SOME proteins and MOSTLY fat (and from broken down fat comes the ketones). I just want to confirm my understanding as to not be risking my muscle protein, and confirm that the ketone strips are showing because I am in fact breaking down lots of FAT still.

I'll await your thoughts. In the meantime I'll track my observations and keep you all posted!
RE: Eat LESS fat to lose more weight? , 02-05-2013 09:39 AM

Newbie Low-Carber

Bumping to see if anyone has any comments on your last post.
Plus to see how you are doing?
RE: Eat LESS fat to lose more weight? , 02-08-2013 12:07 AM

Advanced Low-Carber

Plus to see how you are doing?

Pics a few comments down in the last few days my weight stalled again and this morning I woke up 2 pounds even lighter!