Fat Loss Nutrition Science

It’s a bit of a pain to type right now seeing as the index finger on my right hand is about double its normal size…

I sprained it (the metacarpalphalangeal joint to be specific) a week ago sparring not because my right cross is overly powerful but because the sparring gloves I was using were a piece of crap. They seem to channel all force through the one knuckle.

Therefore, I highly recommend against cheap (Title Platinum) sparring gloves unless you enjoy typing with a bag of peas secured to your finger to keep the swelling down.

Sports injury therapy at its finest.

That’s what I get for being cheap – damn you Chinese genetics!

A couple of days ago I picked up a pair of Top Ten Superfight gloves before my last sparring session. Even though my finger was already in pain, I was no worse for wear afterwards. Highly recommended!

Anyway, I’d been meaning to write this post up but have put it off due to the finger and also because I’ve been very busy dealing with Amanda who just won her first fight at the Canadian Nationals tournament – 2 more to go!

Now, what I want to talk to you today is about fat loss nutrition science.

I haven’t talked a lot about nutrition lately, focusing more on training, but nutrition is at least 50% of the performance puzzle.

When you’re in your 20’s, you can get away with eating like crap and your body might not show much for it and it might not even impact your performance that much.

With that being said, if you were to clean up your eating, who knows how explosive and energetic you’d be…

The thing is, as you age, nutrition becomes more and more important.

Our bodies simply can’t deal with crap all day long and will rebel, just like your girlfriend would if all you ever did was go hang out with your buddies. Trust me, I’ve been there. 🙂

Now the reason why I’m talking about fat loss specifically here is because your body tells me how you’re doing with your nutrition.

Your Body Has No Mechanism For Lying

You can talk all day about how well you eat but if you’ve got a thick layer of insulation covering your abs or you’ve been considering getting fitted for a sports bra (manzeer or BRO for you Seinfeld fans), then it’s time to listen up and clean it up.

Before we continue, I’ve got one question…

[poll id=”10″]

Thanks for voting…

Now, there’s a lot of hype and hoopla surrounding fat loss on the net, in magazines, on TV and even in the academic world, too.

Because of this, I want to clear up one of the most popular myths that is still hanging around today about fat loss: the myth that FAT makes you FAT.

Yes, it’s true – fat DOES NOT make you fat.

Nor does it negatively impact your cholesterol.

Real, natural fat, that is.

But trans fat will make you fat. Or kill you. Probably both.

Read those 4 sentences above again, just to make sure you get this important point.



Need actual proof?

Well I say good for you!

Don’t just believe whatever some guy behind a keyboard typing with a bag of peas elastic banded to his finger says.

That would be stupid.

So let’s talk scientific proof.

This study compared obese women separated into 2 groups:

“One group of dieters was instructed to follow an ad libitum diet with a maximum intake of 20 g carbohydrate/d… After 2 wk of dieting, subjects were permitted to increase their intake of carbohydrate to 40–60 g/d only if self-testing of urinary ketones continued to indicate ketosis… The other group of dieters was instructed on a calorie-restricted, moderately low fat diet with a recommended macronutrient distribution of 55% carbohydrate, 15% protein, and 30% fat.”

The important point is that those following the low carb diet could eat as much of whatever else they wanted, as long as they kept their carb intake to certain levels.

The study lasted for 6 months and here’s a graph showing the results:

The high fat/low carb group lost 10 more pounds than the low fat/low calorie group.

You can also see that from 3 to 6 months, the low calorie/low fat group started gaining weight again.

Speaks for itself, doesn’t it?

Now, that’s great, we’ve got some scientific proof showing fat doesn’t make you fat.

“Sure, fat might not make me fat, but won’t it give me a heart attack?”

Good question.

I’m sick of science. I want to look at something more interesting. Let’s look at some trends.

Just remember that when looking at these trends, I’m not implying causation, but you can make your own conclusions based on the facts.

Before 1920, heart disease was rare in America.

From 1910 – 1970, butter consumption declined from 18 pounds per person per year to 4 pounds.

If saturated fat were the cause of heart disease, reducing butter this much should’ve made a big difference, right?

But in that same time period, heart disease went from being rare to the leading cause of death among Americans!

Oh and in that same period, the consumption of vegetable oils in the form of margarine and refined oils increased 400% and sugar and processed foods increased 60%. Overall fat intake declined.

In reading this, what are your conclusions?

I know what mine are: natural fat from things like butter are OK while refined oils, sugar and processed foods will kill me.

Cultured butter is made with active bacteria (like yogurt). This is my fave.

There’s a ton of science backing this up, like this study, and this one, but like I said, sometimes I just get sick of the science.

Because the only studies that really matter are the studies you perform on yourself.

No matter what the research study is, it doesn’t take into account the differences of each and every individual.

You, my friend, are a unique individual with unique needs.

So my recommendation, despite everything I’ve said here, is to drop any dogma and instead, be your own lab rat.

Make your best educated guess as to what might work for your goals.

If fat loss is your goal, you’ve got a simple blueprint to follow up above.

Then, make a plan and stick to it. Observe the results. If it worked, keep going. If not, try something else.

Easy peasy!


Got a plan?



Hate mail?

I’d love to hear it. Even the hate mail. Let’s chat.

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8 years ago

hey im an ammy mma fighter – i walk around at 160 fight at 145 – would like to try and fight lower than that – but i have a huge problelem with keeping the weight off. ill only have good foods for a weekend and then go back to my healthier diet plan but i have a huge problem keeping it off and maintaining. Would love to talk if you want to send me an email that would be great!
Thank you!

8 years ago

Hi Eric,

I enjoyed reading your post. It’s true what you say about fat. Fat it’s around 30% of my diet and I’m leaner than when I almost did not eat any fats.

I’m also a firm believer that Omega 3 fish supplements are great for health. I’ve been using then for some months and I can tell you I feel the difference, it helps me to recover faster, it is just the only supplement I take,

Thanks for this post Eric!

9 years ago

So, just about a year ago I weighed 220 and not a good 220. I made a drastic change to my diet. Basically went Paleo with a few exceptions. I allowed greek yogurt, butter, and good hardy oatmeal. I used only extra virgin olive oil, cut out refined sugars, and never ate anything out of a package. Lots of leafy greens and fresh meat and seafood. It didn’t take long to feel the difference. I wore size 38-40 pants. I am now weighing 187-192, 34-36 pants and engage in some kind of physical activity everday; usually my bike. All I use for resistance(3x wk) right now are bands and body weight(TRX). Occasionally I carry big rocks down by the river. I beleive I continue to change my body comp for the better. My goal is 175 semi-ripped : )
P.S. I can’t imagine eating any other way now.

9 years ago

I have that keyboard. That is all.

Seriously though, great article I hate the mainstream attitude to nutrition it makes me ANGRY!
Since I started having an interest in training I have come across only two people which i consistantly fall back on for both nutrition advice and training advice, You (Eric) and Elliott Hulse.And yet again you provide me with sound information.

9 years ago

Makes me think about a saying Ive heard-“If man made it, spit it out”. Im sure there have been several fitness guru types that have said this

9 years ago

Hi there.
First of all let me congratulate you for the great post.
I was always under the impression that carbs were like the fuel to muscles, so if your lowering them wont you be compromising your muscle performance??
Keep those posts comming and sorry if my english isn´t that great.

9 years ago
Reply to  Miguel

Hey I notice some questions about how you’d be able to work out without eating carbohydrates because “carbohydrates are fuel for muscle..”, and I just wanted to share a bit of what I’ve experienced. I am an amateur MMA fighter, and competing in weight class sports makes body fat a really big deal. So I started doing carbohydrate restriction to help with the weight cutting process. When you start you will feel kind of off and weird for a week or two, but if you’ve done it before only a couple of days. Then you start to feel awesome, with no highs and lows between meals. Now I’ve pretty much stuck to a very low carbohydrate diet because I like it. What I noticed with workouts was that after I had adjusted I seemed to get a mild increase in performance on the mat, but the first big thing I… Read more »

8 years ago
Reply to  Justin

Hey Justin,

I agree with what you said, I think the fact that you don’t feel more high and downs is because you reduce the amount of insuline spikes by reducing carb intake (and probably have a better insuline control by getting carbs from fruits, veggies and whole grains).

Just one question, what kind of food/supplement do you take for post-workout nutrition? It seems to be a consensus about consuming high carbs + protein supplement (2:1 ratio) after training and take advantage of the insuline spike to promote muscle growth and replenish glycogen stores.

What do you think about this?

9 years ago

Hi Eric, It was good to read your post. It verified what I knew already (no less because my hubby wont stop banging on about it!). The trouble I have is that I’m a vegetarian and I also dont eat egg or fish. So getting protein is more difficult which results in me eating more carbs than I probably should. That teamed with 3 kids under 8yrs gives me less time. Excuses I hear you thinking. Maybe it is? But I think I find it hard to plan meals for the week. I think if I had that sussed then that would be half the battle won. (There are other proteins available like tofu and protein sausages etc but I really have no clue if they are any good or not.) Can you help?

9 years ago

Happy new Year ,Hope you & the new wife had a great one.I always enjoy your posts your courses have helped me to focus on my goals as an over 52 year old martial artist. I agree that cheep tools will hurt you in the long run. The Low T cheat sheet did the trick for my training & other fun things. More info on the fat to fitness to carb would be great. Ps can you address how a person working on the off shift from 6:00 pm to 6:00 am can space their meals for optimum weight loss.Thank you again.