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Oils and fats, what are the rules?

Hey everyone,

Before going into the "oils and fats" question, I'd like to give a little detail about myself up to now if that's ok...

I started the diet 2 weeks ago (tomorrow is my second day off).

The changes I'm noticing up to now:

I feel lighter, stronger and more energetic. I feel less lazy as well, because things feel "easier".

Stomach feels constantly full, I'm very rarely hungry, and sometimes I get cravings (but less these past couple of days). I am not sure if I lost any weight or body fat, or TI because I only measured any of them yesterday for the first time - but the weight wasn't too impressive... it seems I either weighed a lot more than I thought I did, and lost some weight these past 2 weeks, or I lost very little weight if any at all...

But other than that, things are getting easier. Way easier. To a point I think it might be too easy. So I gotta ask about a few things I was wondering about - mainly regarding oils and fats.

What I eat:

My proteins consist of eggs (organic, free range, so I eat them whole, usually 3 in breakfast), chicken breasts, tuna in oil (I drain it all) and sardines in olive oil. Sometimes (never over once a week) I eat a red meat steak.

Legumes are mainly black/pinto beans, and green/red lentils less often. I get about half a cup of beans with each meal, I take the amount down when I feel I'm full enough to skip them. With lentils, I eat more than half a cup.

Vegetables are changing, but I try to eat as much spinach as I can, cruciferous vegetables (cauliflower, broccoli, kohlrabi, asparagus), I eat some zucchini, often as a side-dish. Cucumbers, tomatoes, bell peppers, any herbs I have... with vegetables I just go with whatever's in stock.

As far as amounts go, I use a plate that's a bit wider than the length of my hand, I usually try to get 30 grams of protein from my meat/fish (I also try not to overload my plate with meat), I cut my legumes as low as I can (half a cup or less), I eat vegetables with every meal and I sometimes use a lemon zest on my food. I like eating pickles and olives from time to time, with the meal. Just a few of both.

I really think my amounts are pretty decent. So I gotta wonder about oils.

Maybe I'm consuming too much oil with my meals?

I usually fry my food in a pan, with olive oil. If it's an omelette, I use a tablespoon or two of olive oil. If it's a chicken beast, I do the same. I eat oiled tuna, and oiled sardines. I hate the watery types. But I drain the oil as much as possible, even washing them with water after draining.

I can add a tablespoon of butter to a pot of lentil soup (4-5 servings in the pot).

I eat olives, which are rich in oils.

If I had to estimate my daily "added oils", in which I count oils in the tuna or sardines that don't wash away, and oils I add to my eggs and chicken breast, I could reach about 5-6 tablespoons of (usually) olive oil, and rarely more. Add to that the oil in egg yolks (I eat 3 a day), and the chicken fat from the breast (which should be minor)....

I'm really wondering if that's too much.

I know Tim says olive oil is fine in any amount, and I really don't think what I eat is too much, but after failing so many diets - I'm not going to fail this one. I'll starve myself if it has to be that way, but I will stick to whatever this diet requires.

Could anyone elaborate on the subject of oils?

How much is too much, when the rule says "eat as much as u want"?


The Best Answer

United-States flag

We need fats in order to become fat-burners, and for proper brain/neuro functioning. See Mark's Daily Apple (search fats) for some discussion on fats.

SCD is not about calories. It's about resetting the hormones involved in hunger, satiety or fat burning vs fat storage.

As long as the fats we consume are "clean", they're all good for us, and in my opinion in any amount that it takes to satisfy us. (No one I know would sit down and eat a stick of butter or drink a cup of olive oil though!). So, the good fats would be those from organic/grassfed/antiobiotic-free animals or fish. Also good are butter (preferably grassfed) olive oil, nuts, egg yolks, avocado, coconut oil, olives. Do not consume any fats like margarines, canola/corn/vegetable oils, or hydrogenated fats (like Crisco etc). Those bad fats encourage inflammation, which goes hand in hand with overweight/fat storage.

I myself have never limited any type of fats on SCD except nuts because those come in tandem with carbs. (67 lbs off so far, and btw my skin is gorgeous for a woman my age, if I say so myself! I'm 54. The right fats give us better skin too.)

Fats keep us full longer too. We have to have them.

  • Alon Tako commented Oct 26th 2012:

    In the past I did different diets, a couple of them were based on eating only veggies, meats and healthy fats. I ate a lot of fats in place of carbs, and it resulted in a plateau after a month. All of them.

    I have no idea why, but that's how it was. So this time, although they're allowed, I try to minimize my fat intake. I eat only good fats (butter, olive oil, cod liver) and sometimes others, but I try to minimize it...

    Thing is, there's a lot of different approaches even here. You said we need them, Drewfis said it's fine, brenda says it's not. I'm confused. :)

  • Dmayoff Mayoff commented Oct 26th 2012:

    Actually I would say everyone is right.


    I am not sure what your goals are, but as you said, you felt great, so that's good.

    But,I will assume that you do this to lose weight.

    Since you haven't weighed yourself you don't have a benchmark...if you took regular measurements and monitored how it affects you, you could see if something were stalling you then you could experiment and maybe, this would mean: reduce oils?

    Different strokes for differnt folks.

    Good luck!

  • Douglas Sheehan Douglas Sheehan commented Oct 26th 2012:

    Brenda is wrong. Calories are not to be counted. Good fats are important and good for you.

  • Brenda 7 commented Oct 26th 2012:

    If you reread my post, i said "for me personally" also i didn't say he should be counting calories, i just made a statement that 1 tbspn of olive oil was 120 calories, i looked on my bottle!

All Answers


United-States flag

I cook the exact same way and I lost over 40 lbs in 2 and a half months, use as much evoo as it takes to cook your food in a way that results in something edible enough to merit a LOT of repetition.

  • Alon Tako commented Oct 26th 2012:

    I guess I have to wait and see. There are different answers everywhere, and past experience says fats are something I should be careful with...


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Don't you think that Tim Ferris' views should trump anyone else. I think it should be his opinion followed first. If he says "eat as much as you want" and "don't count calories" then maybe we should listen to him. Those good fats you're eating are keeping you fuller longer along with the beans. Fat free diets don't work.........look at America's waist line.

  • Dmayoff Mayoff commented Oct 26th 2012:

    No one said fat-free, I personally love and include fats, but the week where I went all crazy with butter is the week I didn't lose anything; I have since reduced the amount of butter (but i still use it) and I am losing weight...I believe that Tim would agree to experiment with different combinations of food until you get something that works for you...all within the SCD approach...or maybe not...who knows?

    The point of this site seems to be for people to chat their successes, failures, comments, ideas and questions and also to provide encouragement. If we all simply followed the book to the letter, we might not need to come here and ask questions.

    Tim is awesome, but he's not my boss.


United-States flag

I think you need to reevaluate everything after you've had some time to watch any changes in your measurements & weight. For me personally i think you are adding to much oil, One tablespoon of olive oil is 120 calories! wouldn't you rather be eating something else calorie wise then oil! like veggies. I usually just drizzle olive oil in my pan before i cook anything, and today i measured and it's less then a tablespoon, if whatever i'm cooking needs more moisture i add a little bit of water. And, i'd absolutely take out the butter in the lentils. Also did you take your measurements with a tape measure or just the body fat measure with calipers?

Update: Everyone's body is different, i get enough oils from other foods that is why i cook with less, plus i don't like greasy food anymore. I did the fast food route in fact that's probably what i ate the most because my back hurt too much at night to cook, but now i've never cooked so much and am eating good stuff!! plus my back & hips hardly hurt now.

Each person has to see what works for his or her body. And, Tim has changed some of his views since writing the book, i think it's on his blog. So i take a lot of everything i read and hear with a grain of salt and see what works best for me. I don't count calories nor have i since i started the SCD diet and i'm going on my 12th week with 26 pounds lost and 39 inches. I'm 67 and my skin looks excellent too!!

  • Alon Tako commented Oct 26th 2012:

    I took measurements, no fat percentage. I don't have the tools. I measure weight and measurements.

    It's odd for me that people have different conceptions about fat in this diet. I mean, eating good fats is obvious - I completely avoid unhealthy fats. But when it comes to amounts, some people say lower the amounts as much as possible, and some say you should just eat however much you like.

  • Drewfis H commented Oct 26th 2012:

    This is because everyone's body is different. The best suggestions on here so far are to wait, test, and adapt if needed. Changing your lifestyle and eating habits is all about experimentation, and this forum is designed for cross referencing that experimentation. So try a week with less fat, see if it accelerates your progress enough to be worth it. If it isn't, continue with your current regiment. I try to switch something up every week, small stuff but enough of a change to determine results if there are any. Good luck with you're experiments!

  • Dmayoff Mayoff commented Oct 26th 2012:

    Well said Drew fis!

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