My goal wit heach of my articles is to give you a basic and simple way of understanding nutrition – and it is not meant to be a university degree. I am not going into great detail and I am definitely not telling you everything about nutrition. If you would like to know some things in more detail then please ask questions.
As you probably know, fat has got a bad reputation and is being blamed for everything from cardiovascular risk to obesity to chronic disease. In reality, fat is hugely important for health and performance, and contributes to hormone production, joint lubrication, cell membrane formation, and much more.
The main reason for our high calorie derived health issues is a lack of self- control and eating too much – not the presence of fat consumption, which has actually decreased as our diet related woes have increased.
The trick is to choose the fats that are actually healthy and can be used by the body as an energy source during exercise.
Here are the fats too look for:
1) Monounsaturated, which can be found in an enormous range of foods, including: Oils – Olive Oil, Poppyseed, Grapeseed, Flax Seed Oil Seeds and Nuts – Sunflower Seeds, Sesame Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Almonds, Walnuts, Brazil Nuts, Cashews, Pecans, Poppyseeds, Macadamia Nuts, Pine Nuts, Hazelnuts Vegetables – Olives, Soybeans, Pea Pods, Leeks, Beans, Chickpeas, Avocado, Guacamole Fish – Salmon, Sardines, Herring, Shellfish, Anchovies.
2) Medium Chain Triglycerides, which are found in abundance in coconut foods, such as coconut milk and coconut oil.
3) healthy Saturated Fats (in moderation), such as omega-3 eggs, unsalted butter and organic beef. The 3 sources above should form about 25-30% of your dietary intake and on top of that it is important to increase your ratio of healthy omega 3’s to omega 6’s by supplementing with a fish oil or flax seed oil capsule.
Prior to training sessions and workouts, fats, like proteins, should be reduced, and instead should be used within the main meals of the day, rather than being relied on as workout fuel. The only exception to this rule are medium chain triglycerides, which can be tolerated without causing gastric distress by some individuals, who can rely on them for long term sources of energy during multi-hour workouts.
To avoid weight gain, formation of free radicals, and other chronic issues, you should avoid the wrong types of fats, which are typically processed, preserved, chemically modified, or exposed to high pressures and temperatures during production.
These fats include the following:
Trans Fats – French fries Cookies Pastries, muffins, scones Soup mixes Chips Doughnuts Frozen foods Packaged crackers and snacks Most fast food Cream cheese Margarine
Polyunsaturated Fats – Corn based oils Sunflower oil Sesame oil Soybean oil Safflower oil Canola oil
This is not to say that every now and again you can’t grab a bag crisps out of the cupboard, but these should be used as a treat. If these types of foods are a big part of your diet, you’re doing yourself a health and performance no good.
Finally, here’s a practical tip: a typical day of healthy fat eating might include a tablespoon of almond butter and a couple fish oil capsules with breakfast, extra-virgin olive oil and avocadoes with a salad for lunch, a handful of cashews in the afternoon, and a small filet of salmon with dinner.
See how easy it is to eat fat and still eat healthy?