Fats – What Kind?
Fats provide 9 calories per gram, making them the most energy dense macronutrient. Contrary to what you may hear but fats don’t make you fat, they in fact provide energy for the body and plays an important role in controlling your appetite. Fats can also be a big factor with weight management.
Including healthy fats in your diet have the roles of protecting your vital organs, regulating hormone production, helping regulate body temperature, allowing absorption of fat soluble vitamins. So what are healthy fats?
There are a variety of fats that can be included in your diet, such as monounsaturated fats (mono); this type of fat is found in plant foods:
· Vegetable oils (olive oil, peanut oil, sesame oil)
Mono fats are high in vitamin E, benefiting your vision, and your immune system.
Next up is polyunsaturated fats; this type of fat is found in:
· Fish (omega-3) such as salmon, tuna, trout, walnuts
· Flaxseeds (omega-6)
· Vegetable oils (sunflower oil, flax oil, soybean oil)
These fats can help lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels. Cholesterol is a soft, waxy substance that can cause clogged or blocked arteries. Low levels of LDL reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. (Mozaffarian, Micha, & Wallace, 2010)
Saturated fats occur naturally in many foods. The majority come mainly from animal sources, including meat and dairy products:
· Fatty Beef
· Whole Dairy Products
Saturated fats is a great way to get caught up on your calorie count if you are trying to bulk or just put on some weight. This type of fat is high in calories but does not contain cholesterol. If your goal is trying to lose weight then focus on replacing saturated fatty foods with foods high in monounsaturated and/or polyunsaturated fats. For example: Eat more fish and nuts, try replacing some meat you eat with beans or legumes. Eat fruits/vegetables, whole grains, and low fat dairy products.
This is the type of fat that tastes really really good but would be the least healthy fat choice. You’ll find Trans fat in many fast food restaurant deep fryers and in most of the other menu items. Your best bet is to stay clear of these foods altogether because of the risk of developing type 2 diabetes or heart disease. (Iqbal, 2014)But rewarding yourself with cookies or some ice cream after an intense workout every so often isn’t a bad thing. Trans fat can sometimes be found in some meats as well, to avoid these fats, look for lean meats and poultry without added fat.
How Much You Can Eat
· You should get no more than 25% to 30% of your daily calories from fats. Make sure most of those fats are monounsaturated or polyunsaturated.
· If your goal is to lose weight, maybe limit saturated fat to 10% or less. If your goal is to gain weight, it’s good idea to have saturated fats in your diet but still balanced with mono/polyunsaturated fats.
· Eating healthier fats is great for your health, however eating too much fat can cause weight gain. All fats contain 9 calories per gram of fat so eating fats is a good way to catch up to your calories at the end of the day.
(Dietary Guidlines for American 2015-2020, 2015)
When You Should Eat It
Focus on eating your fats on the opposite end of the day that you are training, so if you train at night usually, get all your fats in at breakfast and maybe a morning snack. Why? Fats digest much slower than carbohydrates and protein. Before and after workouts, you need to get nutrients into your bloodstream as fast as possible so eating your carbs and proteins around your workouts would be more beneficially. Pre bed meals containing healthy fats with your protein could be good for preserving muscle mass while you are sleeping as well. (Samuels, 2018)
Some ideas to take away from this:
· When reading nutrition labels check the total fat in one serving. Add up the number of servings you will eat in one sitting. Look at the amount of saturated fat and Trans fat in a serving. The rest is unsaturated fat. Make sure most of your daily fats are from monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
· Eat small portions of nuts instead of cookies for a snack.
· Add avocados to your salad or sandwiches
· Cook with more olive or butter.
Dietary Guidlines for American 2015-2020.(2015).
Iqbal, M. P. (2014, January 30). US National Library of Medicine.Retrieved from Trans fatty acids – A risk factor for cardiovascular disease: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3955571/
Mozaffarian, D., Micha, R., & Wallace, S. (2010, March 23). Plos Medicine.Retrieved from Effects on Coronary Heart Disease of Increasing Polyunsaturated Fat in Place of Saturated Fat: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials: http://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1000252
Samuels, M. (2018, April 6). When should bodybuilders eat healthy fats during the day?Retrieved from SF Gate Healthy Eating: http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/should-bodybuilders-eat-healthy-fats-during-day-9507.html