Good Morning People:
I hope you all enjoy your last week of daylight savings time. As most of you know, I hate when we go to standard time. With that, here’s this week’s edition of Body Designs.
Whether you’re trying to gain muscle or lose weight, I want you to make sure you get enough FAT in your diet. Skreetch! What! Are you kidding!
Yup. I’m serious. Fats are extremely important to digestion and nutrient absorption in the body. Fats found in foods transport vitamins A, D, E and K to the intestines which facilitates their absorption. You risk developing deficiencies for some of these nutrients without an adequate amount of fat in your diet. Also, the main form of fat found in food, and in the body, makes up most of the body’s stored energy. In fact, when your body is at rest or performing a low intensity activity, it uses most of its energy from free fatty acids, which are released from the body’s stored fat.
Hold on! Don’t get crazy! It’s not time to run to In-N-Out and get a Double Double or a 4X4, even if it is protein style!
So how much fat should you eat? Most experts agree that 20% of your caloric intake is sufficient. To see what that means for you:
Calories a Day Calories from Fat Allowed Per Day (CFA) Grams of Fat Per Day (CFA/9)
1500 300 33
2000 400 44
Monounsaturated fats should make up most of the fats one eats. They lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) while increasing HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol). Good examples are: nuts including peanuts, walnuts, almonds and pistachios, avocado, canola and olive oil.
Foods containing essential fatty acids (EFAs) (Omega 3s and Omega 6s) need to be ingested as part of the diet, as they are cannot be manufactured by the body.
These nutrients are responsible for helping blood to clot, immune system response, and blood pressure regulation. They can be found in foods containing soybean or canola oil, as well as walnuts, sardines, tuna and salmon. The food that will provide you with the best source of EFAs is fish and fish oil supplements. Many individuals who have issues with heart disease, high cholesterol, and various other disorders are encouraged by their doctor to include fatty fish in their diet at least three times each week. Fish oil supplements should also be taken each day. Make sure you choose fish that is low in mercury because it can reduce the benefits from the essential Omega 3 fatty acids.
Eating dark green, leafy vegetables will provide you with various essential fatty acids but not enough to meet your daily required intake. It is important that you take a supplement as well. Flax seed and flax seed supplements are great alternatives for vegetarians and vegans who eat fish or take fish oil supplements. It is very common to grind flax seed and then sprinkle it on cereal and salads or take flax seed oil capsules on a daily basis.
Polyunsaturated fats should be consumed in moderation. They also lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. Good examples are: salmon and fish oil, as well as corn, soy, safflower and sunflower oils and Omega 3 fatty acids.
Saturated fats should be rarely used. These fats raise total blood cholesterol as well as LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol). The majority mainly come from animal sources, including meat and dairy products. Examples are fatty beef, lamb, pork, poultry with skin, beef fat (tallow), lard and cream, butter, cheese and other dairy products made from whole or reduced-fat (2 percent) milk. These foods also contain dietary cholesterol. In addition, many baked goods and fried foods can contain high levels of saturated fats. Some plant foods, such as palm oil, palm kernel oil and coconut oil, also contain primarily saturated fats, but do not contain cholesterol.are mainly found in animal products such as meat, dairy, eggs and seafood. Some plant foods are also high in saturated fats such as coconut oil, palm oil and palm kernel oil. The American Heart Association recommends we consume less than 7% of calories from saturated fat, 300mg of cholesterol a day and no more than 6 teaspoons of oils a day.
Finally, partially hydrogenated fats and chemically produced trans-fatty acids should be strictly avoided. These are are invented fats as scientists began to “hydrogenate” liquid oils so that they can withstand the production process of food and provide a longer shelf life. YUM!!! These types of fats are found in many commercially packaged foods, commercially fried food such as french fries from some fast food chains, other packaged snacks such as microwaved popcorn as well as in vegetable shortening and hard stick margarine.
Now, even though I am now saying that some fat is ok, there are a few things to remember.
1. Every gram of fat (no matter how “good” the fat is) contains 9 calories. That is more than two times the energy found in a gram of protein (4) or a gram of carbohydrate (4).
2. Do not eat fat late at night. So if you absolutely need to have a piece of red meat or dessert, eat if for lunch not dinner.
3. Never eat a fatty meal close to the end of a workout. You want your glycogen (carbohydrate stores) to be readily available, so you won’t want to slow down digestion by consuming fat before or during a workout. Doing so would also steal blood away from your extremities to send to the stomach to assist with digestion. It may sound petty, but every little bit counts. You also want to get fat-free glycogen back into the muscles ASAP after training.