Fats play many important roles in proper bodily function. They serve as an energy reserve and an alternative energy source. Fats help with vitamin absorption, overall hair and skin health, organ protection, brain function, bone health and many, many more.
There are four main fat categories.
- Trans Fats
I listed Trans Fats first, because I want to get this out of the way immediately!
Stay away from Trans Fatty Acids.
They are “produced” and are NOT considered essential or quality!
Popular foods rich in trans fats includes margarine, anything fried or batterd, popcorn, creamers, cookies, candy, burgers, crackers, etc. The list is endless!
Saturated fasts are really open to debate!
For some reason saturated fats have gotten a bad reputation in the sports nutrition world. People are convinced that increased saturated fat consumption can cause problems with inflamation, blood lipid levels and more.
Being able to look from a different point of view is important. A more neutral one, even. We have to look at the bigger picture.
Yes, there are studies claiming that increased saturated fat consumption is “bad”, but that’s only if we look at nutrition alone.
By looking at the bigger picture, we’ll see the person’s or trainee’s physical activity levels, his fiber and protein consumption and more.
Where is the rest of the equation?
Why are we looking at nutrition alone, or vice verse (exercise alone)?
Living a healthy lifestyle is about COMBINING multiple healthy habits!
Now, we are talking healthy fats, for sure!
Monounsaturated fats are known to help with insulin levels, blood sugar, etc.
There are studies claiming, that the consumption of monounsaturated fats may have beneficial effects on human bodily function, but the case here is the same as with saturated fats. We have to look at the bigger picture. We have to accompany it with fiber, vegetable and fruit intake, and so on.
Monounsaturated fats are usually found in olive oils, olives, nuts (cashews, almonds, walnuts, etc.), vegetable oils and more.
Polyunsaturated fats are the only type of fat considered “essential”.
Essential, because if you go long enough, without consuming these types of fats, you can get yourself in trouble, so to say. I will explain in detail what “essential” means, so don’t worry if what I’m talking about right now does not make sense – It will, very soon!
There are two primary fatty acids belonging to the polyunsaturated category. They are the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
Here are some general guidelines and foods to look for when picking out Your Quality Fat Sources/Foods:
- Fish Oil – Probably the best alternative of all, fish oil is a staple source of healthy fats;
- Avocados – Another great source of healthy fats. Avocados are not tasty, however they are a considered a super-food, by many. Great for tuna salads or just as a supplementation in other salads;
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Great helathy source of fat, fits well as a supplement that makes food (mostly salads) taste even better. Pour out a little on top of Your salad, without having to worry about the quantity of the fats that You will consume;
- Almonds, Walnuts, Pecans, Cashews – A great combination of Protein and Helathy Fats. Suitible for vegetarians and vegans. Very filling as well!
- Fatty Fish – Salmon, Trout, Mackerel, Sardines, etc. These are stacked with omega-3 fatty acids, high quality proteins and some more.
- Coconut Oil – The richest saturated fat source on the planet, coconut oil is considered a super-food, providing many health benefits. That one of the reasons I said that we can‘t really judge saturated fats. We have to look at the bigger picture. What else is entering the body with those saturated fats, is there any physical activity level going on?
The thing about fat consumption is Balance!
You should consume enough, so Your body can function properly, because if You decrease or even eliminate fat from Your diet, You gon’ get in trouble!
I’m not aware of any daily fat amount that you should not go over, however you should do your research to be sure!
Just stay away from the trans fats and try not consume too much of the saturated fats, unless You are physically active!
Until next time,