Fat is number two of importance in my diet because of the many benefits it has in the human metabolism. Many people still think fat makes them fat. Either from a bad habit of avoiding it like the plague for a long period of time or just because its name is FAT. Fat does very closely resemble the chemical structure of body fat, but anyone who tells you to avoid fat probably hasn’t studied any research in the past decade. The problem is too many people recommend eating a low fat diet, but what does this mean? How much fat is low fat? Does this mean you should eat as little as humanely possible? Well if you want to be healthy then the answer is no. Look at the list below at the benefits dietary fat gives you and then decide if you want to give up all fat.
- Cell metabolism (50% of the cell membrane is saturated fat)
- Blood sugar control (insulin sensitivity)
- Anabolic hormone production (Testosterone) (don’t eat fat and see what happens to your sex drive)
- Vitamin absorption
- Tastes incredible
- Promotes satiety
- Protects joint health (very important when lifting weights to prevent injurys)
- Increase insulin sensitivity
- Lowers glycemic index of foods and keeps insulin under control
- Certain types (saturated fat) boost thyroid and keep the liver healthy
- Helps cholesterol production for hormones while lowering bad cholesterol that plugs arteries
John Meadows recommends around .4-.5 grams a day per pound of body weight. (68-80 grams for me at 170lbs). Here is an awesome link to show the benefits of proper fat intake The Truth About Saturated Fat. As John Meadows points out, fat has been blamed for a lot of problems it did not cause. Just like protein intake, fat should be kept rather consistent. After your needs are met at (.4-.5 grams) per pound then going any higher won’t bring you any more health benefits. Higher fat diets don’t have all the negatives that too much protein can cause, but its wise to save room for some healthy carbs to maintain balance in the diet. As I will show you in a future post cutting out all carbs is NOT very wise.
The type of fact actually matters though. Saturated and monounsaturated fat contain the above benefits, which help you build muscle and burn fat. Here is a quick list of the healthiest sources:
- Almond butter (eat this rather than peanut butter, because of the increased amount of monounsaturated fats),
- Fish oil (these are technically polyunsaturated, but it’s not a vegetable oil and have a ton of benefits),
- Egg yolks (mono, saturated fat and cholesterol, very important for testosterone levels.),
- Animal fat (the kind that comes naturally in beef and chicken),
- Coconut oil and milk
- Almond milk
- Cheese (usually saturated) (Many people freak out over cheese, but if its unprocessed its a good source of fat)
- There are more than this, but these are just a few.
Polyunsaturated vegetable oils and trans fat lower hormone levels, slow the metabolism and promote inflammation. (not what I’m trying to do at the moment). The reason these are bad is because they skew the bodies fat balance with too much omega 6 in relation to omega 3.
Some research even now shows that fish oil isn’t really as great as they originally thought if your consuming the right types of fat. If your consuming tons of Poly oils though, then fish oil can help improve the omega 3 ratio in the diet. In other words if you eat more saturated and monounsaturated fats, then you probably only need a few grams (3-5) of fish oil a day. Try to keep polyunsaturated fats as low as you can in your diet. This is easier said then done as they are widespread in a lot of foods, but you don’t want a lot of these in you diet. Here is a really good article by Chris Kesser on the negatives of these fats How too much omega-6 and not enough omega-3 is making us sick.
Fat intake is very important, but so is the type. If your eating potato chips with vegetable oil, your not doing the body any favors. Bottom Line: Eat (.4-5 grams per pound of bodyweight) a day and make the VAST majority of these saturated, monounsaturated with a little fish oil. Also, the next time someone tells you to avoid fat just laugh and ignore their advice, because their clueless. 😉