Eat Fats to Your Advantage!
There are two types of fats that are part of our diets.
Harmful fats increase blood cholesterol levels, clog arteries, increase fat storage and healthy fats that increases energy, stimulates fat burning and muscle-building hormones, improves insulin function, improves skin texture and strengthens the joints.
In the past two decades, a lot of people have cut out fats from their diets with the introduction of fat free foods not knowing that not all fat free products are as healthy as claimed by their manufacturers and that fat is essential to health.
The disadvantage of fat-free foods is that they are high in refined sugar contents, one of the contributory factors of unregulated insulin production, obesity metabolic slow down.
Fat helps slow down the absorption of carbohydrates into the bloodstream to prevent high blood sugar and insulin levels. Zero fat inhibits fat/weigh and zaps your energy levels.
Advantages of Eating Healthy Fats
Inhibits the body’s starvation response because zero fat intake also triggers the body’s self preservation starvation response.
Contributes to the maintain the body’s slow release of carbohydrate nutrients
into the bloodstream and regulates blood sugar levels.
Regulates a constant release of insulin into the bloodstream to prevent storage of fat in muscles and tissues.
Does not cause hormonally induced hungers and cravings due to highly fluctuating blood sugar levels due to the total absence of fat in the diets.
Ensures the body a regular supply of essential fatty acids (EFA).
Disadvantages of Excessive Fat Intake
Although it is safe to eat healthy fats as opposed to harmful fats, excessive fat intake even of the healthy variety is considerably damaging to the body. Too much of anything is not a healthy option.
Regardless of the type of fat you eat, always keep your overall fat intake low preferably at the 20% level of your daily calorie requirements.
Fats are more calorie dense than other types of food.
Each gram of fat contains 9 calories compared to carbohydrates and proteins which contain only 4 calories. Therefore, the more fatty types of food you eat the higher the percentage of fat is stored in the body.
Fats have the lowest thermic property (3%) compared to carbohydrates and proteins.
This means only 3% of the total fat intake is digested and absorbed into the body and the remaining 97% are stored as body fat!
Certain types of fat like saturated and processed fats (trans-fatty acids) are linked to the cause of serious health problems like heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
A high-fat diet negates the balanced diet approach for fat loss and a healthy lifestyle.
Unnecessary fats reduce the muscles’ sensitivity to insulin resulting to blood sugar build up in the body. This is not only detrimental to your fat loss efforts but also dangerous to your health.
Dietary fats are more easily stored as body fat than any other type of nutrient because it does not require any energy conversion; it is composed of glycerol and fatty acids, exactly the same chemical make up of body fats making it very easy to store unlike complex carbohydrates and lean proteins. Moreover, dietary fats are not efficient fuel sources for high intensity aerobic/workout activities.
Excessive dietary fat does not promote muscle growth. Making your nutrition program high fat requires sacrificing lean proteins and carbohydrates quantities which are the main sources of macronutrients for muscle buildup.
Types of Fats
There are basically three types of fatty acids: saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Generally, saturated fats are harmful and contribute to high blood cholesterol levels, making you more prone to heart disease and they also interfere with insulin function.
On the other hand, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats contain healthy essential fatty acids (EFA) such as Omega-3 and Omega-6 and tend to lower blood cholesterol levels.
Unsaturated fats improve the body’s insulin function, counteract some of the negative effects of saturated fats, increases energy and helps you lose body fat.
Saturated Fat. Not only are they very harmful, they do not have the essential fatty acids the body needs. Saturated fats are primarily animal fats and tend to be solid at room temperatures. Examples of saturated fats are butter, cheese, chocolate, egg yolk, meat fat, dairy fat and shortening.
Unsaturated Fats. These type of fats are healthy and generally lowers cholesterol levels; there are two sub-groupings as follows:
Polyunsaturated. Includes include oil from fish, walnuts, pecans, almonds, flax, soybean, sunflower and safflower.
Monounsaturated. Includes oil from avocado, cashew, peanut, pecan and olive.
The body does not manufacture essential fatty acids (EFA) contained in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. The EFA’s are Omega-6 – (Linoleic Acid or LA) and Omega-3 – (Alpha Linolenic Acid or LNA).
Very low levels of fat intake therefore results in deficiencies of healthy fats characterized by the symptoms such as dry and flaky skin.
It is therefore an absolute necessity to have at least 12 to 15% fats of the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated varieties as part of your diet to induce fat-reduction and stimulate muscle build up.
The most effective strategy therefore is to stay away from foods that contain saturated fats including dairy products as much as possible avoiding to completely cut off all fat intake. Keeping fat intake to the acceptable minimum levels are most advantageous for a healthy lifestyle.
There are several fat/oil substitutes you can use for cooking or snacks (without adding unnecessary calories to your meal) such as low calorie butter flavored sprays, cooking sprays, fat-free butter spreads and fat-free dressings.
Hydrogenated Fats and Trans Fatty Acids
To extend the shelf life of fats and oil products, manufacturers use hydrogenation or partial hydrogenation processes. However, the process purposely makes unsaturated fats take on the dangerous properties of saturated fats. Hydrogenated oils are processed fats in the same way that white flour is a processed carbohydrate.
Partially hydrogenated oils have large amounts of chemically altered fats known as trans fatty acids (TFA). The process turns oils into spreadable margarines and makes the oils more stable. They are what makes baked goods moist and flaky and more alarmingly, they are not required to be listed on food labels as such.
Hydrogenated oils and TFA are mostly found in margarines and spreads, baked goods and fried foods.
Optimum results for fat loss results from having a low fat diet not simply a fat free diet, with priority given on the type of fat rather than total fat grams of the fat ratio using the PCF system.
As long as fat is maintained at a minimum of 20% and maximum of 25% of the total ratio, it will not be stored as excess fat (especially EFA’s) because of the high thermic properties of lean proteins and complex carbohydrates that you eat along with the fat.