One of the many myths about diets is to avoid fat at all costs. Well this is true but not for all fats. The fats that must be avoided and what many research was based on were saturated fats. These would come from things like pizza, chips, and hamburgers. While many of the good fats come from unsaturated sources like fish, olive oil, seeds, nuts, coconut oil and avocados. These unsaturated fats are what’s discussed in this article and how they benefit our body’s composition.
Most of the fat that you eat should come from unsaturated sources, both monounsaturated (MUFA) and polyunsaturated (PUFA), This is especially the case if your aim is to lose body fat. Why? These good-for-you foods (like fish, seeds, nuts, leafy vegetables, olive oil, coconut oil, and avocados) pack tons of nutrients. A Main benefit from eating these healthy fats is it removes LDL cholesterol (which is the bad type) from arteries and promotes a healthier heart.
Eating more fat means eating fewer carbohydrates, and vice versa. From a fat loss perspective increasing your fat intake while decreasing your carbohydrate intake will allow your body to be in the optimal state for fat loss. From a biochemical level, low-fat diets don’t make sense. They don’t condition your body to be efficient at burning fat. Instead, they ramp up the enzymatic machinery in your body so it becomes efficient at burning carbohydrates. An extreme form of this low-carb diet is called ketosis which causes the body to burn fat for fuel, rather than glucose. This is extremely dangerous for Diabetics and is not recommended.
Old fat stored in the body around the belly, thighs, or butt can’t be burned efficiently without “new” fat to help the process, according to researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Dietary fat helps break down existing fat by activating PPAR-alpha and fat-burning pathways through the liver.
Believe it or not, eating more of the right kind of fats will not only enable bodybuilders to LOSE extra body fat, but eating the right kind of fats also can help you eliminate diet-induced depression, workout-induced inflammation and even low energy. But, the best new news is that fats can facilitate GAINS in lean muscle! That is right, the best fats can actually help you build muscle faster and, of course, enhance performance.
This relates to a combination of more of the healthy fats as well as some minor saturated fats which are found in meats such as steak. Saturated fats do have some beneficial aspects for building muscle such as increasing levels of testosterone, however consuming in excess is detrimental to muscle building.
Therefore it is important to get some of these essential fats in your diet if you are looking to build muscle. It should roughly make up 25-30% of your diet for optimum results with the majority of these fats being the unsaturated kind. Nuts and seeds are handy to have a few times a day along with avocado, olive oil, 100% greek yoghurt, coconut oil along with some other types found in red meat.
If you add these to your meal plan to gain muscle you should see some or all of the results below:
- Increased levels of testosterone
- Elevated growth hormone secretion
- Increased fat burning hormones
- Elevated metabolic rate
- Maximised cellular energy production.
All of these will help you build muscle at an increased rate which is why it is essential to have these fats in your diet.
Fat manipulation is very important in your quest for a lean body and increased muscle mass. Manipulating the ratio and the types of fats (and not reducing the amount of dietary fat) is A KEY TO MUSCLE!
Key Note- Many nutrients including vitamins A,D, E, and K are fat soluble, meaning that the body cant absorb them without fat. This can lead to vitamin deficiencies which will have a negative impact on your goals e.g. fat loss or muscle building and cant lead to further complications including brittle bones, dry skin and muscle pains.
|Healthy Fats||Saturated Fats needed|
|Olive oil||Other Meats|
|100% Greek Yoghurt|
|Omega 3 tablets|
Lichtenstein, Alice H., et al. ‘Dietary Fat Consumption and Health’ 2009.