The Fat Facts

Fats play a very important role in our bodies.  First and foremost I want to point out that if you are eating the correct types of fat THEY DO NOT NECESSARILY MAKE YOU FAT!  Boom, myth debunked!  What you should think when you eat fats is that they are excellent sources of energy, and help to increase your muscle mass!...You seem perplexed by this.  Think about it, muscle is made of protein and FAT!  The fat that your muscles store is directly used for energy they need to function.  Do not confuse muscle fat with that bit that keeps getting stored on your (insert your problem area).  Lastly, fat provides a more steady supply of energy throughout the day than carbohydrates, which can cause fluctuations in blood sugar (See the previous post about Pre and Post-workout nutrition for more information about carbohydrates and how we use them for energy).

 

Let’s quickly meet our different fats (In no particular order): 

Long Chain Saturated Fats (LCSFA)

  • These are the fats that come primarily from milk or ruminant animals like cattle and sheep.
  •  They represent the primary form of stored energy for humans.  In other words, when the body wants to store energy this is the type of fats it likes to use.
  •  Leaves no toxic by-products when it is metabolized by the body...just H2O and CO2!
  •   Benefit: Ghee is stable at high cooking temperatures, and resistant to oxidative stress.  Is is also free of whey and casein, which many people have a food allergy or sensitivity to!

 

Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT)

  • Also a saturated fat, and comes from coconut and mother’s milk.
  • These fats do not have to interact with bile acids or be absorbed by the small intestines, but can be brought directly to the liver: This means it is easily digestible energy!
  •  Benefit: Coconut oil is stable at high cooking temperatures and resistant to oxidative stress so it can be cooked at high heats!

 

Monounsaturated Fat (MUF)

  • Primarily found in beef, olive oil and avocados
  • Also has non-toxic by-products!
  • Great to eat, but beware that foods like avocados and some nuts are high in OMEGA 6s! (more on this below)

 

Polyunsaturated Fats (PUFAS): Omega 3 and 6

Want a 1:1 ratio of omega 3 to 6, this is very important!

Omega 6: Having omega 6 is important for our bodies; however, we want to keep low levels of it in our diets because it can become toxic at high levels.

  •  Found in refined oils: soybean, cottonseed, safflower and sunflower oils.
    •  Check your cereals, chips, crackers, SALAD DRESSINGS, etc.
  •  Also found in most nuts and dark meat of poultry

  •  Most Americans eat too much omega 6s, which increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome, autoimmune diseases, etc

Omega 3: Three types: ALA(short chain), EPA and DHA (long chain)

  •  ALA: found in walnuts or flax
  • EPA and DHA: found primarily in seafood
  • The body requires PUFAS to be in the EPA and DHA forms.  ALA can be converted into EPA or DHA, but the body is very inefficient in this process (less than .5% conversion).  So, it is not a good idea to rely on flax as a primary source of PUFA fats if your are vegetarian.

 Trans-Fats... I won't even breach this topic... just AVOID!

 

Quick Summary:

  • Eat freely: LCSFA, and MCTs

  • Eat with caution: MUF

  • PUFAS: be sure you are eating a 1:1 ratio of omega 3 to 6

 

Fun Fat Facts:

  • Did you know?! Glucose (which directly comes from carbs) can be made from breaking down glycerol from fat!  ... It can also undergo several transformations and converted into fat (why we want to limit our carb intake to individual body demands).
    • Fat > Glycerol> Glucose 
    • Glucose> several chemical reactions> Fat
  • Did you ALSO know?!  The saturated fats and triglycerides that cannot be absorbed in our intestines are brought to our MUSCLES to be absorbed and broken down.  This is why LCSFAs and MCTs are a better choice when considering muscle energy expenditure.
    • Fat absorbed by fat: Stored L
    • Fat absorbed by muscle: used for muscle ENERGY J 
  •  Why and when are fats better for energy rather than carbs?!
    • ATP is a molecule that directly transfers energy in cells to be used for metabolism… in other words it is responsible for delivering the goods to our cells so they can create energy for us to function.
      • Carbs: Easily mobilized for use and fast acting, but 1 molecule of glucose produces only 36-38 molecules of ATP.
      • Fats: Slower to digest and utilize, but 1 molecule of fat produces 130 molecules of ATP!
      • Protein: It is not best to rely on protein for energy because we need it for tissue repair and growth, immune function, etc.

Nerd Out:

By: CSV Lifestyle Coach Vanessa