Reality check: cutting fat from your diet in an attempt to lose fat/weight is so 1980s.
If you’ve fallen victim to the low fat diet trap, time to chuck out all the highly processed, fat free stuff in your fridge/pantry – and bring fat back to the table.
Whether you’ve hit a wall with your training or fat loss, here’s how eating fat can up your weight loss and performance game when eaten RIGHT.
FAT FUELS ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE
Serving as stored energy, your body relies on fat as an energy source once the energy from carbohydrates (stored as glycogen in your muscles) has been burned. Fat is your ‘endurance MACROnutrient’ – your slow-burning fuel for when you need to go that extra mile.
FAT KEEPS YOU FULL
On a molecular level, fat has been proven to slow stomach emptying. So eat fat and you’ll stay fuller for longer – and naturally eat less.
FAT CRUSHES SWEET CRAVINGS
Props to its rich, well-rounded flavour, which lingers in the mouth after eating. This explains why a tablespoon of 100% peanut butter is so much more satisfying than the reduced fat alternative – which often has sugar added, leaving you wanting more.
FAT FUELS A HEALTHY BODY
So much more than just an energy source, fat is a critical component in cell growth and hormone production. It also provides insulation/keeps you warm.
A lack of dietary fat also means you’ll have difficulty absorbing the essential fat-soluble vitamins – vitamins A, D, E and K. We could go on about all the reasons why your body needs these vitamins to function at 100%, but to name a few:
- Vitamin A is needed for healthy vision, immune and reproductive health.
- Vitamin D promotes bone and muscle strength due to the role it plays in calcium absorption.
- A strong antioxidant, vitamin E can help your brain function better.
- Vitamin K is essential for blood clotting.
FAT BOOSTS BRAIN FUNCTION
Did you know fat comprises a whopping 60% of the brain? DHA – a component of essential omega-3 fatty acids – is found in concentrated amounts in the brain and can benefit everything from motor skills and memory to reaction time.
“WHAT KIND OF FAT SHOULD I BE EATING?”
You probably know that not all fats are created equal, but getting your head around which fats are good for you can be a bit of a mind $!?#.
In a nutshell, the fats you should be prioritising are unsaturated fats.
These can help reduce cholesterol and heart disease risk – to name just a couple of benefits.
There are two types of unsaturated fats:
1. Polyunsaturated Fats
These are your essential omega-3 and omega-6 fats.
You get omega-3 mainly from oily fish like salmon, tuna and sardines. It’s in barramundi too. Don’t do fish? Chia, walnuts and ground flaxseed/linseed are your next best option.
Nuts and seeds like pistachios, pecans and sunflower seeds provide a healthy wholefood source of omega-6 fats.
2. Monounsaturated Fats
You’ll find these heart-healthy fats in olives, olive oil, some nuts (peanuts, cashews, almonds), and rejoice, your Sunday smashed avo.
And the 2 fats you want to eat less of:
1. Trans Fats
AKA man-made, industrial fats – often found in margarine, packaged baked goods and mass-produced cooking fats used for commercial deep frying.
Trans fats form when hydrogen is added to vegetable oil to make it solid (how margarine is born); they’ve been shown to up levels of ‘bad’ (LDL) cholesterol, all while reducing ‘good’ (HDL) cholesterol levels. Steer clear.
2. Saturated Fats
Also linked to high cholesterol (which can mean an increased heart disease risk), saturated fats are solid at room temperature. Think marbled fat in fatty cuts of meat, chicken skin, and, sigh, the white bits of fat you see in processed meat like bacon and salami. Stick to lean, unprocessed meats and you’ll be sweet.
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