Fat Tuesday

6 Jul

I hope everyone had a great Fourth Of July Weekend!

Mine was full of live music, camping, hiking and a spectacular display of fireworks on the Charles River…No Complaints here!

I want to give a shout out to the Ryan Montbleu Band. They Are from Boston MA and I had the privilege of seeing them this weekend up in Maine, they were awesome! I found this up close and personal clip on YouTube, Play it in the background while you’re reading today!

On to the content! Today We are going to talk Fats, the good the bad and the ugly and why you should not be avoiding fat in your diet.

What fats are commonly found in our diets and what differentiates them?

  • Unsaturated Fats

Chemically, an unsaturated fat is a fatty acid with at least one (or more) double bonds (Carbon – Carbon) within the fatty acid chain. Unsaturated fats are widely considered “healthy” fats. They are linked to lowering LDL (bad cholesterol).  There are two main types of unsaturated fats:

  1. Monounsaturated Fats

A fat is considered monounsaturated if it contains one double bond.  The most common monounsaturated fats are oleic acid and palmitoleic acid. Monounsaturated fats are widely considered heart healthy but many of them promote insulin resistance. Insulin resistance = when the hormone insulin becomes less effective at lowering blood sugar levels. Sources of monounsaturated fats include: Olive oil, Avocado, Canola Oil, Sesame Oil and Nuts.

2. Poly Unsaturated Fats

These fats contain more than one double bond. The two most common forms of this fat are linolenic and linoleic acid. You have heard a lot on the benefits of polyunsaturated fats in the context of Omega – 3 (linolenic) and Omega – 6 (linoleic) fatty acids. Polyunsaturated fats combat insulin resistance. Therefore they are crucial in a Fat Loss Diet because of their ability to raise one’s insulin sensitivity. Insulin sensitivity is directly related to a persons propensity to store fat. The better your insulin sensitivity the better your body is able to control blood sugar levels and the release of insulin. In doing so it hinders the bodies attempts to open storage cells, namely fat storage cells (adipose tissue cells). Additionally, Omega – 3 fatty acids have been shown to lower the risk of heart attacks. Omega – 6 fatty acids also reduce the risks of cardiovascular disease. Many common oils we consume are high in omega – 6 fats – linoleic acid. Therefore it is important to consume additional amounts Omega – 3 fats – linolenic Acid to combat the adverse effects of an Omega – 6 rich diet. These adverse effects include a promotion of inflammation in the body.

So how do I get enough linolenic Acid? Sources such as flaxseeds, walnuts, and soybean, canola, and flaxseed oil provide a nice amount of ALA (alpha linolenic acid). Furthermore, eating fatty fish or supplementing with fish oil provides the body with EPA and DHA. These two fatty acids are the bi-product of your body breaking down ALA. Take your darn fish oil!

Good sources of these polyunsaturated fats include nuts, cheese, seeds, fish / fish oil, leafy greens, and krill oils.

  • Saturated Fats

These fatty acids have no double bonds (Carbon – Carbon), therefore they are fully saturated with hydrogen atoms. Saturated fats are most commonly found in these fatty acid forms: Stearic and Palmitic Acid which come from animal sources, and lauric and myristic acid which come from tropical oil sources.

Saturated Fats often get bad rap. However, their detrimental effects are directly related to their consumption and type. The truth is that saturated fats derived from animal sources do not typically lead to the many chronic diseases associated with saturated fat consumption.

Saturated fats, especially lauric, myristic, and palmitic acids, can raise LDL (bad cholesterol) when eaten in excess, or in the absence of unsaturated fat sources. Therefore it is important to realize that by consuming enough unsaturated fats you are helping to combat the negative side effects of your saturated fat consumption.

Lauric, myristic and palmitic acids are found in animal fat, coconut oil, palm oil, and dairy.

Stearic Acid which is found primarily in Beef and Cocoa Butter can actually lower levels of LDL. Stop avoiding Beef!

It is important to eat a variety of protein sources and beef / animal flesh in general is not unhealthy! Especially when you are consuming a wide variety of unsaturated fat varieties. The problem with saturated fat arises from the fact that most sources of saturated fat do not come from natural sources. Take a look at this Pie Chart adopted from Precision Nutrition.

  • Trans Fats

Trans fats are unsaturated fats with trans-isomer fatty acids. Trans-Isomer has to do with their 3D structure, the hydrogen bonds are on opposite sides of the fatty acid chain. It is important to note because it dictates its state in food and in the body, rendering the fatty acid chain inflexible and giving it a solidity in and out of the body.

There are two main forms of Trans Fats:

  1. Vaccenic Acid – This is a natural Trans Fat that when broken down forms CLA in the body. You may have heard of supplemeting with CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) for it’s weight control, anti-oxidant and anti carcinogenic benefits.  It can be found in Beef, Lamb, some Game Meats and Dairy.
  2. Man Made Trans Fats – These are the most common trans fats. Man Made Trans fats are created by taking an unsaturated fat and filling them with hydrogen ions. This hardens the fats and makes an unsaturated fat act like a saturated one. Many food companies use these fats to change the consistency of a food and lengthen it’s shelf life. The two common varieties include:
  • Partially Hydrogenated Oils – These are the worst of the Man Made Saturated Fats and cause: Lower HDL (good cholesterol), Insulin Resistance, Risk of cardiovascular disease, decrease in fatty acid metabolism, increase in stomach fat, and inflammation. Check Ingredients and Stay Clear of These at All Costs!
  • Fully Hydrogenated Oils – Considered Healthier than Partially Hydrogenated Oils but still not a wise choice in your diet. These Oils are made similarly to Partially Hydrogenated Oils but mostly come in the form of stearic acid which doesn’t raise LDL (bad cholesterol).

Fat is important to a balanced diet. In fact, fat has many qualities that help people become leaner. Contrary to popular belief they should not be avoided in the diet. In fact they should be consumed in abundance due to their promotion of insulin sensitivity, satiety and health benefits. The fat scare is rooted primarily in diets that include an excess of saturated fats, man made fats and a lack of unsaturated fats. Pay attention to where your fat is coming from and make sure you are eating a variety of different fats. Lastly keep in mind that a gram of fat yields more than twice the caloric value of a gram of protein or carbohydrate. This doesn’t mean you shoiuld eat less fat, but rather that you need to be aware of serving sizes in fat rich foods so as to not eat a large excess of calories.

Last order of business today. Check out the new banners on the blog. I wanted to give you readers a quality place to go for nutritional supplementation. ProPower Nutrition by Dr. Fredrick Hatfield is the one I have chosen. You’ll find great products over there and none of the bullshitdeis you would be pedaled at GNC or a similar place.  Check out what they have to offer and if you have any questions let me know – I’d be happy to help you choose the right products for you! Any traffic from this site to ProPower Nutrition will give you guys a discounted price and FREE Shipping! So thanks to the Guys over there for hooking me up.

COMMENTS / CORRECTIONS/ WHAT CAN YOU ADD ON THE TOPIC? / PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW!

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