Healthy Fats

Olive Oil
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Udo’s Oil blend for healthy fat loss.

Many people shy away from all fats when they are trying to be healthy and/or get lean. The truth is, not all fats are created equal: There are saturated fats and unsaturated fats. Some fats are essential and others are not. The source of the fat, the amount you ingest, and if it’s processed or not, makes all the difference. Everyone needs fat in their diet for proper brain function, healthy hair, skin, and more.

If you want to lose excess fat, healthy fats help by metabolizing the unhealthy, fats in the body (LDL). Because of this, people with high cholesterol often are recommended to eat foods high in omega 3, 6 and 9. They are also often told to take a healthy fat supplement, like fish or flax oil capsules.

Harvard University’s School of Public Health states the following:
“High-density lipoproteins (HDL) scavenge cholesterol from the bloodstream, from LDL, and from artery walls and ferry it back to the liver for disposal. Think of HDL as the garbage trucks of the bloodstream. HDL cholesterol is often referred to as good, or protective, cholesterol.”

Where can you get these fats:

Avocados
Fatty fish (ex: salmon, mackerel, trout, sardines, herring)
Nuts
Supplementation (ex: Udo’s oil & fish oil capsules)
Coconut oil

Recommended amount per day:

The amount of total fat you should consume each day is dependent on your total caloric needs. Your total fat intake, should be around 20% of your total daily caloric intake. This can also vary depending on your goal, body type and your personal nutritional needs (but that’s for another blog entry).

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Consuming fatty fish a few times per week is excellent. A handful of nuts each day is great for your health as well. If you supplement with fatty acids follow the suggested dosage on the label or ask your doctor.

One more tip:

To maximize your results, pay attention to when you consume fats. This falls into the category of nutrient timing. For example: if you just finished weight training, your post-workout drink should not contain a lot of fat. Fat slows the release of carbohydrates and protein into the blood stream — the nutrients the body needs most post intense exercise. Nutrient timing can get a bit technical, so I’ll leave it at that. But the best thing to do is to avoid fats in your post workout meal (or drink), and also limit mixing fats with high carb meals; doing so is a recipe for fat retention.

“It is best to eat just protein and carbohydrates for breakfast, and limit fats, because the body has just been fasting for about 8 hours, and you want to get some nutrients as soon as possible. The same applies for after a workout – you do not want to consume fats to after a workout and deprive your nutrient-hungry muscles of the protein and carbohydrates.” – Bodybuilding.com

References:
Harvard.edu: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/fats-full-story/
WebMD: http://www.webmd.com/cholesterol-management/features/low-cholesterol-diet-fatty-fish
Bodybuilding.com: http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/dietary_fat_importance.htm

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