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What About The Fats?

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Fats are a complex topic!

For the last nine years we have advocated a Paleo lifestyle, which means fresh fruits and veggies, healthy fats and well sourced protein. The healthy fats advocated in Paleo include the monounsaturated types.

Monounsaturated fats protect the heart and support insulin sensitivity, fat storage, weight loss, and healthy energy levels. Healthy choices include:

  • Avocado
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Olives and olive oil

Then there are the polyunsaturated fats. These fats include Omega 3 and Omega 6 fats. Omega 3’s reduce inflammation, support healthy hormone levels and cell membranes. Omega 6 fatty acids are important to support healthy brain and muscle functions but, on the downside, they promote inflammation in the body.

We only need a small amount of omega 6 fatty acids in our diet yet the standard American diet is filled with them (e.g., most baked goods, packaged foods like cookies and crackers, chips, french fries, breads, and snacks). Corn, soybean, safflower, cottonseed, grapeseed and sunflower oils are all high in omega 6’s and are not stable. This means any food that’s fried, baked, or microwaved using these oils will oxidize and create an inflammatory response in the body.

Next we have the Saturated Fats. There is conflicting information about these fats, and they mostly come from animal products. They are solid at room temperature, and they can raise your cholesterol and cause heart disease. We need to eat these in moderation to have good health.

Finally we have the Trans Fats. Theses guys are bad! On a chemical level they have been altered, and they raise the LDLs (bad cholesterol), and triglycerides while they lower the HDL’s (good cholesterol). The trans fats wreak havoc on your health! Stay away from those guys.

What does all of this mean for counting macronutrients? Fat is one of the three macronutrients. It, along with carbs and protein, make up the food we eat. Our bodies need just the right amount of it to maintain good health on a cellular level. Stay tuned for Tuesday’s blog where we will discuss just how much fat we need to increase performance, improve recovery, lose weight and feel amazing.

-We thank Neka Pasquale, founder of Urban Remedy, for much of the information referenced in this post.