Should You Avoid All Fats?
You have no idea that avoiding all fats is serious
mistake. All fats are not created equal.
In fact, if you were to avoid them entirely you'd not only slow down on
losing weight (assuming that is your goal; you didn't say) but you'd be
in worse health! While it sounds
confusing it's not. Fats are a complex subject but I hope that in the
next 2 minutes you'll have a much better understanding of the importance
in your diet.
Let's talk fat!
There are two main kinds of fat:
1. Good fats (essential fat, essential fatty acid)
2. Bad fats (processing methods, hydrogenation,
damaged good fats)
Four sources of good fats:
1. Green vegetables (but in very small amounts)
2. Seeds and nuts (combinations of flax, sunflower,
sesame to get the correct mixtures of Omega-3 and Omega-6)
3. High fat, cold water fish such as sardines, salmon,
trout, herring, and mackerel
4. Oils made with health in mind: pressed from
organically grown seeds
You hear a lot about the bad fats and all the problems associated with
them but you also need to know about the good fats and the benefits from
them. The main concept you
want to take away from this section is all fats are not created equal.
You want to get more of the good fats from sources like fish, nuts and
some oils (combinations are
always the best thing). Eliminating all fats is actually unhealthy. A
zero fat diet is not recommended. One health nutritional professional
once said that clients who came to
him boasting that they only ate 10-15 g of fat per day. But they were in
the office because they were not losing any weight. A diet void of all
fats is not good. You should not avoid all fats.
When unsaturated vegetable oils are manufactured into solid form, they
turn into trans fats. Processing can damage natural fats and make them
toxic. Hydrogenation, which is
used to turn oils into margarine, shortening, or partially hydrogenated
vegetable oil, produces trans fatty acids. Trans fats are found in
hundreds of processed foods,
usually to protect against spoiling and to enhance flavor. You should
AVOID trans fats as much as possible (there are no health benefits
Truthfully, trans fats are even worse for the cardiovascular system then
saturated fats. There are conservative estimates that 30,000 premature
deaths from heart disease every year in the United States are linked to
trans fats. Other studies show that trans fats drive up
the bodyís LDL, the bad cholesterol, even faster then saturated fats.
High levels of cholesterol have been linked to heart disease and stroke.
You should have a diet that is moderate in saturated fats (a nice steak
is okay every so often). But avoid them entirely? No. You'll find some
saturated fats in all fats including the essential fatty acids. The more
saturated fats you eat the more essential fats you'll need to eat to
combat the effects. Thereís no real reason to be obsessed about them but
thatís not an excuse to eat more of them.
Most of the scientific community will still recommend a diet low to
moderate in saturated fats. Diets high in fat, particularly saturated
fat, may promote a variety of diseases. Therefore, saturated fats and
trans fats are the only fats that you should strive to eliminate from
* Bodybuilders can eat more saturated fats then a sedentary person
because the body can burn saturated fats for energy.
What Are Essential Fatty Acids (EFA)?
EFAs = Essential Fatty Acids are substances from fats that must be
provided by foods because the body cannot make them, and yet must have
them for health. EFAs exist in two
families: omega-3 and omega-6.
According to the above definition of essential, there are only two
essential fats (technically called essential fatty acids or EFAs). One
is the omega 3 EFA, called alpha-linolenic acid. The other, the omega 6
EFA, is known as linoleic acid.
Certain fats are defined as 'essential' because:
1. The body cannot make them;
2. They are required for normal cell, tissue, gland, and
organ function, for health, and for life;
3. They must be provided from outside the body, through
food or supplements;
4. They can come only from fats (hence fat-free diets
cannot supply them);
5. Their absence from the diet will eventually kill;
6. Deficiency results in progressive deterioration, can
lead to death;
7. Return of essential fatty acids to a deficient diet
reverses the symptoms of deficiency and results in a return
Most people do not get enough EFAís in their diets, especially those who
restrict themselves to a very low fat (any fat) type of diet. Itís rare
that anybody is truly clinically deficient but such diets as a very low
fat diet are clearly not going to provide optimal EFAís.
Various types of oil blends, fish, seeds and green vegetables contain
essential fatty acids. These ďgood fatsĒ have a ton of great benefits to
them. Getting enough of the good fats daily in your diet will actually
do wonders to help you burn fat. Many sources recommend
combinations of EFAs because of the Omega-3 and Omega-6.
For example, if you were to only get your essential fats from something
like Flaxseed oil, thereís some research to suggest itís not as
beneficial as you might think because
exclusive use of flax oil can lead to Omega-6 deficiency within 2-8
months! Furthermore, using CLA in conjunction with this might lead to
deficiency of Omega-6 even sooner
then just using flax oil alone.
All this really means is using oil blends and getting EFAs from various
sources will help you achieve optimum levels of BOTH Omega-3 and Omega-6
complexes. I would recommend you donít use flax oils exclusively but
combine them with other EFA sources to balance any deficiencies.
Two of the many benefits to an EFA complex are:
1- Increase the metabolic rate
2- Help burn fat
There are several other benefits but in essence, what this says is that
getting 15-20% of your good fats in your diet daily will actually
increase your metabolic rate resulting
in more fat loss!
Re-read that! Getting the optimal amount of good fats a day (15-20% of
total calories) will actual enhance the metabolic reactions and result
in more fat burn off.
This is a list of recommendations
of fat sources:
||Fats to Limit
||Fats to Avoid
Non-processed vegetable oils
from read meats
|Processed vegetable oils
Foods with the words partially
hydrogendated on the label
Fried foods of any kind