Macronutrient Breakdown: Fat

Macronutrient Breakdown: Fat

By Handstand Personal Trainer, Erik R. 

In the last 100 years, the human diet has changed more than it has over the last million years. Evolution occurs at a snail's pace and for the majority of human history we were underfed and constantly hungry. Food was scarce and obesity didn’t exist. Fast forward thousands of years and we are the same food seeking humans. However, our environment has changed drastically and we have access to food 24/7.

Our environment has lead to the obesity epidemic, not the carbohydrate or fat content in your food. And that is why I decided to do an unbiased review of each macronutrient to show the pro’s and cons of each. This article will highlight, fat.  Check out the information below to see all the benefits you obtain from fat, carbohydrates and protein.

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Macronutrient Breakdown: Fat: 9 Calories Per Gram

  • Regulates gene expression which has profound effects on metabolism, cellular growth and cellular development (7) i.e it is essential for life

  • Most of your dietary fat intake should come from animal fats and whole food sources like nuts, avocados, and eggs instead of processed oils
  • There is no evidence proving that saturated fat causes heart disease
  • Neither type of fat* is inherently bad, the danger lies in excessive consumption of one type
  • Dietary cholesterol found in eggs has no detrimental effects on the heart, if anything, it has beneficial effects toward heart disease (9)
  • *AVOID Trans Fats (Hydrogenated Oils): Banned by the FDA in foods, but not banned for restaurant use
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Pros

  • Decreases hunger by increasing satiety
  • Vitamins A,D, E, and K are fat soluble vitamins i.e they need to be consume with fat to be absorbed
  • Controls hormone production, specifically sex hormone binding globulin  which directly affects free testosterone levels (10)
  • Have you lost your sex drive? It’s time to increase your egg intake!  *The dietary cholesterol in eggs helps promote healthy hormone levels
  • Regulates mood and brain function (11)
  • A high fat, low carb diet can decrease your risk of type II diabetes
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Cons

  • Trans fats have been shown to cause inflammation and stiffen arteries (12)
  • Can lead to excessive calorie consumption
  • Overtime a poor ratio of Omega 6s to Omega 3s can cause weight gain due to excessive calorie consumption and chronic inflammation

 

Remember neither macronutrient is to blame, the danger lies in overconsumption and processed foods. Ultimately, if you eat a diet high in whole foods with exercise and sleep then you will reap the benefits of a long healthy life.

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Monounsaturated Fat (MUFA): One Double Bond In Carbon Chain

  • The most common MUFA is oleic acid
  • Liquid at room temperature
  • Reduces risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes (13)
  • Avocados, olive oil, and almonds are rich in oleic acid

Polyunsaturated Fat: Two or More Double Bonds Carbon Chain

  • More prone to going rancid then monounsaturated fat
  • Includes Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids
  • Fish, walnuts, and sunflower seeds are excellent food sources to consume

Omega 3s (Top 10 Foods )

  • Studies have found omega-3 fats to help fight  against inflammation, heart disease, diabetes, depression and other health conditions (14, 15).
  • When paired with vitamin B12, omega 3 fats have been shown to improve cognitive function (16)
  • Omega 3 fats have even been shown to help reduce anxiety (17)
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Omega 6s (Top 10 Foods)

  • Omega-6s help stimulate skin and hair growth, maintain bone health, regulate metabolism, and maintain the reproductive system (18)
  • Excessive omega-6 fat intake and low omega 3 fat intake can increase your risk for obesity (19, 20).
  • A low ratio of omega 6s to omega 3s improves metabolism, inflammation and oxidative stress (21)
  • Avoid excessive consumption of corn, soybean and cottonseed oils

Saturated Fat: Zero Double Bonds In Carbon Chain

  • Very stable at high temperature i.e perfect for cooking
  • There is no evidence proving that saturated fat causes heart disease (8)
  • There is no evidence proving that saturated fat causes arterial stiffness (22)
  • Palm oil has been scientifically shown to protect the heart and blood vessels from plaques and ischemic injuries (23)
  • Coconut oil, butter, and grass fed meats are excellent food sources to consume
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Key Points

  • Fat provides 9 calories per gram versus 4 calories per gram from protein and carbohydrates so be mindful of your serving size
  • Neither type of fat, including omega 6s, is inherently bad, the danger lies in excessive consumption of one type
  • Consume fatty foods slower and in small portions to avoid overconsumption
  • Most of your dietary fat intake should come from animal fats and whole food sources like nuts, avocados, and eggs instead of processed oils
  • Avoid foods  that contain hydrogenated oils (trans fats) i.e Fast foods, some processed snacks, coffee creamers. If you aren’t sure then just check the label =D
  • Dietary cholesterol found in eggs has no detrimental effects on the heart, if anything, it has beneficial effects toward heart disease (9)
  • Consume more foods with Omega 3 fats versus Omega 6s
  • If your fat intake is high then you must LOWER your carbohydrate intake

Top Healthy Fat Sources : Read More

  1. Avocados

  2. Grass Fed Meats

  3. Pasteurized Eggs

  4. Dark Chocolate (70 % cacao or more)

  5. Fatty Fish

  6. Nuts and Nut Butters

  7. Chia Seeds

  8. Cheese/ Grass Fed Milk

  9. Full Fat Yogurt

  10. Olive Oil

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Healthiest Oils To Cook in High Heat

  1. Avocado Oil

  2. Coconut Oil

  3. Grass fed Butter

  4. Sunflower Oil

  5. Palm Oil

 

Stay Tuned for Erik R.'s next Macronutrient Breakdown: Carbs!

 

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