Aug 21 2012
The word fat is the F word. We label fat as bad, we ignore the science behind fat having any benefits in our diet and simply try to cut it out of our diets completely.
Fats aren’t all bad. We don’t need an immense amount, but we do receive benefits by including small amounts of good fats in our diet every day.
3 Weeks to Awesome – Does Fat Make You Fat
Unfortunately, fat seems to have a really bad marketing rep, while the marketing campaign behind whole grains is stellar. How often have you reduced fats and increased whole grains when trying to make healthy lifestyle changes, thinking you’re doing the right thing? It’s OK. I’ve done it too and I’m a professional, so I really should have known better.
What happens when you’ve tried reducing fats and increasing whole grains? Did it work?
Here’s what usually happens: After a few months, you don’t see the change you’re looking for. You hear about a new diet that includes bacon, butter, coconut oil, avocado and whole milk. You’re so fat deprived that you start salivating at the idea and decide to give it a go. Of course that doesn’t work in the long run either, so months later you’re confused, disheartened, and no further toward your goal then when you began this mess.
Here’s the real deal… ready? It’s simple and a bit anti-climatic: Include healthy fats in small amounts every day. Reduce your grains. Reduce your fruit. Increase your veggies. Increase your lean protein. Stick with it. Don’t veer off course even if you hear of a new awesome diet that everyone is trying and having fabulous results with.
Have a “rejuvenation” meal as needed (usually weekly or monthly depending on progress) for physical health and mental sanity. You can add in a few extra good fats, or even a few bad fats if you really want to during this one meal.
Don’t replace fats with grain or other refined carbohydrates, not even whole grains.
That doesn’t mean you should have bacon and eggs for breakfast every morning either.
Why can’t you reduce fat and increase “healthy” carbs for success? There are several reasons, but how about because many carbohydrates can increase triglyceride levels, which can contribute to heart and blood vessel disease.
I’m not saying to go low carb. I’m not saying to go high fat.
What I’m saying is a bit too simple to really even be considered advice. Let me say it again. Include healthy fats in small amounts every day. Reduce your grains. Reduce your fruit. Increase your veggies. Increase your lean protein.
It really is just that simple.
Today is day 19 in my 3 week program to get you into the most awesome shape of your life. Just 2 days to go. Today I want you to kill your legs with an awesome leg workout. Pick one by going to workouts, then click on thighs, hams, glutes or quads. Take your pick and go for it. Remember to post your time, reps or scores! I love hearing from you!
So what am I here for today if you’re working out on your own? I’m here to teach you all about fats.
At one point people all over the world believed the sun revolved around the earth and that the earth was flat. Now we know better, but there were probably a few people that held onto the flat earth belief long after it was proved wrong, simply because that is how they had always thought in the past.
That is basically what has happened with cholesterol. Earlier, years ago, it was thought that eating dietary cholesterol (like shrimp or eggs) would raise your cholesterol. The thing is, new research shows it really doesn’t raise it all that much. What does raise your cholesterol is trans fats.
What Are Bad Fats?
Trans fats are bad fats. Trans fats are liquid oils pumped full of hydrogen so they stay solid. They’re found in processed foods. You will not find trans fats in real, wholesome food.
Always check the ingredients. If you see hydrogenated, partially hydrogenated or shortening, it contains trans fats even it doesn’t say it on the nutrition label.
How can they get away with not putting it on the nutrition label? Technically, according to the labeling laws, a label can say it’s trans fat free if it has less than 0.5 g per serving.
What’s a serving? Well, that’s the problem. A serving is an arbitrary amount that the food manufacturer can make into whatever they want. If the food manufacturer is a smart business person, but terribly immoral when it comes to nutrition, they would make the serving size to be exactly the amount so the trans fats are 0.49 g. That way they could put trans fat free on the label and market their food as a healthy choice.
Are you following me? Label laws in the United States are pretty lame. You have to be smarter than the lame label.
If you want to really know what you’re eating you have to educate yourself, just a little. Check the ingredients. If you see hydrogenated, partially hydrogenated or shortening, treat it like it’s going to give you a heart attack and cause cancer (which it can) and put it down.
What Are Good Fats?
Omega-3 fatty acids are unsaturated super stars. They fight inflammation, help control blood clotting, lower blood pressure and lower triglycerides. It is a good idea to include a little fatty fish each week, like salmon.
You don’t need much. There’s probably no need to snack on walnuts, olive oil, flaxseed or salmon every day. Depending on what your goal is, try adding one of those foods once or twice a week.
I personally add 4 to 5 ounces of salmon once a week while I’m not prepping for competitions. I also have 2 whole eggs each day, along with 10 egg whites, year round. That’s how I prefer to consume my omega-3 fatty acids. Walnuts and flaxseed simply don’t seem to give me the same results that salmon, other fish and eggs do.
What is MCT?
MCT stands for medium chain triglicerides. MCTs are pretty cool. They’re shorter than typical fatty acids, so they break down into energy easier. They’re also 8.3 calories per gram as opposed to 9 calories per gram, like most fats.
When MCT oil is metabolized in the body, it behaves a little more like a carbohydrate than a fat. Unlike other fats, MCT oil does not go through the lymphatic system. Instead, it is transported directly to the liver where it is metabolized so it releases energy like a carbohydrate and creates lots of ketones (which can be used for fuel) in the process.
Although this all sounds super cool, there are a couple of things I want to draw your attention to. Usually, when you’re trying to lose body fat you want your body to work hard in order to get it’s energy. That’s why you won’t hear me recommending foods that are easily broken down. I want your body to work hard for everything so it’s burning the most amount of fuel possible, even while digesting.
A lot of people swear that MCT oils, like coconut oil, give them tons of energy and don’t seem to turn into fat. I can tell you from personal experience, that’s not the case for me.
I prefer to use coconut oil instead of butter when I’m baking because of the health benefits, but I don’t use coconut oil to burn fat. I use things like broccoli, chicken breast, sweet potatoes, water, exercise and stairs to burn fat.
Researchers have also found that MCT oil does raise cholesterol levels, like palm oil. Also, most physicians do not recommend taking MCT oil if you have diabetes, gastrointestinal problems, or high cholesterol.
So, that’s another reason to think clearly about your own unique needs before just adding in the next hot thing because you heard how awesome it is. Coconut oil is awesome, but it might not be the most awesome choice for you.
Want to read some more info on fats? Check out this article by Dr. Mercola: Eating Fat Won’t Make You Fat but These 10 Things Will. Dr. Mercola is pretty controversial, but regardless, this article definitely brings up some good points and is worth reading if you’re a geeky reader like me.
Eat for your goal. Not because of what your friend read in a magazine. Get accurate information and eat according to what your specific goal is.
Just remember the real deal. There is no mysterious, magical diet. If you want to lose bodyfat you need to eat a fair amount of lean protein and A LOT of green veggies at every meal. Period.
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