by David Robson
Yesterday in part 1, David gave us an introduction into fats, as well as dispelling a common myth. He’s back today with part 2, where he’ll discuss his recommendations.
Key recommendations for fat consumption among bodybuilders and other health-conscious folk
-Have fats comprise of around 30% of your daily macronutrient intake (note from Ben: I would class 30% in many cases as a minimum).
Provided the ratio of fat in your diet is comprised mostly of the aforementioned good sources, a good 30% of your overall caloric intake may include fats. For a 180lb lifter, they might consume around 135 grams of fat daily (or 0.75 grams of fat per pound of bodyweight).
Healthy fat options may include: cold water fish such as salmon, flax-seed and olive oils, avocados, and nuts and seeds (though limit nuts somewhat).
-Include some saturated fat
To belie its reputation as an evil artery-clogging food to be avoided, saturated fat does possess many health benefits. Aside from its testosterone boosting qualities (it’s needed to form steroid hormones in our body), saturated fat can also facilitate the fast absorption of calcium into bone tissue, improve brain heath (most fatty acids in the brain are of the saturated type), carry important fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K to bodily tissues, and boost immune system integrity.
For many people, there is often no need to specifically include saturated fat in our diet; for most of us, ample is acquired through the animal products we eat: eggs (one yolk contains 1.6 grams of saturated fat), beef, chicken, and pork all provide a generous complement of saturated fat. Dark chocolate, whipped cream, dried coconut and cheese are also heavy in saturated fats (note from Ben: as you all know, I highly recommend adding in coconut oil and MCT oil as your main sources of added saturated fats).
A good selection of healthy fats are poorly digested, and so, are not only wasteful, but potentially detrimental to our health (for the reasons mentioned above). Fats are digested with the aid of bile secreted from the gallbladder. A diet heavy in toxic and /or rancid foods, insufficient fat intake, gluten sensitivity and an excess of circulating estrogens may all cause bile to become old and viscous, and thus may hamper the assimilation of the fats we eat. By slowly introducing quality fats into our diet and maintaining a steady supply of them over time, we train our gallbladder to be more efficient. A better functioning gallbladder means better fat digestion and absorption. Also, consuming apple cider vinegar may enhance bile production due to its malic acid content, which thins bile over time, in turn optimizing fat absorption.
-Time your fat intake
A caloric intake beyond that needed to repair bodily tissues and provide the energy needed for our daily activities and the maintenance of our biological functions may result in unwanted fat gain. One key to optimizing the usage of the majority of the calories we consume is to time their intake before activities which require our greatest energy expenditure; fats certainly fall into this category. When shaping up, pre-contest or otherwise, it may be best to consume most of our fats early in the day. Further, by eating a fat rich (low carb) diet earlier in the day, researchers have suggested that we may switch on our ability to more efficiency metabolize carbohydrates so that those taken later in the day are better put to use.
The timing of our fat intake can also affect our performance, both directly and indirectly. Fat takes longer than the other macronutrients to be digested and absorbed in the digestive tract (lipid digestion being a multi-step process), at which time blood is diverted to the stomach to cope with this demand. Depending on the type and quantity of fat consumed, fats taken just before training may cause gastrointestinal distress, which may require a reduction in intensity and result in suboptimal performance, therefore, again, MCT’s and / or coconut oils are great choices here!
Plus, if we do not consume enough fat, this may indirectly lead to diminished training energy due to limited testosterone production.
References (for both parts 1 & 2):
Bray, M. S. et al. Time-of-day-dependant dietary fat consumption influences multiple cardiometabolic syndrome parameters in mice. Int J Obes (Lond). 2010 Nov;34(11):1589-98. doi: 10.1038/ijo.2010.63. Epub 2010 Mar 30
Education Portal. The Gallbladder & Liver: Function & Role in Digestion. http://education-portal.com/academy/lesson/the-gallbladder-liver-function-role-in-digestion.html#lesson. Retrieved on 22.7.1
Harvard School of Public Health. Fats and cholesterol: out with the bad and in with the good.