Fat Foods for Fuel

By Stefaniya Koleva

Are Fats Your Friend?

If we want to lose fat, it just seems wrong to consume fats, right? It’s hard not to associate the word fats in food with fat in our body. Plus, in the recent past decades Americans went through a low-fat carb craze of low cal food. You know… diet foods… DIET FOODS…  that made us FAT!

Calories mean nutrients and energy and when it comes to some fat, there’s more nutrient density. In fact, fat is one of the 3 macronutrients we need to maintain a healthy diet and is a preferred source of energy by your body. So understanding how your body uses fat, and working with that, will prevent weight gain.

Determining your ideal fat intake and making a balanced diet plan according to that will help you lose subcutaneous fat and accomplish your fitness goals.

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How Much Fat do You Need?

The Low Carb – High Fat—Ketogenic—diets based on a 60:25:15 ratio between fat-60, protein-25 and carbs-15, is a super efficient method for losing  body fat quickly. This Ketogenic approach, also have many benefits for the health including lowering blood sugar levels. So don’t be fooled—or afraid— fat’s not your enemy. The right kinds of fats are allies on your path to health and fitness success.

To help you understand fat and why it is good for you Trinh Le, MPH, RD a registered dietitian for MyFitnessPal, created a simple checklist“A Beginner’s Guide to Fat”. Read on to overcome the unjustified fear of eating fat.

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Calories mean nutrients and energy and when it comes to some fat, there’s more nutrient density. In fact, fat is one of the 3 macronutrients we need to maintain a healthy diet and is even a preferred source of energy for your body. Understanding how your body uses fat, and working with that, will prevent weight gain.

Determining your ideal fat intake and making a balanced diet plan according to it will help you lose subcutaneous fat and accomplish your fitness goals.

How Much Fat do You Need?

The Low Carb – High Fat—Ketogenic—diets based on a 60:25:15 ratio between fat-60, protein-25 and carbs-15, is a super efficient method for losing  body fat quickly. This Ketogenic approach, also have many benefits for the health including lowering blood sugar levels. So don’t be fooled—or afraid— fat’s not your enemy. The right kinds of fats are allies on your path to health and fitness success.

To help you understand fat and why it is good for you a registered dietitian for MyFitnessPal, created a useful resource:

A Beginner’s Guide to Fat, by Trinh Le, MPH, RD,

A gram-for-gram comparison of fat versus carbs and protein shows:

At 9 calories per gram, fat is the most calorie-dense of all the macronutrients.

It makes sense, since one of the biggest roles of fat is energy storage (just in case we need it). It’s hard for most of us to appreciate, but fat actually helps our bodies function correctly in several ways:

Fat maintains healthy cells, organs and brains. Fat plays a protective role for cells because it’s an important component of every cell’s membrane or “wall,” which protects against invaders. Fat protects your organs by cushioning them from the impact of everyday living. You also need certain fats to build and maintain a healthy brain, which is about 60% fat in composition!

Fat fuels most of your activities. For day-to-day activities, fat is the main type of fuel our bodies burn for energy. Generally, during activity where your heart rate is less than 70% of its maximal rate, fat serves as your body’s primary source of fuel. Interested in learning more? Check out how to use heart rate training.

Fat helps you feel full, and maintain a more steady blood sugar level. Fat aids the release of CCK, a gut hormone that helps you feel more satiated after a meal. Pairing high-fat foods with high-carb foods helps prevent a rapid spike in blood sugar. How? Fat slows down digestion and the rate at which sugars from carbs enter the bloodstream.

 

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3 Fat Myth Busters

  1. Eating fat will make you fat. Your body stores fat mainly from excess calories. If a calorie excess is available, even if those calories are from carbs or protein, your body is fully capable of turning them into fat for storage.
  2. Your body can only use carbohydrates as fuel during exercise. Your body burns a combination of carbs, fat and protein. At rest and during low-intensity exercise (e.g. exercising at less than 70% maximal heart rate), fat is the fuel of choice. Your body’s fuel of choice shifts to carbs when you exercise harder—at a moderately intense pace and beyond.
  3. Eating low-fat and nonfat foods will save you calories. Contrary to what the label might tell you, low-fat and nonfat versions of foods tend to contain more fillers and additives to make up for missing flavor. A common additive is, unsurprisingly, sugar (or any one of its 44 cousins).

Fat is not a villain.

Overeating and excess calories are the main reasons for adding up to your subcutaneous fat percentage. As Elle Penner, M.P.H., R.D. from MyFitnessPal suggests fat has an important role in lowering the risk for heart disease and the function and development of  our brains. When we make a choice considering our health it’s important to be well informed.

I hope you now understand that when it comes to healthy eating fat is equally and sometimes even more important than carbs and proteins. Be sure to create your diet without eliminating completely none of the three macronutrients your body needs. You can try to experiment with different amounts but always remember:

The key to a healthy meal plan is balance.

Elle Penner, M.P.H., R.D., is the Registered Dietitian and Food & Nutrition Editor at MyFitnesssPal

RESOURCES

ARTICLES:
A Beginners Guide to Fat, by Elle Penner, M.P.H., R.D for MyFitnessPal.com