Beginning Nutrition: Part 3 Fats

FATS

Fats, technically called lipids, are the most energy dense of the three macro nutrients. They are composed of building blocks called fatty acids, which fall into three main categories:

SATURATED

Found mainly in animal and dairy products, such as whole milk, cheese, beef, veal, lamb, pork and ham. Also, you will find this type of fat in some oils, such as coconut, palm kernel and vegetable shortening. Saturated fat is used by the liver to make cholesterol, which is involved in the production of hormones such as testosterone. This is important - you need some fat in your diet to keep your body's hormone production where it should be.

POLYUNSATURATED

Found in things like corn, soybeans, safflower and sunflower oils. Some fish oils are also high in polyunsaturated fats. This type of fat may help lower total cholesterol. Since this includes good cholesterol, intake of this type of fat should be limited.

MONOUNSATURATED

Found in vegetable and nut oils, such as olive, peanut and canola. They can help lower LDL, or bad cholesterol without lowering HDL, or good cholesterol.

Most foods are a combination of all 3 fatty acid types, one is typically the dominant type which therefore dictates it's classification.

TRANS FATS

These occur when polyunsaturated oils are altered through hydrogenation, a process used to harden liquid vegetable oils into solid foods like margarine and shortening.

Fat intake should be kept low. In fact, many bodybuilders find that fat is naturally kept at low levels by simple eating "clean" - lean meat and dairy sources of protein, complex carbohydrates as listed below. Some bodybuilders add an omega 3 fatty acid supplement to their diet to insure a source of healthy fats.

FOOD CHOICES FOR FATS ARE

  • Flaxseed

  • Sunflower seeds

  • Canola oil

  • Olive oil

FATS TO AVOID

  • Processed vegetable oils

FATS TO LIMIT

  • Butter

  • Saturated fats

DIET JOURNAL