Fats are the best source of energy for the human metabolism. They also don’t influence blood sugar. Here are 5 reasons why fat is our friend:
Fat regulates our appetite. It helps us feel satisfied.
Fat provides long lasting energy that carbohydrates are no match for.
Fat has very low insulin (the hormone of aging) response, especially compared to sugar. One of the greatest side effects from the low fat craze – besides tripling childhood obesity in just one decade in the US – is its impact on mental decline.
Fat is essential to the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K), which are vital for health.
German nutrition expert, Konrad Biesalski, points out the counter-intuitive reality that many of the nutrients implicated in protecting against cancer (vitamin A, folic acid, selenium, and zinc). These are not only more abundant in meat but are also more available than they are when they’re coming from plant sources. This means that these nutrients are better absorbed when consumed from meat rather than vegetables and fruits. Obviously that doesn’t mean that you if you get your protein from more plant based sources that you should stop, only that it seems to be a better source.
Which Fats Are Best… And Best Avoided?
There are three types of fats you should include in your diet: saturated, mono-unsaturated, and poly-unsaturated.
Despite what we’ve heard in the past, saturated fat and cholesterol are needed for the synthesis of the steroid hormones in the body, including testosterone.
This means muscular strength and tone, which is good for independence in old age, sex appeal, resistance to disease and also Vitamin D synthesis.
Trans fats (Cakes, doughnuts etc) are nice to have as a treat once in a while but they should be consumed minimally. It can take a bit of mental strength to do this but you’ll thank yourself in your 50’s.
As a general rule, studies have shown that a fat intake making up less than 15% of overall calories in the diet can significantly decrease testosterone levels.
If you’re on a carb-restricted diet, make sure you include a decent amount of saturated and mono-unsaturated since they’re good for energy metabolism.
Saturated fat and cholesterol help to maintain rigidity with cell structure.
Poly-unsaturated fats should be included at lower quantities since they’re sensitive to oxidation. Still, these have specialised roles to help optimise cell function, cognitive behaviour, and inflammatory modulation.
Eating high carb and high fat at the same meal isn’t a good idea since insulin promotes fat storage in the wrong environment.
Never cook with poly-unsaturated fats. Cook with coconut or palm oil. Other than brain boosting and fat-busting benefits. The reason to favour these tropical oils for cooking is because they’re extremely saturated. This means any chance of oxidation from heat is minimised.
They also contain low amounts of Aldehydes once they are heated, which are substances linked to the development of some diseases.
Our ancestors thrived on a 4:1 ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids. Nowadays the average diet leans toward 1:16 which is unhealthy. A reasonable aim would be a 1:1 ratio. This can be achieved by way of supplementation and good protein choices e.g. grass fed beef. Good options are to invest in Free range or organic foods. The only problem with these is that they can be more expensive. You can get a lot of good benefits in terms of healthy fats and protein from Oily fish such as salmon and mackeral. Which are cheaper choices in some places.
Every person in the developed world thinks about their body image at least once a week- posititively or negatively.
I saw an advert for a beauty cream- that claimed it could remove your bodies ‘imperfections’ the other day and I was pretty angry about the message it was sending- in the eyes of big companies you will never be perfect in your own skin. Otherwise they wouldn’t be able to sell anything to you.
This needs to change.
If you aren’t looking at yourself in the mirror and being totally happy in your skin- then it has huge knockon effects that can have lethal consequences, all the way up to depression. Millions of women and men across the world are fed the image that they are not good enough, that only them spending their money on the latest cream gives them any right to breath in our planets oxygen.
This, of course is not true. It’s also not to say that your body is perfect, you may well be in need of curbing a certain food or losing a few pounds. But when you look at yourself, you need to see the unfinished canvas and recognise that you have every right to the body that you want. The hardest part is the thought process, one of my favourite qoutes from a coach is “The more you succeed in habit, life and competition, the more habitual success becomes. Prove to yourself repeatedley that you have the courage and ability to overcome obstacles”.
Fit shaming is also a thing…
Unfortunately shamers also target those that take great pride in their appearance- this tends to happen more amongst women. Women that are hugely keen on weightlifting and being strong often hear things like “You look like a man” or “I wouldn’t date a girl that can lift more than me”. If you’ve ever heard that then you have my support, you have the right to feel great in your own skin. It is very easy to consider yourself inadequate, or not as good as those you see on magazine covers. It is very hard to put yourself in your own compartment. To worry about your own body and not what everyone else thinks is the hardest thing to do.
I find that it helps to spend some time alone with my head, observe the traffic of your mind. Don’t try and run through it. Get in tune with how you feel and what drives you, at the end of the day all the external factors that make up your own body image are the least important. The most important is what goes on in your head.
The more you succeed in habit, life and competition, the more habitual success becomes. Prove to yourself repeatedley that you have the courage and ability to overcome obstacles.
Back pain, knee pain and headaches can all be caused by bad posture.
A heavily sedentary (seated) lifestyle will cause muscle atrophy (wastage).
‘Just’ exercising sometimes isn’t enough to break negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle.
Bad posture and back pain
Back pain and posture are intrinsically linked. Back pain can be attributed to many things. Normally the right answer to dealing with any kind of pathological pain needs a multi directional approach. In most cases though, you can alleviate pain by looking at specific places that might be causing you trouble. Let me first mention that pain relief such as deep heat and paracetamol are not solutions, they are ‘time buyers’ and may give you a few hours of respite- but ultimately you will need to combat that pain sooner or later.
So how does posture make a difference?
The spine is the strongest part of the body, mainly because it houses the Spinal chord and the central nervous system. Also because it is formed by several facets that work together to form a single unit. To effectively assess how our posture is affecting spinal health is to look at the top and the bottom- particularly when seated. The ideal position is to have the spine in a (mostly) straight line with the pelvis directly underneath and the ears in line with the shoulders at the top. Deviations from this cause muscles to be ‘short’ or ‘long’ which basically means they are changing their length to accommodate any bad posture there might be. Muscles will take the path of least resistance. Think of them as a mould. If they are subjected to a particular position, over time they will ‘set’ to that position. Sometimes painfully! Back pain in particular can be affected by the muscles of the lower back being moved and trying to compensate for a pelvis that is in a different position.
Negative effects of sitting
In the current world where most people will be sitting for the majority of the day- posture has become a huge niche for trainers and clients alike. Four or five hours of personal training in a week is fast becoming ineffective at combating the negative effects that sitting has on the body. Office workers that do manage to sneak out for an hour or during the day, or manage to go after work, are still then doing things that are reinforcing those negative effects of sitting. An example of this is a user who has a heavily sedentary career who then goes to the gym and only uses the bikes. This is beneficial on the obvious front of increasing the heart rate to encourage weight loss and blood pressure reduction, but this method of exercise will not combat the loss of strength and muscle definition that these kind of clients will suffer from.
‘Just’ exercising sometimes isn’t enough to break the cycle of negativity from being overly sedentary, you need to incorporate all aspects of physicality within your training, basically, use the whole body!
Calories are probably one of the most misunderstood concepts in the gym. Many people are uneducated through no fault of their own. They don’t realise that calories are not always just one number and also that the gym machines don’t burn off “200 cals” because you walked on them for 40 minutes. Everyone’s ‘Basal Metabolic Rate’ is different, and that’s the tool you need to understand just how to burn your calories properly.
One test that gives the user a rating of their body composition is the BMI. The algorithm is based on whether the user is the right height for their weight. Generally this can work for those of average height and non gym users, as the skeletal muscle to fat ratio is lower.
Basal Metabolic rate
For users that train regularly and have a higher muscle- fat ratio, the results can be absurd. For example- using myself. I get a result of being overweight despite being 6 ft 2 and a regular weights lifter. The idea is not to heavily rely on this test, if you’re trying to find out whether you need to lose a bit of weight or not then you would benefit from working out your daily calorie expenditure, otherwise known as the Basal metabolic rate. This rate allows the user to ascertain how many calories they will burn a day at rest. That is the daily functioning of the body, without daily activities (gym, cleaning etc).
Try the link I have posted below. The result of this test will make it a lot simpler for you to ascertain how much or how little you should be consuming in terms of calories. The website also gives you a breakdown of where your calories should be coming from, based on the level of activity you provide.If your overall goal is to lose some weight? Then you need to be eating less than the current allowance.
If your overall goal is to gain some weight- ie muscular mass, then you need to eat more than the allowance says you are on. The food MUST be of nutritional value, contributing to healthy anabolic growth- simply doubling your intake in pizza will add on weight- but NOT the good kind.
More importantly what effect do each of these them have on the body and how can we control them.
Over half of all adults in England have raised cholesterol (>5mmol/L) (source: HeartUK). The implications of this problem are well known, Coronary heart Disease and stroke etc. But the causes of these issues are a cause of discussion in the Nutrition and Fitness Industry. The two camps are divided into those that think saturated fat is responsible for CHD and those that think saturated fat (SF) positively contributes to heart and brain health. Obviously all types of fat will lead to issues when consumed in great amounts, but some are more problematic than others.
It is very complex subject to get to terms with, and the text here is the basis of my years in the industry and what I know myself. Naturally I am not a Nutritionist nor a Scientist so bare that in mind if you disagree with me- I would welcome the debate.
LDL Stands for “Low density Lipoprotein” which is commonly known as Bad cholesterol and has been found to be a big cause of Coronary heart disease and Atherosclerosis( hardening of the arteries). HDL stands for “High density Lipoprotein” which is known as good cholesterol because it bonds to the LDL molecules that have been left by the body and recycles them.. The most important thing to recognise is that the body produces cholesterol itself, so there is no way to ‘completely’ remove it from the diet, only limit the intake. The best way to ensure that your LDL and HDL balance stays positive is to keep on top of your diet- ensuring that you eat regular fruit and veg, and also get out and be active- even walking has been shown to reduce the effects of Negative LDL deposition.
I tend to sit in the camp that sees saturated fat as a nutritional component of the diet, I will explain a couple of reasons why below:
Many vitamins are fat soluble and in some cases, protein needs to be digested in a fat rich environment- that is the right kind of fat. A, D, E and K are all Fat soluble which means the bodies ability to digest them will be significantly reduced without the presence of Dietary fat (Dietary fat is a natural source of fat found in Nuts, Chicken skin etc)
In terms of cooking oils, Fats that contain low melting points (sunflower, rapeseed etc) all contain high levels of aldehydes, which have recently been linked to illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease. Coconut oil contains little to none of these substances as is predominantly made up of Saturated fat in content.
When it comes to the debate on Margarine or Butter, there is no competition for me, Margarine is an incomplete chain fat- meaning that it’s been blasted with hydrogen molecules, otherwise known as “Hydrogenation”. This means that it should be a liquid at room temperature. Butter is a complete chain fat- what you see is what you get with minimal tampering.
Aspartame. A topic that is hugely discussed in the world of nutrition and health- particularly since the “Sugar Tax” was recently introduced in the United Kingdom. Drinks manufacturers have ditched sugar in favour of sweeteners like Aspartame and Acesulfame K to comply with the Governments policy. Both substances are 200 times sweeter than sugar. Meaning that drinks need small amounts. Also saving on revenue for companies.
EFSA completes full risk assessment on aspartame and concludes it is safe at current levels of exposure.
As well as giving people headaches, dizziness, tiredness and bowel problems, what are the inherent risks of these substances, if they exist at all? Companies taking the iniative to remove sugar from our diets is a good thing surely? Even when motivated financially?
In regards to these chemicals giving people issues like the ones mentioned above, it is hard to relate these specifically to Aspartame and Acesulfame If you consume too much sugar then you will likely suffer from the same ailments, rendering this argument unlikely. They will produce the same “Excito-toxins” from the brain which normally produce a ‘craving’ for more. Hence why you could drink a whole bottle of coke by yourself.
My thoughts are that these substances are less dangerous than pure sugar. There is not much to suggest that they will contribute towards the same inflammatory things that sugar does. I do not possess any comparable research so take that as my two cents.
During my Personal Training course, the same info was given to me about how bad these substances are for our health. Which I obviously believed without much further thought. A few months back I was having a talk with a chemist friend of mine and he sent me these studies.
You can make your own mind up about these studies. But they both conclude that Aspartame offers no real health problems to humans in the amounts that we would find them. Unless Salad and Water forms your daily diet.