When it comes to proper nutrition, many active practitioners avoid the use of fat as a result of some erroneous information related to this nutrient. Therefore, this article will provide general information on fat and their need for increased physical activity. The basic function of fats along with protein and carbohydrates is to supply energy for our body’s needs. All fats are a combination of saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids found in beef, pork, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products, cereals, seeds and nuts. Unlike protein and carbohydrates that contain exactly 4 calories per gram, fat contains twice as much as 9 calories per gram, making fat the most concentrated form of energy available to the body (this is the main reason why most people completely avoid fat).
When it comes to fat and their use, the common misconception is that any fat consumption will result in an increase in excess fat in the body. But it is a well-known fact that consuming any food in large quantities (more than our body needs to perform all physical activity) will result in the storage of excess calories in fat. Cholesterol, which is closely linked to fat and its utilization by the body, is crucial to the health of the body, the fight against body infections and the rapid and proper healing of injuries. Cholesterol is also particularly important for the production of testosterone and androgen hormone, which plays an important role in protein synthesis and proper muscle growth. Most regular exercise research shows that active exercisers following a diet that contains a higher amount of healthy fat have a significantly greater chance of greater muscle growth and strength than regular exercisers following a diet that contains a lower amount of healthy fat.
Fat for increasing muscle mass and defining muscles
When it comes to fast muscle definition, many active athletes completely avoid fat because they find that because of the number of calories contained in fat, muscle definition is impossible. But due to the slow digestion of fats they are able to provide a greater sense of satiety and a more stable blood sugar level over a longer period resulting in reduced intake of extra calorie meals. The use of healthy fats (separating which fats to consume and which fats to avoid is given below in this article) in the diet will result in the following advantages over proper muscle growth:
Healthy fats are a great source of energy for the body’s extra physical needs throughout the day.
Healthy fats slow down protein absorption, ensuring a steady flow of amino acids to the muscles over a long period.
Consuming saturated fat allows for increased production of testosterone which keeps our body in anabolic state for a longer period of time.
Strong antioxidant properties contribute to the proper functioning of the immune system.
On the other hand, when the goal is to gain more mass, your total daily calorie intake should be significantly higher than your previous regular calorie intake. Therefore, for all active exercisers who want to gain mass, consuming a greater amount of healthy fat will allow faster intake of needed calories and excellent energy for intense physical activity throughout the day. All active trainers are recommended to consume 1-1.4 grams of healthy fat per kilogram of body weight.
Polyunsaturated fats – Good and healthy fats
Polyunsaturated fats are considered good and healthy fats as they help reduce bad cholesterol and the risk of heart disease. These fats have more than one double-bonded carbon in their molecule and remain in liquid state at room temperature. These fats also include the essential fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6 that our body cannot produce and must be absorbed through the diet. The following products contain an excellent amount of polyunsaturated fats: salmon, mackerel, tuna, trout, flaxseed, nuts, almonds, sunflower, corn, sesame, soy, and fish oil. Polyunsaturated fats offer the following benefits:
These fats contribute to the fight against muscle tissue breakdown.
Contribute to the reduction of excess fat in the body.
They have anti-inflammatory properties (reduce muscle pain).
Monounsaturated fat – Good fat
Monounsaturated fats have a double-bonded carbon in their molecule that, when cold, shifts from liquid to solid form. Monounsaturated fats also help lower bad cholesterol and reduce the risk of some heart disease. These fats can be found in greater quantities in the following products: olive oil, canola and peanut oil, almonds, peanuts, Indian nuts, peanut butter, pumpkin seeds and avocado. Consuming these fats offers the following benefits:
They lower the level of bad cholesterol in the blood.
A large number of studies show that a higher intake of monounsaturated fat contributes to a reduction in weight without a reduction in total daily calorie intake.
These fats are rich in vitamin E.
Consuming these fats during a period of increased physical activity contributes to their maximum utilization by the body, thus avoiding their storage as excess fat.
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Saturated fats – Separated fats for their use
Saturated fats are fats with carbon atoms that are saturated with hydrogen atoms and are usually in the solid state at room temperature. The opinion about the use of these fats is lower than who does their research. Most health organizations recommend avoiding the use of these fats especially for all inactive people. On the other hand, many studies on active lifestyles have shown that stearic acid, which is present in most amounts in beef and poultry, does not contribute to elevated blood cholesterol levels. The negative opinion about these fats is that these fats increase cholesterol in combination with the very high daily intake of carbohydrates and calories. The following products contain a greater amount of these fats: beef, pork, poultry, dairy products, coconut oil and butter. Consuming a moderate amount of these fats offers the following benefits:
Increased testosterone production.
Red meat also contains an excellent amount of creatine.
They contribute to healthy bones.
They are needed for proper utilization of fatty acids.
Trans Fat – Harmful fats that should be completely avoided.
These fats are created by the industrial process of adding hydrogen into liquid vegetable oils to obtain a solid form. This allows these products to have a longer shelf life. They are also known as hydrogenated oils. The use of these fats contributes to an increase in bad cholesterol, a decrease in the flow of amino acids to the muscles and an increase in muscle breakdown (muscle breakdown). Therefore, it is recommended that these fats be completely eliminated from the diet. The following products contain a large amount of trans fat: sweet and mild products, chips and various snacks, hydrogenated oils and fast-fried foods.