The Phat on Fats

Once upon a time, if someone wanted to lose weight or lean down they were encouraged to follow a low-fat diet.

Why Do We Need FatAt first glance this seemed logical, until fats became replaced with carbohydrates, and often the wrong kind of carbohydrates. With time, the obesity rate in North America hit an all-time high and dieticians everywhere were forced to re-examine their recommendations. Now, with more research and tests behind the feared nutrient, it’s argued that at least 20 to 25% of your caloric intake should come from fat sources – specifically the unsaturated kind.


Why Do We Need Fat?

First off, foods which are low in fat contain little taste and offer a limited sense of fullness or satiety. Secondly, since fat is essential to any diet, the body will, by any means necessary, hold on to fat when intake is limited, resulting in a lower rate of fat metabolism.

In simple terms, you must consume fats to burn fat.

Finally, fats are actually required by certain body structures, such as cell membranes, to operate. Similarly, certain vitamins can only be absorbed by the body in the presence of fats.

With this in mind, I am not saying a weekly trip through the golden arches drive-thru is going to bring you any closer to that sought after six-pack. I am, however, suggesting that by taking a closer look at your fat intake and focusing on consuming good fats, you can be on your way to the lean and mean machine you aspire to be.

What You Need to Know about Fats

Good fats come in two forms: Polyunsaturated (PUFAs) and Monounsaturated (MUFAs)

Monounsaturated Fats

These are derived from vegetable oils like peanut, olive and canola oil. They typically make up the heart healthy fats of the Mediterranean diet. It is recommended that these fats make up about 10% of your daily caloric intake.

Polyunsaturated Fats

These are derived from vegetable oils like safflower, sunflower and corn oil, as well as deep sea fish. These fats, also known as Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs), cannot be produced by the body and therefore, must be consumed through supplements or natural food sources. Moreover, these fats supply the body with essential Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids which increase the body’s DHA and EPA levels, helping to improve cognitive and heart function, as well as mood. The hype over Omega 3 fatty acids is widespread; however, as research surrounding Omega 6 is still relatively new, it’s no wonder this fatty acid has gone almost unnoticed until recently.

Omega 6

With new research in its corner, the popularity of Omega 6 is beginning to bloom. In studies conducted by Harvard University, it has been found that by replacing saturated fats with Omega 6 Fatty acids led to a 24% reduction in the risk of heart attacks and other coronary diseases. Further, consumption of Omega 6 is crucial in increasing the metabolic rate, restoring cognitive function and reducing insulin resistance.

Omega 6 in its purest form can be found in safflower, sunflower, corn and soya, evening primrose and wheat germ. Studies have shown that consuming 5 to 10% of your calories from Omega 6 can help improve your overall body composition. The easiest way to make sure you are getting enough Omega 6 is through supplementing with CLA or Conjugated Linoleic Acid.

We have recently made it easy for athletes to improve their body composition with CLA95,made from 100% Safflower oil it’s the purest, most concentrated form of CLA. Although this product is not a thermogenic, it has been proven to aid in fat loss and overall body composition by inhibiting the enzyme lipoprotein lipase (LPL), responsible for the transfer of fat in the blood stream to fat cells.

Valeria Fazio

Valeria Fazio holds a B.A. Honors degree in history from Carleton University and a diploma in professional writing from Algonquin College. She has been competing in amateur fitness and figure competitions for three years, and has recently qualified for the 2011 Ontario Provincial Figure Championships. As a certified personal trainer and nutritional coach, Valeria helps others in her free time to achieve their fitness goals.

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