May 07

How Much Fat Should I Eat?

We have different types of fats, for example saturated and unsaturated fats, how much should you be eating? and which fats should you avoid?

Fat is made up of the same components as carbohydrate and protein, those components are hydrogen, oxygen and carbon, however these elements are combined differently than in other forms of nutrients to give them a different structure which makes fat more energy dense. Fat is more dense than other nutrients and it contains around twice the amount of calories per gram as protein and carbohydrates, so basically eating too much fat could make us fat. Not all body fat is a negative thing, a few of the benefits of body fat is outlined below.

What are the benefits and functions of fat?

  • Fats in the body help to protect and cushion the organs in our bodies, so not enough body fat could potentially harm our health.
  • Fat provides energy reserves, commonly known as body fat. Whenever we exercise we use both energy from food that we have consumed as also from fat that our body has stored (body fat) which makes fat essential for energy and performance.
  • Body fat also helps us to keep warm in cold temperatures.

Fat we eat, what fats are good and what fats are bad

Basically saturated fat is the bad one, it can increase cholesterol which increases the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and various other health problems. We should look for foods that contain unsaturated fat instead, unsaturated fat can actually reduce cholesterol and most of us should be eating more of it.

Some fat in our diet is actually recommended as it provides some necessary functions and benefits to the body such as providing us with energy, essential acids and helping to absorb certain nutrients.

Example foods which contain saturated fat

  • Butter/Lard
  • Cheese
  • Red Meat – Beef, Lamb, Pork
  • Egg yolks
  • Processed meats
  • Some cakes, biscuits and chocolate.
  • Creams, including ice cream

Example foods which contain unsaturated fat

  • Nuts and seeds – cashews, peanuts
  • Certain Fish
  • Certain fruits and vegetables

Even for a professional bodybuilder with a very low body fat percentage, their diet balance will still be around 15 – 25 percent fat. Fat intake should be controlled and limited especially saturated fat, however keep in mind that fat is a very important part of our diet and not consuming enough will hinder our fitness and muscle building goals and even our health.

So to directly answer the questions “Is fat good or bad and should we be eating more or less?” that all depend on how much of it you are consuming in the first place.

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