When it comes to health it’s always the nutrition and foods you eat that can have the greatest impact on your vitality and well-being.
9 Part Guide to Bigger CHEST (if clicking doesn't work- right click and hit "Save link As")
And among the macros, fat has the biggest room for manipulation. But unfortunately, the fat-hyped media and other online resources have made dietary fats sound like something that is harmful to health.
But, is it true? Should you really be eating fat? That’s what this post is all about. It’ll walk you through the basics of fats, why your body needs them, and sources of healthy fat.
Let’s get to it.
Dietary Fat – Major Types
Let’s start with the basics. When it comes to dietary fats, there are 4 main varieties:
Saturated Fatty Acids (SFAs): These fats are hard at room temperature and have a single bond between the carbon atoms. This is the kind you mainly get from animal sources (red meat and dairy), but can also get them from plant sources such as coconut oil and palm oil.
Monounsaturated Fatty Acids (MUFAs): These fatty acids have only one double bond between their carbon atoms and exist in a liquid state at the room temperature. Some sources include avocados and olive oil.
Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFAs): Similar to MUFAs but these fatty acids have multiple double bonds between their carbon atoms. Sunflower oil, fish, margarine, and soybean oil are main examples.
Trans Fats: These fats don’t exist in nature. These fats are formed by chemical manipulation of natural fats so that they could last longer. Most of the commercially used cooking and frying oils have Trans fats in them.
Debunking SFAs, High Cholesterol Myth!
The reason why fats have always had such a bad reputation is because of a belief that they cause an increase in blood cholesterol levels. In fact, that’s what researchers previously used to believe as well.
It was previously believed that the buildup of cholesterol following the use of fats (mainly SFAs) is an important risk factor for cardiovascular disorders. Turns out, our understanding of fatty acids was not complete and somewhat inaccurate as well.
In fact, the results of recent research have brought to light some startling facts. A 2016 research has found NO link between SFAs and an increase in the risk of cardiovascular disease (1). The only types of fats that seem to be harmful are the Trans-type of fats.
Why Do You Need to Eat the Right Amount of Fat?
Almost all of us have spent our lives believing that fats are generally unhealthy and their intake should be kept to the minimum.
In reality, all this time, we were missing out on an important nutrient. Eating fats (except Trans fats) is just as important as any other types of fats.
Here is what research suggests about the health benefits of eating fats.
1. Better Body Composition
Again, the general belief about fats also misleads people when it comes to body composition. Aren’t fats bad for body composition? No wonder all the major diet and weight loss plans almost exclusively exclude all sorts of fats from the diet.
But, is it the right approach? What does the research say?
You’d be amazed to know what recent research suggests about the effects of fats on body composition. The research proposes that restriction of fat has a negligible effect on your body composition.
In fact, the opposite is true when it comes to fat intake and weight loss, that is, individuals eating a diet high in fat are more likely to lose weight compared to those eating a low-fat diet (2).Follow @AboutLifting
2. Improved Brain Function
Your brain has a specific set of nutritional needs. It can use only two things as energy sources: sugar and fatty acids.
So if you’re restricting your fat intake, you’re depriving your brain of one of its main sources of energy.
Moreover, research suggests that the use of fatty acids (like DHA and EPA) is linked with an improved balance of neurotransmitters in your brain. This means better mood and a significant reduction in anxiety and depression.
3. Other Health Benefits
In addition, the intake of natural fatty acids is linked to:
- An improved bone health and reduction in the risk of osteoporosis
- Better muscle mass
- Reduction in the risk of cancers
- Stronger immune system
- Better skin function
- Improved vision
- Libido Boosting
Effects of Fat Intake on Testosterone Profile
If you’re interested in knowing the benefits of fat intake on testosterone profile and reproductive health then this section is for you!
When it comes to testosterone synthesis, the types of fats that work best are a bit different. The types of fats you should focus on are SFAs and MFUAs. The story is a bit different when you bring PUFAs into the picture.
Researchers studied the effects of different types of fat intake on testosterone production. They found that the testosterone levels of the participants improved substantially when they ate a diet rich in SFAs and MUFAs.
But, the results were a bit unexpected when they introduced PUFAs into the research. Surprisingly, they found that when the ratio of PUFAs to MUFAs was increased, there was a decline in the levels of total testosterone (3).
Perhaps the answer to this apparent discrepancy lies in the basic structure of the PUFAs. The PUFAs have multiple double bonds between their carbon atoms. This makes these types of fats quite sensitive and unstable.
When these fats come into contact with the oxygen, they undergo damage and don’t remain useful enough for the synthesis of testosterone.
What Type of Diet are We Looking at Here?
In a nut shell, if you’re looking to give a boost to your testosterone levels, you’re looking at a diet rich in SFAs, MUFAs and slightly low in PUFAs. Here is what you can eat:
- Coconut oil
- Palm oil
- Red meat
- Dairy products (Butter, cheese)
- Nuts (Almonds, cashew, walnuts)
- Seeds (Flaxseeds, sesame seeds)
- Olive oil
- Algal oil
To sum up, there is nothing to be afraid of when it comes to fat intake. Fats are healthy and should be taken just like other nutrients. The only types of fats you should avoid are Trans fats.
By Sean Ward, Founder of Naturally Boost Testosterone, a men’s health blog dedicated to providing natural ways for men to boost hormone levels. Check out www.naturally-boost-testosterone.com to learn more about Sean and his work. You can also find him on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook
- Uffe Ravnskov et al. Lack of an association or an inverse association between low-density-lipoprotein cholesterol and mortality in the elderly: a systematic review. BMJ. Volume 6, Issue 6
- Bonnie J. Brehm, et al. A Randomized Trial Comparing a Very Low Carbohydrate Diet and a Calorie-Restricted Low Fat Diet on Body Weight and Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Healthy Women. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, Volume 88, Issue 4, 1 April 2003, Pages 1617–1623
- Volek J, Kramer W. Testosterone and cortisol in relationship to dietary nutrients and resistance exercise. Journal of Applied Physiology. Journal of Applied Physiology Published 1 January 1997 Vol. 82 no. 1, 49-54