I’ve heard these words from many uneducated individuals throughout the years. Fat free cheese, low fat chips, low fat cookies, and even fat free peanut powder. These are just a few examples of the products that the brainwashed general population consumes, thinking it will help them lose fat and be healthy. In the early 1990’s, there was a massive movement for companies to produce low fat products after America realized that obesity was becoming a major issue nationwide. When mass marketing met uneducated consumers, we got a massive movement of individuals blindly following orders.
What these consumers did not realize, was that the advertised low fat products needed something else to make them taste good. Thus, these products were now packed with added sugar and other ingredients that would make the calorie count nearly equivalent as their full fat counterpart. This led to mass overeating with the misconception that a healthier alternative was consumed, this made obesity even worse.
The interesting fact is that your body can function without carbohydrates, but not without dietary fat. Now, this is not to say that you should not eat carbohydrates, as they play a very important factor in our performance and body composition. But, it is much more important to make sure we are getting enough dietary fats from our diets in order to optimize hormone production. Many of our sex hormones are responsible for our overall body composition, and if these are not regulated, you will never have the physique you’d like to achieve.
So does this mean I have given you the green light to eat all the bacon and cookies you want? NO!
Although fats are very important to get in our diet, the amount should be tailored to your specific goals and needs. Too much dietary fat, even if healthy, can definitely put you in an excessive surplus of calories causing you to gain unwanted weight. The other dilemma, is that all fats are not created equal.
A very important thing to consider is what kind of fats we are consuming. There are 3 major types of fats: saturated fats, trans fats and unsaturated fats.
Saturated Fats are fats that are mostly found in animal products like meats, cheese and even coconut oil. These fats are important to consume in a limited amount, as many will have cholesterol in them. Cholesterol is important in a controlled dose as it is a major contributor to optimal body function and our hormone production. Many fats coming from grass fed animals also have a natural fatty acid in it called CLA, which many studies show can help speed up fat loss.
Trans fats are fats that go through a manmade process called hydrogenation, this fat is very popular in things like cookies, margarine, chips, and crackers because it increases the amount of time it can last on the shelf. A lot of research has shown that diets high in trans fats can increase the risk for heart disease and stroke.
Unsaturated fats are fats that are derived mostly from plant sources. These are generally correlated to having a positive effect on your cholesterol levels and have many antioxidants in them. Omega 3’s are included in this group. Omega 3’s are a very important fatty acid that has an unbelievable amount of benefits. Taking in high amounts of Omega 3’s has been shown in many studies to decrease inflammation, optimize cholesterol levels, and even regulate your blood sugar.
Unsaturated fats should make up the bulk of your fat intake, while saturated fats should be monitored as they are still important for the body to function optimally. Trans fats should be avoided, as they should not be used by individuals interested in getting into the best and healthiest shape of their life. I always tell clients to stay away from processed foods, as they will not give you the micronutrients that whole foods will give you.
As much as fats have been demonized the last 20 years, they are actually very important to keep in our diet. Many people feel and look much better when they experiment with adding fats and lowering carbohydrates in their diet as well. I find with a lot of my clients that they overeat carbohydrates and will under eat healthy fats before they seek help from a coach. Many of them also report more sustained energy and better focus throughout the day as fat helps control your insulin levels. Carbohydrates often make individuals feel groggy and sleepy as well, which is not the desired effect a lot of the times. Specially many who live a sedentary lifestyle, as they end up not using the carbohydrates they eat for energy and end up desensitizing their insulin while storing excess carbohydrates as fat. Make sure to adjust your fats to tailor your specific goals and lifestyle so you can reach the physique you have always dreamed about!
With the pursuit of achieving the best possible physique and helping hundreds of clients do the same, Juan Rojas has dedicated his life to finding the best strategies for transforming human bodies. Constant research, trial and error and continous education in the exercise physiology and nutrition field, Juan Rojas thrives off finding the most efficient ways to transform your body and live a happier and healthier lifestyle.