How Much Fat Does The Body Need ?

Eat fat and get fat that’s what mainstream diet gurus used to say back when low-fat diets reigned and low-fat foods crowded the shelves much to obesity researchers dismay though the war on fat didn’t stop us from getting fatter and fatter and so the quest for a better way continued and fast forwards today and many people will tell you that the hunt is over that we finally understand the human metabolism well enough to say that the previous generation of scientists had it all wrong that they had it backward actually and so now we’re told to eat fat and burn fat and this latest revelation has spread through the health and fitness space like Chain Lightning giving rise to its own cottage industry of high-fat diets and cookbooks and food products and supplements.

So forth unfortunately though this advice is just as flawed as its antithesis and in fact ironically the exact opposite happens when you eat fat you see metabolically speaking when you eat fat you gain fat that’s one of the primary roles of dietary fat actually is replenishing body fat stores but that doesn’t mean that eating fat makes you get fatter remember the only overeating consistently eating more energy than you burn can do that but that’s the subject for another post and if you want me to make it then just drop me a comment down below and let me know in this post.

We’re going to talk about what types of fat your body needs and how much of them you should be eating every day so let’s start at the top there are two types of fat found in food triglycerides and cholesterol triglycerides comprise the bulk of our daily fat intake and are found in a wide variety of foods ranging from dairy to nuts and seeds and meat and more now these fats can be in liquid unsaturated or solid saturated forms and they help maintain our health in many different ways they aid in absorbing vitamins they’re used to create various hormones they keep your skin and hair healthy and much more now cholesterol is scarce on our diets and it’s found mainly in foods like eggs liver and some fish butter and more it’s a waxy substance that’s present in all cells of the body and it’s used to make hormones vitamin D and various chemicals that help you digest your food better now.

Several decades ago it was believed that foods that contain cholesterol like eggs and meat increase the risk of heart disease and we now know it’s not that simple eggs for instance have been more or less exonerated and research shows that process red meat is associated with high incidence of heart disease but red meat per se is not and one of the reasons for this long-standing confusion is foods that contain cholesterol also often contain saturated fat which can increase the risk of heart disease another reason has to do with how cholesterol travels through your body it’s delivered to cells by molecules known as lipoproteins which are made out of fat in proteins now there are two types of lipoproteins low-density lipoprotein LDL and high-density lipoprotein HDL now when people talk of bad cholesterol they’re referring to LDL because research shows that high levels of LDL in your blood can lead to an accumulation in your arteries which increases the risk of heart disease and this is why studies show that foods that can raise LDL levels such as fried and processed foods as well as foods with saturated fat can increase the risk of heart disease HDL on the other hand is often thought of as the good cholesterol because it carries cholesterol to your liver where it is removed from the body all right so that’s cholesterol let’s go back to triglycerides now I’ve mentioned several times so far that there are two forms of triglycerides saturated and unsaturated saturated fat is found in foods like meat dairy products eggs coconut oil bacon fat and lard if a fat is solid at room temperature it’s a saturated fat.

Now the long-held belief that saturated fat increases the risk of heart disease has been challenged by recent studies which has been a boon to the fad diet industry not to mention the meat in dairy industries because we’ve seen a fair Renaissance of meat and dairy consumption since this research has gone mainstream the problem however is that the research used to promote this movement has also been severely criticized by prominent nutrition and cardiology researchers for various flaws and omissions these scientists maintain that there is a strong association between high intake of saturated fats and heart disease and that we should still follow the generally accepted dietary guidelines for saturated fat intake which is less than 10% of daily calories until we know more so given the research currently available I don’t think we can safely say that all of us no matter our circumstances or genetic programming can eat all the saturated fats that we want without any health consequences whatsoever now unsaturated fat is found in foods like olive oil avocado nuts and fish and if a fat is liquid it’s an unsaturated fat now there are two distinct types of unsaturated fat monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat monounsaturated fat is liquid at room temperature and it starts to solidify.

When it’s cooled and polyunsaturated fat is liquid at room temperature and when cool so foods that are high in monounsaturated fat include canola olive in peanut oil and avocado and foods high in polyunsaturated fat include safflower sesame and sunflower seeds corn and many other nuts and their oils now unlike saturated fat there is no controversy over monounsaturated fat there’s evidence that it can reduce the risk of heart disease and it’s believed to be responsible for some of the health benefits that are associated with the Mediterranean diet which involves eating a lot of olive oil now polyunsaturated fat on the other hand isn’t as cut and dried and that’s because the two primary polyunsaturated fats in our diets are alpha linolenic acid or LA and linolenic acid or la now ala is what is known is in a mega 3 fatty acid and linoleic acid is an omega-6 fatty acid and these designations just refer to the structure of the molecules LA and LA are the only types of fat that we must obtain from our diets because they’re essential to our health and our bodies can’t produce them that’s why they’re referred to as essential fatty acids or IFAs so what that means is you could completely remove saturated and monounsaturated fat from your diet and still survive but if you were to eliminate ala or LA.

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You would eventually die now linolenic acid is converted into several compounds in the body including the anti-inflammatory gamma linolenic acid as well as the pro-inflammatory arachidonic acid now it’s a bit of an oversimplification now ala can be converted into an omega-3 fatty acid called I costs pentatonic acid or epa and that can be converted into another called docosahexaenoic acid or DHA and EPA DHA are also found in high amounts in fatty fish which is why people take fish oil supplements to provide their bodies with adequate epa DHA you see a massive amount of research has been done on epa and DHA and it appears that they bestow many if not all of the health benefits that are generally associated with ala the bottom line is we know now that if you want to maintain optimal mental and physical health and well-being then you need to make sure you’re giving your body enough epa and DHA now there’s one more type of unsaturated fat that we need to talk about that you’ve probably heard of and that is trans fat which occurs naturally in some meat in dairy foods but mainly is found in foods that are manufactured industrially by infusing them with vegetable oil with hydrogen producing .

The ubiquitous partially hydrogenated oil that you’ll find in many processed foods now trans fat is used primarily to increase the shelf life and palatability of foods and it’s found mostly in junk like fried foods and baked goods cake mixes frostings ice cream and so forth now I’m not one for dietary absolutism but there is a little argument at this point that artificial trans fats should be eliminated entirely from our diets studies show that relatively.

Small amounts of these fats no just a couple grams per day you can increase the risk of a whole host of health problems including heart disease these Alzheimer’s breast cancer depression and more all right so now that we have some basic theory under our belts about dietary fat let’s talk about how much we should be eating every day now you’ve probably heard that you should get at least 20 to 30% of your daily calories from fat to be healthy but that’s not necessarily true if you’re bulking for example and you’re eating a few thousand calories per day.

You definitely don’t need to get 30% of those calories from fat to stay healthy that’s why a better target for fat intake is somewhere around 0.3 grams per pound of fat free mass per day and research shows that that is an adequate amount for maintaining overall health and it also leaves plenty of calories for carbs which are far more important for gaining muscle and strength than fat and I am going to be making a separate post on that.

Nnow when you look at that number in terms of total caloric intake you’ll see that it comes out to about 15 to 20 percent of daily calories for most of us the workout regularly for some people it’s going to be a little bit more and it will never be below 15% now you can go higher than this of course you can go up to 30 or even 40 percent of your daily calories from fat but I just want you to know that it’s not necessary and also if you’re going to do that you need to make sure that your saturated fat intake.

Isn’t too high again I recommend that we follow these standard guidelines for now which is no more than 10% of our total daily calories coming from saturated fat so I would say the reason to go higher fat than what I just said is if you like it or if you just know that your body feels or does better on a high fat diet but not because you’re afraid that so and so says that your endocrine system is going to fail if you get you know less than 25% your daily calories from fat.

You should also note that it does make sense to go higher in fat in lower in carbs if you’re sedentary or if you’re very overweight one other thing is I recommend that you plan on getting the majority of your dietary fat from monounsaturated fats because those are generally healthiest for your body and again that you keep your saturated fat intake below 10 percent of daily calories.

You also should pay special attention to your EP a and DHA intake because if you’re like most people in you’re eating several servings of fatty fish every week or taking a fish oil supplement or maybe an ala supplement your epa and DHA levels are likely lower than they should be now research shows that 500 milligrams of EPA and DHA per day and that’s combined that’s a bare minimum intake but I like to see and take closer to 2 grams a day because it gives you quite a few health benefits.

Tthat you just don’t see at 500 milligrams per day and you can even go higher you can go up to as high as 6 grams per day for acute anti-inflammatory needs so that’s it for figuring out how much fat to eat every day it’s pretty simple it just requires a bit of meal planning a bit of familiarizing yourself with the types of foods that you like to eat and planning it out and once you do that for a bit you get some practice with it just becomes second nature really so I hope you found this post helpful.

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