Are Fats Essential For Bodybuilding?
Fats is a class of macronutrient that is more misunderstood than carbohydrates. Infact it has got such a bad reputation that people keep looking for 'fat free' labels all the time. May be this little factoid can change your opinion. The United States went on a low fat, high carb craze in the 80’s and began to get fatter and fatter as a nation. Fat in your diet serves a vital purpose for the body. Fat acts as a structural component for all cell membranes and supplies necessary chemical substrates for hormonal production. Fat protects vital organs and carries fat-soluble vitamins. Your body needs fat, so don’t try to avoid it completely. Fats also supply chemical substrates that are necessary for proper hormonal production, as well as protect our vital organs and carry the fat-soluble vitamins to where they are needed. Many experts feel that 26-30 percent of your total dietary calories should come from fat. There are two types of fat.
- Saturated fat, which is considered bad fat.
- Unsaturated, which is considered to be good fat.
Some people add fat like olive oil and canola oil to their diets to make sure they meet their body’s requirements.
Key Functions Of Fat
- Fat is mostly stored in the body's adipose (fat) cells but is also found in blood plasma and other body cells.
- Fat insulates your body, cushions vital organs, and can be converted into energy.
- Fat is used to build new cells and is critical for normal brain development and nerve function.
- Fat is also needed to carry and help absorb fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamins A, D, E, and K, and carotenoids.
Good or "healthy" fats such as omega 3’s and omega 6’s are essential to good health and a properly functioning body. Maybe that’s why they are known as Essential Fatty Acids. The problem with most of the people's nutrition is that they are taking in right amount of fat but not the right fat. They are consuming too many trans fatty acids and saturated fats, and not enough good fats. The objective should be to try and eliminate the bad fat like in things such as margarine, shortening, snack foods, and most fast foods.
Bodybuilders especially those are underweight should try and consume more of the good fats, such as cold-water fish (salmon), walnuts, ground flax seeds of flax seed oil, sunflower oil, fish oils, olive oil etc. A Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) supplement if taken in proper amount is also quite helpful. When you are on a low fat diet, your body's ability to produce testosterone goes down, this is definitely something that you won't like as a bodybuilder.