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Food First: Don’t Forget Fats

An adequate intake of healthy fats is essential for optimal health. They support metabolism, healthy cholesterol levels, cellular health, hormone and neurotransmitter production and they lower inflammation in the body (Omega-3 fatty acids). Fats are also a major energy source for the body. In fact, the majority of our energy will come from stored fat when we are at rest. A deficiency of fat in the diet can lead to fatigue, muscle loss, lowered metabolic rate, hormone dysfunction, mood imbalances, joint injuries and reduced immune function. It can also result in an unhealthy appearance to skin, hair and nails. This discussion is just scratching the surface of the importance and role of fats in the body, but I’ll save rest for another time.

Daily fat intake should consist of predominantly healthy fats with no more than 10% of calories coming from saturated fat. Some saturated fat is necessary, for example for its involvement in testosterone production – of obvious importance for males. The amount of daily fat intake again varies depending on gender, activity levels, goals and other factors. As a general rule of thumb, I recommend getting 0.5 grams to 0.75 grams of fat per pound of bodyweight per day (on the lower end for females). For those aiming/struggling to gain weight, up to 1 gram per pound may be consumed. These amounts will usually equate to anywhere between 15%-30% of total calories. Fat intake should be spread evenly over your meals with the exception of the post-training meal (regardless of activity or sport) that should be consumed immediately after training in most cases. Fats slow down the absorption of protein and carbohydrates, which is normally beneficial, but after training we want to quickly flood the cells with quality protein and carbohydrates (more on this topic below).

Best Sources (Healthy Fats):

Egg yolks (Omega-3 eggs)

Natural peanut butter

Fish oils (from fatty fish like salmon)

Almonds, cashews, walnuts, pecans

Macadamia nut oil

Extra-virgin olive oil

Kevin Ferrell, CA, CFT

Professional Health and Wellness Coach

Team Canada Bodybuilder

Co-founder, CRE8iON Fitness & Wellness Inc.

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