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Basics Of Nutrition Part 3: Oils And Fats!

Fats, and oils are a group of naturally occurring organic compounds called triglycerides-esters comprised of three molecules of fatty acids and one molecule of the alcohol glycerol. The fats normally occur in animal and vegetable tissue.

In this article, I will briefly cover what fats and oils are. Fats, and oils are a group of naturally occurring organic compounds called triglycerides-esters comprised of three molecules of fatty acids and one molecule of the alcohol glycerol.

What Are Fat's?

The fats normally occur in animal and vegetable tissue. Fats are designated as saturated or unsaturated, depending on whether the chemical bonds between the carbon atoms of the fat molecules contain all the hydrogen atoms they are capable of holding (saturated) or have capacity for additional hydrogen atoms (unsaturated).

Saturated fats generally are solid at room temperature; unsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are liquids. Unsaturated fats may be converted to saturated fats by adding hydrogen atoms in a process known as hydrogenation. When saturated solid fats are added to the diet, the amount of cholesterol in the blood increases, but when liquid, unsaturated fats or oils replace solid fat, the amount of cholesterol decreases.

The American Heart Association recommends restricting the total fats in a diet, reducing the consumption of cholesterol-rich foods, such as milk and butter, replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats, and limiting the intake of trans fats. Sterols are a compound containing a multi-ring (steroid) structure and a hydroxyl group (-OH). Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) are primarily found in vegetable oils and fish sources. Omega-6 PUFA is derived from vegetable oils and are liquid at room temperature. They include corn, sunflower, safflower, soybean, and sesame oils. Salad dressing, margarine, and mayonnaise containing these oils are therefore high in polyunsaturated fat. Omega-3 PUFA is found primarily in fish.

Monounsaturated fats are derived from plant sources. High amounts are found in olive, canola (rapeseed), and peanut oil as well as avocados, and certain nuts. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats do not increase serum cholesterol or LDL levels and are associated with a reduced risk of heart disease. The foods in our diet with the highest energy density for fat are salad oils, butter, margarine, and mayonnaise. All of these foods contain almost 100% of energy as fat.

Well, that right there is good enough on fats. I could ramble on for even longer, but lets get to why a bodybuilder should incorporate fats; (unsaturated) into their diet. First, I am going to give you a brief overview of why we need EFA's, or Essential Fatty Acids in our diet. First, humans can't produce omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids; we get them only by ingesting them.

These fatty acids are essential for us to eat because they participate in the immune processes and vision, help form cell structures, and aid in the production of hormone-like compounds. Because we must get linoleic acid (omega-6) and alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3) from foods, they are called essential fatty acids, like I mentioned up above. If we don't get enough of these, our skin will be flaky and itchy, and diarrhea and other symptoms will occur. These fats provide energy for the body; they store energy, insulate and protect the organs, and transport fat-soluble vitamins.

Now you may ask, why do bodybuilders need more EFA's? Well, here is why you need more, especially if you trying to bulk up. If you are bulking, and only getting 15% fat from the diet, you better up it to 25-30%; here is why. A diet consisting of 30% EFA's can produce a better anabolic effect and higher nitrogen retention, than a high protein low carb low fat diet.

If you are having trouble consuming more calories in the day, try adding a little more fat. One Tablespoon of flax oil, or canola oil gives you 120 cal. If you are eating 3000 cal a day, you should be getting 83-100g of fat per day. This is for those of you who are bulking. What is also good about adding more EFA's to the diet is all of the health benefits. Just think, at the same time you are getting big, you are also staying healthy. Here is just a couple below.

Benefits Of Adding EFA's To Your Diet

  • Studies using cod liver oil supplements have shown that blood pressure is lowered and the production of an inflammatory prostaglandin called thromboxane also goes down. Thromboxane causes blood platelets to coagulate or clot, and plays a role making blood clots in the cardiovascular system.

  • Omega-3s also force down the levels of lipoproteins like LDL and VLDL that carry cholesterol and triglycerides into the body tissues. It may increase the levels of HDL, a lipoprotein that carries cholesterol away from body tissues.

  • Preliminary studies in Sweden are relating Evening Primrose Oil to an anti-oxidant in that it also counter acts the formation of free radicals. Free radicals are most often associated with the aging process.

  • They are required for energy production. They increase oxidation and metabolic rate. Energy levels go up with high stamina and decreased recovery time from fatigue.

  • Curr Atheroscler Rep 2001 Mar;3(2):174-9 Clinical trial evidence for the cardioprotective effects of omega-3 fatty acids.

  • Nutrition 2001 Feb;17(2):126-51 Prevention of chemically induced diabetes mellitus in experimental animals by polyunsaturated fatty acids.
These are just a few I dug up. As you can see, not only will the EFA's help you gain, they will also help you stay healthier like I mentioned up above. If you are looking for good sources of fats, consider adding these to the diet, or into your daily intake of food. My main sources come from flax seed oil, canola oil, peanut butter, almonds, walnuts, and tuna. Omega-6- corn, sunflower, safflower, soybean, and sesame oils Omega-3- fish olive, canola (rapeseed), and peanut oil as well as avocados, and certain nuts.

Use Fat Wisely to Get Ripped!
Rod Koontz (c) Avidan

Well, I hope this article gave you some basic information on fats and oils. Just remember to eat more of the unsaturated fats then the saturated fats. Also, make sure you consume no more then 30% of your daily calories from fat. If you ever wonder what your HDL, LDL, and VDL is, have a lipid serum test done. This test will give all sorts of information on these levels, and more too. I had the blood work done, and it was very interesting to see what levels were for different things. For those of you wondering what you get on the test, here it is. When you get the blood work back, it will have these things listed on there.

Glucose Serum, BUN (blood urea nitrogen), Uric Acid, Creatinine Serum, BUN/Creatinine Ratio, Sodium Serum, Potassium Serum, Chloride Serum, Calcium Serum, Phosphorus Serum, Magnesium Serum, Protein Total Serum, Albumin Serum, Globulin Total, A/G Ratio, Bilirubin Total, Alkaline Phosphate Serum, LDH, AST, ALT, GGT, Iron Bind Cap, UIBC, Iron Serum, Cholesterol, Triglycerides, HDL, VLDL, LDL, and Estimated CHD Risk.

"Desire creates the power."
-- Raymond Holliwell

"Never eat more than you can lift."
-- Miss Piggy, character on "The Muppet Show," U.S. television show