What does Fat do for our body?
Fat is a very important macronutrient and should be part of a balanced diet. One of the most essential functions involves the need for dietary fat to help in the absorption of fat soluble vitamins:
- Vitamin A: vision, skin, soft tissue, immune function, reproduction, and cellular communication
- Vitamin E: an antioxidant to help protect our body from oxidative stress and free radical formation
- Vitamin K: bone health, aids in blood clotting and reducing risk of coronary heart disease
- Vitamin D: bone and immune health, muscle strength, modulation of cell growth, neuromuscular function, and reduction of inflammation
Fat also helps in regulating our body temperature, people who do not consume enough fat are found to be more prone to becoming sick, having a fever, or getting an infection. Fat also helps to cushion and protect our organs while being a source of energy for long-term, low intensity activity; this is a great source of fuel for those of you who like to go for long runs or participate in half or full marathons.
**No lower that 20-25% of calories in our diet should come from fat
What are the best type of fats to eat before competing in an event??
These fats can help to reduce inflammation and improve brain health. They can also help to reduce your risk of developing nutrition-related diseases as long as you don’t overdo it.
|Natural Nut Butters||Nuts & Seeds||Fatty Fish||Meats||Oils||Other Foods|
|Almond Butters||Cashews||Salmon||Turkey Bacon||Avocado Oil||Avocados|
|Sun Butters||Almonds||Anchovies||Grass-fed Beef||Extra Virgin Olive Oil||Dark Chocolate (>72% cocoa)|
|Cashew Butters||Walnuts||Tuna||Turkey Sausage||Flax Seed Oil||Coconuts|
|Peanut Butters||Sunflower Seeds||Halibut||Center Cut Bacon||Fish Oil Supplements||Egg Yolks|
|Hazelnut Butters||Hemp Seeds||Sardines||Olive Oil||Full-fat Dairy|
|Walnut Butters||Pecans||Mackerel||Walnut Oil|
|Brazil Nuts||Trout||Coconut Oil|
What about the fats I should limit before I compete??
These fats tend to take their time to digest. When you are gearing up for a race or game, I suggest avoiding these fats 8-10 hours before competing. They tend to make you feel sluggish and can hinder your performance.
|Partially Hydrogenated Oils (Trans fat) *found in baked goods||High fat ground beef (80-85% lean or lower)||French Fries||Shortening|
|Vegetable Oils||Processed Meats (pepperoni, sausage)||Fried Foods||Margarine|
|Sunflower Oil||Bacon||Mayo||Soybean Oil based butters|
|Cottonseed Oil||Fast Food Beef|
Should I “Fat Load”?
There has been some research in regards to “fat loading” and the possible beneficial effects on overall performance. Although, some studies have suggested a prolonged time to exhaustion after fat loading, which means more energy for long term when training, no enhancement on aerobic power was found (did not make the athletes stronger or faster). It appears that simply having more intramuscular fat or even enhanced fat oxidation does not equal to better performance in most sports. Keep an eye out for what is to come with fat loading regimens followed by ample pre- and mid-workout carbohydrate consumption, this could be promising.
Take Home Message:
Dietary fats can have both short-term and long-term effects with athletic performance, however “fat loading” as a strategy to enhance athletic performance is currently unproven.