The Truth About Fat-Heavy Diets
Headlines scream about fat-loading for endurance, butter-drenched “bulletproof coffee,” and how bacon is good for you, but here are four truths that you really need to know.
This article appeared in the June edition of; The Training Edge, a publication by N.A.S.M. This is neither for or against a fat heavy diet, but raises a rational awareness.
“A gram of fat has nine calories, while carbohydrates and protein have four calories per gram,” notes registered dietitian Courtney M. Sullivan, founder of Nutrition for Body and Mind (cwnutritionforbodyandmind.com) in Beverly Hills, Calif. “Healthy fats are important for a balanced diet, but moderation is key.”
2. Good fats can aid post-workout recovery.
In a University of Florida study, people who took a supplement that included an omega-3—found in fatty fish like salmon—had less inflammation after exercising. “Get some every day,” advises Sullivan.
3. Animal fats can raise the risk of heart disease.
In a recent case study from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, a 39-year-old man who worked out regularly saw his LDLs (“bad” cholesterol) rise 55 points after he began eating more meat and cheese on the Paleo diet and then added a daily cup of bulletproof coffee (coffee laced with a tablespoon of butter and a medium-chain triglyceride oil). Bottom line: Butter, bacon, and fatty red meat are high in saturated fat, which can increase your risk of heart disease.
4. “Fat loading” for ultra-endurance isn’t ready for prime time.
The theory that high-fat eating lets you “tap into your body fat” for energy, saving carb stores for later or slowing their use during exercise, has had mixed results in human studies.