It was two decades ago, and I was preparing for my first bodybuilding show.
The nutrition ideology was quite different back then, and dietary fat was not in fashion.
I bought into the myth that dietary fat of all types was the cause of many health and weight problems.
I focused on reducing the fat in my diet as low as possible, and after the bodybuilding event, I learned the hard way why fat is so important for our overall health and well-being.
I had acute but short-term side effects from the radically low-fat diet I was following including:
- Extremely low libido
- Inflammation in my joints
- Hair fall-out. Yes, that’s right, a lot of my hair fell out!
These symptoms disappeared in the months after the event as I got back to my regular diet which included a lot more dietary fat.
Here’s a look at the four sources of healthy fats that I would recommend to improve your health, manage your weight and even improve your cognitive performance.
- Butter: Yes butter is back! After being shelved with the introduction of margarine and the very successful marketing campaign that included the slogan “I can’t believe it’s not butter,” butter is making a comeback! I am quite pleased about this since it can offer these benefits:
- Contains both Omega 3-6 fatty acids to improve overall health
- Rich in fat-soluble vitamins and trace minerals, including selenium a powerful antioxidant
- Coconut Oil: The coconut has found a new home far from the Caribbean now that it has become popular across North America. Here are some of the benefits:
- Readily used as energy and less likely to be stored as fat
- Reduces inflammation
- High in antioxidants
- Avocados: The strange looking food that doesn’t look much like a fruit has become very mainstream in the last few years, and it’s no wonder why. Look at these benefits:
- High in Vitamin E
- High in Protein
- High in Folate
- Fish (certain varieties): Fish such as Salmon, Trout, Sardines, Mackerel and Anchovies are all supercharged with Omega-3 fatty acids which are essential to humans because we cannot produce this type of fat and must get it from our food. Here are the benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids:
- Benefits brain function
- Improves immune system
- Managing inflammation
MCT Oil: This was a supplement that I used to increase my dietary fat for my second bodybuilding show (after learning some harsh lessons from the first show). I was shocked with how much more energy I had during that contest prep period and also how my memory seemed to be incredibly sharp.
Adding fat to your diet is not frowned upon any longer, but I must warn you that it is a very dense macro nutrient as it yields 9 calories per gram versus protein and carbs which only yield 4 calories per gram.
Of course, one could argue that not every calorie is created equally, but we do know that at the end of the day, calories do count and accumulate.
With that being said, I would recommend 20-35% of your total calories come from dietary fat.
Inspire to Aspire,
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