Fats for health recovery & fat loss! Part-4
In parts 1, 2 and 3 of this series, all of the information thus far has been on the essential fats and ways to ensure that your intake is optimum. However, there are another “good fats” that health-conscious people should include in their diet.
The first is extra virgin olive oil.
Although olive oil is a source of PUFAs, it predominantly contains monounsaturated fats. Olive oil appears to provide some unique health benefits that other fats do not. Olive oil stimulates uncoupling proteins within muscle cells. Uncoupling proteins accelerate fat metabolism by allow the body to lose energy as heat rather than storing it as fat. Cross-sectional studies report that Mediterranean’s consume a rather high fat diet, yet they remain remarkably lean and free of heart disease. Most of their fat intake is pure olive oil.
Just over 100 compounds have been identified in olive oil but have not been studied. The health benefits of olive oil could reside in their unique combination of monounsaturated fats and phenolics; plant-based chemicals that provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory effects. These phenolics are well researched and have powerful bioactive properties that exert a number of beneficial effects on the metabolism.
Extra virgin olive oil appears to be the best source. So be sure to include a table spoon or two of extra virgin olive oil in your daily diet.
CLA: the body-shaping fat
Conjugated linolenic acid (CLA) was discovered by accident in 1978 by Michael Pariza at the University of Wisconsin while looking for mutagen formations in meat during cooking. CLA, found naturally in many animal products, consists of positional and geometric isomers of the essential fat, LA.
As a supplement, CLA is well documented in research to improve fat loss and body composition. However the results of a recently completed clinical trial suggest that CLA also has the ability to improve body shape. In this study, the fat loss appeared to be specific to the upper leg and abdomen areas, the “problem” areas for most people. CLA’s unique properties are based on the molecules’ conjugated double bonds at carbon atoms 10 and 12 or 9 and 11. Unlike other supplements purported to enhance fat loss, the mechanisms of action of CLA has been well studied.
One proposed mechanism is that under normal circumstances, when dietary fat is not used for energy, it is taken up and stored in fat cells. The enzyme lipoprotein lipase is responsible. CLA has been shown to inhibit this enzyme. Instead of being stored, the triglycerides are diverted to the muscle cells and utilized for fuel. Within muscle, CLA promotes the activity of another enzyme, carnitine palmitoyl transferase, which is responsible for the metabolism of fat for fuel. CLA’s capacity to ensure more fat is utilized as a fuel source may provide greater endurance during exercise.
In parts 1, 2, and 3 of this series I’ve identified the following:
The large imbalance of omega-6 to omega-3 fats in the typical diet manifests chronic inflammation within tissues that not only promotes disease, but also poor results from exercise training.
Increasing the ratio of omega-3 in the diet appears to counteract the mechanisms that underline these undesirable effects.
However, some types of omega-3 provide the athlete with more benefits than others. The research available suggests that increasing the ratio of omega-3 and in particular, EPA in the diet would promote less inflammation, reduce muscle breakdown, while promoting faster recovery and better results from training.
Other dietary fats such as extra-virgin olive oil and CLA provide unique health benefits and may enhance fat loss, particularly during a calorie-controlled diet. Along side a high intake of the omega-3, EPA, it makes sense to incorporate these other fats in the diet to ensure optimum health and results from training.
So there you have it, in this 4-part series I’ve poured into your heads over 30 years of research on the right fats to optimize health and speed results from exercise. These articles provide a wealth of information. Given the fact we only retain about 15% of what we read, its probably a good idea to re-read each one again, more than once.
Dr Paul Cribb is an award-winning sports scientist, author, personal trainer and the creator of mp-body.com – the first ever science-based, research-proven, nationally accredited body transformation program. Learn more here