The Skinny on Fat
Fat has been bastardized for many years as the cause of heart disease, cardiovascular problems, high blood pressure, stroke, high blood sugar, and a whole host of other diseases.
For most cases this simply isn't true. It's very hard to pinpoint why one single macro-nutrient would cause so many problems if not followed by an overview of a persons overall dietary structure (ie. carbs, fats, protein and alcohol).
For the most part, diets including a high amount of saturated fat, high carbohydrate calories and processed food appear to be the biggest culprits in the increasing obesity epidemic encircling the globe and not solely the focus on fat alone.
What is Fat?
Fat is a high caloric fuel source that has 9kcals per gram. This makes fat like our reserve tank of fuel to be used in times where food is scarce or where we're too busy and can't eat. So fat is absolutely essential to our very survival. The only counterpoint to that is that we no longer are in survival mode in today's society, we're in thrive mode, where we have a constant influx of tasty goodies to eat at all times of the day.
There are very few people in our society that have ever had to go long periods without food for any significant length of time, therefore making excess fat reserves not only quite useless, but un-aesthetically pleasing as well.
So if carbs are like gas, then fat is like diesel, it's able to burn long and slow to release a large amount of energy per unit. It generally gets released into the blood stream slowly in order to help fuel the body for periods of long duration movement, like walking, gardening, sitting at a desk, etc.
You know those periods of time when you're not actively lifting heavy weights, sprinting, jumping or doing anything super active.
Our body utilizes a lot of oxygen to help process these fats in our mitochondria thus releasing a slow, sustained form of energy. Referring to our diesel analogy vs gas analogy for carbohydrates.
Is Fat Bad?
Long story short. NO.
Fat is essential for our very survival, not only in terms of a reserve fuel source, but for the hormones that fat regulates to control our weight and even as a cushion to our joints and tissues.
We even need fat to absorb certain vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin A, D, E and K.
Plus, we have some essential fats such as the Omega 3 and Omega 6 fats that we need to help with both our brain health and metabolism, but to form healthy cell walls and keep our arteries free of obstructions.
So fat isn't a principle cause of disease and excess body fat. It's more about the rest of what we're eating and how much. The answer is never quite as simple as that one thing that's going to kill us.
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Jesse “Captain Smash” Howland is the owner of SMASH’s Strength Lab, which offers targeted personal training to reach a variety of fitness and physique goals. A natural bodybuilder, competitive powerlifter, certified personal trainer, and nutrition coach, Jesse is often the go-to resource for personal training Ottawa. He studied Exercise Science at Oregon State University and even trained at the world famous Gold’s Gym. He’s a former US Army Captain with the 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, a former blog writer at Veterans Fitness Career College, and former Chief Executive Officer at U.S. Army Forces Command (FORSCOM). His workouts and personal training are army-inspired to help reach your weightloss, athletic, or physique goals.