Friday, September 17, 2010

Its Time to Rethink Your Fat Intake!

With such a heavy focus on carbohydrate rich foods for endurance performance, fat has taken a back seat…much to the detriment of those us trying to train for peak health and performance. There is reason to believe that inadequate dietary fat may pose some key issues for endurance athletes. For example, muscle triglyceride (intramuscular fat) is a key source of energy for endurance training. A very low fat diet (<20% kcal from fat) may compromise these energy stores forcing the body to rely on the more limited muscle glycogen stores. This leads to premature fatigue when this fuel source runs out. A slightly higher fat diet may improve endurance performance by providing muscle fact as a ready fuel, preserving muscle glycogen for the final sprint! Here are some of the key “fat” issues and nutritional strategies to help you fine tune your fats:  

ISSUE #1 - Fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, K need dietary fat to be absorbed.

  • Use plant oil based salad dressings OR nuts and seeds to help absorb the fat soluble vitamins from leafy greens, salads and stir fried/steamed vegetables;
  • Choose 1% MF milk and yogurt to help absorb Vitamin D;
  • Combine fatty fish such as salmon, a source of omega 3 fats, with stir fried veggies/ salads
ISSUE #2 -  Avoid premature fatigue when training for endurance sport

  • Use nut butters, and avocado as spreads for sandwiches;
  • Combine nuts/seeds with cereals as a pre-workout snack; 
  • Mix nut butters with jam or honey in a squeeze tube and bring them along during training; 
  • Use 1% MF cottage cheese, eggs, fatty fish to top off salads
 ISSUE #3 - Long chain omega-3 fats help reduce post-workout inflammation and reduce recovery time after training/competition.

  • Choose fatty fish such as salmon for your post workout meal after tough training sessions
  • Make a post workout Omega 3 egg omelet, and have toast with omega 3 rich margarine
  • Choose omega 3 1-2% MF chocolate milk post workout

ISSUE #4 - A fat restricted diet can lead to deficiencies in a variety of minerals, such as iron, calcium and zinc

  • Choose a variety of low fat instead of fat free foods in your daily diet, such as 1% MF milk products and small amounts of cheese to ensure adequate calcium intake
  • Choose small servings of red meats such as beef to boost your iron intake;
  • Choose nut butters to top off bread and toast daily to ensure you zinc status stays optimal

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