So far, we’ve covered why dietary fat is an essential component of a balanced and healthy diet plan. We’ve also covered the 3 main types of fat (technically 4): trans-fat, saturated fat and unsaturated fat which includes polyunsaturated fat and monounsaturated fat.
We busted a few myths in regards to fat making you fat and whether saturated fat is healthy or not. Now, we must add the cherry on the cake! This article will present you with some brief facts about eating more dietary fat and how that can help you build more muscle and lose more fat.
Dietary fat, muscle building and fat loss
If you’ve read every previous article in this series, you will know how carb manipulation has a profound effect on muscle mass and fat loss. However, carbohydrates are not an essential nutrient to the human body, but dietary fat is! Whenever I refer to fat or dietary fat, keep in mind that I am referring to HEALTHY fats.
Fat is what cell membranes are made of. Thus, we need fat for optimum cellular cycle as well as function. Fat is also what nerve endings are made of. Need I say more? Without fat, we would all die. In addition, dietary fat helps fight inflammation. And by now, we know that the less inflammation levels we have, the healthier and more anabolic our bodies will be. This will enable you to perform better in the gym, feel better, have more energy and optimize literally every bodily function there is.
Need more reasons to consume more dietary fat?
Sure. I am sure you heard of cholesterol and how “dangerous” and “bad” it is, right? Well, flash news, you need cholesterol. By now, so many myths surround cholesterol that it has become a mainstream trend to portray it as the devil in disguise. Let me explain.
Cholesterol is waxy substance that could be found in every single cell in our body. There are 3 main components/types of cholesterol: High density lipoprotein (HDL a.k.a good cholesterol), low density lipoprotein (LDL a.k.a bad cholesterol) and triglycerides. When you add up those 3 you get your “cholesterol levels”. People are often afraid of high total cholesterol, but they are missing an important note.
If your total cholesterol is high due to HIGH LEVELS of both LDL cholesterol and triglycerides and thus low HDL cholesterol, you should do something about that. However, if your total cholesterol levels are high due to HIGH HDL cholesterol, you are in luck! The higher your HDL cholesterol levels, the better you will feel and your overall health will be. Cholesterol is made up of FAT. And to improve your HDL cholesterol levels and decrease your bad LDL cholesterol levels, you need to consume healthy types of dietary fat and less of bad fats.
Why am I discussing cholesterol? Cholesterol is what ALL steroid hormones are made of! It’s the father of testosterone, DHT, DHEA…etc. Thus, when you consume low amounts of fat, your cholesterol levels decrease and consequently your testosterone (and all steroid hormones) levels! Everyone knows that the more testosterone you have, the better you will feel, function and the easier you will build muscle and burn fat.
So, if you want to increase your testosterone levels, eat MORE of HEALTHY dietary fat and you WILL feel and see the difference.
In addition, cholesterol is mandatory for making vitamin D. Vitamin D is an essential vitamin that plays a major role in optimizing hormone levels and absorbing calcium, which promotes strong bones. Recent clinical studies keep emphasizing the significance of vitamin D in relation to higher hormone levels, more precisely, testosterone! It’s worthy to mention that 95% of populations who reside in Northern Hemisphere countries are vitamin D deficient!
Don’t believe me? Just go to your local doctor and ask him to check your vitamin D levels.
I promise you that you will have vitamin D deficiency and your doctor will most likely prescribe you 4-6 soft gels of vitamin D that have 50,000 IU’s each! When you optimize your vitamin D levels, you will also increase your testosterone levels, and thus you will build muscle faster and burn more fat during the process. Having high testosterone levels will also keep you feeling “younger” 😉 and improve nutrient partitioning significantly, which is a major component of muscle building and fat loss as you should know by now.
While this should be enough to convince you to consume more dietary fat, there is more. Carbohydrates are inherently pro-inflammatory (BOO), which is not good for health or body composition as we’ve indicated. Thus, if you increase your dietary fat consumption on the expense of carbohydrates, you will help transition your body from an inflamed state to a normal state. Thus, once again, every bodily function will improve significantly.
This is especially true when you consume a healthy ratio of omega-6 and omega-3 fats (2:1 – 4:1) as we’ve discussed two articles ago. An increase of dietary fat consumption on carbohydrates’ expense will also improve your insulin sensitivity dramatically, and thus nutrient partitioning. Moreover, the less carbohydrates you consume, the more your body will be forced to utilize stored fatty acids as fuel to compensate for lack of energy intake during caloric deficits. This in turn will result in higher fat oxidation.
Note: Everyone is NOT the same. Thus, there is no specific perfect diet for everyone. Some people will do poorly on low-carb diets while some people will do extremely well. Learn to know your own body and do what works for you.
Note #2: Some vitamins are fat soluble. Meaning that your body won’t absorb them without the presence of dietary fat. A perfect example would be vitamin D. Thus, eating little dietary fat could cause nutrient deficiency due to your body’s inability to absorb fat-soluble vitamins and minerals. This in turn will impact your health and body composition.
While this doesn’t tell the whole story, it should be more than enough to emphasize the importance of consuming more of healthy dietary fat.
We only have ONE more step to do, and that is to calculate our ideal dietary fat intake. By now, you should have calculated your daily caloric requirements, ideal protein intake, ideal carb intake and all that is left to do is to calculate your ideal dietary fat intake and factor it into our nutrition plan. So, let’s move on to the next article.