When does our body use fats? How are they stored in our body? What is the recommended amount for the general athlete?

Fats provide the largest amount of energy for our body of all our macros, however, they are only used at specific times based on our activity level. They provide a large contribution to our resting energy needs as well as during low intensity and long duration exercise. Athletes should understand that there are 3 types of fat so they can identify them when planning their diet:

  • Unsaturated (Best type)
    • Associated with improved cholesterol levels, inflammation and better heart health
    • Monounsaturated
      • Olive, peanut, and canola oils
      • Avocados
      • Nuts and seeds
    • Polyunsaturated (rich in Omega-3)
      • Sunflower, corn, soybean, and flaxseed oils
      • Walnuts and Flax seeds
      • Fish
  • Saturated
    • Associated with increased risk for cardiovascular disease
    • Cream, cheese, or butter
    • Meats
  • Trans (Worst type)
    • Associated with worse cholesterol levels, inflammation, and heart health
    • Packaged, processed, and fried foods
      • Coffee creamer, some baked goods, fried fast food, donuts

The National Strength and Conditioning Association suggests that athletes want their daily intake of fat to be around 30% with the following breakdown 10% saturated, 10% polyunsaturated, and 10% monounsaturated. Try to hit these goals!

Feature Image By: Harvard Health – Harvard University

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