Friendly Fat ?
by Coach Robinson
Hello everyone, let me start by saying being fat is NOT a good idea. Not only
does this make it hard to buy jeans and swim suits, but it also causes high
blood pressure, heart disease, clog arteries, and also further some forms of
But... Check this out, eating some fats are good for you. This is actually
essential to development. Monounsaturated fatty acids that are found in olive
oil and canola oil, help protect the cardiovascular system. They also reduce the
risk of certain metabolic disorders such as 'insulin resistance' and diabetes,
and are linked with a lower rate of cancer.
Why do we need fat?
Fat is one of the major sources of energy for the body. Most of
the human population has more than a few weeks of fat storage. Fat spares
protein so that protein can be used for tissue synthesis instead of as an energy
source. Fat holds the body organs in position and protects them. It also
insulates the body and aids in the absorption and transport of fat-soluble
Athletes should try and keep fat to a minimum. As a general
guideline, the daily intake of fat for an athlete should be between 70-100g.
Larger, more active men are at the upper end of this range, while women are at
Prepare meals with minimal added fat (especially saturated fat)
Fat provides a concentrated source of energy. Your body requires
some fat for essential functions. However, too much can contribute to being
overweight, heart disease and other health problems, even for athletes who can
burn off the extra energy. Eating too much fat leaves less room for the other
much needed nutrients like carbohydrate, fiber, vitamins and minerals. It is
undesirable to cut fat out of your diet completely, instead, try to reduce your
intake if levels are high.
Hints to reduce fat:
- Go easy on foods with hidden saturated fat, for example, fried fast foods,
pastries, pies, high-fat cakes and cookies, chocolate, butter and cream.
- When having take-out choose low-fat options.
- Choose low-fat snacks.
- Buy lean meats and trim off any fat you can see.
- When you have chicken donít eat the skin and fat.
- Keep the meat, chicken, fish or egg part of your meal to the recommended
serves using breads and cereals and fruits and vegetables to bulk out your
- Use low-fat milk and milk products, for example, low-fat yogurt, Edam
cheese, mozzarella cheese or alternatively, use less of richer cheese like
tasty and mild.
- Use low-fat cooking methods, for example, grill, bake, barbecue,
microwave, steam. A non-stick frying pan can come in handy.
- Use a non-stick spray or add a little water to the pan to stop food from
Two different kinds of Fat?
Saturated fats are generally of animal origin. They are
known to raise cholesterol levels, contributing to heart disease. Saturated fat
is found in butter, cream, cakes, pastries, cheese, ice cream and the fat on
Unsaturated fats come from plants and fish. Unsaturated
fats can be further divided into monounsaturated (eg: canola, olive, avocado,
nut and seed oils and margarine) and polyunsaturated fats (eg: sunflower,
soybean and fish oils and margarine). Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats
can help reduce cholesterol levels.
Remember, mono and polyunsaturated fats contain the same amount
of fat as saturated fat Ė it is just the type of fat that is different.
Choose pre-prepared foods, drinks and snacks that are low in fat
(especially saturated fat) and salt.
Take-out, fast foods, and high fat, high salt snack foods are
often the easier alternative when you run out of time. Choose healthier options.
Healthier fast foods include:
- Sandwiches and filled rolls with salad and lean meat. Ask for no margarine
- Chow mein
- Hamburgers (when choosing at the fish and chip shop).
- Subway instead of McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy's etc
Alternatively if you have a little more time to make your own
home-made fast foods like hamburgers, pizzas, burritos, tortillas and baked
stuffed potatoes using low-fat ingredients. Home-made fast foods are quick to
make, cheap and taste even better than the bought variety.
Healthier snacks include:
- English muffins, toast or pita breads with toppings like jam, relish,
tomato, cottage cheese, baked beans, spaghetti or corn.
- Crackers (rice and/or water crackers) with relish, cheese, sliced cucumber
- Fruit bread.
- Toasted sandwiches with spaghetti, baked beans, banana or creamed corn.
- Breakfast cereal.
- Fruit smoothie.
Maintain a healthy body weight with regular physical activity
and healthy eating.
People come in all shapes and sizes. By taking part in regular
exercise and following healthy eating patterns you will be at a healthy body
weight that suits you. As an athlete you generally should be in a better
position than most in this regard.