Don’t be afraid of saturated and monounsaturated fat in your weight loss journey, they actually can help reduce your risk of stroke and early death, whereas too much carbohydrate puts you at an increased risk of early death.
Dietary fat intake is extremely important and greatly misunderstood. We need fat to properly process fat soluble vitamins, produce hormones, and they can help us feel full and help control our blood sugar. Consuming too much fat however, can cause us to be in a calorie excess which will lead to weight gain and other negative health consequences. Fat is the most calorie dense macronutrient containing 9 calories per gram, where fat contains 3.4 calories per gram and protein contains 4.3 calories per gram and alcohol contains 7 calories per gram. Calories from fat can add up quick and can hold your back from your fat loss goals.
Much like sodium and other nutrients, too little or too much fat intake may be detrimental to us. The key is finding that happy medium where we are getting enough fat to meet our dietary needs, but not too much that we are gaining unnecessary weight. Let’s get into the different types of fat.
- Saturated fatty-acids (SFAs) are solid in room-temperature (butter, coconut oil, red meat, dairy products). CONSUME IN MODERATION
- Monounsaturated fatty-acids (MUFAs) are liquid in room-temperature (olive oil, avocado). CONSUME IN MODERATION
- Polyunsaturated fatty-acids (PUFAs) are liquid in room-temperature (soybean oil, canola oil, sunflower seed oil, cottonseed oil, margarine, etc). AVOID
- Trans fats – (fried foods, processed foods, pastries, ice cream) AVOID
Saturated fat, monounsaturated fat and are essential for testosterone production. Increased intake of polyunsaturated fats suppresses testosterone, likely due to lipid peroxidation (oxidative degradation of lipids).
Previous studies have demonstrated that steroid hormone concentrations can be affected by the diet we consume. Individuals consuming a diet containing ∼20% fat compared with a diet containing ∼40% fat have significantly lower concentrations of testosterone. These studies indicate that the energy supplied by the different macro-nutrients has a significant influence on testosterone concentrations (1). In one study researchers found saturated fat, total fat, and monounsaturated fat had significant beneficial impacts on resting serum testosterone levels. Polyunsaturated fats were associated with lower testosterone levels (1).
In another study done in 18 countries on over 130,000 participants, researchers found high carbohydrate intake was associated with higher risk of total mortality, whereas total fat and individual types of fat were related to lower total mortality (2).
It appears that saturated fats and monounsaturated fats can help you live longer, and too much carbohydrate can increase risk of early death.