Monday, January 9, 2017

Fats are Friends More Than Foes

If there is one food source that has been given a bad reputation over the last thirty or forty years, it has to be fat. But would you believe that they are our friends more than they are our enemies?

For us parents of athletes, particularly gymnasts, we monitor our kids’ diet more than anyone else does. Because of our kids’ strict diet, we must already know that too much of the wrong fats, or too much of any fat for that matter, can be bad for our kids. But really, fat is not as bad as the food industry is making it out to be. We have been fed decades of anti-fat, low-fat, and fat-free propaganda over the years. Much of that propaganda comes via the food industry that discovered a good little trick. Knock out the fat, add sugar to give the food some taste, and sell it back to consumers at a higher price as a healthy alternative.

In all honesty, too much sugar is not good for our kids’ diet, and conversely, fat is indeed needed in their diet. A sport like gymnastics requires a lot of energy to be properly executed. Fat, most importantly, is a good source of energy, especially in the absence or reduction of carbohydrates. This is aside from being the fat able to provide our kids with essential fatty acids, helps keep their skin soft, and provides fat-soluble vitamins. Fats also make up cell membranes and are important in the regeneration or reproduction of cells, as well as in muscle and joint recovery.

Somehow, we have bought into the notion that eating fat and being fat is the same thing. In reality, we cannot function for more than a few days without eating fat. Us humans have been eating fats for a lot longer than we have been eating carbohydrates, which is another good source of energy.
The Right Kinds Of Fat

As long as our kids are eating the rights kinds of fat, then there is nothing to worry about. But what are the right kinds of fat? The best kinds of fat include those that are full of Omega-3 and Omega-6 acids, like tuna and salmon, as they activate the body’s fat-burning genes and give the body a better fat storage. While on the other hand, mono-saturated and poly-saturated fats are both good fats, and we should feed our kids with foods that are rich in them.

Examples of mono-saturated fats are: canola oil, olive oil, peanut oil, sunflower oil, olives, avocados, peanut butter, hazelnut, cashews, pecans, macadamia nuts, almonds.

Examples of poly-saturated fats are: corn oil, soybean oil, walnuts, safflower oil, flax seed, tuna, salmon, mackerel, sardines, trout, herring.

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