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All about fats and carbohydrates

November 08, 2018



There's fat and then there's fat. Basically, it depends on what type of fat you're talking about cutting from your diet to help you lose weight. This is a common misconception and it leads to some pretty miserable people not being able to enjoy good food.

 

All about fats and carbohydrates

Foods rich in fat taste good because they enhance flavors and basically they help you enjoy the taste of food because they’re able to dissolve and concentrate flavor and odor.

So, you really need to understand the difference between the good and bad first as there's unsaturated fats and saturated fats, and the saturated fats are the ones to avoid.


Bad Fats (Saturated Fats)

Examples of foodstuffs containing saturated fats include:

  • Fatty meats
  • Some cakes, biscuits and pastries.
  • Coconut oil and cream
  • Full-fat dairy products (g. whole milk, hard cheeses like Cheddar and Parmesan)
  • Cream
  • Butter, ghee and lard
  • Palm oil
  • Processed foods (e.g. burgers, sausages, pastry, pies)


The reason why saturated fats are bad is because of a cholesterol called LDL-cholesterol found in our blood.

LDL-cholesterol in higher concentrations can cause fatty material to build up in the walls of our blood vessels and cause them to narrow. This increases the risk of a heart attack or stroke because of blood clots in our circulatory system, something to definitely avoid!

All about fats and carbohydrates


Good Fats ( Unsaturated Fats) Two Types: monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats

Examples of foodstuffs containing monounsaturated fats include:

  • Olives
  • Avocados
  • Nuts 
  • Canola, olive, safflower, sunflower, peanut and sesame oils


These monounsaturated fats help to maintain healthy cholesterol levels by carrying away the LDL-cholesterol from the body via the liver to be broken down so that too much doesn't build up in our blood.

It is the HDL-cholesterol found in monounsaturated fats which does this. Often found in a Mediterranean diet, this HDL-cholesterol is what really helps to have a healthy heart and to lower your risk of heart disease in general.


The other type of good fat are the polyunsaturated fats

  • Corn, flax and soybean oils
  • Flaxseed, Walnuts, pine nuts and sunflower seeds
  • Oily fish like mackerel, salmon, herrings, trout and sardines

 

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Polyunsaturated fats help to provide us with essential fatty acids which the body cannot make such as such as omega-3 and omega-6 which generally lower LDL-cholesterol. Also, omega-3 is important during pregnancy and breastfeeding to support child development.

We can also get omega-3 from vegetable sources but these aren’t thought to have the same benefits for heart health as the longer chain omega-3 found in oil-rich fish.


If you don’t eat fish, other sources of omega-3 include:

  • Some vegetable oils and spreads made from them such as rapeseed, flax, linseed and soya
  • Soya-based foods like tofu
  • Walnuts


Additionally, omega-6 fats can help

  • Control your blood sugar
  • Reduce your risk for diabetes
  • Lower your blood pressure



It might seem logical that if you have body fat, cutting fatty foods out of your diet will help you lose it, but this is a common mistake as you have to make sure it is the right fatty foods.

Fat, as it turns out, cuts your appetite, boosts your calorie burning and prevents fat storage, while sugar and refined carbs do the opposite.

Cutting out sugar and refined carbs, eating mostly vegetables with some fruit, and then consuming the right fats is the fastest, and most effective way to create sustained weight loss.

Otherwise this leads to a vicious cycle of more sugar cravings by your tastebuds and sugar is extremely addictive. Also, if you eat the right fatty foods you feel satisfied after eating and are less inclined to eat your favourite comfort food.

All about fats and carbohydrates


All About Carbs


When it comes to energy, carbohydrates are your body's preferred source. They are essential as part of a balanced diet and all too often you hear people talking about cutting the carbs to lose weight. Really, when it comes to any dietary plan, whether it is building muscle or losing weight, you just can't ignore carbohydrates.


There's three main types of carbohydrates and each of these have their own respective merits

  • Sugars
  • Starch
  • Fiber

 

1. Sugars

Found in honey, maple syrup, fruit and juices, sugar cane products, milk (lactose), and vegetables.

When it comes to energy for working out, this group is the one that springs to mind as sugars convert into glucose to provide rapid energy.

What do you think products like sports drinks contain?

It may be useful in the short term but this type of carb is a real double edged sword as it is a major source of calories and thus weight gain if abused.

 

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Normally occurring sugars as mentioned above are not the problem here but the 'added sugars' found in so many products today. I mean, do you really need your bread to taste sweet?

The real problem with sugars though is sugar cravings. Yes, they're real and your body gets used to sugars, wants more when it doesn't necessarily need them and then presto, you find yourself getting fat! This happens because any excess
glucose will be converted and stored as body fat.

So watch out for these, avoid 'added sugar', and use naturally occurring sugars in items like fruit and juices as part of an overall healthy, and enjoyable diet.


2. Starch


Found in foods such as bread, rice, potatoes and pasta.

Starches provide a slow and steady release of energy throughout the day and should be your number one choice of carbs if you want the energy to achieve your fitness goals.

They won't cause you to have a crash like sugars, they are usually a component of a main meal such as lunch or dinner, and they provide a sense of fullness to satisfy your body's hunger demands.

Starchy foods really provide the best of both worlds because they produce the glucose, like sugar does, for energy and oftentimes provide a significant amount of fiber (a baked potato is a good example). They are also an important source of nutrients for your diet including B vitamins, iron, calcium and folate.

All about fats and carbohydrates

 

3. Fiber

Found in vegetables with skins on, wholegrain bread, wholewheat pasta, beans and lentils.

Our bodies don't actually digest fibers, nor do they necessarily convert them into glucose as a source of energy.

However, what they do really well is does provide food for the friendly bacteria in the digestive system. These bacteria then produce fatty acids that some of our cells can use as energy. The biggest benefit of this type of carbohydrate is the maintenance of a healthy digestive tract however.

Additionally, fiber helps regulate the body's use of sugars, helping to keep hunger and blood sugars in balance. To receive the most fiber though you need to make sure they are whole carbs which are unprocessed and contain the fiber found naturally.

Refined carbs have been processed and had the natural fiber removed. Many studies have shown that refined carbohydrate consumption is associated with health problems like obesity and type 2 diabetes

Eaten in the right quantities and as part of a balanced diet, carbohydrates will not on their own lead to weight gain, but rather provide you with the requisite energy and healthy digestive tract to achieve your fitness goals.

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In summary, we have two main types of fat, saturated and unsaturated with the unsaturated being further broken down into poly and monounsaturated. The 'good' ones are the unsaturated and are important to maintain a healthy heart and vascular system.

Carbohydrates are broken down into sugar, starch and fiber, each with their respective uses such as quick energy(sugar), slow release energy(starch), and digestive tract balance(fiber).

A healthy dietary balance is necessary to perform at your best and now you have a bit more information to make the right choices in your dietary plans.




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