FAT FACTS

It’s time to bust some myths and iron out the confusion… What is fat? What are the different types? And how do I know what is good and what is bad? Won’t eating fat make me fat? Well, let’s start with the basics!

Body fat Vs. Dietary fat

Fat stored in the body (body fat) is from eating too much food when the body doesn’t need it. Food is fuel, to run our body machines efficiently – too much fuel is like needing a Jerry can when you fill up your car! Think of body fat as your excess petrol that never gets used because you keep filling the cars tank (or eating too many processed carbohydrates) before you’ve used the fuel from the Jerry can (the excess carbs you ate the day before).

If you continue to follow this pattern, you’ll need another Jerry can every time you fill up! (many Jerry cans = overweight/obese)

Fuel for our body can be from one of  3 macronutrient groups (protein, carbohydrates and dietary fats). Eating the Ignite Way you need all 3 every time you eat, but they need to be the good kind.

Dietary fat (from favourable foods like avocado, nuts, seeds, olives and oils) is like using premium unleaded as your fuel! Instead of fat, this macronutrient group should have been called premium fuel.

Look for unsaturated fats – they’re high in important nutrients and faster burning calories giving you more efficient energy that won’t be stored as body fat IF you follow a low/no processed carbohydrate eating plan.

THIS IS THE KEY!!!

Eating processed carbs (bread, rice, pasta, cereals, flour, sugar) is like using pure ethanol as fuel. It’s the least favourable fuel source for the body, leaving you feeling slow and sluggish thinking you need to eat more, even before you’ve used up the current intake.

Ethanol = no energy = increase fuel intake before previous energy used = need more Jerry cans (body fat storage)

If you mix the two fuels together, alcohol and premium (bad carbs and good fats) you get watered down E10 petrol… This means that if you eat heaps of bread with heaps of avocado you won’t use the avocado as your fuel source and the extra energy from both the bread and the avocado will become belly jelly…

If you instead ate 1/4 of an avocado with a plate full of green leafy veg and a plam sized piece of salmon, the avocado will fuel your body while the fish would repair your cells/muscles and the veggies will give your body a healthy dose of vitamins and minerals.

The premium fuel (good fats), if eaten without ethanol (bad carbs) will be your preferred energy source and your body will become really good at using all the fat up without storing extra as body fat.

Moral of the story is - FAT WILL NOT MAKE YOU FAT unless you eat sugar…

Follow the Ignite Way of Eating to get the most out of your fuel.

On a side note – avoid trans fats like the plague (found in deep fried foods and pastries, most processed carbohydrates and margarine as well as any food that says it’s been partially hydrogenated).

Saturated fat in moderation is not the devil, as long as your bad carb intake is non-existent/minimal.

What type of fats do you like? Post comments below…

Crazy About Coconuts!

Am I allowed coconuts? I thought they were full of bad fats…

Coconut is not only good for you; it’s also extremely versatile, having many uses! Most people know coconuts in their mature brown hairy state but they are just as good for you in their young baby form as well. Mature coconuts have less water and firmer “meat” with a higher fat content (but this isn’t a bad thing!), whereas young coconuts have more water with a sweeter taste and a softer jelly like meat.

What about the high saturated fat content?

As I said in my last blog on eggs, we do need some saturated fat in our diet. The best thing about saturated fat from coconut is that it’s GOOD fat. Saturated fats come in different chain lengths, in coconuts they are MEDIUM chains – this means they are easily digested by the body and are readily available as energy. Dietary fats are not the problem, it’s unused carbohydrates and sugars that get converted into fats by the liver INSIDE the body that are the issue. Coconut fat actually gets converted into unsaturated fats within the body and are essential for many bodily functions! Check out this article for more info about how good saturated fat is for us.

Aside from the coconut water, which is high in potassium and other important electrolytes, coconuts also provide us with fleshy meat, milk (man made using the meat), flour and oil.

Now I’m sure you’re asking yourself… “all this from one food? THAT’S AMAZING!”

Yes it is, and that’s why we should have more coconut in our everyday eating.

How can I use coconut in my diet?

Coconut water is a great post workout drink that will rehydrate you much better than any of those sugary sports drinks but you’re better drinking it straight from a baby coconut rather than a company that has put it in a bottle with a label… much more refreshing and exotic!

Coconut milk is an awesome alternative to dairy in a smoothie and can be used in curries, soup or even to make your own ice cream. Check out Kat’s ice cream recipe.

Coconut meat is perfect as a snack or with breakfast. Just crack open (have a look at how to open a coconut here) a mature coconut and keep the meat in a container in the fridge for the week. The pieces of meat can be used the same way you would use nuts. 50g of coconut meat will provide about 19g of fat, so just have a few small pieces at a time - no need to go overboard, just because something is good for us doesn’t mean we need to eat ONLY this food.

Coconut flour is made by shredding coconut meat and can be used to replace other flours in baking and the thickening of sauces. Also known as desiccated coconut and can be used to coat chicken breast as a yummy meal with some veggies.

Coconut oil can be used for cooking in place of olive oil. It is much more stable and so doesn’t produce nasty free radicals when heated. Make sure to get the unrefined virgin oil and keep it at room temperature. It looks pretty solid but will soften when heated.

How do I pick a good coconut?

Only buy coconuts stored in an air conditioned area, and give them a good shake. A good coconut will be heavy and have more liquid in it. With mature coconuts have a look at the 3 “eyes” on it’s bum and make sure you can clearly see a seam running along the middle of the coconut – only buy a coconut that has no discolouration.

So, in a coconutshell: COCONUT IS GOOD FOR US! Enjoy it in all it’s glorious different forms and have fun cracking them open! Just remember my favourite saying… EVERYTHING IN MODERATION.

Myth Buster: The Truth About Eggs

Are eggs bad for me? How many can I eat per day? How many per week?

These are questions I regularly get from clients because eggs have had so much bad publicity over the last few years… I am going to explain the truth about eggs and encourage you to EAT MORE of them!

Where’s the evidence?

Recent studies show that eggs lower the risk of heart disease because they contain a protein that lowers your blood pressure. There is also evidence that eating eggs everyday can reduce your cholesterol, rather than increase it as previously believed.

The Science

Eggs do contain cholesterol – the “dietary” kind – but we all need cholesterol; it has many jobs and is found in every cell in the body. It definitely isn’t the baddie in the equation.  If we eat foods containing cholesterol the body doesn’t have to work as hard to make its own! Clever stuff hey!?

Eggs are an excellent source of PROTEIN and also have heaps of vitamins and minerals that help with eye function, reduce risk of cancer and help with brain function.

If you have genetically high cholesterol (Familial hypercholesterolemia), the rules are a little different… Speak to you doctor or dietitian about this.

The Baddies

TRANS FAT IS THE DEVIL! Avoid this at all costs… Trans fat is NOT found in eggs, it’s found in deep fried and take away foods, and many other processed foods. It will RAISE the BAD cholesterol and LOWER the GOOD cholesterol – THE OPPOSITE OF WHAT WE WANT!

Saturated fat also gets a pretty bad rap, but again WE DO NEED SOME saturated fat for our body to function at its best. There is some saturated fat in eggs but as long as we are not eating eggs at every meal and snack it won’t cause any issues.

REMEMBER VARIETY IS THE KEY!

It’s fine to eat eggs every day, just don’t use any oil to cook with… Boil, scramble or fry them but use a non-stick pan.

How many eggs can I eat?

If you are trying to lose weight, limit your eggs to 2 per day… and only use them as a protein source to replace other protein options in meals and snacks. They still contain calories, but more favourable than calories from processed carbohydrates. I train at high intensity regularly and eat 3-4 eggs every morning at breakfast. But I’d encourage you to mix it up a bit… If you’re having eggs at breakfast, lunch and dinner and a snack or two you’ll be missing out on other important nutrients and overdoing it on the eggs. For example, have some smoked salmon or tinned tuna instead of a boiled egg at snack times.

Can I eat the yolk? I’ve heard that’s where the bad stuff is…

YES! You can eat the whole egg :o ) the yolk is where the majority of the nutrients are… So there’s no need to avoid it.

The Bottom Line

So, in short – eggs are GOOD for us, and there is no limit to how many we can eat … unless you’re watching your weight, then have no more than 2 per day.

For more info, check out:

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/eggs/

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/03/10/the-sunny-side-of-eggs.aspx