Understanding Fats – the basics

The last in this series of three (the other two being 1:Understanding Protein and 2: Understanding Carbs) and it’s time to get to grips with fat.

Fat is essential to our diet. We need to consume some fat as it contain important nutrients and essential fatty acids. Vitamins A, D, E are fat soluble, which means they can only be absorbed with the help of fat.

As with carbohydrates, fat has a lower TEF (Thermic Effect of Food) than Protein. In fact, carbs and fat have the same TEF. This means you will burn between 5 to 15% of the calories of the fat from the digestion process.
Therefore you consume 200 calories of pure fat, around 10 to 30 calories will be burned by digestion.

Fat is the most calorie dense of the three macronutrients but as stated above it is needed and is not the enemy.

If fat loss is your goal, you will need to understand that fat comes at a high calorie cost. Calorie deficit is the key to fat loss so limiting your fat intake and making smart choices will be necessary.

There are two main types of fat; Saturated and Unsaturated.
*Ideally no more than 10% of your daily calorie intake should come from saturated fat.

Saturated Fats are found in both sweet and savoury foods and are mainly found in animal products (meat and dairy) although there are exceptions such as coconut oil.

Examples of saturated fat include:
Fatty cuts of meat
Sausages
Meat pies
Butter, Lard and Ghee
Cheese
Cream and Ice Cream
Biscuits, Cakes and Pastries
Chocolate Bars

Unsaturated Fat is mostly found in oils from plants and fish.

To reduce your risk of heart disease and maintain healthy levels of cholesterol it would be wise to reduce your overall fat intake and try to ensure you consume mostly unsaturated fat.

Examples of unsaturated fat include:
Olive oil and spreads made from olive oil
Rapeseed oil
Some nuts i.e. Brazil, Almond, Peanut
Avocados
Sunflower seeds
Oily Fish i.e. Herring, Salmon, Sardines, Mackerel




  • The Importance of Periodisation in Endurance Training
  • Monitoring and Managing Fatigue in Endurance Training
  • All About Stress
  • Train your breathing for better race results
  • Does how you breathe really matter?
  • Unlocking Your Athletic Potential: Nature vs. Nurture
  • Recovery: The Unsung Hero of Triumphs
  • Build Consistently, Adapt Relentlessly
  • Minimum effort. Maximum Impact
  • Specificity is KING for Endurance
  • Strength Reigns Supreme in Endurance
  • The 5 Pillars of the DB Training Methodology
  • The Three Biggest Mistakes Endurance Athletes make…
  • Mastering the SAID Principle for Endurance Training Success
  • Mastering Heart Rate Zones for Peak Endurance Performance
  • Setting your HR Zones & How to Judge Progress
  • How to Test your Lactate Threshold
  • Why Lactate Threshold trumps Max Heart Rate for Endurance Training
  • Golden Rule #5 Extreme Ownership
  • Golden Rule #4 100% Effort
  • Golden Rule #3 Focus on You
  • Race Day Nutrition – A Rough Guide
  • Race Week Nutrition 
  • A feeling or results… which do you want?
  • Post Workout Nutrition
  • Pre Workout Fuelling
  • Golden Rule #2 Find the Positive
  • Golden Rule #1 Control the Controllable
  • My Coaching Ethos and Athlete Philosophy
  • Do your actions support your goals?
  • Understanding Carbohydrates – the basics

    Following on from my last post about Protein (Understanding Protein-the basics) now lets look at the next macronutrient – Carbohydrate or Carbs.

    Now, Carbs get a really bad rep and a lot of fad diet trends will preach the virtues of removing carbs from your diet. The true fact is though, there is no good reason to remove carbs from your diet. Carbs are not the enemy. Carbs provide us our energy for exercise, and for general life and they help our brain function.

    I am sure we all know at least one person that did some low carb diet and said how easy it was and how much weight they lost. Hell, I’m one of them – back in 2003 I did the Atkins diet and yep, I lost a tonne of weight… for a while.

    The truth of it is any diet where you cut a quantity of food will work for weight loss in the short term, as you are creating a calorie deficit. But cutting carbs for a period of time means that your body becomes carb resistant and when you reintroduce carbs, your body has a hell of time trying to figure out what to do with them and in the main, this results in some pretty serious weight gain. 2004 was my fat year, after I couldn’t sustain Atkins any longer, and to be honest, nor did I want to.. I wanted Pizza!

    The key to sustainable fat loss is calorie deficit. Not Keto, Not Paleo, Not Intermittent Fasting (especially not this for women as it has proven to have detrimental effects for women, especially menopausal women). You can achieve calorie deficit by those means and if thats your way then hell, you do you but for most of us, we want to enjoy our food, ALL our food and that includes the energy boosting, brain boosting carbohydrate.

    We know, as I talked about it in my Protein blog, that the body burns more calories digesting protein (known as the Thermic Effect of Food “TEF) than it does the other micronutrients.
    You will burn anywhere between 20 to 35% of the calories of the protein just from the digestion process.
    That figure drops to 5 to 15% for carbohydrate.
    Therefore  you consume 200 calories of pure carbs, around 10 to 30 calories will be burned by digestion.

    In the ideal your carbohydrate consumption should be based on food rich in fibre, as fibre helps keep you fuller for longer and has many benefits for gut health.

    Wholefood carbohydrates such as grains, pulses, fruits and vegetables are also rich in micronutrients and have wide ranging benefits for body function.

    Carbs are split into two types; Simple and Complex, based on their chemical structure and how easily they are absorbed by the body.

    Simple carbs are easily absorbed by the body and include fruits and honey.

    A lot of processed and refined foods are simple carbs and these are the ones that need to be limited within a diet to achieve fat loss. Think biscuits, cakes, sweets and chocolate bars.

    Complex carbs take longer to digest and include things like rice, beans, peas, lentils, peanuts, potatoes parsnips, wholemeal bread and pasta and wholegrain cereal.


  • The Importance of Periodisation in Endurance Training
  • Monitoring and Managing Fatigue in Endurance Training
  • All About Stress
  • Train your breathing for better race results
  • Does how you breathe really matter?
  • Unlocking Your Athletic Potential: Nature vs. Nurture
  • Recovery: The Unsung Hero of Triumphs
  • Build Consistently, Adapt Relentlessly
  • Minimum effort. Maximum Impact
  • Specificity is KING for Endurance
  • Strength Reigns Supreme in Endurance
  • The 5 Pillars of the DB Training Methodology
  • The Three Biggest Mistakes Endurance Athletes make…
  • Mastering the SAID Principle for Endurance Training Success
  • Mastering Heart Rate Zones for Peak Endurance Performance
  • Setting your HR Zones & How to Judge Progress
  • How to Test your Lactate Threshold
  • Why Lactate Threshold trumps Max Heart Rate for Endurance Training
  • Golden Rule #5 Extreme Ownership
  • Golden Rule #4 100% Effort
  • Golden Rule #3 Focus on You
  • Race Day Nutrition – A Rough Guide
  • Race Week Nutrition 
  • A feeling or results… which do you want?
  • Post Workout Nutrition
  • Pre Workout Fuelling
  • Golden Rule #2 Find the Positive
  • Golden Rule #1 Control the Controllable
  • My Coaching Ethos and Athlete Philosophy
  • Do your actions support your goals?
  • Understanding Protein – the basics.

    If you are trying to change your body composition then you need to get to grips with calorie deficit (you can read more about that here in a previous blog; Calorie Deficit ) AND balancing your macros.

    Calorie deficit will equal weight loss. Balancing macros will ensure fat loss.

    When it comes to fat loss, understanding protein is key so here are the simple facts about protein and fat loss.

    1)
    We digest protein more slowly that the other macronutrients (carbohydrates and fats) which is the reason we feel fuller after eating protein. Including a good lean protein source at every meal will help you feel full and less prone to snacking due to hunger. Protein at breakfast is THE best way to start your day.

    2)
    The body burns more calories digesting protein (known as the Thermic Effect of Food “TEF) than it does the other micronutrients. You will burn anywhere between 20 to 35% of the calories of the protein just from the digestion process.
    As an example; you consume 200 calories of pure protein, around 40 to 70 calories will be burned just by digesting it.
    This means eating protein can both increases your energy expenditure and your calorie deficit. Win Win.

    How much Protein should you be eating:

    As a general rule of thumb you should be consuming 1.6 to 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight. This will help keep you feeling full, support fat loss while also maintaining muscle mass.

    If you are an athlete or you train heavily several times a week you will need to increase this to 2.2 to 3.4kg per kilogram of bodyweight.

    Some Good sources of Lean Protein:
    Chicken / Turkey breast, 5% fat Beef Mince, Pork Fillet, Tuna, Cod, Prawns, Egg White, Low Fat Greek Yogurt, Cottage Cheese, Seitan, Edamame, Tofu, Tempah.
    *this list is not exhaustive

  • The Importance of Periodisation in Endurance Training
  • Monitoring and Managing Fatigue in Endurance Training
  • All About Stress
  • Train your breathing for better race results
  • Does how you breathe really matter?
  • Unlocking Your Athletic Potential: Nature vs. Nurture
  • Recovery: The Unsung Hero of Triumphs
  • Build Consistently, Adapt Relentlessly
  • Minimum effort. Maximum Impact
  • Specificity is KING for Endurance
  • Strength Reigns Supreme in Endurance
  • The 5 Pillars of the DB Training Methodology
  • The Three Biggest Mistakes Endurance Athletes make…
  • Mastering the SAID Principle for Endurance Training Success
  • Mastering Heart Rate Zones for Peak Endurance Performance
  • Setting your HR Zones & How to Judge Progress
  • How to Test your Lactate Threshold
  • Why Lactate Threshold trumps Max Heart Rate for Endurance Training
  • Golden Rule #5 Extreme Ownership
  • Golden Rule #4 100% Effort
  • Golden Rule #3 Focus on You
  • Race Day Nutrition – A Rough Guide
  • Race Week Nutrition 
  • A feeling or results… which do you want?
  • Post Workout Nutrition
  • Pre Workout Fuelling
  • Golden Rule #2 Find the Positive
  • Golden Rule #1 Control the Controllable
  • My Coaching Ethos and Athlete Philosophy
  • Do your actions support your goals?