In 2016, the world discovered that fat doesn't actually make us fat- since then we've been going a bit nuts on the stuff. Wolfing down tubs of coconut ice-cream, adding avocado to literally everything and stirring butter into our long blacks...But how much is too much? Whats the best time to have it? We spoke to qualified dietician and fitness coach Cheyenne Holman to give us the true facts on fat...
Cheyenne suggests, 'a healthy intake of fat in the diet is crucial. Many micronutrients we get from vegetables, such as Vitamins A, D,E and K are all fat soluble which means we need fat to absorb and utilise these vitamins. Then there are the different kind of fats that can have health benefits themselves, such as omega-3 predominantly found in oily fish, which has been shown to be protective to the heart.
While fat is a more satiating macronutrient, its still possible to overeat. Consider how many calories in ½ cup nuts= 413 calories (36.2g fat) versus ½ cup apple= 29 calories (0.09g fat) so remember portion size is crucial.
Keep in mind that most meats and fish also contain fat. Fat in a meal can easily add up if you’re having oily fish + avocado + nuts. When considering nutrition around training, keep in mind that fats take longer to digest than carbohydrate or protein. This is great for keeping you satiated but if eaten too close to training, this can cause some digestive issues... Stomach cramps and gassiness is definitely not fun mid class!
Its essential you ensure a higher fat intake isn’t taking the place of carbohydrate in your diet. Carbohydrate is needed to provide the substrate for short, sharp high intensity exercise bouts in particular. Fat isn’t going to fuel you for your hill sprints! And for females, especially, carbohydrate is needed for properly functioning hormones.
What do you do now?
Include a source of healthy, wholefood fats with every meal. Stick to 1-2 serves per meal and ½ -1 serve for a snack. Wholefood fats include:
Oils such as coconut, olive, avocado, sesame
Nuts and seeds
30g nuts (small palm-full)
¼ - ½ avocado
1 tbsp nut butter
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