Are Healthy Fats A Helpful Bodybuilding Diet Macronutrient For Muscle Gain?

By: Francesco A. Castano


The explosion of the health industry in recent years has spawned research in natural nutrients that can enhance health and well being, with one of the most widely advertised being Essential Fatty Acids (EFA), which are beneficial fat sources that have been shown to reduce cholesterol, enhance immune system response, and assist in sustaining normal body function (such as smooth skin). Because of this, these Essential Fatty Acids have become popular in the diets of many, and have even caught the attention of bodybuilders as a method of providing energy while improving long term health.

But can fat actually assist in muscle building? This is a question many bodybuilders are asking, especially considering how some have claimed that certain fat based foods can assist in hormone production, and will therefore improve muscle gain when implemented properly within a bodybuilding diet plan. This idea has especially captured the attention of many bodybuilders who have developed a negative view of carbohydrates due to having gained substantial body fat on standard carbohydrate focused muscle building diet plans.

I do not doubt the health benefits offered by Essential Fatty Acid sources, and highly recommend using these as part of any diet plan, regardless of whether bodybuilding is a goal, and therefore all should add some Essential Fatty Acids for health and immune system benefits. Yet, in terms of pure muscle building, carbohydrates are far more helpful in growth as compared with fat, and therefore many who switch to a diet plan which focuses on fat as the chosen energy source will find that muscle growth is hampered, sometimes dramatically. The negative stigma attached to carbohydrates which have made higher fat diet routines en vogue are not related to an inherent harm originating from carbohydrate sources (as fruit and raw honey, two examples of carbohydrate sources, are extremely healthy), but instead due to improperly compiled diet routines which favor carbohydrates as an excessive percentage of overall food consumption, which causes body fat to rise far more quickly than expected. Instead of reducing carbohydrates to a more balanced macronutrient percentage in comparison to protein and fat, many bodybuilders instead nearly abandon carbohydrates completely, and find that their results significantly suffer.

Saturated fat is said to play an important function in hormone production, and utilizing a small portion of total calories from saturated fat is acceptable for those who do not suffer from any genetic predisposition towards or history of cardiovascular (heart) disease, but the potential harmful health impact from using large quantities of saturated fat outweighs any bodybuilding hormone related benefits, therefore of all foods consumed, saturated fat should comprise the smallest overall percentage. A bodybuilder who avoids all forms of saturated fat can achieve amazing bodybuilding progress, as I produced over 60 pounds of muscle mass while eating a diet extremely low in saturated fat, and I do not feel that fat in general, including the saturated variety, will provide a substantially positive impact on muscle gain, but will harm progress if significant carbohydrates are abandoned in favor of added fat consumption.

A prudent and properly constructed diet plan will center around a variety of nutrients for maximum health impact and muscle building results, including protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats, with saturated fat consumed only in moderation (for those who are not predisposed to cardiovascular related medical issues), and when doing so, the downside of carbohydrates that disrupt the progress of many bodybuilders will be averted, and muscles will receive a broad range of nutrients for peak function, both in terms of defense against disease, and total muscle gained.

A final word of warning - for those weight lifters who currently integrate fat into their diet plan, by all means abandon unhealthy forms of fat, such as trans fat, as these types of fats are destined to rest themselves within blood vessels, producing serious cardiovascular complications. The majority of health issues experienced in western civilization originate from poor lifestyle choices, including food selection, with harmful fat consumption reaching epidemic levels due to the popularity of fast food and boxed unperishable food items that utilize terrible additives. Yet, with a great number of delicious food options available that are also extremely helpful in aiding muscle building and health, there is no legitimate reason to design a diet based upon damaging foods, even when eating at a restaurant. Bodybuilding is not only a hobby based on maximum muscle building, but also involves enhancing long term health and well being, therefore choosing the proper collection of foods is no less important than the weight lifting workout plan itself.

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Francesco Castano owns IncrediBody.com, an online fitness superstore selling fitness equipment at guaranteed lowest prices.

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