Here is the fourth blog the Department of Clinical Nutrition have provided in a series designed to help all our participants prepare for this year's mini marathon. We hope you enjoy the series, which also includes blogs from Physiotherapist Julie Jordan.
Fats: The Facts
By Orla Haughey and Suzanne Seery, Clinical Nutritionists, St James’s Hospital
Over the last few weeks we have discussed how carbohydrates and fluid can help improve your training performance. This week we will look at fats and their role in a healthy eating plan for fitness.
Fats help transport vitamins A, D, E and K around the body, these vitamins have important functions such as protection against heart disease, brain development and bone health and therefore small amounts are needed in a healthy diet. Fat is a concentrated source of energy and can lead to weight gain when eaten in excess. Let’s take a look at the different types of fats and how to get the balance right.
There are two main types of fat; saturated and unsaturated fat. Saturated fat is the ‘bad’ fat found in butter, cream, cheese, fatty cuts of meat, processed meat products such as sausages, cakes and biscuits. Eating a diet high in saturated fat can cause weight gain and increase the level of cholesterol in your blood to build up over time. This can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke and certain types of cancers.
Unsaturated fat is known as the ‘healthy fat’, this is because substituting saturated fat for unsaturated fat can help lower blood cholesterol. Unsaturated fats include monounsaturated fat, found in nuts, avocados and groundnut oil and polyunsaturated fat found in olive and rapeseed oil. Oily fish such as salmon, trout, mackerel and sardines contain Omega-3 oil which is a polyunsaturated fat. Omega 3 oils have been shown to help reduce cholesterol and play an important role in brain and eye function. It is important to note that all fats, even unsaturated ‘healthy fats’ are high in calories so reducing your overall fat intake is also important.
While training for the mini-marathon a low fat diet is recommended, as high intakes of fat can lead to weight gain and lower carbohydrates intakes. The following tips can help you get the balance right when it comes to lowering your fat intake;
St. James’s Hospital Foundation
St. James’s Hospital
Telephone 01 428 4086