Why Fats Are Important? What Fats Are Good?

fats are important

The optimal (average) amount of fats in an athlete’s diet should be 25%-30% (for power sports, the content can reach up to 50%).

For a non-dietary athlete, we are talking about 0.5-1 g / kg (Aragon says about 1 g / kg).

Moreover, in the composition of the daily “fat basket”, saturated fats must be necessary, especially for those that train with iron (because saturated fats affect an increase in testosterone levels [ 1 ]).

You can read in great detail about the role of saturated fat in our daily life “Saturated fats: what dietary intake? Am J Clin Nutr September 2004 vol. 80 no. 3 550-559” [2] (for reference: myelin sheath in the neuron is 75% consists of saturated fat, by itself it is not synthesized, it must be obtained from outside, pulmonary surfactant consists of 90% of saturated fat, etc.)

Mandatory daily intake of fat

“… Fats are an important factor in preserving protein, a source of a large number of biologically active nutrients necessary for the vital processes. Accordingly, fats are necessary for ensuring plastic processes in the body, are a structural part of cells and tissues. In addition, fats in the body perform energy, thermoregulatory, regulatory, or hormonal and protective biological functions. Their presence is necessary for absorption from the intestines of other nutrients, in particular vitamins A, E, D, and K, due to which they easily penetrate through the walls of blood vessels, cell membranes, are transported in biological fluids. It is known that fats improve the palatability of food, significantly increase its energy potential (1 g of fat releases 9 kcal), better than other nutrients provide a feeling of satiety … “

But to oversaturate your “fat basket” with exclusively saturated fats is still not worth it. The optimum will be the content of 7-10% saturated fats in the composition of the “fat basket”. (Although McDonald in one of his articles admits, in principle, that EPA / DHA (6-10 one-capsule fish oil capsules) must be taken, and the rest of the fat basket can be taken with saturated fats)

avocado is good

EPA / DHA (fish/fish oil) – ideally, they should be obtained in the amount of 1.8-3.0 grams per day, these are about 6-10 one-capsule capsules of fish oil (Lyle McDonald [3, 4, 5], John Berardi [6] ).

Which fats are good?

The optimal (average) amount of fat in an athlete’s diet should be at least 30% -35% [7] (but not less than 20-25% ) (for power sports, the content can reach up to 50%). For a non-dieting athlete, we are talking about 1 g / kg.

Of these, 30-35%:

  • 6-10 gr. fish oil (required)
  • 7-10% saturated fats (needed not lower than the specified value)
  • the rest is polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, medium-chain triglycerides (olive oil – 1-2 tablespoons + flaxseed oil one tablespoon, nuts, flaxseed, avocado, coconut oil, etc.)
  • trans fats – no more than 1% (if it is not at all possible to avoid them)

Are trans fats good?

olive oil - source of fats

There is a 2009 study [8] that says trans-fat intake causes metabolic disorders: impaired lipid levels, systemic inflammation, endothelial dysfunction, and, according to some studies, increases visceral obesity, body weight, and insulin resistance. And even small consumption of trans fats (2% of the total fat basket) seems to noticeably affect the risk of coronary heart disease.

Also, according to a meta-analysis of fats in the diet and the fat basket in 2015 [7], which states that there is strong evidence that a high intake of trans fats increases the risk of dyslipoproteinemia, and it is likely that evidence suggests that high consumption of trans fats increases the risk of coronary heart disease.

There is also research on the differences in the effects of natural trans fats and industrial fats. Briefly, according to the study, industrial trans fats in women cause an increased risk of CVD, while natural trans fats seem to be absent (but, as usual, everything requires additional study, etc.).

Earlier we talked about complete diet breaks under scientific point of view.


  1. “Saturated Fat. Killer or Testosterone Booster?” by Mike Roussell, PhD
  2. J Bruce German and Cora J Dillard. Saturated fats: what dietary intake? © 2004 American Society for Clinical Nutrition.
  3. The Baseline Diet 2009 – Part 2” by Lyle McDonald.
  4. Supplements Part 1” by Lyle McDonald.
  5. Fish Oil Intake for Inflammation” by Lyle McDonald.
  6. The Athlete Diet From North American Diet to Athlete Diet: Tips for Making the Transition by Dr. John Berardi.
  7. Wolfram G, Bechthold A, Boeing H, Ellinger S, Hauner H, Kroke A, Leschik-Bonnet E, Linseisen J, Lorkowski S, Schulze M, Stehle P, Dinter J. Evidence-Based Guideline of the German Nutrition Society: Fat Intake and Prevention of Selected Nutrition-Related Diseases. Ann Nutr Metab. 2015;67(3):141-204. doi: 10.1159/000437243. Epub 2015 Sep 29 [fulltext]
  8. Micah R., Mozaffarian D. Trans fatty acids: effects on metabolic syndrome, heart disease, and diabetes. Nat Rev Endocrinol. Jun 2009 5 (6): 335-44. doi: 10.1038 / nrendo.2009.79. Epub 2009 April 28th. [PubMed]
  9. Vannice G., Rasmussen H. The position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: dietary fatty acids for healthy adults. J Acad Nutr Diet. Jan 2014; 114 (1): 136-53. doi: 10.1016 / j.jand.2013.11.001 [PubMed  | Full text]