Are Essential Fatty Acids A Helpful Bodybuilding Diet Nutrient For Muscle Gain?
Many weight lifters use Essential Fatty Acids with the hope of enhancing long term health and well being, especially given the antioxidant properties of EFA. But does integrating this type of fat also assist in muscle building?
The explosion of the health industry in recent years has promoted research in natural nutrients that can serve to improve health and well being, with one of the most widely advertised being Essential Fatty Acids (EFA), which are beneficial fats that have been shown to suppress cholesterol, enhance immune system function, and aid in normal body function (such as smooth skin). Because of this, these EFA sources have become common 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 will fat actually assist in muscle building? This is a question many bodybuilders are asking, especially considering how some have claimed that a group of fat sources can assist in hormone production, and will therefore improve muscle gain when implemented properly within a bodybuilding diet routine. This idea has especially grabbed the attention of many bodybuilders who have developed a pessimistic view of carbohydrates due to having gained substantial body fat on standard carbohydrate focused muscle building diet routines.
I have no reason to doubt the positive health impact offered by Omega 3, 6, and 9 EFA sources, and recommend using these as part of any diet routine, even for those who do not pursue bodybuilding, and therefore all should integrate EFA for immune system benefits. Yet, in terms of muscle building, carbohydrates are far more potent as compared with dietary fat, and therefore many who switch to a diet routine which focuses on fat as a primary energy source will find that muscle growth is hampered, sometimes dramatically. The negativity linked with carbohydrates which have made higher fat diet routines en vogue are not related to an inherent evil in carbohydrate sources (as fruit and raw honey, two examples of carbohydrate sources, are extraordinarily healthy), but instead due to improperly compiled diet routines which favor carbohydrates for a vast portion of overall caloric consumption, which causes body fat to rise far more quickly than necessary. Instead of reducing carbohydrates to a more reasonable macronutrient ratio in relation to protein and fat, many bodybuilders instead nearly reject carbohydrates outright, and find that their results suffer significantly as a result.
It has been said that saturated fat can play a role in hormone production, and consuming 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 side effects stemming from large quantities of saturated fat outweighs any bodybuilding hormone related benefits, therefore of all foods consumed, saturated fat should comprise the lowest overall percentage. A bodybuilder who avoids all forms of saturated fat can achieve dramatic bodybuilding results, as I gained over 60 pounds of muscle mass while eating a diet extremely low in saturated fat, and I do not feel that dietary fat in general, including saturated, will provide a dramatically positive impact on muscle building, but will greatly harm progress if significant carbohydrates are sacrificed in favor of additional fat consumption.
A prudent and properly constructed diet plan will center around a variety of nutrients for maximum health impact and muscle building progress, including carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats, with saturated fat integrated only in moderation (for those who are not predisposed to cardiovascular related medical issues), and when doing so, the often feared negative impact of carbohydrates that disrupt the definition level of many bodybuilders will be averted, and muscles will receive a broad spectrum of nutrients for optimal function, both in terms of immune system optimization, and total muscle gained.
For those bodybuilders who currently integrate fat into their diet plan, by all means avoid unhealthy forms of fat, such as trans fat, as these types of fats are destined to deposit themselves within blood vessels, producing serious cardiovascular complications. The majority of health issues experienced in our modern culture are linked to poor behavior, including food selection, with harmful fat consumption reaching epidemic proportions due to the growing infatuation with fast food and boxed unperishable food items that utilize terrible additives. Yet, with a great number of delicious food choices available that are also extremely beneficial to muscle building and health, there is no worthwhile reason to design a diet plan based upon damaging foods, even when eating at a restaurant. Bodybuilding is not only a hobby based on maximum muscle gain, but also involves improving long term health and well being, therefore choosing the correct types of foods is no less important than the weight lifting workout routine itself.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Francesco Castano authors MuscleNOW.com, a bodybuilding program for muscle building without supplements or drugs. He also owns IncrediBody.com, an online fitness superstore selling exercise equipment at guaranteed lowest prices.