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It's long but got some good info



Fat Roundtable

What's new in fat science?

Refereed by John M. Berardi



During our last roundtable, Cy Willson, Lonnie Lowery, and myself got together to talk protein. There were no holds barred as we threw out our own personal protein theories and suggestions with extreme prejudice. With the theories bouncing around like lotto balls in a billion dollar drawing, we went crazy. Lonnie was screaming about being a real man while whipping out his long, cylindrical? pointer to illustrate his points on the graphs and tables he brought along.


In the meantime, Cy and myself were flipping each other off at each disagreement. All in all we had a real blast while giving you guys some practical suggestions for how to use protein to get bigger.


We had so much fun I couldn't wait to do another roundtable. Only this time we'll talk about fat. Within the last few years there's been a lot of discussion regarding the optimal macronutrient composition of the diet. A wide range of individuals (some of them being very wide themselves) have asked me for advice about what fats to eat and how much.


You see, after the anti-fat surge of the 80s and early 90s, people began to realize that the elimination of dietary fat from our culture was not only nearly impossible, but was downright stupid.


People continued to get fatter even though their fat intakes dropped lower and lower. In addition, normal physiological processes like endocrine profiles were being altered. These startling repercussions brought about a surge in fat research. This surge has provided much of the information we want to share today.


Bodybuilders and some cutting edge nutritionists are starting to become aware of the basics of fat consumption, but most individuals still have a long way to go in understanding what all the fat science means. What makes it all the more confusing is the fact that scientists, as usual, speak in a language that the typical layperson can't understand. So when they talk about how monounsaturated fatty acids are incorporated into the phospholipid bilayer of the cell membrane and are less subject to lipid peroxidation due to reduced phospholipase C activity, it doesn't exactly work. Most people were lost at the monounsaturated part.


That's why I've assembled this roundtable. Eric Noreen, Professor Lonnie Lowery, and myself are here to help make sense of the science of fat consumption. Our goal is to clear up some fat myths; present some info on saturated, polyunsaturated, and monounsaturated fats; clear up the distinction between the "omega" fatty acids; and try to have a little fun while doing so.


Since most of you already know myself and Lonnie, let me tell you about Eric and why you should care what he has to say. Eric is a competitive cyclist who recently competed at the Masters' World Championships in Montreal, Quebec. Although a bit on the thin side, he's definitely as hardcore an athlete as they come. In addition, Eric is my lab mate and another PhD candidate who studies with Dr. Peter Lemon. On top of all of this, Eric is one hell of a guy and is a great nutrition resource. He especially knows his fats.


So now that you know who's who, let's start chewin' the fat!


JB: Hey Eric, yo' momma so fat she had to get out of bed to roll over.


EN: Oh yeah, yo' momma so fat it takes her two trips to haul ass!


LL: Well, both of your mommas are so fat that when I took them out dancing, the whole band skipped.


JB: All right, enough of that! Let's get serious! Before we get into actual dietary recommendations, let's just talk about what kinds of dietary fats are out there for public consumption. Then we can talk about what the difference is between them and why some are better than others.


For example, to start off very basic, saturated fats are most commonly associated with animal products. Monounsaturated fats are most commonly associated with olive and canola oils. Last are the polyunsaturated fats which are most commonly associated with many vegetable or fish oils. Hey Eric, why don't you further elaborate on the polyunsaturated fats, namely omega 3s and omega 6s?


EN: Okay, that's easy. As you said, John, the omega fats are polyunsaturates. There are several different omega 3 fatty acids, and there are several different omega 6 fatty acids. The grand daddy of all omega 3s is a fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid (LNA). This fatty acid can be elongated and desaturated in the body to form several other omega 3 fatty acids. The two most talked about omega 3s that are made from LNA are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).


The grand daddy of the 6 family is linoleic acid (LA). Just like LNA, LA can be elongated and desaturated in the body to form several other omega 6 fatty acids. The two Omega 6s made from LA that are most often talked about are gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) and arachidonic acid (AA).


LA, LNA and the fats made from them are essential for physiological function. Since our bodies don't have the ability to make them, the amounts of omega 3s or 6s found in the body are largely a function of what we eat. Omega 3s are mainly found in fish oil, flaxseed oil, canola oil, walnut oil, and green leafy vegetables. Omega 6s are mainly found in vegetable oil, corn oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, peanut oil, and sesame oil.


Interestingly, the fats from animal products (meat, dairy, and eggs) that we usually think of as being all saturated can also provide some polyunsaturates. The level of polyunsaturates and the ratio of 3s to 6s is entirely dependent on what the animals are fed. Animal feed high in corn will produce animals that have high omega 6 fats. Animals fed natural grasses will be high in omega 3s. The implications of this are really important for us.


LL: In the case of these animals, they are what they eat. And so are we.


JB: Right! So if we eat meat that was fed a lot of corn, then we get a diet high in 6s and we also become high in 6s. The same is the case for 3s. We can get into this later. First, though, since you and I have pretty much handled the "conventional fats," why don't we get Lonnie to share some insight about the "special fats" he's had experience with.


LL: Well, in addition to conventional fatty acids — of which Westerners get an excess of the Omega 6s — there're also dietary lipids that are present in much smaller amounts and have very unique, drug-like properties.


JB: Drug-like properties? Yeah, we've all heard that before. This better be good!


LL: Oh, just you wait and see! In great contrast to the omega 6 linoleate, omega 3s like EPA and DHA, as well as CLA, hold considerable promise as anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-carcinogenic and anti-catabolic compounds. How many nutrients can offer a pain-free, cancer-free, beefed-up body like that? Of course, I'm exaggerating now, but there's enough evidence to get excited.


JB: Oh great, are you working for Bill Phillips? I remember when he thought that CLA was the next wonder drug. So what happened?


LL: Well, in my opinion, CLA crumbled under the unbelievable hype. It won't pack on mass like D-bol, that's for sure. But I have some brand spankin' new data from my lab to show that it does have some drug-like effects. So listen up all of you nonbelievers!


In the past, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) was shown in animals to reduce body fat. That's news you can take to your mama, John! The researchers thought that lipogenic/lipolytic enzymes as well as certain cytokines were affected by CLA. Therefore, the enzymes that build fat were inhibited while those that release fat were upregulated. From a practical standpoint, nifty physiologic effects like eating a fat to get lean may be cost prohibitive. You see, dietary lipids can exhibit a dose-response curve, i.e., more works better. And although a lot of CLA will work, it can get expensive.


Although initial research has been promising regarding muscle mass and strength, we've only seen effects in the lab with 7.2 to 15 grams per day, way more than most folks could afford! Oh, and before I go off on my recent data, I need to mention that despite often rigorous dietary and activity controls, I've yet to see CLA affect fat mass in weight trained men at any dose. It just doesn't seem to do anything for leaning-out active adult men.


JB: Well, that's a disappointment! At least it has some other beneficial effects though. Listen, although I know that you're dying to show off your nice little tables, hold off for a bit, Mr. Professor. I want to cover some other important topics first.


Let's get down to dietary recommendations. When talking about dietary consumption, the group that's going to read this article has to be taken into consideration. Unfortunately most dieticians haven't done this and have made recommendations for the "average" individual or the "average" athlete. In addition, they tend to base their recommendations on the needs of clinical populations like heart disease patients. In all of this, the poor power athletes of the world have been neglected. Here, since our audience is bodybuilders, let's tailor this conversation for them.


EN: Don't leave the cyclists out of this!


JB: Okay, although the focus will be on bodybuilders, we'll make recommendations that all athletes can use. Besides, we're not all that different. I noticed you cyclists have nice silky shaven legs just like us bodybuilders. Too bad you don't get laid as much, huh?


Anyway, most bodybuilders get all jacked up about protein manipulation for increased anaerobic performance and muscle mass, but usually fat manipulation is relegated to the health domain. It isn't usually discussed from the performance or hypertrophy standpoint. I guess that's probably because most people think that since muscle mass is protein, then protein intake equals muscle mass. What they don't realize, however, is that skeletal muscle protein only accounts for such a small percent of total body weight vs. total fat weight.


Dr. Lemon, Dr. Ziegenfuss, and myself worked out the following numbers for a hypothetical male. If we took a 200-lb male that has about 15% body fat, that individual would have about 30 lbs of fat on their body and less than 15 lbs of contractile muscle protein. That's a 2 to 1 ratio of fat to muscle contractile protein.


Now, of course, it's not that simple in terms of assigning importance to each macronutrient in the diet. But it isn't all that difficult either. Basically, the body is either mostly anabolic or catabolic. It's both building up and breaking down at all times. However, if anabolism outweighs catabolism, we grow. This has roots on the hormonal, neuromuscular, and/or organ level. If you eat to be anabolic, you'll grow muscle. If you eat to be catabolic, you'll lose muscle. It's that simple.


EN: That's a good point, John. And dietary fats are big players in bringing the body into a generalized anabolic state. Too many athletes and bodybuilders just don't understand that losing weight and maximizing training are two conflicting ideas as far as your body is concerned. If you're dieting/starving yourself or even eating below maintenance to try and lose weight, then you aren't going to get great results from your training! It's just that simple.


If you aren't eating intelligently, it'll take much longer for your body to fully recover from a hard workout. Even more devastating is the fact that you won't have the ability to train as hard. All athletes need to train hard to maximize their gains. I don't care if you're sitting on a bike for four hours per day or pushing up iron.


It takes a lot of energy to train hard day-in and day-out and your body knows this. It won't take too many days of hard training on a catabolic diet before your body decides that it doesn't want to play anymore. Mentally and physically you just won't be able to keep up the same intensity during your workouts. Unfortunately, too many athletes ignore the warning signals from their bodies and they continue to push on. This can lead to overtraining, which may take weeks or even months to correct.


Am I saying that you should never try to work out and diet? Absolutely not. Lifting along with dieting is an extremely effective means of shedding fat, but it isn't an effective means of increasing muscle mass. The bottom line is if your objective is to put on as much muscle as possible, you have to give your body what it needs.


JB: Thanks Eric. I often marvel at how dieting bodybuilders, wrestlers, rowers, and other athletes who try to lose fat or "make weight" convince themselves that the dieting doesn't affect them much. Bullshit! They're self delusional! Of course it affects you. Mass drops radically, you feel like shit, and you perform like it, too.


Okay, let's discuss fat intake and restriction coupled with high carbohydrate diets. It used to be the norm for dieters and athletes alike to restrict dietary fats to such miniscule amounts that the fat in oatmeal, which is only 3 lousy grams per serving, was way too much for them! I remember I used to train with this guy who claimed to eat less than 15 grams per day. I don't know how the hell he did that, but it sounds ridiculous to me. Like it was some badge of honor that his testes were now rendered useless and that he was essentially unable to put on muscle mass. Ridiculous!


Personally, I think that eating moderate to high fat is ideal for both hormonal reasons and metabolic ones, too. With low fat diets, Testosterone levels crash. In addition, when there's inadequate fat in the diet, the essential fatty acids are deficient. The body can't function optimally from the genetic level up to the cellular level and even all the way up to integrative metabolism. In addition, cellular metabolism favors carbohydrate oxidation (burning) during low fat diets and therefore fats are more likely to be stored anyway.


I know that our recommendations often fly right in the face of convention, but after all, we're writing for a magazine named Testosterone. I've got another one for you. I've been known to recommend saturated fats for growth?


EN: You diabolical bastard!


JB: Yeah, yeah, I know. Now, I don't suggest very high quantities of saturated fats, so relax. When dieting, I think that only 10 to 15% of your total fat intake should come from saturates. But when trying to increase mass, you need to take the saturates up to about 30 to 35% of total fats. I say this because there's data to suggest that saturated fat intake can increase T production. With all of the fears of saturated fats out there, I can understand why some would be cautious. But the bottom line is that if you train, you can get away with higher levels of saturated fats from a health perspective and you'll probably grow, too.


With this said, do you guys think there are any normal or sub-clinical (non-medically treated) situations where dietary fats should be restricted to such low levels?


LL: Typically, severe restrictions on total fat intake are reserved for fat maldigestion pathologies like pancreatic and gall bladder problems. As for sub-clinical situations, fat restrictions below 20 to 30% of daily intake are largely unnecessary. Even morbid clinical obesity is treated with simultaneous carb and fat restrictions, not just fat restriction. This is called a "protein-sparing modified fast" or PSMF.


Although I don't agree with everything they say, higher-fat diet proponents like Dr. Adkins and perhaps Barry Sears do have some valid points regarding refined carbohydrates as "bad guys." It's about time for this kind of lateral thinking. Dietary fats have been lumped together as a single entity and demonized for too long.


EN: When people start talking about completely getting rid of fat in their diets it makes me want to punch them in the brain. It's a classic example of the nutritional misinformation that's so rampant in our society. There's nothing magically thermogenic about the absence of fat!


JB: Right, punch'em in the brain. Then you better get your 150-pound butt on your bike and peddle away! Seriously, though, I think that the general recommendations to cut down on fat in the diet were well intended. At the time, the average sedentary individual was eating about 40% fat (most of this coming from saturated fats) in the diet. That's a nice recipe for heart disease, obesity, etc.


EN: Yeah, but this fear of fat has been taken to the extreme by the general public. Here's why: Firstly, certain dietary fatty acids can play a role in the blood lipid abnormalities that plague sedentary individuals; there's no question about that. Saturated fats can lead to high LDL and low HDL and that's bad. And secondly, fat is a great source of caloric density (lots of calories per gram of fat). So it's much easier to overeat if you're eating a lot of fat. But both of these points are largely moot if you're working out every day.


You have to remember that we evolved on a fairly high fat diet and our body functions best with fat in our diet. Just one example of what I mean would be the antioxidant lycopene, which is found mainly in tomatoes. Many of you have probably heard about lycopene in the news recently because of its extremely powerful anticancer effect. If you eat a tomato, very little lycopene actually makes it into your blood stream. However, if you eat a tomato and a little fat — voila! Huge increase in plasma levels of lycopene. I could go on for hours talking about fat and general health, so I'll cut it short there.


JB: Okay good, I guess I'm not the only crazy one who sees value in higher fat diets in athletes. Interestingly, and even more relevant to our readers, is the fact that fat can increase the absorption and effectiveness of anabolic drugs.


In men given oral Testosterone and Testosterone undecaonate, a high fat (59%) meal nearly doubled the bioavailability of the T! In one group receiving Test undecanoate tablets alone, their T levels didn't even increase above placebo levels. When taken with the high fat meal, their T levels were increased significantly. Who would've thought that eating fat could make your steroids more effective?


Anyway, at this time, why don't we break out some cutting edge fat research. Let's get to the impact of different fats on performance. Over the last few years, bodybuilders have been turned on to flax oil. Many writers have ascribed magical thermogenic, anabolic, and transcendental health benefits to this oil. We know now that the "magic" in flax comes from the omega 3 content. Since you're the resident expert on the omega families, why don't you tell us what you think, Eric.


EN: Well, this looks like a pretty good opportunity for me to get on my omega 3 soap box and start proclaiming the power of the mighty salmon! As I mentioned earlier, we evolved on a fairly high fat diet. The problem is that the fats we were eating back in the good old paleolithic days were quite a bit different from the fats we eat now.


Back then our ratio of omega 6s to omega 3s was very close to 1:1. These days it has been suggested that this ratio is 30:1 up to 50:1! So what's the big deal you ask? The big deal is that this change in the ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 plays a role in pretty much every major disease that's killing us in Western civilization. This ratio can also impact performance and body composition as well.


First, let me briefly touch on why this ratio is important. When we eat fat, some of it is incorporated into the cell membrane as phospholipids (lipids with a phosphate attached.) These guys make up the barrier between the inside and outside of the cells. These phospholipids are important because they're used to make a family of hormone-like molecules called eicosanoids.


Eicosanoids are involved in pretty much everything our body does, and we could spend days just talking about them. The big picture here is that if we're eating a lot of omega 6 fatty acids, we get phospholipids with omega 6 fatty acids in them. The eicosanoids are then made from the omega 6s. The same is true for eating omega 3s.


The eicosanoids made from 3s and 6s have many different functional properties. One of the big differences is that omega 6 eicosanoids are very pro-inflammatory, whereas omega 3 eicosanoids are very weakly inflammatory at best. A dietary shift towards more omega 3s has been shown to help in a variety of diseases from asthma to cardiovascular disease, but it also has the potential to be of benefit to athletes. The nagging shoulder tendonitis that flares up every time you do shoulder presses could conceivably improve with more 3s. Omega 3s could also speed up recovery from hard workouts where you completely shred your muscles.


LL: Let's mention the fact that the muscle damage created from weight training is very pro-inflammatory anyway. If the cell membrane is full of omega 6s, you're talking about mega soreness and damage. With omega 3s, muscle soreness may be reduced and recovery time may be enhanced! You see, inflammation is a cyclical process. Training damages muscle — muscle gets inflamed — inflammation promotes more damage — more damage, more inflammation, and so on.


This is where CLA comes in to play. Since I've done quite a bit of CLA research, here's where I comment on some of the biggest benefits of taking the stuff. And here, finally, hot off the presses, are my graphs:


As you can see from this data set, both delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and interleukin-6 concentrations were blunted after an eccentric downhill run in the CLA subjects. IL-6 is a pain-related, inflammatory cytokine, so the two findings agree. In theory less IL-6, less muscle soreness.


And check this out:


The urinary nitrogen from these subjects was a bit lower in the CLA group as well, indicating a tad less muscle breakdown, but this latter finding wasn't statistically significant like the others. All this is exciting, but unless you're a subject in one of my studies, it's unlikely that you'll get close to 15 grams a day of CLA, even with supplements. At this point, I wouldn't recommend it anyway; we need more data on both safety and efficacy. In fact, Dr. Joey Antonio joked once that I've basically just discovered expensive natural "aspirin" that takes six weeks to work! I can hardly argue except to say that it's a food that seems to possess drug-like qualities and that in itself is fascinating.


JB: Right on, guys. I can't give a recommendation for CLA, Lonnie, but thanks for those splendid graphs. I feel like I'm back in seminar class snoozing through one of your buddy, Dr Ziegenfuss' lectures!


As far as what I can recommend, I've recommended fish and flax oils to many people suffering from injuries. I've also recommended them to some friends with asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. Each has noticed some benefit. In regard to weight trainers, it's my impression that the benefits noticed with CLA in Lonnie's studies would also be noticed with omega 3s. Eric, we've talked a lot about the "omega" family and insulin lately. What's your take on their impact in regard to the mighty hormone insulin?


EN: Perhaps the biggest benefit from eating a better ratio of 3s to 6s may come from increased insulin sensitivity. It's pretty well established in rodent studies that membrane phospholipids high in omega 6s leads to, or at least contribute to, insulin resistance. Membrane phospholipids high in omega 3s actually have an opposite effect- increased insulin sensitivity!


What's really exciting is that the improvement in insulin sensitivity with 3s may only occur in muscle cells. Adipocytes (fat cells) appear to actually become insulin resistant with a diet high in omega 3s. This is a best-case scenario!


Insulin has two main actions in an adipocyte. First, it turns on the fat-making machinery so you're making bigger adipocytes (i.e. larger beer belly.) Secondly, it inhibits your fat cells from breaking down the stored fat and sending it off to the muscles to burn for energy. So basically insulin helps build fat cells.


With omega 3s, however, you now have a scenario where the muscle is increasing its response to one of the most anabolic hormones in our body, and the fat cells are basically ignoring the signal to make more fat! Beautiful. Even more exciting yet is the recent research that has suggested that 3s also shut down the genes that tell the body to store fat. In rodent studies, when rats are fed a diet with 6s as their fat source, they are considerably fatter than rats that are fed the same amount of calories but with 3s as their fat source.


Now I keep mentioning rodent studies, because the data isn't as solid in humans. This is because you can't control the diet in humans like you can in rodents. The rodent studies generally start the rats on their fat, either 6s or 3s, immediately after they are weaned from their mother. In addition, the fats are completely controlled.


JB: You mean, the study rats don't get stressed out from too much sitting around in woodchips all day and just blow their diet with pints of Ben and Jerry's Chubby Hubby ice cream?


EN: I think not. Humans do, though! First, they enter into a study with a body full of omega 6s. Then they continue to eat a diet that is quite high in omega 6s. The experiments typically just supplement the normal diet with fish oil or some other high omega 3 oil. This presents a problem because 6s and 3s interfere with each other. So if you have lots of 6s in the body and still coming in the diet, they're going to minimize the effectiveness of the 3s that you're taking in.


JB: You know, I've been thinking a lot about something lately. I've been wondering what is more important, the ratio of 6s to 3s or the absolute values. We all know that by increasing your intake of polys each day through flax or salmon, the levels of 3 will go up. Also, the actual number of 6s and total fats may go up, too. So basically you get more 3s and more 6s and more fat. But the ratios change.


Here's an example. At the start you might have been getting 90 g of fats per day. Something like 30 g from sats, 30 g from monos, and 30 g from polys. Of the polys, 25 g might be omega 6s and 5 g might be omega 3s (a 5:1 ratio).


Well, if I now add three tablespoons of flax per day, I'll be getting 30 g from sats, 30 g from monos, and 75 g from polys. In this case, there are definitely more 3s (about 35 g total), but there are also more 6s (about 40g total). So the ratio of 6s to 3s has changed from 5:1 to almost 1:1.


So my main question is this: Is the ratio more important or is the total level of 6s and 3s more important? From what you said above, it seems like one might want to avoid 6s as much as possible so that more 3s can be incorporated into cell membranes exclusively and replace the 6s that are already there. I can imagine that with a diet rich in mostly 3s, you could accomplish this over a few months' time. With the rates of cell membrane turnover, it wouldn't happen immediately, though.


EN: There have been some pretty good studies looking at this question and in terms of the eicosanoids produced it looks like it's the ratios that are the most important. If you're eating a typical diet that's high in 6s and then supplement with a lot of 3s, the improvement is pretty impressive. However, with that said, I think a much more sensible plan is to reduce the amount of 6s in the diet as much as possible at the same time that you are increasing the amount of 3s. Your total fat intake doesn't really change, but the ratios do.


JB: Okay, the best of both worlds would be to eliminate 6s and increase 3s. So this would actually warrant the use of fish oils over flax oils. I know that the fish oils show a much more impressive health benefit for cardiovascular disease patients and insulin resistant diabetics than does flax. I guess that's because with flax, you increase both 3s and 6s, while with fish oils you increase mostly 3s.


Also, it appears that because the fish oils are rich in EPA and DHA, they're better suited to the health benefits we mentioned. Other omega 3 oils have a lot of LNA, but that omega 3 has to be converted into the more effective EPA and DHA.


An analogy would be to compare LNA to prohormones while EPA and DHA are like Testosterone. LNA gives some benefit by itself but is most effective when converted to EPA and DHA. So why not just take fish oils which are high EPA and DHA?


LL: I'll take the cop-out answer and say both total and fatty acid ratios matter. Obviously, total amount of fat, in grams, is a big issue as far as energy density/gross caloric intake is concerned. That is, you get to eat less at a given caloric ceiling. Luckily fat's higher satiety value (e.g. slower gastric emptying) helps keep you full longer. On the other side of the coin, like Eric said, there's hard evidence stating that fatty acid ratios may be more critical regarding inflammation and immune-related catabolism.


I personally consume about 30% of my energy as fat. I try to eat very little "junk fat." Gone are the days of gobs of mayo on my BK Broiler and other such creams, dressings and sauces that have few nutrients. Most of my fat now is from olive oil (monounsaturates) and meat (saturates and polys). Although you guys have mostly discussed the polys, namely the omega 3s, few people realize the extent to which monos aid athletes — not the least of which are antioxidant effects.


As mentioned earlier with the polys, monounsaturates can be incorporated into the cell membrane. While there, monounsaturates are much less likely to suffer from lipid peroxidation. Lipid peroxidation occurs when free radicals attack cell membranes. This is part of the cellular damage that antioxidants protect against. So by using more monos in the diet, you can protect against oxidative damage from another angle.


Back to my diet, I also add a few grams of fish oil (via salmon or capsules) per day if I'm primarily focusing on protein sparing, as when I'm in a fat loss/aerobic activity phase of training. I also jack up my DHA and EPA (along with occasional flax seeds) during the times when my elbow tendonitis is screaming. But I do shy away from fish oils during mass phases because no one really knows if there's any potentially negative impact on muscle growth. I'm always cautious in this respect. Remember, those rats lost weight with omega 3s verses 6s.


JB: Yeah, Lonnie, but I think most of it was fat weight that they lost. I don't really see a problem with omega 3s inhibiting muscle gain. But remember, I recommend 30% of the total dietary fats coming from saturates during mass building. Then I shoot for 10-20% monos and 50-60% polys (mostly omega 3s).


LL: Fair enough.


JB: Listen, over the last few months, I've been slowly changing up my intake based on this relatively new information. Although I still like my egg yolks and beef, I've been switching to the omega 3 eggs and broiling leaner beef. This way, I get to control my omega 6 and saturated fat intake and supplement my omega 3 intake.


In addition to eating the golden eggs from wonder chickens, I've been adding one to two cans of salmon per day for the EPA's and DHA's. Tuna is the traditional cheap and easy bodybuilding protein, but it doesn't have the good omega 3 fats that salmon has. I think that bodybuilders should, as Eric recommends, leave their tuna behind and recognize the power of the mighty salmon. As far as the monos that Lonnie mentioned, I also add olive oil to my daily salads. Finally, liquid flax and fish oils are added to my protein shakes.


There's no question that I recover better and can stay leaner on a higher caloric intake eating this way. Also, my chronic knee, elbow, and shoulder pain from years of football, rugby, and heavy training feel better than ever. Coincidence? I think not!


EN: This is what I try to do. I try to get around 30% of my total calories from fat. Unlike John, I look for saturated fats to make up only about 10% or so of my total fat intake. I make a conscious effort to completely eliminate 6s from my diet, but given how abundant they are, this just brings me down to a moderate level. To compensate I hit the 3s pretty heavy. I eat a big bowl of green weeds every day, a can of salmon almost every day, and I try to eat a couple salmon steaks a week.


I eat a lot of omega 3 eggs and I also eat flax specialty products such as flax frozen waffles. I also grind up flax seeds and put them in a lot of my food. In addition to that, I take a couple of salmon oil capsules every day and a tablespoon of flaxseed oil. I also eat a lot of sardines (much to my roommate's dismay) in the days leading up to a big race. The remainder of my fat comes from olive oil, which I put on just about everything.


JB: That reminds me, Eric. You want a Tick-Tack? Go ahead, take two, really. Just kidding. Thanks for sharing your info, guys!


So, T-men, what have we learned today? Well, here are a few pearls of wisdom to take to the kitchen:


• During all training phases, make a conscious attempt to eliminate the omega 6 polyunsaturates from your diet while simultaneously increasing your omega 3s mostly in the form of fish/salmon oils (DHA, EPA) and some flax seeds or flax oils. This increase in 3s, as well as the more favorable ratio of 3s to 6s, can potentially increase insulin sensitivity in muscle, decrease it in fat, reduce body fat, decrease muscle damage and soreness, and decrease disease or injury-induced inflammation.


• Replacing your saturates with monounsaturates in the form of olive oils is a smart move. This can favorably impact blood lipid profiles and cell integrity (by preventing free radical induced oxidation.)


• If you want to really piss off the dieticians and "health fanatics," eat saturated fats (about 30%, but not much more of your total fat intake) during mass phases. During diet phases, decrease this ratio to about 10% of total fat intake and attack the salmon and olives for the rest of your fats.


• Finally, don't reduce fat intake to such low levels that your energy levels are that of a 80-year-old bridge player. Trust me, your testis will become nothing more than little dangling ornaments with no real function but to get in your way during leg presses.


In short, eat your fats!

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Great read Simon. My fat sources are olive oil, cheese, nuts, avacado and fish oil tabs

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thats perfect nina

are you cooking with olive oil or having it raw in salads? your selection is spot on, you just need to be careful with making oils rancid when cooking, if you are cooking with in, coat the food in oil rather than sitting it in the pan, and dont let it smoke. other than that, good stuff

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I dont eat anything fried, I have my olive oil in salads. I married a very smart guy when it comes to eating and lifting. I avoided fats like the plague before I met Markos. My skin and nails are as healthy as they have ever been, I put this down to a shift from high carbs to moderate fats

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