Omega 3 Fats
A Doctor’s Revolutionary View On Fats For Health & Muscle by Dr. Eric Serrano
Believe it or not, eating more of the right kind of fats will not only enable bodybuilders to lose extra body fat, but eating the right kind of fats also can help you eliminate diet-induced depression, workout-induced inflammation and even low energy. But, the best new news is that fats can facilitate gains in lean muscle! That is right, the best fats can actually help you build muscle faster and, of course, enhance performance.
Most of the fat foods on the open marketplace are counterproductive and terrible for your health. So are most of the low fat foods! Too many low-fat foods have to much hydrogenated (Trans) fats. These fats can lead to heart disease, stroke and even some forms of cancer.
We all know about fat in butter and mayo but an egg, natures perfect food has 6 grams of fat, a tablespoon of peanut butter has 8 grams of fat, an average 8-ounce steak has 70 grams of fat and a lean hamburger patty has about 23 grams of fat.
Fat is easily recognized when it accumulates on your body. While you know how it looks under the skin, fats are esters (alcohol and acid combinations) of glycerol and fatty acids that are solid at room temperature. Fatty oils are glycerol esters that are liquid at room temperature. Any fat that is solid at room temperature is saturated or hydrogenated, while as a liquid, fat is unsaturated.
Too Much Sitting on Our Fatty Acids!
#1. Saturated Fats: In this chemical structure, the carbon positions are bonded with hydrogen molecules. Most scientists state that this fat is not essential because we can make it from other fats. That may be correct up to a point. The human body does need saturated fats because they protect your organs and joints, while serving as an energy source. The “establishment” does not recommend the intake of saturated fats because they supposedly have a negative affect on your heart function and cholesterol levels. Examples of food containing saturated fats are egg yolks, red meat, butter, sour cream, pork, cream cheese, and oils including olive oil (14%).
#2. Polyunsaturated Fats: These fats have multiple carbons that are free of some hydrogen bonding and they bend, typically in the liquid form at room temperature. Multiple metabolic pathways including cell wall construction depend upon polyunsaturated fats. They serve as messengers and play an important role in muscle building. One omega 3 polyunsaturated fat is alpha-linolenic acid and it is an essential fatty acid. One omega 6 polyunsaturated fat is another essential fatty acid (alpha linoleic acid). The essential fatty acid substructures that sound like measures of gas mileage called EPA and DHA are called marine oils and stand for eicosapapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid. Examples of polyunsaturated fats include corn oil, canola oil, flaxseed oil, cod liver oil and salmon.
#3. Monounsaturated Fats: These are similar to polyunsaturated fats; but, where all the carbons in the whole chain, except one carbon, are bound to hydrogen atoms. These fats are important in building muscle and losing fat. The most important source in this group is olive oil and extra virgin oil (canned extra virgin oil from Spain or Italy is the best source). Nuts like cashews/macadamia also are in this category.
#4 Hydrogenated Fats: Ugh — you should not consume these fats, period. They are counterproductive to performance and health goals while serving as a royal pain in the behind (literally). Food companies attract consumers by reducing the saturated fat count and replacing it with unhealthy hydrogenated oils. But – this is a misconception — that saturated fats are completely bad. This is leading us to higher levels of body fat and poor health. Inventing hydrogenated fats in the lab reduced the content of saturated fat in products but the alteration forces the body to process a foreign substance and unfortunately these compounds can be dangerous. Recent research proves that the consumption of hydrogenated fats stuffed into low-fat foods is one of the most common reasons for heart disease and probably some cancers. Examples include almost all commercial crackers, cookies and cakes, margarine, Crisco shortening and things like “innocent” artificial coffee creamers.
At the beginning of the article I stated that saturated fats are supposedly responsible for heart problems and cholesterol elevation. In actuality, I believe that it is the RATIO of polyunsaturated to monounsaturated to saturated fats and carbohydrates that really affects cholesterol and potentially our health.
What is the optimal ratio of varying fats for health? My research is not finished so I am not sure yet, but if I had to play Jimmy the Greek, I would say 2:3:1 of polyunsaturated to monounsaturated to saturated fats.
There is growing medical evidence suggesting that high carbohydrate diets are worse for your triglycerides and LDL (low-density) cholesterol, than is a somewhat fatter diet. HDLs are DOWN with high carbohydrate diets and researchers have already postulated that the best way to lower trigylcerides, LDL and get the good HDLs UP is to reduce the amount of high glycemic carbohydrates and omega 6 fatty acids and replace them with more omega 3 fatty acids!
The “establishment” has encouraged athletes to reduce fats when trying to gain muscle and lose fat, but this is poor advice to say the least.
Fat manipulation is very important in your quest for a lean body and increased muscle mass. Manipulating the ratio and the types of fats (and not reducing the amount of dietary fat) is a key to muscle!
Dietary-induced depression is showing up in epidemic proportions because people are fat deficient; starving the brain of the raw materials it needs to produce endorphins and other essential neurological transmitters and valuable chemicals. The paucity of these chemicals in most cases, causes the mood swings and cravings or obsessions developed with restricted fat dieting. This is a secondary reason why low fat diets fail and ultimately result in increased body fat. The depression caused by a fat deficient diet can result in extreme bingeing and inevitably tremendous fat accumulation if this behavior continues for several weeks.
Interestingly enough, the high-fat food choices consumed during binges never contain the right fats to end this destructive behavior. One of the quickest ways to break this vicious cycle is to provide the person with high levels of olive and fish oils in combination with lean protein sources. This rapidly increases neuro-chemicals and eliminates cravings.
The Serrano Fat Rules:
1. Do not eat corn oil at all. Some studies suggest it can be mildly carcinogenic, not due to its structure, but because corn oil is the major oil used for cooking in this country and raising the temperature while cooking converts the polyunsaturated fat content to the dreaded hydrogenated version (the ones that deposit fat and cause health problems). Don’t use oils high in polyunsaturated fats to cook because they will become hydrogenated and unstable when heated, i.e. safflower, canola, flax or corn.
2. Use :: monounsaturated or saturated fat oils to cook :: If you use high-heat cooking like high-temperature frying, use saturated fats such as butter because it is stable. If moderate heat is being used, then use a monounsaturated source such as olive oil. Olive oil is probably the best choice overall and evidence suggests it may help prevent heart disease.
3. For health purposes, use the ratio I suggested earlier of poly-to-mono-to-saturated fats. If you have diabetes then both saturated and poly intake should be low unless using specific polyunsaturated fats under medical supervision.
4. Bodybuilders — if you are using steroids then you must change the ratio again or you will have a hard time with your cholesterol and HDL, but this is a whole article topic in itself.
What fats do you need to use to gain lean body mass and lose fat? Various fats have different effects on the fat cells. Certain fats increase or decrease the size of the fat cells while others multiply the number of fat cells. Most scientists argue that we cannot alter the size or number of fat cells in the body after a certain age. I disagree. I used to agree with the scientific community on this one, but changed my mind after seeing so many hopeful liposuction patients redeposit body fat post-procedure. How did this happen? Well, apparently additional fat cells proliferated to bring back “the fat fatty acid butt syndrome” that landed the patient in the plastic surgery office in the first place because it sure was not a miraculous fat migration from another part of the body.
New fat has been formed and saturated and polyunsaturated are at the top of the guilty party list.
If your consumption of saturated and polyunsaturates is too high, then you will get fatter. (Polyunsaturated fats can help you lose fat up to a point, but this process depends on which kind you use—omega 3 versus omega 6.) If you are deficient in polyunsaturated fats then reducing the saturated fats and adding polys will help you lose fat initially and even feel better. However, as I say, after a while the high intake of certain polys will make you fat.
Bodybuilders, Lose Fat & Build Muscle
Studies done with rats show that a high consumption of polyunsaturated fats will increase the size of the fat cells. Corn oil, specifically, and oils high in Omega 6 or other polyunsaturated oils can also increase fat size. Saturated fats increase the size and the volume or number of the fat cells, while monounsaturated don’t do anything to the size of the fat cells.
Upon reviewing this study, I asked myself what happens if you change the ratio of fat intake as you get close to a contest? What happens to depression, joint pains, fatigue, muscle and fat loss itself? Well- the real good news is that my clients (6,200) have lost tons of body fat when I strategically changed their fat intake. This was especially true when I used a new structured fat supplement that rapidly promotes fat loss, decreases the size of fat cells, prevents any increase in their number, reduces inflammation, increases thyroid output, increases muscle insulin sensitivity, lowers platelet accumulation and any risk of blood clots, strengthens the immune system and augments muscle building by reducing soreness and inflammation and decreasing recovery time.
Proper supplementation considers timing, dosage and goals. When you combine the right ingredients at the right dosages you lose body fat and gain muscle mass rapidly. But — you must also eliminate certain fats at the same time. The secret is the correct combinations. Omega 3 has been shown to decrease fat size and volume and to prevent fat cell multiplication. This is extremely important for competitors following a show who like to consume fattening foods for a period following competition. This combination will prevent the rapid accumulation of body fat during your “off” time. This applies to bodybuilders and any person who wants to eat freely while minimizing body fat accumulation. Stay away from high polyunsaturated fats like corn oil and other oils like safflower oil.
Your dose depends on your weight, but I recommend if you are less that 200 lbs. that you take 9 – 12 capsules. If you are over 200 lbs. take up to 30 capsules/day. Do this for at least 4 weeks and then reduce to 15 per day for maintenance. You will feel better and be significantly leaner at the end of four weeks!
So, concluding, consume more olive oil or monounsaturated fats than saturated or polyunsaturated fats. Stay away from hydrogenated fats and decrease saturated foods.
To enhance muscle using fats, I suggest the following:
1. Half an avocado/day
2. 3-8 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil depending on size and activity/day
3. 8-12 grams :: fish oil :: each day
4. 1 teaspoon of :: flax oil :: each day
5. Whole eggs or red meat 2-3 times each week
6. Concentrated forms of :: CLA ::
7. 4-8 of :: Omega :: each day
To enhance overall aspects of health using fats, I suggest the following:
1. 1-2 tablespoons of :: flax oil ::
2. 6-9 grams :: fish oil ::
3. Lean red meat once each week
4. 2 teaspoons-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil each day.
5. 2-3 whole eggs 1-2 times each week
6. 3-4 of :: Omega 3′s :: each day
Dr. Serrano is regarded by both amateur and professional athletes as one of the top consultants in the country in the area of dietary strategies and nutritional supplementation. He is a medical doctor, professor at two universities, researcher, lecturer and author. He holds a number of professional society memberships, among them: the American Medical Association, the American College of Sports Medicine, and the National Strength & Conditioning Association. Dr. Serrano is a NASA power lifting competitor, tri-state master.