How Fat Can Improve Your Athletic Performance
by Ashleigh Feltham
Accredited Practising Dietitian and Accredited Nutritionist
If you are an athlete, consuming the ‘optimal’ amount of protein is likely one of your ‘essentials’ for nutrition and performance. What you may not have considered is the role of fat to optimise your results as well.
Athletes are provided with an acceptable range – not an exact recommendation of 25-35% of calories from fat. This does not mean this macronutrient holds less importance.
Research has shown that when an athlete’s fat intake was less than 20% of total energy for the day there was a significant reduction in endurance ability in both men and women. On top of this, your sex hormones require fat to be made and this is an important aspect of any man or woman’s health. Specifically, sex hormones optimise your bone health and ability to increase and maintain muscle mass and lower your body’s susceptibility to injury.
The reason you should think about Safcol Seafood and specifically the quality salmon and sardine range available is that both of these are considered fatty fish. Salmon has around 11-20% fat and sardines 9-11%. Having enough fat is only half the story because the quality of the fat in your diet also impacts your overall health. Omega 3 fat is an essential fat as your body cannot make this fat. On top of this, this polyunsaturated fat benefits the health of your heart, arteries, and brain. Having a heart that works at its best and a brain to make the best choices in your sport are advantages you need. Both sardines and salmon are good sources of protein with salmon providing you with 20g of protein per 100g and sardines 21-24g per 100g. Athletes need around 1.4-2g of protein per kilogram of body weight.
By choosing Safcol salmon or sardines two to three times in your week you are providing the nutrition your muscles need for growth and repair and the essential fat to optimise performance and overall health at the same time.
Take home message
Do not get sucked blindly into thinking all macros are the same to optimise your health and athletic performance. You can improve your athletic performance by selecting a variety of healthy fats which include Safcol salmon and sardines to be a part of the acceptable range of fat recommended per day is key.
Horvath PJ, Eagen CK, Ryer-Calvin SD, Pendergast DR. The effects of varying dietary fat on the nutrient intake in male and female runners. J Am Coll Nutr. 2000;19(1):42-51. doi:10.1080/07315724.2000.10718913