Pioneering the concept of fat as fuel for performance has been an ultra-endurance event in and of itself, but today was a bit of a win because Hammer Nutrition took a big step to help us drive Human Health in a positive direction when it published this blog article on fats and their benefits.
This opens a Pandora’s Box of questions for so many athletes, who have trusted and followed the oversimplified conventional advice of high carbohydrate diet and fueling, thus representing a seismic shift by clearly admitting too many concentrated forms of carbohydrates is not a good idea, and that dietary fats are essential for our health.
Here are some of the stand outs of the Hammer article
One, it is aligned with my point of view and it’s what we have been talking about for years here at Vespa and OFM. Humans simply did not evolve to chronically consume carbohydrates the way we do now.
Second, I love how he made the deep dive into how our cells are composed of a “Lipid Bilayer''. Now I know for most of you this is where your eyes glazed over, but the takeaway I can give you is the author did his homework and understands the critical connections of how dietary fats are critically linked to our cellular health.
Third, his summary is excellent by identifying and calling out two of the major scourges of our health: refined carbohydrates and polyunsaturated vegetable oils...modern foods we simply did not evolve to consume yet are ubiquitous in today’s modern diet. He then gives credit where credit is due by citing people he has read. Kudos to the author and the authors he cites!
Nutritions is more important than Calories
Now I’d like to elaborate just a bit on a few points the article touched upon because they are critically important.
In the final paragraph of “What The First Humans Ate”, that estimated one third of our Hunter-Gatherer calories coming from animals is VERY important, because animal based protein and fat are exponentially more nutritionally dense and bioavailable than the calories found in plant based foods, with things like Omega 3 EPA & DHA essential fatty acids, and certain amino acids only found in animal based food. This is why “Nutrition NOT Calories” makes up the second Tier of the OFM Pyramid.
In the subsequent section where the author describes how our large brain evolved from a diet composed largely of animal fats, how our cell walls are composed of a Lipid Bilayer, and how within that Lipid Bilayer a plethora of complex biological reactions are constantly occurring to sustain life. These processes are all based upon the metabolism of fat. Lipid is the scientific term for fat.
Here are some things to be aware of . . .
Context matters. I’m in 110% agreement with the premise of this article, however, most of us simply don’t hunt nor have easy access to wild game. Our Hunting and Gathering has been transformed to grocery store aisles and restaurant menus with the plethora of choices and their resulting impact on our health and performance being “complicated” by cost, modern marketing and the “nutritional science” which was heavily skewed by promoting a form of “science” that validated highly profitable foods.
Additionally, be especially aware of junk and snack foods branded as Paleo or Primal or Keto etc. after reading a great article like this one. A big part of our evolutionary heritage hinged upon our “Feasting & Fasting” where snacks and snacking had no role. No matter how Paleo, Primal or Keto a snack claims to be, by evolutionary default and the fact it is packaged it has no place.
What is missing from this article
This article follows the tried and true approach of identifying the diet and dietary components. What’s missing is the “magic” . . . the magic of metabolism.
This is where I lose people because we have been entrained into thinking of our health in terms of diet and exercise, with healthcare as our backstop or safety net. Diet compartmentalizes and commonditizes information. It corrals it into comprehensible bits of information whereas the magic of metabolism is truly magical…and why I am in constant awe and endless pursuit of understanding more to help the people we serve, YOU, better.
Does this mean we all need to eschew carbohydrates, go keto, start drinking MCT oil and doing fat bombs to fuel us? Not at all, because there are limitations to keto which will prevent you from reaching your full potential, the truth is carbohydrate based products from Hammer or GU or Cliff etc. have a definite place when it comes to that performance edge and why we look upon them as a “Legal PED” . . .
“Strategic” use of carbohydrates both in the diet and fueling are important. They are markers for your metabolic capacity in addition to providing that performance “push” necessary for fat based performance. . . . and, guess what, that ability to push yourself to a higher intensity is an important adaptive stressor necessary for optimizing fat metabolism.
How can you apply this information to your Metabolic Health and Performance?
Instead of thinking in binary terms which has become sort of the default bane of modern thinking (or lack thereof), let’s think more like Goldilocks & the three bears...just right...that is “just right” for YOU! . . . and while I am no Goldilocks by anyone’s stretch of the imagination, we can help guide you to that ‘just right’ balance for your physiology.
Everything begins with YOU and your metabolism. By implementing tools like diet, supplementation, exercise and lifestyle to build your metabolic capacity to burn fat at the levels nature shaped us for, you will achieve higher health and peak without stress or a restrictive diet!
If you are not already enjoying the benefits of Vespa or Optimized Fat Metabolism (OFM) here are three ways to get started:
- Inform yourself with one of our FREE pdf ebooks:
- Grab a 12 pack of Vespa and use the discount code FIRSTTIME for a 20% discount for first time users to experience the benefits of fat adaptation without having to change your diet or exercise. Click here to buy
- Contact us about individual Coaching / Consulting