• Taniya Sanyal


Recently I worked with an athlete who was terrified of eating fats. A previous coach had told her that she should never eat more than half of egg yolks a day, or it would exceed her fat limits. Half of the egg yolks contain about 4gms of fat. Based on her individual needs 42gm fat is required for her on daily basis. That half egg yolk would have met only 9.5% of her needs. This fear of fat-restricted her to meet her recommended fats per day as a result she wasn’t meeting her total energy needs. She wasn’t having her menstrual cycle for a year and suffered from multiple injuries and setbacks in her training.

Unfortunately, the dietary intake of many young athletes follows population trends rather than sports nutrition recommendations. we discuss a lot about the importance of protein and carbohydrates in sports nutrition but fat is also important.

  • Fat is a source of essential fatty acids, which the body cannot make itself. Fat helps to maintain body temperature, protect our organs, make up the structure of cells, support our immune system & facilitate nerve actions.

  • Fat is also necessary for absorbing fat-soluble vitamins and provides our body with essential fatty acids and fat-soluble phytonutrients. Any fat that's not used by your body's cells or turned into energy is converted into body fat. Likewise, unused carbohydrates and proteins are also converted into body fat.

  • Consuming adequate fat is essential for maintaining healthy hormone levels. A study of endurance athletes found that fat intake was a major distinguishing factor between healthy female runners and those with menstrual dysfunction. Research has also linked a low-fat diet with a decrease in testosterone levels in men. Consuming a very low-fat diet can also result in deficiencies of essential fatty acid and fat-soluble vitamins

One size fits all approach to nutrition doesn’t work. So athletes should not be given generalized advice. If you don’t know your nutrient requirement and if you are feeling any type of psychological pressure related to food try to consult experts. After all, health is the only wealth.

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