Remember, fat is not a four-letter word. In reality, fat is a key component in metabolism, or our body's ability to process fuel. And there are a number of foods with healthy fats.
"Bodybuilders want this paper-thin skin," says sports nutrition author Nancy Clark. "They think that if they eat fat, they'll get fat. Well, if they eat excess calories, they'll get fat. But eating a little bit of fat at each meal can actually help them feel full a little bit longer, because it takes longer to digest, so it can actually aid in weight loss."
Furthermore, fat plays a vital role in collecting vitamins and minerals from other foods. Again, it's that synergistic effect.
"I would look at nuts, olive oil, salmon, tuna fish, because they help absorb certain vitamins," says Clark. "If you have this fat-free diet, then you don't absorb the vitamin A in the spinach, or the vitamin A in your colorful fruits and vegetables. Vitamins A, D, E and K need fat in order to get absorbed, so it's good to have a little bit of fat in each meal."
A good rule of thumb is to make sure that no more than 30 percent of your daily caloric intake comes from fats [source: Robertson].
- Building-Muscle 101. "Find Out How To Build A Diet And Nutrition Program That Helps Promote Strength And Muscle Size." Builidng-Muscle101.com. (April 2, 2012) http://www.building-muscle101.com/weight-lifting-diet.html
- Clark, Nancy. MS, RD, Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics. Author, "Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook." Personal interview. April 6, 2012.
- Clarkson, PM, and Rawson, ES. "Nutritional supplements to increase muscle mass." NIH, and Department of Exercise Science, University of Massachusetts, Amherst. July, 1999. (March 31, 2012) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10442270
- Gluhareff, David. "Why Weight Training?" Bobybuidling.com. Jan. 24, 2004 (April 2, 2012) http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/gluhareff4.htm
- Mackenzie, Brian. "Amino acids – The building blocks of protein." July 2005. (April 5, 2012) http://www.brianmac.co.uk/articles/scni24a4.htm
- Mayo Clinic. "Weight training: Improve your muscular fitness." MayoClinic.com. Feb. 11, 2011. (April 3, 2012) http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/weight-training/HQ01627
- Mayo Clinic. "Strength training: Get stronger, leaner, healthier." MayoClinic.com. June 30, 2010. (April 3, 2012) http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/strength-training/HQ01710
- Tipton, KD, and Ferrando, AA. "Improving muscle mass: response of muscle metabolism to exercise, nutrition and anabolic agents." NIH, and School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK. 2008. (April 2, 2012) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18384284
- Robertson, Annabelle. "7 Muscle-Building Strategies for Guys." WebMD. March 27, 2008. (April 7, 2012) http://men.webmd.com/features/7-muscle-building-strategies-for-guys
- Weil, Richard. "Building Muscle." WedMD. 2010. (March 31, 2012) http://men.webmd.com/workout-tips
- Zelman, Kathleen. "Food for Men: 10 Foods to Boost Male Health." WebMD. July 18, 2011. (March 30, 2011) http://men.webmd.com/features/food-men-10-foods-boost-male-health
HowStuffWorks finds out what's in hummus and whether it is really healthy.