Best Fats for Building Muscle

We hope you know by now – not all fats are bad for you!

Research published in the journal of Nutrition reports that consuming oleic acids and palmitic acids together can be the best fats for building muscle. Fats have gotten a bad rap for many years as being a contributor to heart disease and cancers, but this is not true. Lipids are organic molecules, a macronutrient required by the body for many functions including muscle and hormone building. There are many fats for building muscle. One of the many benefits of a low-carb diet is the reduction in refined carbohydrates in conjunction with an increase in dietary fats can increase testosterone production. Dietary fats play an essential role in hormone production in our bodies; which in turn, is responsible for muscle growth and strength increases. One of the devastating impacts a low-fat diet can have on the body is a reduction in testosterone production. The great Vince Gironda was one of the first bodybuilders to advocate whole foods high in fat. Vince’s Diet Plan consisted mainly of steak and eggs.

Where best fats come from…

The best fats for building muscle come from whole foods, such as grass-fed beef and dairy products. Additionally, healthy fats such as coconut oil, extra-virgin olive oil, avocados, and macadamia nuts are also some of the healthiest fats for building muscle. One of the worst kinds of fats to possibly consume is trans fatty acids which are associated with some adverse health consequences. One study found that trans fatty acids also lowered testosterone levels. Other studies have found that hydrogenated fats can lead to increased heart disease and cancer. Two fats that you may want to increases in your diet are palmitic acid and oleic acid based on an exciting study published in Nutrition this month titled, “Palmitate and oleate co-treatment increases myocellular protein content via impaired protein degradation.”

Palmitic acid is naturally present in butter, cheese, milk, and meat. It is a significant component in the oils from palm trees, such as palm oil, palm kernel oil, and coconut oil. Oleic acid is a fatty acid that occurs naturally in various animal and vegetable fats and oils. The term “oleic” means related to, or derived from, olive oil, which is mostly composed of oleic acid.

Interestingly, it has previously been reported that consumption of oleate restores muscle protein synthesis in old rats, suggesting that oleate may have positive effects on muscle anabolism. The most recent finding in the Nutrition study published was that exposure to an equal amount of palmitic acid and oleate increases myocellular protein content by decreasing protein degradation rate. The researchers found that co-treatment with palmitate and oleate reduced gene expression of the genes
involved in protein breakdown. This suggests that combining palmitate and oleic acid could be a powerful way to boost muscle growth. Based on this study, lifters may want to consume diets with extra virgin olive oil and grass fed beef.

Key Summary Results:

– A mixed-species fatty acid environment increases myocellular protein content.
– Combined palmitate and oleate decreases rate of protein degradation in skeletal muscle cells.
– Combined palmitate and oleate treatment reduces expression of genes involved in skeletal muscle protein degradation.

Lance M.Bollinger, Marilyn S.Campbell, Jeffrey J.Brault. Palmitate and oleate co-treatment increases myocellular protein content via impaired protein degradation. Nutrition Volume 46, February 2018, Pages 41-43.

Tardif N, Salles J, Landrier J-F, et al (2011) Oleate-enriched diet improves insulin sensitivity and restores muscle protein synthesis in old rats. Clin Nutr 30:799–806.

Welch AA, Macgregor AJ, Minihane A, et al (2014) Dietary Fat and Fatty Acid Profile Are Associated with Indices of Skeletal Muscle Mass in Women Aged 18 – 79 Years. J Nutr 144:327–
149 334.