general public's view of macronutrients has undergone sweeping changes
in recent years. Dietary fats are a key example. Since the anti-fat
health education initiatives of the 1980s and early 1990s, certain
dietary fats have been increasingly recognized as actually beneficial
to health. Athletes, like the mainstream populace, are now getting
the message that wise dietary fat (triacylglycerol) choices offer
essential fatty acids, blood lipid management, maintained endocrine
and immune function, inflammation control, metabolic effects and even
potential body composition and performance benefits. Toward this end,
many companies now sell specialty dietary fat supplements and recognized
health authorities have begun recommending them to certain populations.
This review will cover data regarding the physiology, dietary needs,
food sources, and potential benefits and risks most relevant to athletes.
Practical suggestions for incorporating healthy fats will be made.
Both food-source and supplemental intakes will be addressed with interrelationships
to health throughout.
WORDS: Dietary fat, triacylglycerol, fatty acids, metabolism,