Originally published October 26 2009
Fly High with Fat: Student Pilots Demonstrate Why Fat is Crucial to Health
by Frank Mangano
(NaturalNews) If you're a weightlifter looking for the best thing to eat for maximal output, bodybuilders will tell you to eat plenty of protein. But if you're seeking advice on how to "max out" in tests of mental agility, pilots will tell you to eat plenty of...fat? According to a recent study funded by the U.S. military and carried out by researchers from the University of North Dakota, pilots performed at their peak after eating high fat foods.
The study followed 45 students, all of them training to become pilots. Each of them followed a specific diet for a full week: A high-carbohydrate diet, a high-protein diet, a high-fat diet or a control diet.
At a specified time each week, the students would perform various tasks inside a flight simulator, which "simulates" various scenarios a pilot regularly encounters in flight (e.g. descending a plane in low visibility, performing holding patterns, etc.). They were also given more typical tests for measuring cognitive ability (i.e., recognizing repeating patterns, memorization, etc.). Scores were given out based on their performance.
Uniformly, the students performed better on test scores during the weeks they had high-fat foods - far better than the days where they ate piles of protein - but only slightly better than the week where pasta and potatoes packed their plate.
Further research is expected. Should further tests corroborate the original findings, it may help eliminate pilot error and preventable accidents from taking place, researchers believe. It's important to point out that this study didn't take into account the weight gain of the participants; it was done to assess the pilots' mental performance. The researchers don't advise eating a full week's worth of high fat food (typical high fat items included pizza with extra meat as a topping, brownies coated in frosting).
However, their research does point out why it's important not to fear fat, particularly when it comes to brain health. Fat is fuel for the brain. The brain is composed almost entirely of fat and so is the protective covering that surrounds the brain. And the covering that surrounds the brain, "the myelin sheath," is made up of primarily oleic acid. Oleic acid is the most abundant fatty acid in the diet, and its part of the reason why nutritionists recommend eating a diet rich in healthy fats (monounsaturated oleic acid is found in vegetables like avocado, vegetable oils like olive oil and nuts like macadamias).
Fat is essential to nutrition. It shouldn't occupy a majority of your calories consumed, but between 25 to 30 percent of the calories, depending on your activity level and body fat percentage.
About the authorFrank Mangano is an American author, health advocate, researcher and entrepreneur in the field of alternative health. He is perhaps best known for his book "The Blood Pressure Miracle," which continues to be an Amazon best selling book. Additionally, he has published numerous reports and a considerable amount of articles pertaining to natural health.
Mangano is the publisher of Natural Health On The Web, which offers readers free and valuable information on alternative remedies. To learn more visit:
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