Nutrition Archives

This one really drives me crazy. When it comes to considering which foods to eat or not eat, we should consider all foods on the planet in two ways. First – is the food good or bad for your body and secondly – what is the calorie value of the food?

First question – Is the food good for you? The amount of salt, saturated or trans fat, sugar ect. in any food has absolutely nothing to do with adding or reducing body fat. High amounts of these indicate that the food is not good for your system or that it is an unhealthy choice. In other words, consumption of these foods could lead to health problems such as heart disease, hypertension and many other conditions.

Second question –What is the calorie value of any given food?

 This is the only consideration when it comes to adding or reducing body fat.  It is merely a matter of physics, or heat energy. Any human body, no matter what size or age requires a certain amount of calories or energy to be in balance. Let’s call this your ”maintenance calorie level.” If you eat more than this amount, you will store the number of calories over your maintenance calorie level as fat. If you eat less than your calorie maintenance level, your body will use its storage or body fat to get you back up to calorie maintenance level for the day.

 Here’s an example, Say that your ”caloric maintenance” level is 2000 calories/day.  If you eat 2000 cal today, you will not store any extra fat or burn any stored body fat. You will be in balance. If you eat 2100 cal today you will store 100 calories as body fat. When you accumulatte a total of 3500 extra calories you will have added 1 pound of fat. On the other hand, if you eat 1900 cal,today your body will be forced to use 100 calories of existing body fat and when it uses 3500 over time, you will have lost 1 pound of fat.

Weight Loss and Understanding Nutrition Labels

if you’re like most people, this is how you deal with nutrition labels.

Let’s say you’re in a grocery store and you are looking at the label on a can of peaches. Usually after about 15 seconds you just put the can back without getting the information you’re looking for. This is because, to the general public the standard nutrition label is confusing , plus the deluge of misinformation, relating to sugars, carbohydrates, good fats, bad fats, proteins and calories that we see in the media  just adds to the confusion. Hopefully this blog will make things more clear.

The first two lines on a standard label refer to serving size and servings per container. These are relatively easy to understand in most cases. It usually requires just a little bit of math.

The next line refers to calories. If you’re trying to reduce body fat these first three lines are all you need to be concerned with. Let me explain.

 We all know what the worst or most unhealthy foods are. These include anything processed or fried, greasy, made primarily of white processed flour and in general any desserts and any sugary foods or liquids.

If you are on a healthy diet that includes mostly whole foods, fruits, vegetables, lean meats, nuts, berries, beans and seeds and is low-sodium and contains adequate fiber you do not need to be concerned with everything below the “calories” line on the label.

This is because you are not consuming unhealthy choices and everything below the calories line (the 2 bottom sections) relates to whether the food item is a healthy choice or not.

I’m trying to provide a way that you can look at a label and quickly get the information you need to determine whether or not you should eat it and if so in what amount.

One less thing to worry about because now, if you’re primary concern is reducing body fat, you need not be concerned with anything below these first three lines. Losing or adding body fat is purely a function of calories in and calories out as I discussed in earlier blogs.

I have included a visual to the right that demonstrates the information in this blog. Again, if you’re primary concern is losing or controlling body fat and you are currently consuming a healthy diet, then the bottom two sections are not important as they are X’ed out. This, as I said earlier will make getting the information you need from a nutrition label much quicker and easier.

Should I Follow a Vegetarian Diet?

Love a Veggie

There is a lot of controversy as to the health and validity of a vegetarian diet. Let me address this from a realistic and logical point of view.

In graduate school. I took a vegetarian course along with 13 other students. At the end of the course seven of the 13 students converted from omnivores to vegetarians. Why do you think they did this?

During the course of the study we were shown videos of inhumane treatment of animals by large farms and inundated with negative views of meat eating. While it is true that these animals are treated badly, the course was obviously intended to not only educate, but to convert students.

Let me make two points clear. Number one; we have four teeth naturally embedded in our jaws called canines. These are the pointed teeth slightly off center in four positions. You might call them the vampire teeth. Being pointed, these teeth are designed to tear meet. The teeth behind the canines are designed to grind food and the teeth in front being flat edged are designed to bite and separate.

 Number two; there is no vitamin B12 in any plant on this earth. Vitamin B12 is essential for our very existence. It is necessary in the formation of hemoglobin which transports oxygen throughout your system, plus it has other vital functions. If we were designed to be vegetarians, how would we get this necessary vitamin in our diets? The answer is, we would die because he wouldn’t get any vitamin B12.

In a totally natural environment without processed, fast, or engineered foods we would survive on what we could find in nature.

We are designed to eat seeds, nuts, berries, vegetables and fruits most of the time and occasionally, maybe every other day snare a rabbit and less frequently, maybe weekly procure a larger animal such as a deer and then consume meat on these occasions. Just think about the logic here and make up your own mind.

body fat

In this blog I’d like to explain how the body stores or burns body fat, I will use the truth and absolute science of calories to explain this.

The best way to do this is to use a typical person, as an example. Our example is a female that is 25 years old and weighs 140 pounds.

Based on the formula: pounds of body weight divided by 2.2 x .9 x 24, our subject would have a 10% above sedentary caloric maintenance need of about 1400 cal per day. For our purposes, let’s assume this is absolutely correct, not accounting for any extra daily activity level, cost of digestion, etc..

We as humans are designed to be able to store fat in the event of a season without food, a long cold winter, a famine, or the like. Based on my research, I think this is between 10 and 20 pounds of fat. It’s pretty obvious that most of us have much more than this.

Now, back to our subject. If she eats 1500 cal today (100 above her maintenance need) she will store 100 cal worth of fat. Conversely, if she 1300 cal today her body will take 100 cal from storage (her body’s fat stores). We know that it takes 3500 cal to constitute 1 pound of fat. Now just do the math. If our subject eats 1500 cal per day for 35 days, that’s 35×100 or 3500 excess calories over 35 days. She will gain 1 pound of fat in this time frame. If she eats 1300 per day for 35 days her body will use 1 pound of what is stored in her system. It really is that simple.

You may say, why doesn’t she just eat nothing for a few days and she will lose it much faster? This is true. However, if you eat greater than 1000 cal less than your caloric need each day you will begin to burn muscle for energy. This is because the body has a limited capacity to convert stored body fat to energy. It can only convert about 1000 cal per day to usable energy running at maximum efficiency. Also, the less you eat in volume, the less likely you are to get enough nutrition (vitamins, minerals, enzymes and phytonutrients) in total and variety.

The only situations where this is not valid are when medications are involved that affect the amount of water your body contains (excess fluid or dehydration) or the subject has a diagnosed thyroid or metabolism problem. I will address these issues in another blog.

What is Junk Food?

bucket o' junk food

Let’s first divide junk food into categories or ingredients. The categories will be; bread, sugar and fats.

Bread–Let’s starts out with wheat grains in a field somewhere. If you take a kernel of wheat and remove the fiber, germ, bran and the vitamins and minerals, what you have left is nothing but the carbohydrates or energy. This is done by the process of milling. Milling is done to improve the shelf life of bread. The bran which has oil in it, is removed because it putrefies rather quickly. White bread is called junk food because it is devoid of nutrients that were stripped during processing. But hold on a minute. White bread does have some redeeming characteristics. In the early 1940’s the U.S. government mandated the fortification of all white bread and cereals to include some of the stripped nutrients. These include B vitamins and folic acid.

Sugar–Sugar starts out generally the same way, as a naturally occurring plant. Most of our sugar comes from the cane plant or corn in the form of high fructose corn syrup or sugar beets. Processing sugar starts with pressing the cane or beets to extract the naturally sweet liquid inside, then allowing that liquid to dry into a loose crumble. The crumble is washed and dried to extract impurities and to pull out the molasses, resulting in the white crystalline structure we recognize as sugar. Molasses can be added back in to make light and dark brown sugar, or the sugar can be sold in the pure white form. The impurities from the crystallising process in both cases are a dark syrup called molasses. Processing cane or beets generally does the same thing as processing a stalk of wheat. You take away all the materials that don’t naturally remain intact for long periods of time and what you have left is a white crystalline substance we know as table sugar. This crystalline sugar is called junk food because it, like white bread is devoid of many of its naturally occurring nutrients.

Fats-Fats are different. There are certain fatty acids (contained in food fats) the body cannot make. Therefore, you must get them from food. There are many functions in the human body that require these fatty acids. The fats to watch out for,  “bad fats” are, saturated fats found in meats, butter, cream, or ice cream, and other foods with animal fat and trans fat, (a man-made fat found in some margarines or packaged baked). Good fats come from fish, nuts, seeds and other plants.  Dietary fat is categorized as saturated or unsaturated. Unsaturated fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) should be the dominant type of fat in a balanced diet, because they reduce the risk of clogged arteries. Processed foods that are high in fat contain the “bad fats”. The bad fats are used because they are more stable and have a longer shelf life. Foods that contain a large amount of these kinds of fat are generally called junk foods.

Saturday pig-out

You may have seen diets that include a “free day” once a week. What this means is that you eat cleanly for six days and then one day a week you can eat whatever you want to eat.

Actually this is a method that works quite well and there are a number of reasons for this. First of all from a physiological point of view if you eat well six days of the week and on the seventh day you pig out, it’s okay.

Secondly from a psychological point of view this also really works well. Let’s say you chosen your free day to be Saturday. On Tuesday or Wednesday you can begin to look forward to your free day which just also happens to be the weekend which you look forward to anyway.  Let’s say you chosen to eat pizza Saturday night. Again, you’ve been eating really clean all week. After the first few bites you may feel sort of sick. This is really a good thing because what happens is as a result of feeling sort of sick, you’ll end up not really eating way too much.

The reason for this is that your system has become accustomed to clean fibrous healthy choices that aren’t laden with grease, salt or other chemicals for six days straight and now you’re flooding your digestive system with unhealthy choices and your body will rebel by making you feel sort of sick.

Now it’s Sunday and you feel really bad about pigging out Saturday. This illustrates the other psychological factor. Since you feel so bad about Saturday night it’s easy to muster the resolve to start again Monday.

This  really does work and is a very powerful method for long-term success. Try it sometime. Actually, many hard-core bodybuilders use this method year-round. It tends to keep them on course and not let them get way out of shape.

This is a great question. Let’s look at exercise machines in general f

OLD TIME WEIGHT LOSS MACHINE

irst. Any machine whether it be a treadmill (or some version of a treadmill), an ab machine, a leg machine, a total body exerciser or any kind of device that promises to get you in shape or lose body fat is designed to do two things: burn calories and produce some level or type of strengthening or toning. To a great degree every machine I’ve seen advertised can accomplish these two goals.

The problem arises when they promise you a certain amount of loss or changes in a predetermined length of time, for example they may say “just by using this machine you can lose two dress sizes in 10 days” or “lose 10 pounds the first 10 days”. I’m sure you have seen these.

It is a fact that the average person in an exercise session where they’re working at 70 to 80% of their maximum heart rate for 30 to 40 min. will burn somewhere between 300 and 500 extra cal.

From one of my earlier blogs you will remember that in order to lose 1 pound of fat you must accumulate 3500 cal under your calorie maintenance level over some period of time.

In our earlier exaggerated claims example of losing 10 pounds in 10 days, in order to accomplish this you would have to burn 35,000 extra calories in those 10 days in order to lose 10 pounds of fat. If you’re only burning, say 400 a day exercising that would be a total of only 4000 extra calories burned in 10 days. According to my calculations you would have to exercise between eight and 10 hours per day nonstop to burn enough calories to lose 10 pounds in 10 days

So what does all this mean? I’ve made it sort of a study of mine to watch these TV infomercials on a regular basis and to analyze them.. I’ve stayed up many nights way way late to see some of these because as you know they usually show up late-night.

Here’s the reality of the situation. If you listen closely almost every single one of these devices they are trying to sell you comes with some sort of eating plan. They may call it a special bonus, an extra, or just a special added value. If you order one of these machines and you look at the diet plan included it will prescribe to you a low calorie diet of some sort. The diet is what creates the weight loss not the machine.

Don’t get me wrong, the machines do burn calories and can dramatically increase your fitness level. But you don’t lose the fat solely because you use the machine, you lose the fat because you follow the prescribed low calorie diet and burn some extra calories on the machine.

As a side note you ever wonder why the first day you see these ads they’ve already got testimonials of clients that lost tremendous amounts of weight. The question arises, if this machine or program just came on the market today, how do they already have these dramatic testimonials.

Here’s how that works. Usually the developers will take a number of clients for weeks or months before the product release date and help them in such a way as to guarantee weight loss. Many times they are sequestered, their eating habits and choices are monitored every day and their lifestyle is totally controlled by the developers so as to guarantee weight loss. This is not real life. Real life is a busy lifestyle fraught with  the societal temptations we are all faced with. In the real world it’s not that easy.

Ideally your diet should consist of a mix of all three. Most nutritionists agree on about 65% carbohydrates, about 23% proteins and approximately 12% fat.

There are situations or life stages where these numbers can vary. Pregnancy, periods of metabolic growth and athletes who are weight training should obviously increase the protein percent.

Let’s look at the way all three of these macronutrients are digested and absorbed. Carbohydrates are used exclusively for energy. Fats are used mostly for energy but are also important for some other processes in the body. Protein is the really important nutrient. Not only is it used for muscle support, maintenance and growth but also for a myriad of other purposes such as hormonal structure, transport of other nutrients, hair and fingernail formation etc.

I have come up with a great way to explain this in layman form. Look at your mouth as if it were a hole in your body in which you put food , kinda like stuffing peanuts into a bag. Once any food (protein, fat or carbohydrates) gets inside your body through this hole it can only do one of three things: Become part of your body like skin, bones, muscle, cells, teeth, hair etc., be available for energy and actually used or stored, or pass out the other end. Now, to be more precise, protein is the nutrient that generally becomes some body part, fat and carbohydrates either are burned as energy or are stored for later use as body fat. There are however a couple of other structural uses for fat. It’s as simple as that.

It is true that carbohydrates are structured in such a way as to provide a quicker energy source whereas fat functions as a longer term energy source.

So the question still remains, in a weight loss program what should I cut out of my diet? This gets a little bit tougher. As we discussed in an earlier blog calorie intake is what matters. The proper way to reduce your caloric intake is to reduce your consumption of fats and carbohydrates, more specifically bad fat and processed carbohydrates. My next blog will address the issue of bad versus good fat and carbohydrates. See you then.

As you may have read in some of my earlier blogs I’ve stated that it doesn’t matter what time of day you consume your calories, their effect on your percent of body fat is the same. That is the truth; however there is a way to increase your metabolism simply by eating multiple and smaller meals daily.

The reason for this is a phenomenon called specific dynamic action or thermal effect of food. Simply put it’s the energy required to digest a meal.

There are muscles all along your digestive tract that contract in the process of digestion. From your jaw muscles through your esophagus, your stomach, and your intestines there is a caloric cost of moving and digesting a meal. Your stomach is especially involved. It has three groups of muscles designed to squeeze twist and compress a meal once it is in your stomach. These are muscles just like skeletal muscles. Well almost like skeletal muscles. They are constructed little differently however they do contract just like other muscles. From basic physiology we know that when a muscle contracts it uses energy or calories.

There is a caloric expense involved of between 20 and 30 cal per meal. So logically if you eat, say five meals a day your thermal effect of food would simply be 5×25 or 125 cal. If you ate only one meal a day you’d burn an extra 25 cal. That’s a difference of 100 cal a day. Over 30 days that’s nearly 1 pound of extra fat you would add following the one meal per day plan versus the five meals per day plan. Over a year, on the one meal per day plan that’s 10 pounds of fat you would add.

Given, that’s not a whole lot but using this information in conjunction with a lower total calorie diet, more activity and better food choices, you get a combined effect that is really the answer. We like to call this a lifestyle change.

There is another bonus for eating multiple meals. As a meal is digested your system extracts the various nutrients needed for maximum health. These nutrients circulate in your body for between two and three hours going round and round and exiting at the various cells where they’re needed. It stands to reason that if you eat five meals you get 10 to 15 hours of vital circulation (5x 2 to 3hrs.) feeding all your cells as opposed to just 2 to 3 hours on the one meal per day plan.

Your system is healthier when you get a more constant and enduring flow of nutrition feeding your cells rather than a shorter period of time each day.

Myth number 1 in the series…You must eat breakfast to help you lose weight.  This “starts up” or boosts your metabolism.

The truth is, when you eat makes NO DIFFERENCE when it comes to losing weight. It is really the TOTAL CALORIES COMSUMED vs. total calories burned in a day (24 hr period) that determines fat gain or loss. Believe me. In my over 30 years experience I’ve trained hundreds of clients from bodybuilders to ladies that are over 100 lbs overweight and this truth ALWAYS works

and remember, before you believe anything you read or hear relating to diet and exercise, PLEASE!! CHECK OUT THE CREDENTIALS OF THE AUTHOR

INFORMATION+EDUCATION+MOTIVATION=RESULTS

More later

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