Tag Archives: carbohydrates

Eating Fat Won’t Make You Fat

13 Jan

fats-and-meats[1]About 25 years ago, the American Heart Association (and lots of other health and wellness organizations) offered dietary guidelines highlighting a low-fat diet, in hopes of reducing our country’s alarming incidence of obesity and, ultimately, cardiovascular disease.  Turns out they had it wrong, as virtually all the follow-up research has failed to demonstrate a definitive link between dietary fat and obesity.  In fact, during that time the U.S. obesity rate has doubled and among children it has tripled!  Eating fat won’t make you fat, any more than eating money will make you rich.

The reality is, calories make you fat and most “low-fat” or “fat-free” foods actually have just as many calories as their full-fat versions, because of added sugar, chemicals, and low-quality (processed, refined) carbohydrates.  Although the concept has been very well marketed, “low-fat” and “fat-free” are often code for “loaded with sugar.”

The way our bodies work makes it much easier to store dietary carbohydrates as fat than either the protein or fat we eat.  When you consume carbs, they are quickly converted to glucose (our body’s main energy source).  The body provides the brain and muscles with the glucose they need, and stores the rest as fat for your long-term energy needs.  Strength training can increase your body’s muscle demand for glucose, thus reducing your body’s potential to store these calories as fat.  Additionally, research has shown the metabolic effect of resistance exercise to persist in your muscles for up to 48 hours, post-workout.  However, if your caloric intake significantly exceeds your metabolic outgo — over time — you will get fat regardless of the source of your calories.

A University of Alabama at Birmingham study found that meals that limited carbohydrates to 43 percent of total calories were more filling and had a milder effect on blood sugar than meals with 55 percent carbohydrates.  That means you’ll store less body fat and be less likely to eat more later.

Dietary fat is necessary for many bodily functions:

  • Fats are needed for cognitive function (the brain is 60 percent fat).
  • Fats protect and insulate nerves.
  • Fats keep the heart beating in a normal rhythm.
  • Fats keep the lungs from collapsing and cushion your internal organs.
  • Fats slow digestion.
  • Fats provide a source of (long-term) energy.
  • Fats help to satisfy the appetite for longer periods.
  • Fats enable the absorption of vitamins A,D, E, and K.

When thinking about dietary fat, limit consumption of foods high in saturated fats and include more foods with healthy, unsaturated fats, such as olive oil, nuts and nut butters, dairy, and cold-water fish like salmon.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

The Intelligent Athlete’s Guide to Fueling Performance

20 Nov

avarietyoffoods[1]Here’s a nice resource from Coach Mike Dewar that helps to simplify the best way to eat for performance.

Coach Dewar provides several tips for adjusting an athlete’s nutrition to meet the demands of intense training:

  • Keep it simple
  • Diversify (add variety to) your plate
  • Understand your caloric needs
  • Consume enough protein
  • Performance athletes need carbohydrates
  • Healthy fats fuel long-duration exercise
  • Use supplements wisely

Active individuals and athletes must exceed US RDA guidelines for macro- and micronutrients — which are based on the needs of sedentary individuals — relative to their own metabolic demands.

“Athletes have significantly different metabolic demands than non-athletes. As we develop better fitness, factors such as sleep, recovery, hydration, and nutrition play a determining role in our ability to withstand the increased physiological and psychological stressors of advanced training and life.”

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Pre- and Post-Workout Carbohydrates

16 Mar

high-carbohydrate-foods[1]Carbohydrates are important before your workout, to provide fuel for your exercise session; and after your workout, to replenish glycogen (the stored form of glucose) stores in your working muscles.

But, what are the best types of carbohydrates to consume before and after your workout?

The glycemic index (GI) is a way of measuring the body’s response to food.  A high GI food will cause a rapid and high elevation in blood glucose and a commensurate rise in blood levels of insulin.  Conversely, low GI foods will lead to a slower, more sustained blood glucose concentration.

Processed foods and foods with added sugar tend to have higher GIs; while less processed foods — including whole grain, high-fiber carbohydrates — usually have lower GIs.  Foods with carbohydrates that also have protein and/or fat also tend to have lower GIs, such as milk and dark chocolate.

Although the quality of your pre-workout meal or snack may not always significantly impact performance, studies lean toward a rationale for low GI carbohydrates before a workout, especially if the workout is longer in duration.

To accelerate restoration of glycogen stores following a workout, high GI carbohydrates may be a better choice.  High GI carbs are also appropriate between games of a double-header, or at half-time of a sporting event.

Here’s an informational article about the glycemic index that describes the differences and effects of high and low GI carbohydrates.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Eating Fat Won’t Make You Fat

4 Feb

low-fat[1]About 25 years ago, the American Heart Association (and lots of other health and wellness organizations) offered dietary guidelines highlighting a low-fat diet, in hopes of reducing our country’s alarming incidence of obesity and, ultimately, cardiovascular disease.  Turns out they had it wrong, as virtually all the follow-up research has failed to demonstrate a definitive link between dietary fat and obesity.  In fact, during that time the U.S. obesity rate has doubled and, among children it has tripled!  Eating fat won’t make you fat, any more than eating money will make you rich.

The reality is, calories make you fat and most “low-fat” or “fat-free” foods actually have just as many calories as their full-fat versions, because of added sugar, chemicals, and low-quality (processed, refined) carbohydrates.  Although the concept has been very well marketed, “low-fat” and “fat-free” are often code for “loaded with sugar.”

The way our bodies work makes it much easier to store dietary carbohydrates as fat than either the protein or fat we eat.  When you consume carbs, they are quickly converted to glucose (our body’s main energy source).  The body provides the brain and muscles with the glucose they need, and stores the rest as fat for your long-term energy needs.  Strength training can increase your body’s muscle demand for glucose, thus reducing your body’s potential to store these calories as fat.  Additionally, research has shown the metabolic effect of resistance exercise to persist in your muscles for up to 48 hours, post-workout.  However, if your caloric intake significantly exceeds your metabolic outgo — over time — you will get fat regardless of the source of your calories.

A University of Alabama at Birmingham study found that meals that limited carbohydrates to 43 percent of total calories were more filling and had a milder effect on blood sugar than meals with 55 percent carbohydrates.  That means you’ll store less body fat and be less likely to eat more later.

Dietary fat is necessary for many bodily functions:

  • Fats are needed for cognitive function (the brain is 60 percent fat).
  • Fats protect and insulate nerves.
  • Fats keep the heart beating in a normal rhythm.
  • Fats keep the lungs from collapsing and cushion your internal organs.
  • Fats slow digestion.
  • Fats provide a source of (long-term) energy.
  • Fats help to satisfy the appetite for longer periods.
  • Fats enable the absorption of vitamins A,D, E, and K.

When thinking about dietary fat, limit consumption of foods high in saturated fats and include more foods with healthy, unsaturated fats, such as olive oil, nuts and nut butters, dairy, and cold-water fish like salmon.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Build a Healthier Burrito at Chipotle

17 Oct

Chipotle restaurants have become enormously popular.  And, why not?  Their food is tasty, convenient, and (for the most part) they use fresh, healthy ingredients.  But there’s also a potential downside.  The average Chipotle burrito contains over 1000 calories!  Most of us, including athletes, don’t need that many calories at one sitting.  There’s a smarter, healthier way to eat at Chipotle.

Chipotle Nutrition Facts

Wrap

  • 13″ tortilla (soft, burrito shell) = 290 calories; 44 grams carbohydrates; 7 grams protein.

Vegetables

  • White rice  = 130 cal; 23g carbs; 2g protein.  Brown rice is about the same, with the addition of 2g fiber.
  • Black (or Pinto) beans = 120 cal; 23g carbs; 11g fiber; 7g protein.
  • Fajita vegetables = 20 cal; 4g carbs.

Meat

  • Barbacoa = 170 cal; 24g protein; 7g fat.
  • Carnitas = 190 cal; 27g protein; 8g fat.
  • Chicken = 190 cal; 32g protein; 7g fat.
  • Steak = 190 cal; 30g protein; 7g fat.

Salsas

  • Tomato = 20 cal; 4g carbs.
  • Corn = 80 cal; 15g carbs; 3g fiber.
  • Red (hot) = 40 cal; 8g carbs; 4g fiber.
  • Green (medium) = 15 cal; 3g carbs.

Extras

  • Cheese = 100 cal; 8g protein; 9g fat.
  • Sour cream = 120 cal; 2g protein; 10g fat.
  • Guacamole = 150cal; 8g carbs; 6g fiber; 13 g fat.
  • Lettuce = 5 cal.

Tips for Building a Healthier Burrito

  • Skip the rice.  Or, at least go light on the rice.  Chipotle burritos are about 1/2 rice (by volume), providing nutritionally scarce calories and carbs.  Recently, they’ve started serving brown rice, but it’s only marginally better.  You’re better off without it.
  • Add beans and veggies.  As opposed to rice, black and pinto beans add nutritionally dense calories, protein, and fiber.  Fajita vegetables are low in calories and provide vitamins and other micro-nutrients.
  • Go for the chicken.  Although all the meats are relatively good choices, chicken is your best bet for lean protein.
  • Like it hot.  The hot salsa can improve digestion, boost your metabolism, and help you burn more calories.
  • A little cheese is OK.  8g protein is a fair trade-off for 100 calories.
  • Say no to sour cream.  I’m all for dairy, but 10g fat is not a fair trade-off for 120 cal.
  • Say yes to guacamole.  Vitamins, minerals, fiber, and a dose of healthy (unsaturated) fats.
  • Saw it in half.  Save the other half for another meal.
  • Eat it naked.  Refuse the wrap, eat it in a bowl, and save almost 300 calories and 44g carbs.

Get Stronger, Get Faster!

Your thoughts?

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