Tag Archives: glucose

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?

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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?

The Importance of Post-Workout Carbohydrates

14 Dec

spaghetti[1]Most athletes know that post-workout protein is essential to the muscle recovery and repair process. As a strength and conditioning professional who works with hundreds of athletes, I can tell you that the importance of post-workout carbohydrate consumption is not necessarily as widely known or understood.

Post-workout carbs are also essential to your muscles’ recovery process. Ideally, you want to aim for 30-90 grams of carbs — depending on the intensity and duration of your workout — within about 30 minutes of training. This is when your muscles are most “receptive” to glycogen (see next paragraph). Within a few hours, your muscles are no longer able to recapture glycogen. Consuming carbohydrates after a workout not only “feeds” your muscles; it also prepares them for the next day’s workout, practice, or game.

Here’s how the process works: You already know that your body breaks carbs down into glucose, your primary energy source. Glycogen is the form of glucose that’s stored in your muscle tissue (some glucose is stored as fat). When you workout, you deplete muscle glycogen stores but you also effectively increase your muscle demand for glucose, meaning you need more (pre-workout) and have the ability to store more (post-workout). That’s why replenishing your muscles’ glycogen stores — via carbohydrate consumption — is an important part of your recovery process.

For best results, your post-workout carbs should be combined with protein. Research indicates the optimal carb-protein ratio to be 3:1 or 4:1, or approximately 20 to 25g protein per 80g carbs. Studies also show that carb-protein consumption, after a workout, increased glycogen reloading by 38 percent over carbs-only (Journal of Applied Physiology). Lowfat chocolate milk has this “magic” formula: a 3:1 carb-protein ratio and quality whey protein.

If you want to get your carbs from whole foods, what should you eat? Well, quality is important but any carb is better than no carb at all, given the importance of carbs to the post-workout recovery process. Fruits, including dried fruits, are good choices (think apples, oranges, bananas, raisins, and craisins). Whole grains — including bread, bagels, cereals, pasta, and rice — are nutritious and beneficial.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

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