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Food and hormones – Insulin

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With so many diets and a lot of contradicting information, myths and lies the best way to know what´s true, what doesn´t, what work and what doesn´t is to understand how things work. This has been my focus for the last years understanding how things work, to get in shape and sustain it and for this hormones play an important role, one of those hormones is insulin.

Insulin is a hormone that is produced and secreted by the pancreas following the consumption of carbohydrates. When we consume carbohydrates, they are broken down into glucose which raises the amount of glucose in the bloodstream. The body cannot have a lot of glucose in the bloodstream so the pancreas secret insulin to take the excess of glucose from the bloodstream to the cells.

Carbohydrates are the primary trigger of insulin. Insulin blocks the utilization of fat as fuel and promotes its storage so when insulin is high fat is not burned, when insulin is low the body can break down triglycerides (stored fat) to be used as fuel.

When insulin is absent or the cells are not responding to it glucose is not used efficiently and therefore cannot be utilized for energy. Under these conditions carbohydrate consumption causes blood glucose levels to skyrocket.

Insulin is related to diabetes which is a common diseases that affects more and more people. Diabetes is a metabolic disorder that occurs when the hormone insulin is not working properly. There are two types of diabetes, type 1 and type 2. Millions of people are diagnosed and in treatment of one of this types while many others are undiagnosed.

Type 1 diabetes is when the pancreas which produces insulin cannot work efficiently resulting in insulin deficiency, with this lack of insulin the cells are unable to take up glucose,  blood sugar is high but it cannot get into the cells. This type of diabetes is generally treated with insulin injections which provide the insulin that the body needs to take glucose out of the bloodstream.

Type 2 diabetes is when the pancreas is still able to secret insulin, but cells are unable to respond to insulin and therefore do not allow glucose to enter. This is known as insulin resistance, it is the opposite of insulin sensitivity in which insulin easily moves glucose into cells. Individuals whit type 2 diabetes should aim to improve their insulin resistance.

In  insulin resistant cells do not respond efficiently to insulin´s signals to take up excess glucose, the pancreas secret more and more insulin to compensate for insulin resistance and manage blood glucose levels. Over time, this process leads to dysfunction and the pancreas is not able to secret insulin efficiently to maintain healthy levels of glucose in the bloodstream. Glucose then accumulates in the bloodstream which may lead to type 2 diabetes.

The hormone insulin is one of the most important when trying to lose fat and stay lean. Insulin resistance and insulin sensitivity will determine how efficient our body is at utilizing carbohydrates which can make our process simple or harder.

High levels of insulin for a long period of time is unhealthy and causes many health issues, every time we eat insulin gets high so one way to keep it low is following some type of fast, we can do this by reducing meals per day, instead of 5 meals per day try 2 meals. Another way we can keep insulin low is with a low carbohydrate diet, specially keto which is high in fats, moderate protein and low in carbohydrates since carbohydrates are the macro which spikes insulin.

High levels of insulin caused by unhealthy diets are the cause of most metabolic diseases so finding tools we can use to keep it low will give you amazing benefits.

In both type of diabetes and even when insulin injections and other drugs are the preferred treatment, I cannot stress enough the importance of making healthy life changes including exercise and nutrition. 

The importance of a healthy lifestyle that includes daily exercise and a healthy diet have a positive impact on our life and daily activities preventing some diseases and leading to a more enjoyable and meaningful life.

Before you do any change to your diet and lifestyle talk with your doctor or health professional. We all know which unhealthy habits we follow and which healthy habits we need to develop but we still need some guidance and know what´s the best way to do it for each of us and they are the ones that can help us create a plan that works according to our own situation.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam

Food

Why carbohydrate cycling is a great strategy

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I know a lot of people who hate bodybuilders but no one can deny that when we talk about nutrition they really know what they´re talking about. They know different tools and strategies we can use to get in amazing shape, one of those tools is carbohydrate cycling. When I tried this tool I was amazed at how well it works, it´s great for fat loss without depleting carbs for long time and it´s great for muscle gains while staying lean.

All the tools or strategies I use and I share with you here are meant to make your life easier and give you amazing results and more importantly that you develop new good habits that lead you to a more healthy and happy life. Carbohydrate cycling is a tool you can use for either fat loss or muscle gains.

We can manipulate carbohydrates as much as we need, we´ve been told that we need carbohydrates because glucose is the preferred form of energy for our bodies, so if we reduce the amount of energy we give to your body we force it to use stored fat as energy.

This strategy can be use if we are following a balanced diet with moderate carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats. Of course in diets low in carbohydrates or ketogenic it won´t apply. The goal with this strategy is to lower carbohydrates at certain periods of time to lower insulin so that our body use stored fat for energy and increase carbohydrates on the right times to restore glycogen.

Carbohydrates cycling means that we increase or decrease the amount of carbohydrates we consume depending on our goal. We need to be on a caloric surplus to gain muscle and on a caloric deficit to burn fat, with carbohydrate cycling we can gain muscle without gaining to much fat and we can lose fat without losing muscle.

What we do in this strategy is set macronutrient ratios (I explain in other post how to set macros) and keep proteins and fats the same and we manipulate carbohydrates accordingly. To do this we have three carbohydrate days being: high carbohydrate, moderate carbohydrate and low carbohydrate.

Our workout program needs to be aligned with our nutrition program, high carbohydrate days needs to be placed on resistance training days and low carbohydrate days on rest days. We also need to consider calories but if we set our macros right then calories must fit into place.

It doesn´t matter if our goal is fat loss or muscle gains (I´ll be writing a post for each goal) the principles of this strategy are the same, we can also use this strategy for body recomposition which is losing body fat and gaining muscle at the same time and have great results.

Body recomp is one of the hardest things to do and most people will say it´s impossible and it´s actually not impossible but it takes time. For guys who are starting their fitness journey and are new to training specially weight training and following a healthier lifestyle is easier to see their body changing. Gaining muscle mass and losing fat at the same time is easier when we are new to lifting weights.

If we are not new we can still do it effectively but we need to be patient, it will take more time to see results but we won´t regret it. Carbohydrate cycling is a great tool for this by manipulating carbohydrates and calories to have some low calorie/low carbohydrate days and some high calorie/high carbohydrate days.

The whole goal of this strategy and all the others I share is to make any fitness goals simple and more enjoyable so that you get amazing results and sustain them in an effortless way and this strategy is not exception, following a low calorie diet is almost impossible for most of us, we get to a point where the calories are really low and we feel hungry all the time and we end up overeating and giving up.

Having low carbohydrate days with high carbohydrate days is the best option to make it easier for us to stick to a program without feeling hungry all the time and we are giving our body more calories and carbohydrates when it needs them so that we train hard in the gym and it can recover afterwards.

For any nutrition tool I´m assuming that your nutrition program is healthy, your diet focuses on whole fresh foods and you eliminate or avoid refined and processed foods as much as possible so even if I don´t mention to choose healthy options for any macro is because that´s obvious now.

If you have any doubt about this tool let us know in the comment below and we´ll be glad to help.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam

Food

Why intermittent fasting is a great tool!

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When I decided to start my fitness journey a few years ago in almost all books and websites having 5 meals a day or 3 meals and 2 snacks was the way to go so I followed this advice and to be honest it was so hard to get 3 healthy meals and 2 snacks 7 days a week. It was a lot of work and I needed to be strict with everything I ate until a couple years ago when I found about intermittent fasting and how many religions had used it. Once I started following a fasting schedule everything changed, it was a lot easier to get in shape and sustain it but what´s better is all the amazing benefits for overall health.

If you are looking for a tool that can make your life easier, that helps you get lean and stay lean and that is healthy, then intermittent fasting is what you need.

I can´t think about any other fitness strategy that gives us the freedom we need while getting or staying lean and that makes our life easier. It doesn´t matter how our days look like, I´m sure this strategy will work incredible for you, eating less meals reduces our stress, get us focused on what matters, gives us more freedom and we can enjoy our life a lot more.

Intermittent fasting is an eating schedule, what this means is that we have our meals on a small period of time and we don´t eat for a long period of time, the small period of time when we eat is known as the eating window and the long period when we don´t eat is the fasting window, what´s great is that this gives our digestive system a rest which is amazing if we feel bloated or have any other digestive issues this may help.

When we want to lose fat it´s necessary to keep insulin low and intermittent fasting is great for this, every time we eat insulin raise so when we are fasting we have only 2 or 3 meals a day this is why it is so effective when we stop having breakfast or having lunch or dinner and we are in a fasted window our body increases growth hormone and keep insulin and cortisol down. Insulin and cortisol are two important hormones for weight loss and intermittent fasting is a great way to keep insulin low giving chance to growth hormone to increase.

Having 2 meals a day is the best option, most people prefer to fast in the morning skipping breakfast and have lunch and dinner, this is one way to do it. What works best for me is to have breakfast and lunch and skip dinner. Keeping the eating window around 8 hours and fasting for 16 hours is what works best for me.

We don´t have to worry about losing muscle, there are studies that show that it´s possible to gain muscle while losing fat at the same time following intermittent fasting, if we analyze this from the calories point of view we need a calorie deficit to lose fat and a calorie surplus to gain muscle so it may not be possible, our body needs to be in a catabolic state to lose weight and in an anabolic state to gain weight and our body can´t be in both states at the same time so it´s practically impossible but if we know how to use this strategy combined with some others in the correct way we can achieve awesome results in both fat lose and muscle gains specially if we are starting in fitness.

The way catabolic and anabolic states work in our body is easy, when we are fasting our body is in a catabolic state and when we eat our body goes to the anabolic state, this gives our body enough time to burn fat in the catabolic and we have the freedom to overeat and get to the anabolic phase maintaining muscle.

There are some goals we can achieve with ease using intermittent fasting, I recommend you focus primarily on one goal at a time and leave the rest as a bonus.

When fasting we can lose fat, maintain muscle mass while cutting and stay lean while bulking. This is the best strategy to adapt and fit into our lifestyle if you love to eat big meals, if you want to have the freedom to enjoy foods you love and want to stay lean all year give it a try.

When we are trying to make fitness a lifestyle it becomes so hard to fit 5 or 6 meals a day, plus one hour or more at gym at least 5 days a week into our busy schedule. This is one of the reasons intermittent fasting works great, we don´t have to stress out getting those 5 or 6 strict meals into our day, we only focus on 3 meals and no snacks in between, when we´re starting the biggest issues we have is hunger and that´s normal just give time to your body to adapt, don´t follow any eating window, do what works best for you, the first days when hunger appears have a piece of fruit or some nuts and seeds, you can have water or coffee if you are fasting in the morning and tea at night, those are the best options if you need some snacks, if you can go all the way to your meal without any snack that´s amazing.

Intermittent fasting should be easy and a way to have more freedom in the choices we make enjoying life even more so don´t stress, don´t overdo it and don´t over think. Don´t focus on any eating window and create yours, one that fit your schedule and daily activities.

Don´t forget to provide nutrients to your body, fasting gives you the freedom  to have big meals, enjoy your favorite foods and dishes (considering they´re cooked with fresh and healthy ingredients), go out to lunch or dinner with friends and family and enjoy the moment but if you cook try to make healthy  meals with healthy fats, proteins and carbohydrates, you are only eating 2 or 3 meals you must be sure that your body has the nutrients it requires.

Be careful with how you organize your meals and your workouts, if you are training in the morning around 8 or 9 and your first meal is at 2 pm it´ll be harder to stay fasted, if your workouts are high intensity interval training for an hour or so it will increase your appetite, boost your hunger making almost impossible to fast, you need to fit your workouts in a way that they make fasting easier and that both of them, your workouts and your meals fit perfectly in your daily activities.

Intermittent fasting also gives us other health benefits as being more awake, more energized, more productive and focused throughout the day which brings amazing benefits to our life. This is a huge theme so in future post we will go deep on intermittent fasting and we´ll talk about the benefits and tips and strategies you can use it for your own goals.

Let us know by leaving a comment on our Facebook and Twitter account if you´ve tried intermittent fasting and what was your experience?

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam

Fitness goals

Food trategies for weight loss

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If you´ve been trying to lose WEIGHT and get in shape you may know by now that food is a crucial part but have you found the best tools that can help you achieve your goal?

When we want to get in amazing shape, especially if it´s our first time this means that we´ve been following unhealthy habits for last years so we need to change those unhealthy habits for healthy ones and this can be difficult so we need to find tools and strategies that make it easier for us.

We know that food plays an important part when we talk about weight loss, in fact there are so many different diets and we all want to know which one is the best and which one delivers the fastest results. Instead of getting obsessed with finding the best diet let’s take a look at the best food tools we can use to lose fat in a more enjoyable way:

1. Intermittent fasting

Intermittent fasting has so many benefits for overall health (you can learn more about it in this link) and it´s also an amazing tool for weight loss. Every time we it insulin increases even when our meal is healthy, by reducing our meals from 5 meals a day or 3 meals and 2 snacks throughout the day to just 2 or 3 meals in an 8 hour window we´re left with 16 hours of fast and in this 16 hours of fasting we give time to our body to lower insulin and growth hormone increases, this helps our body to use stored body fat as energy instead of glucose.

2. Reduce carbohydrates

This one is considering that we´re following a more balanced diet between proteins, carbs and fats or that we follow a normal American diet where at least 60% of what we eat comes from processed and refined foods. In order to lose weight, we need to be in a calorie deficit and the best way to do this is by reducing carbohydrates, our body only needs carbs for energy so when we reduce them our body will use stored body fat as energy. We can cycle carbohydrates and the days when we are more active, we increase carbs and the days when we are more sedentary, and we don´t need to much energy we reduce them.

If we´re following a ketogenic diet and we have a considerable amount of fat to lose we can reduce the amount of fat, especially from dairy and stick to natural healthy fats like olives, avocado, nuts and seeds, olive oil, coconut oil.

The goal here is to create a calorie deficit, whether it´s from carbohydrates or fats but we don´t need to go too low because we can hit a plateau if our body thinks we´re starving, we just need to make that calorie reduction low enough so that we lose fat consistently.

This 2 are the best nutrition tools we can use for fat loss, we can adjust them to fit our day and the type of diet we´re following, we want to make our weight loss journey as simple and enjoyable as possible otherwise it will be hard for us to stick with it for long periods of time. We may need at least 3 months up to 8 or 12 months, I know this may seem so long but if we want to maintain our results we need to think in long terms plus if we think about those 8 months from now yes it may seem a long time but we get results every week that keep us motivated and if we think how we will feel at the end of those 8 months when we´re in amazing shape we realize that it´s not actually that difficult and time will pass any way so let spend those 8 months working on improving our body physically and mentally.

If we think about what weight loss really means which is improving body composition we then need to talk about maintaining and building lean muscle mass and losing body fat so we need to make sure that what we eat and when we eat helps us achieve our goal while giving our body the nutrients it needs for optimal health. As we´ll see in other posts, fat loss comes down to manipulating insulin the right way and lowering calories just a little. Intermittent fasting and reducing carbohydrates or carb cycling (we´re going to talk about carb cycling in a future post) help us manipulate insulin and lower calories while giving our body the nutrients it needs.

Here are 2 simple steps you can start following today:

1.- Have 2 or 3 meals a day in an 8-hour eating window,

2.- Avoid carbohydrates from processed and refined foods.

If you´ve tried to lose weight before but you didn´t get the results you want, let us know what was your biggest challenge by leaving a comment on our Facebook and Twitter account, we´re glad to hear from you (well, actually read from you) so that we can help you get to your goal in a simple and healthy way.

It would so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam

Fitness goalsFood

Nutrition tools for muscle growth

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Let me ask you a question, why did you decided to go to the gym and start working out? Did you wanted to lose weight and get in shape or were you skinny and wanted to gain some muscle and look stronger.

For most of us our fitness journey starts from insecurities, whether we are overweight and want to lose weight and get in shape or we are skinny, and we want to gain muscle. Whatever the case if we follow the right program, we can get obsessed with improving our physique which takes us to a research time to find the best tools to gain lean muscle mass without too much fat.

For some of us trying to gain muscle while staying lean can be hard to do, some prefer to go through a bulking phase where they can gain a lot of weight but if we don´t control the amount of food we eat we can end gaining a lot of fat and not much muscle mass and then we need to go through a cutting phase to lose all that extra fat.

Going through bulking and cutting phases is not the best way to do it for some of us so there´s one tool that can help us gain lean muscle mass without too much fat so that we stay lean and maintain a good physique and this tool is:

Carbohydrate cycling

This tool is great at helping us gain muscle mass while staying lean. Of course, this tool apply if we´re following a more balanced diet between protein, fats and carbs.

For this tool we have 3 different days, one high carb day, one moderate carb day and one low carb day. We need to fit each day according to our workout program, on days where we do resistance training, we go high carb, on days we do cardio we can go moderate card and on rest days we go low carb.

For high carb days we will be in a calorie surplus meaning that we´re eating more and those extra calories come from carbohydrates, this days the extra calories can go up to 500, on moderate days we also follow a calorie surplus but that extra calories only increase from 250 – 300 calories and on low carb days we eat at maintenance.

The reason why I said that on cardio days we can go moderate carbs is because on those days we can also go low carb or maintenance, it all depends of how our body responds and how we feel.

By increasing calories by increasing carbs on resistance training days we make sure that we give more energy to our body the days it needs them more and on rest days where we don´t use that much energy we keep calories at maintenance so that we don´t lose weight but we don´t gain weight neither. Cardio days are the ones we need to make more trial and error to find out if we need a little calorie surplus or if we can stay at maintenance.

Intermittent fasting

We´ve talked about fasting in other posts and all the health benefits and also how it can help us lose fat, but it can also help us gain muscle while staying lean.

The best way to use this tool is by fasting every day following an 8 hour eating window and 16 hours fast, the best option is to fit the 8 hour eating window around hour workout time, this way we make sure that we give nutrients to hour body the time it needs them more for energy for the workout and to recover after the workout.

If we combine this 2 tools we will get great results, but we need to be patient, it takes time to build muscle and if we try to speed up the results we´ll end gaining a lot of fat so slow and steady wins.

You need to consider that there´s not a best way to do it, this are just 2 strategies, but you need to try them and find out what works best for you.

I´ll to be honest with you, I don´t like following a certain program for muscle growth or fat loss for long periods of time, for fat loss I´ll lower calories for 5 to 6 weeks most and then do 2 or 3 weeks at maintenance, for muscle growth I´ll go 12 to 14 weeks in a calorie surplus and then reduce calories to maintenance for 3 or 4 weeks.

If you´ve tried to gain lean muscle mass but you gain too much fat a long the way let us know which strategies were you following by leaving a comment on our Facebook and Twitter account so that we can help you improve you food program to achieve the best results.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam

Food

The big problem with sugar.

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Different diets come out and become viral, some guys try them while other critique them claiming they´re unhealthy, but millions of people consume high amounts of sugar per day and it seems to be the least of the matter.

Obesity and overweight are increasing and with that diseases like diabetes are raising too. I believe the cause of this problems is our lifestyle and one of them is the amount of unhealthy food we eat which has a lot of sugar. Sugar is everywhere even when it´s not listed as sugar in the ingredients, we´ll find it under names like dextrose or sucrose and many others. Other ingredients like high fructose corn syrup is also harmful and is in so many products. The amount of sugar contained in foods is so high and I´m not only talking about sweets or junk food, even in energetic drinks, cereals or healthy bars.

When we eat foods high in sugar, unhealthy oils and trans fats we´ll want to continue eating more of them because they are empty calories, there are no nutrients and there´s no way to stop our brain of thinking or sending signals that we are hungry until we give it the nutrients it needs.

This is what happens when we eat sugar, insulin is the hormone that regulates sugar by getting glucose out of the bloodstream to the cells, when we consume sugar the glucose in the bloodstream goes up and insulin goes up to regulate it and bring it down, over time our body gets tired and don´t know exactly what to do and the result is low blood sugar, this is the first step to diabetes, many people are on this level and don´t know it, our body sends  signals like cravings specially for sweets, everything we eat has an effect on our health and mood.

The spike on highly processed foods with hidden sugar is creating an obesity epidemic in many countries, around 30% to 40% of kids in some countries are overweight or have obesity and diabetes as they grow older the risk increases, diseases get worse and in some cases lead to death. The amounts of sugar consumed per day goes between 25 to 30 teaspoons a day sometimes even 35 teaspoons, that´s a lot considering that our bodies don´t need it.

I believe we can prevent some diseases and lower obesity and overweight by changing our lifestyle and developing healthy habits, just by changing what we eat the benefits are amazing, it´s not only about reducing calories, it´s about what we eat and the impact it has on our body and health.

As I´ve said before, this high amounts of sugar in our diets with the high amounts of unhealthy fats plus the chemicals or ingredients added to those foods are the cause of many diseases and create a vicious cycle that is so hard to stop. We´re addicted to them.

The goal is to avoid as much as possible all unhealthy food, avoid sweets, junk, processed, refined and fast food and stick with real, whole fresh food, just by doing this the results in how we feel and how we look will be amazing.

There´s no reason to try to follow a very restrictive diet like low carbohydrate, ketogenic or any other if we still eat junk or fast food, once we eliminate or avoid this foods then we can start adjusting our nutrition program to make it better for each of us.

If we want to live healthier and happier and help all the people around us we need to change what we eat and eating healthy food is the first step, reducing sugar is a most, sugar is the cause of many diseases now a days, but it´s hard to do. We´ve been consuming sugar for almost all our life so when we start to eliminate it from our diet our mind will trick us making us think that we need it, it´s like giving up any other addiction.

Even if we´re not following any famous diet like ketogenic or high protein, vegetarian, etc; when we eliminate or avoid as much as possible sweets, junk, processed and fast food from our nutrition we start living healthier and the results will come. There are some healthy carbohydrates we can eat which I´ll explain in other post, but for now, and to keep things simple we just need to know and understand that processed sugar is bad so we need to eliminate it from our nutrition program for our health and fitness goals, the best way to do it is by avoiding sweets, junk, processed and fast foods.

Let us know by leaving a comment on our Twitter and Facebook account if most of what you eat is whole fresh food or unhealthy highly processed foods.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam

Food

Prebiotics and Probiotics

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Our body is full of bacteria, some good and some bad. Both play an important role on our health in general and they have different functions in our gut and digestive system.

Most of us do not pay attention to our gut health but if there´s something wrong it can lead to health issues that we never thought could be related. Some experts are talking about our gut as being our second brain and with so many new studies we can say that we need to focus on overall optimal health and that includes our gut.

Probiotics are good bacteria that live in our digestive system especially in our intestines and help with digestion therefore doctors and many people suggest them when we have digestive problems or after we take antibiotics which can kill the good bacteria. It´s important that we pay attention to the quality of supplements or products from where we´re getting probiotics because they are very fragile.

In some cases, like when we´ve been taking antibiotics taking probiotics supplements is helpful to repopulate the colon and they can also be helpful at preventing side effects of medications and they can help prevent issues on our digestive system.

Probiotics are found in fermented foods like yogurt, kefir and tempeh.

Prebiotics are fiber that feed the good bacteria living in our gut. They help our good bacteria to grow and they are also helpful at supporting our digestive system, control our weight and overall health.

Prebiotics are found in foods high in fiber like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes.

Some people say that our gut is our “second brain” because of the communication between our brain and our digestive system, this two-way communication control our eating behavior, we can feel full, satisfied, hungry which has an impact on our weight and it also impacts the quality of sleep.

The gut has a big impact on our overall well-being how we feel, how we sleep, our energy level, how clear we think, our ability to focus and performance throughout the day.

A healthy diet based on whole, fresh foods that include healthy fats, healthy fibers, moderate proteins and low carbohydrates is a great option and according to the type of diet we follow we need to find foods that contain pre and probiotics or if we can´t get them through food we can use supplements.

Getting enough fiber from a healthy nutrition program is simple, vegetables, fruits and grains are some options for people following a ketogenic diet may be harder to get enough fiber since they eliminate all grains but vegetables are still an option, some fruits like berries and chia seeds.

For priobiotcs many people use to have yogurt or kefir which are good options but some of us avoid them because they are high in carbohydrates, one option is to find yogurt or kefir options low in carbohydrates, for those who eliminate dairy of their diet then fermented foods are one options or taking probiotics from supplements is another option.

For the past months and year mental health problems have increased and many experts recommend changing the diet and improving gut health, people with depression and anxiety who focus on improving their gut health by increasing the intake of fiber, healthy fats, moderate protein and lowering processed and refined foods have seen positive results.

Prebiotics and probiotics along with fiber play an important role on our gut health which is something we need to consider optimizing our health and not only focus on the 3 macros.

We´ll talk in a future post about the benefits or fermented foods and how they can help us lose weight, maintain a great physique and maintain optimal gut health.

If there´s something you want to know more about or if you have any doubts, questions or suggestions leave a comment on our Facebook and Twitter account, we want to hear from you (well, read from you) so that we can help you achieve your weight loss goal and improve your health.

It would so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam

Food

Fiber! Is it important?

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We pay too much attention to the 3 macronutrients we´ve all heard about; fats, proteins and carbohydrates but we forget about fiber which is important for optimal gut health.

Fiber is important and it´s possible that you´re not getting enough of it every day.

Some people consider fiber as one more macronutrient because of its importance and to make sure that they get the right intake.

Most of us when we start a diet or want to change our eating habits we think about calories or macros but it doesn´t matter which ones are we counting or focusing on we don´t think too much about fiber which is actually really important for our gut, not getting enough fiber daily has a negative impact on our health in a short term but also long term.

Fiber is a carbohydrate that is not broken down in the small intestine, it gets into the large intestine where it is broken down by bacteria. It can be divided into soluble and insoluble.

Soluble fiber dissolves in water, it can help lower glucose and blood cholesterol and it´s found in oats, beans.

Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water, it promotes the movements of material through our digestive system to feed he microbiome and it´s found on vegetables and beans.

Both have a lot of benefits making it an important part of our diet. There are so many benefits and it´s important for our health, especially our gut. Some of the benefits are that it elevates satiety which helps with fat loss, it lowers body fat and helps in managing diabetes and improving insulin sensitivity.

Vegan and vegetarian diets are great at keeping fiber intake high but they can be deficient in other nutrients which are also important for our health, people following ketogenic or carnivore diets can have more problems to keep adequate intake of fiber because they tend to avoid almost all carbohydrates.

Getting enough fiber daily is important but most of us do not get enough of it but it´s a big mistake to increase the intake considerably from one day to another which can promote bloating, cramping and other problems so we need to start increasing the amount of fiber we eat gradually so that the bacteria in our digestive system also adjust to the change.

It doesn´t matter which type of diet we follow we need to make sure that we give our body all the nutrients it needs from fats, to proteins and carbohydrates and by carbohydrates the more important being vegetables which are loaded with micronutrients and fiber.

Green and cruciferous vegetables are great options to add fiber to your meals and your nutrition program. Oats are also a great option if we´re following a more balanced diet, it is great for breakfast, legumes like beans, lentils are also a source of fiber.

Some people are intolerant to grain and gluten so we need to pay attention to our body, every time we make a change to our nutrition program we need to be aware of how our body responds and how we feel, we are all intolerant to some foods or we all have problems digesting some foods especially at the beginning when we make some change to what we eat, this can also happen with vegetables or when we start consuming healthy foods high in nutrients and eliminate or avoid unhealthy processed foods.

We need to be patient and make the changes slowly to give time to our body to get rid of all the poison and toxins and get use to a healthy diet.

We need to make sure that we give nutrients to our body, so we need to focus on getting healthy fats, protein and fiber which help us lose weight, maintain an amazing physique and also optimal health.

Let us know by leaving a comment on our Twitter and Facebook account if you are aware of getting enough fiber and how easy or hard it is for you.

It would so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam

Food

Macros – Carbs. Are they good or bad?

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The last macronutrient we will talk about is carbohydrates, there are 4 calories in one gram of carbohydrate.

Carbohydrates are carbon-based molecules that contain water and can be classified in monosaccharides, disaccharides and polysaccharides.

Monosaccharides are the simplest basic structure which include glucose (the simplest form of sugar), fructose (fruit) and galactose (dairy). Glucose is the building block of most complex carbohydrates and it´s our body´s preferred source of energy (that´s what we´ve been told). These simple sugars do not need to be broken down, so they get into the bloodstream and are used immediately.

Disaccharides are two monosacchrides bound together which include sucrose and lactose.

Polysaccharides are more than two monosaccharides bound together which include starches.

Some years ago, this three groups (monosaccharides, disaccharides and polysaccharides) were divided into simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates depending on how fast or slow they were digested and how fast or slow they raise blood glucose. The simpler the molecule of sugar, the easier it is to break it down; the more complex the molecule, the more it must be broken down and the longer it takes to absorb. Simple carbohydrates was used to describe monosaccharides and disaccharides which are easier to digest and make sugar raise quickly, while complex carbohydrates was used to describe polysaccharides which take longer to digest and increase blood sugar slowly.

High blood sugar can be dangerous so our body needs to keep it regulated, when we eat too much sugar it gets to our bloodstream, insulin raises to take that glucose from the bloodstream to the cell and use it for energy or store it as glycogen in the muscles and if there´s an excess it stores the rest as fat.

Contrary to what we´ve been told our body performs better in a high fat – low carbohydrate diet with moderate protein. The amount of carbohydrates that our body needs is zero, there are no essential carbohydrates as there are essential amino acids (protein) and essential fatty acids (fats) the only reason we need carbohydrates is to get fiber and micronutrients.

Ketogenic diets are based on this, since there’s not an essential carbohydrate and our body doesn´t need them we can go high in fats, moderate in proteins and very low in carbohydrates, actually the carbohydrates we consume in keto diets are vegetables to get the fiber and nutrients.

The best carbohydrates sources we can eat are vegetables which include fiber and micronutrients, some fruits and those carbs like oats, amaranth, brown rice and corn tortilla. The reason this carbs are better is because they are not highly processed and refined and they are not loaded with extra sugars and unhealthy oils.

There´s one point that I want to make clear, the only difference between complex and simple carbohydrates is the speed at which they raise insulin and get broken down and digested but they are all carbs.

The type of diet or nutrition program we follow is the one that works best for each of us, the one that keeps us healthy and support our fitness goals and also the one the makes us feel great this is why we need to listen to our body, to find out which foods make us feel our best, deliver the best results and we can sustain for long periods of time.

For the last 3 posts we´ve been talking about macronutrients, we learnt the basics and functions of each macro in a simple way. There´s a lot of information and it can get very complex this is why we will continue talking about macronutrients and food in general so that you understand how everything works, how our body responds to each food option and how we can make better choices to not only lose weight, get in amazing shape and sustain your results but also maintain optimal health and live a fulfilled life.

If you have any doubts or questions let us know by leaving a comment on our Twitter and Facebbok account, we want to hear from you and know how we can help you.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam

Food

Macros – Proteins. Are you getting enough?

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How many times have you heard that protein is the most important macronutrient? Or maybe you are afraid of eating too much protein and you reduced it so much.

The next macronutrient we´ll see is protein, which is primarily used to build hair, nails and various organ systems like the heart, brain and are also the building blocks for tissue. Protein is essential for muscle repair and muscle growth.

Protein is essential for the body, but it has more functions apart from building muscle fibers. Some proteins provide structure to our body, to bones, skin, teeth, hair, nails; others provide antibodies to defend against viruses or bacteria. Protein is not used as a source of energy unless we are on a critic situation or our body feels we are on starvation and there´s no other source of energy left.

Protein is made of amino acids that create long chains called amino peptides, the structure of an amino acid is made of hydrogen, carbon, amino group, carboxyl group and a side chain. The side chain varies among each amino acid and is what gives each amino acid it´s name. There are 4 calories in one gram of protein.

Protein comes from different sources including animals and plants. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and can be divided in two groups: essential and nonessential amino acids. There are nine essential amino acids that we need to get from our nutrition and eleven nonessential amino acids that our body can make on its own. The nine essential amino acids also called branched chain amino acids are the ones that have a bigger impact on building muscle.

Even when protein can be found in animal and plant sources the quality of them varies and we need to consider this to make sure that we give our body the amount it needs or find ways to supplement it.

One thing to consider about protein is something called protein turnover which is the protein synthesis and protein breakdown. Protein synthesis is the building of new muscle using the amino acids, and protein breakdown is when our body takes existing muscle and breaks it down for energy.

There are some important factors we need to consider for protein consumption which are the amount of protein we need to consume and the quality of the protein. Getting around 1.0 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight is good place to start if you want to protect muscle mass, there´s not an exact number you may need more or less protein so we need to adjust the numbers considering our current goal and the type of nutrition program we are following.

Protein is considered by many as the most important macronutrient for fat loss and muscle growth therefore some people increase their intake. If we are looking to lose fat considering that we are in a calorie deficit and we are doing some kind of resistance training along with some cardio, increasing the amount of protein (if we´re not taking enough) will make sure that we maintain  muscle. If we want to gain muscle, we´ll need to be in a calorie surplus, we can use carbohydrate cycling and increase carbohydrates while focusing on keeping protein at 1.0 – 1.5 grams.

There are many protein sources from meat, chicken, turkey, eggs, also nuts, beans, dairy products like milk, cheese, yoghurt, also vegetables even when they´re all-natural sources their amino-acid profile vary. Another way some fitness experts, and athletes consume protein is by supplements in the form of protein bars, protein powders and you can find different sources or type of protein including whey, casein, isolated and some others, the difference between them is the time of absorption, how fast or slow our body digest the type of protein, this is key to knowing when we must consume each type to have better results.

Protein shakes are famous for pre/post workout meals and also as meal replacements, as you know I don´t like to use supplements but if I did, I would take protein shakes as a post workout meal considering that liquid nutrition gets faster to where our body needs it because our body doesn´t have to digest it.

As I said on the last post about fats, we´re going to continue talking about each different macronutrient and food in general, how unhealthy foods impact our body on a negative side and about the positive impact of healthy foods.

Let us know by leaving a comment on our Facebook and Twitter account what is your favorite source or protein, do you prefer animal sources? Or are you vegan or vegetarian?

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam