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What´s wrong with the food pyramid?

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When you go to a nutritionist or dietitian for health reasons or to lose weight they give you a diet based on the food pyramid, actually they have 2 or 3 diets already designed and they just mix and match (at least most of them), but the problem with this pyramid is that it´s not the best option or the best guide we can use if we want to eat healthy and prevent diseases.

The food pyramid was created by the USDA in 1992 as a guide to help us know how many servings we can have of each food group per day. At that time the recommended amount of grains was 6 – 11 servings, 3 – 5 servings of vegetables, 2 – 4 servings of fruit, 2 – 3 servings of dairy, 2 – 3 servings of meats, eggs, etc and fats, oils and sweets sparingly. If we take this pyramid and turn it upside down we could do better.

This pyramid was updated in 2005 still giving priority to grains keeping carbohydrates high and fats low and in 2011 they came up with “MyPlate” as a guide of how a healthy meal would look like still prioritizing grains, fruits, vegetables, some proteins which means keeping carbohydrates high and fats low.

If you take a look at the recommendations of WHO the USDA they recommend 55% – 75% of carbohydrates, 10% – 15% protein and 15% – 30% fats of calories per day.

We need to mention that today most people have metabolic diseases, most of us are metabolically ill even if you are skinny, this is why improving body composition is key. There are so many people with weight problems, obesity, overweight, and also diabetes and prediabetes. If we consider this it means that most of us are insulin resistance which means that our body is not able to use carbohydrates efficiently so making our diet low carb is a better strategy.

We also need to mention that as we get older our body is not as effective using carbohydrates as when we were younger so it´s better to lower carbohydrates while making sure that we´re giving our body the nutrients it needs to function properly and maintain optimal health.

If you do want to improve your health then you need to understand how everything works and for that we need to talk about nutrients, from a macronutrients point we can have essential amino-acids which come from proteins and essential fatty-acids which come from fats, but there are no essential carbohydrates which means that our body doesn´t need them. This is why diets like keto and carnivore are so popular and effective for some people.

To make it more complicated focusing only on macronutrients is not the best we can do, if you do want to improve your health and lose weight once and for all you also need to consider micronutrients which what your body needs to function properly. When we talk about vitamins, minerals, amino-acids, fatty-acids everything gets more complicated at the beginning until you understand how your body works and what your body needs to function properly, you get to a point where everything makes sense and it becomes a lot easier.

Considering that most of us have some metabolic health issue then following the guidelines of 55% – 75% of carbohydrates or 6 – 11 servings of grain plus 2 – 4 servings of fruit per day is too much. And we can´t forget that many people base their diet on unhealthy highly processed foods that are loaded with unhealthy seed oils, trans fats and added sugars and all this is not mentioned in the pyramid.

If you´ve tried to lose weight before but you didn´t get the results you expected or you got some results but you gain the weight back think about the diet you were following, was your diet based on the food pyramid and the recommendations of WHO and the FDA? Were you aware that everything you were eating didn´t contain unhealthy seed oils, trans fats and sugar?

It´s clear that most of us have been believing all this lies and the information or advice we´ve gotten have been manipulated and that´s the reason why you haven´t achieve your goal. It´s time you know the truth so that you can improve your health, lose weight and maintain a lean body an optimal health while enjoying life, this is why we´ll keep sharing with you everything you need to know.

Let us know how many times you´ve tried to lose weight following the food pyramid and guidelines by leaving a comment on Twitter.

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam

Diet

What is carbohydrate cycling

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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 you are following a balanced diet with moderate carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats. Of course, in diets low in carbohydrates like ketogenic you need to be more cautious. The goal with this strategy is to lower carbohydrates at certain periods of time to lower insulin and also lower calories so that your 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 your goal is fat loss or muscle growth the principles of this strategy are the same, you 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, the truth is it´s possible 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 you are new to resistance exercise.

If you are not new you can still do it effectively but you need to be patient, it will take more time to see results but you 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 for long periods of time, 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 you to stick to a program without feeling hungry all the time and you are giving your body more calories and carbohydrates when it needs them so that you 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 by leaving a comment down below and on Twitter, we´ll be glad to help.

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam

Diet

An introduction to Intermittent Fasting

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When I decided to start my fitness journey a few years ago in almost all books and websites recommended 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 you the freedom you need while getting or staying lean and that makes your life easier. It doesn´t matter how your days look like, I´m sure this strategy will work incredible for you, eating less meals reduces  stress, get you focused on what matters, gives you more freedom and you can enjoy life a lot more.

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

When you want to lose fat it´s necessary to keep insulin low and intermittent fasting is great for this, every time you eat insulin raise so when you are fasting you have only 2 or 3 meals a day this is why it is so effective when you stop having breakfast or having lunch or dinner and you are in a fasted window your 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.

You don´t need to worry about losing muscle, it won´t happen unless you fast for 2 or more days.

There are some goals you 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 you can lose fat, maintain muscle mass while cutting and stay lean while bulking. This is the best strategy to adapt and fit into your 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 you 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, you don´t have to stress out getting those 5 or 6 strict meals into our day, you only focus on 3 meals and no snacks in between, when you´re starting the biggest issues you 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 you 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 down below and on Twitter if you´ve tried intermittent fasting and what was your experience?

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam

Diet

The problem with refined 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 and unhealthy oils. 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. Vegetable and seed oils are also a huge problem because they are found in so many processed and refined foods.

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

This is what happens when you eat sugar, insulin is the hormone that regulates sugar by getting glucose out of the bloodstream to the cells, when you consume sugar the glucose in the bloodstream goes up and insulin goes up to regulate it and bring it down, over time your 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, your body sends  signals like cravings specially for sweets, everything we eat has an effect on your health and mood.

The spike of 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 and oils 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 you feel and how you 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 you eliminate or avoid this foods then you can start adjusting your nutrition program to make it better for you.

If you want to live healthier and happier and help all the people around you, you need to change what you eat and eating healthy food is the first step, reducing sugar and unhealthy oils is a most, they are 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 you´re not following any famous diet like ketogenic or high protein, vegetarian, etc; when you eliminate or avoid as much as possible sweets, junk, processed and fast food from your nutrition you start living healthier and the results will come. There are some healthy carbohydrates you can eat which I´ll explain in other post, but for now, and to keep things simple you just need to know and understand that processed sugar is bad so you need to eliminate it from your nutrition program for your 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 down below and on if most of what you eat is whole fresh food or unhealthy highly processed foods.

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam

DietStress

How food increases stress

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We all have felt stress, we can feel it in our body literally from our shoulders, back, head to our stomach, stress can come from outside sources, but it can also be increased in the inside. Have you ever stopped for a minute and think about how everything you eat impacts your body?

Everything you eat affect your body, from the inside out, how you look, how you feel, your energy levels, your ability to concentrate, your mood.

Our relationship with food has changed throughout the years, nowadays many of us use it as comfort food we´ve found it to be a great coping mechanism to deal with outside stress and pressure but we´re not considering that those unhealthy decisions are causing more problems. When we´re stressed out we´ll look for foods that makes us feel better and typically highly processed foods get this done, they makes us feel better by giving us a rush of feel good chemicals and then the crash comes, we want more of those foods and we end up in a negative cycle that keeps us feeling stressed and can even lead to depression.

Every time you eat highly processed foods your body doesn´t know what to do with them, it is not design to digest processed foods that lack nutrition and one of its responses is inflammation as a way to protect you from something harmful or toxins and your body sees those unhealthy foods as something that can be harmful for you.

Inflammation is a response of stress and even when you can experience inflammation for short periods of time nowadays you´re dealing with it for long periods of time which is chronic inflammation and chronic inflammation is related to many health problems like insulin resistance, obesity and others.

We all have suffered from digestive problems like bloating, stomach pain, cramps, heartburn and it can go to something worse like leaky gut the problem in most cases is an unhealthy diet. Most of us eat too much highly processed food every single day which doesn´t give our body the nutrients it needs to function properly, and they can cause more problems by putting our body in a defensive and protective mechanism.

Everything you put in your body will have an impact inside and outside of your body, we all know that highly processed foods are bad for us the problem is that it´s not easy to eliminate them from our diet or avoid them but you need to find ways to reduce them as much as possible with the goal of eliminating some of them completely of our diet (if you do this process the right way you won´t miss most of them 😊) , there are foods that will make you look and feel great and there are some foods that will make you feel bad; even whole, fresh, healthy foods. Some foods can make you feel bloated or you may have stomach pain like cauliflower in my case, some foods can cause acne like dairy in some people or peanuts.

If everything you eat has an impact on your body then food can cause stress if you make the wrong choices which most of us do by choosing unhealthy, highly processed and refined foods but if you make the right choices then food can lower stress, lower inflammation, food is actually medicine. What you eat alters your brain, your mind and research show that your choices in every meal can make depression and anxiety worse or it can lower them.

If you want your body to respond and perform at peak you need to make sure that you´re giving it the nutrients it needs and the ones that it can use more efficiently, you need to listen to it and make it as simple as possible. We get enough stress from outside sources, so we need to make sure that we don´t increase stress with what we eat.

For your next meal make a good choice, go for something cooked with fresh ingredients or go for a healthy snack like nuts and seeds and see how you feel.

We all know which ones are the healthy foods we should be eating so make a challenge, for this week eat only whole, fresh foods and avoid unhealthy highly processed and refined foods and focus on how you feel. Focus on progress not perfection, avoiding unhealthy foods is difficult so take it one meal at a time and if for any reason you make the wrong choice just move on and think about your next meal, with time you´ll develop the habit you need to make the right choice most of the time and you´ll see that you can still enjoy your favorite dishes and snacks. To make the challenge easier focus on just one meal, if you have unhealthy breakfast like cereal make it healthier by having some eggs cooked any way you prefer with healthy ingredients, you can use olive oils or coconut oil to cook them or if you don´t have time then focus on dinner and make sure you prepare your dinner with healthy ingredients.

Let us know by leaving a comment down below and on Twitter if you´ve ever take the time to think about how food make you feel, especially after a meal.

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam

Diet

What we need to know about 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 your overall well-being how you feel, how you sleep, your energy level, how clear you think, your 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 you follow you need to find foods that contain pre and probiotics or if you can´t get them through food you 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 probiotcs many people have yogurt or kefir which are good options but some avoid them because they are high in carbohydrates, one option is to find yogurt or kefir options low in carbohydrates or vegan options 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 play an important role on your gut health which is something we need to consider optimizing your 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 down below and on Twitter, 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.

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam

Diet

Is fiber really 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. I´ve seen so many people talking about all the amazing benefits of fiber while others do not consider it to be that important. From my point of view there are some reasons why it is helpful and beneficial.

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 you need to start increasing the amount of fiber you eat gradually so that the bacteria in your digestive system also adjust to the change.

It doesn´t matter which type of diet you follow you need to make sure that you give your 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 you need to pay attention to your body, every time you make a change to your nutrition program you need to be aware of how your body responds and how you 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 you start consuming healthy foods high in nutrients and eliminate or avoid unhealthy processed foods.

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

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

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

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam

Diet

Macronutrients – Carbohydrates

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Yes, carbohydrates can be unhealthy just as any other macronutrient. The quality and quantity are what you need to consider.

There are so many different diets out there, they´re just different macronutrient ratios and with all these different diets some “experts” or “gurus” even start fighting claiming their diet is the best one. What frustrates me is that most of these experts or gurus eat a lot of unhealthy foods. So, it´s not only about macros, we´re focusing on the wrong point.

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 your 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 were used to describe monosaccharides and disaccharides which are easier to digest and make sugar raise quickly, while complex carbohydrates were used to describe polysaccharides which take longer to digest and increase blood sugar slowly.

High blood sugar can be dangerous so your body needs to keep it regulated, when you eat too much sugar it gets to your 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 your 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 vitamins and minerals but this doesn´t mean that you need to eliminate them from your diet completely.

Ketogenic diets are based on this, since there are no essential carbohydrates and your body doesn´t need them you can go high in fats, moderate in proteins and very low in carbohydrates.

The best carbohydrates sources you can eat are vegetables which include fiber and micronutrients, some fruits and those carbs like oats, amaranth, brown rice, quinoa 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´re all carbohydrates, for your body they´re still sugar.

The type of diet or nutrition program you follow is the one that works best for you, the one that keeps you healthy and support your fitness goals and also the one the makes you feel great this is why you need to listen to your body, to find out which foods make you feel your best, deliver the best results and you 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 down below and on Twitter, we want to hear from you and know how we can help you.

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam

Diet

Macronutrients – Protein

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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 your 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 you are on a critic situation or your body feels you 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 you need to get from your nutrition and eleven nonessential amino acids that your 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 you give your 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 you 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 you need to adjust the numbers considering your 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 you are looking to lose fat considering that you are in a calorie deficit and you 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 you maintain  muscle. If you want to gain muscle, you´ll need to be in a calorie surplus, you 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, you may know by now that I don´t recommend this type of supplements, if your goal is to improve and maintain optimal health and to lose weight and maintain your best physique possible you don´t need them.

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 your body on a negative side and about the positive impact of healthy foods.

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

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam

Diet

Macronutrients – Fats

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Some fats are healthy, your body needs them. Once you start consuming the right amount of healthy fats you´ll feel amazing and you´ll also start losing weight.

How many times have you heard that fats are bad for us? that they make us gain weight and increase cholesterol?

If you´re like me you may have heard that fats are bad for you so you avoid cooking with butter and use small amounts of olive oil, you may never had tried coconut oil until the past years when people start claiming that it is one of the best oils to cook on, you avoid all fatty meats and try to steak to lean meats, you choose chicken or turkey over sirloin or rib eye. Sadly, we´ve been doing the wrong thing, this advice is completely wrong. I said sadly because honestly, I prefer more fatty meat, fortunately we´re in time to change those advice and get the truth out there.

The first macronutrient we´re going to talk about is fat and the reason why is because it has been involved in myths regarding health issues.

For the past years’ fats have been considered the cause of many health problems and diseases so experts recommended to lower fats and increased carbohydrates and that´s what we did but when we made those changes to our diet some chronic diseases increased. And what´s worse some “experts” recommended to avoid certain fats, especially the ones that come from animal sources and we started using vegetable oils which are unhealthy. The truth is that fat is a source of energy that your body can use efficiently, it´s more efficient than carbohydrates and your brain needs fat. Your entire body including your brain loves fat and perform a lot better when they thrive on fat. Of course, there are some unhealthy fats that you need to eliminate which we´re going to see in a minute and those unhealthy fats are the cause of health problems.

One of the biggest reasons why people don´t consume healthy fat is because they´re afraid that eating too much fat will make them fat, and that´s what we´ve been told, but this is not true. If you eat unhealthy foods like processed and refined carbohydrates, vegetable oils or seed oils and trans fats and you eat a lot you´ll gain weight and you´ll get fat, if you eat healthy foods it´ll be very hard to gain weight because it´s harder to over eat.

And, because the industries had made us believe that fats are bad and are causing health problems, we´ve been brainwashed to the idea that we need to follow a low-fat high carbohydrate diet which is creating more problems.

Fats come in the form of triglycerides from the food you eat, and they are also stored as triglycerides in our body. They are formed of a molecule of glycerol connected to three fatty acids. There are 9 calories in one gram of fat. Fats are also called lipids and their main function is to form the membranes of each cell of your body, they are divided into saturated, unsaturated and trans fats.

Saturated fats.- Each carbon atom can form a bond with four other molecules, two of this bonds will always be use to connect it to the next carbon in the chain, if the remaining two bonds are connected to hydrogen it is called saturated fat. These saturated fats are solid at room temperature an example is butter. If you follow a balanced nutrition program that include high carbohydrates and you consume a lot of this type of fats your body is not efficient at breaking them down and digesting them.

Unsaturated fats.- If the remaining bonds do not bond with hydrogen molecules it is called unsaturated fat. Unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature and can be divided into monounsaturated and polyunsaturated.

Monounsaturated fats have a single double bond and include olive oil, avocado oil.

Polyunsaturated fats have more than one double bond and include fish oil.

Trans fat.- This fats are created from unsaturated fats by adding hydrogen to vegetable oils to make them solid at room temperature and they are produced or used by food chains and processed foods. This are the fats you need to avoid due to their negative effects on health.

Vegetable oils or seed oils are also a type of fat that is unhealthy and toxic for your body, you also need to avoid this unhealthy oils and we´re going to talk about them in a future post so that we can go deeper and understand why they are bad and why we need to eliminate them from our diet.

Essential fatty acids are those fatty acids that you need to obtain from nutrition. They are classified as polyunsaturated omega-3, omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids.

The amount of fat you need will vary depending of the nutrition program you are following, for a ketogenic diet  70% to 75% most come from fat, around 5% – 10% carbohydrates and the rest of protein. I want to make something clear here, if you are on a ketogenic diet, you must eat all healthy fats, the only ones you must avoid are trans fats. On a ketogenic diet your body can use saturated fats effectively.

Fats are a great option to keep us satisfied and full, you can have some almonds or nuts as a snack or add avocado to your meals to keep us full longer.

If you like to eat at restaurants like I do you need to watch out at how meals are cooked, many of them use dips and sausages high in trans fats and sugars and some cook with a lot of butter, even when butter is good if your goal is fat loss you want to be in a caloric deficit and fats are high.

We will be talking about fats and all macronutrients in future posts to see how they impact our body and health so that we can create a nutrition program that works for each of us, if you have any doubt or question let us know by leaving a comment down below and on Twitter, we´ll glad to help you.

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam