Tag Archives: carbohydrates

Is a Calorie REALLY Just a Calorie?

A calorie, by its simplest definition, is a unit of energy. It’s equivalent to 4.184 absolute Joules.

We’ve all heard that “a calorie is a calorie,” and while there’s truth in this statement, it can lead us astray in our quest to build a great body.

You see, when we’re just talking about mere weight loss or gain, it doesn’t matter where these calories come from. So in this way, a calorie is a calorie. When it comes to PURE weight loss (not factoring in muscle vs. fat, body composition, overall health, physical performance, or energy levels), eating fewer calories than you burn every day will be the main part of the equation. Eat less than you burn: lose weight.

HOWEVER, we’re FAR more concerned with how you look, how you feel, if you are healthy, if you are getting stronger, if your doctor gives you a clean bill of health, and if you live a long life full of activity, exercise, sleeping well etc. You want to do everything in your power to avoid things like heart disease, cancer and type-2 diabetes – diseases that end your life too early.

When we’re talking about improving body composition (losing just body fat and not muscle, or maximizing muscle growth while minimizing fat storage), you must not only follow the principles of energy balance, but you must do so with a proper balance of macronutrients.


A macronutrient is any of the nutritional components of the diet that are required in relatively large amounts: protein, carbohydrate, and fat. How you balance your intake of these macronutrients has profound effects on how your body responds to the foods you eat. For example, protein is the most important macronutrient to get right when you want to optimize your body composition. The research is clear.

A high-protein diet…

-Is vital for preserving lean mass when dieting for fat loss.

-Is vital for maximizing muscle growth when dieting for muscle gain.

-Is effective for reducing body fat levels, including abdominal fat in particular.

-Increases satiety, helping you avoid hunger pangs and cravings.

-A high-protein diet is even more important if you’re exercising regularly, as this further increases your body’s demand for amino acids.

Despite what you’ve been told, carbohydrates aren’t the enemy. They don’t make you fat or unhealthy. In fact, there are big benefits to keeping carbohydrate intake as high as possible, even when dieting for fat loss, including…

-Better workout performance.

-Improved retention of lean mass.

-Better thyroid function.

-More satiety.

-Better mood.

Trust me–low-carb dieting is NOT GOOD and is completely unnecessary for the vast majority of people looking to lose weight, and is downright detrimental to those trying to put on size.

What does the perfect ratio look like?

In my opinion, the amount of calories consumed and the ratio of what the macronutrients should differ from person to person depending upon their body, goals, and routine. A proper meal plan not only provides the proper amount of calories but breaks them down into the optimal amounts of macronutrients as well.

  

I’d love to hear your thoughts:

Have you had success with counting calories or calculating macros, or did it make you go crazy?
Which methods have you messed around with, and what are your goals? Are you trying to lose a few pounds, lose a lot of weight, get to a minimal body fat percentage, compete in an elite sport, etc.

Do you use any apps on your phone to record claories alone or do you include macronutrients? -Has this article made you reconsider? 

I’d love to hear from you – chloehthomas@gmail.com, or message me on facebook- click here

 

 

 

 

 

Foods to Eat and Avoid to Stay in Shape

I read this article and loved it so much I wanted to share with all of you!

Eating the right foods will help you to stay in shape, build muscle and burn fat. It can be hard to decide what foods fit into your diet plan so we’ve come up with a simple list!

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There are three major food groups: proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Your diet will come from a mixture of these three macronutrients and there are good and bad choices for each group! To help you decide which foods you should eat, we have split up the items in each food group into three categories:

Eat – you can eat these every day

Eat in Moderation – eat these once or twice a week if you like

Avoid – try not to eat these

The bulk of your diet should come from the ‘Eat’ section, with a few items from the ‘Eat in Moderation’ section each week. Try to steer clear of foods labelled ‘Avoid’ – they are labelled that way for a reason and will slow down your progress!

Proteins

With protein, choosing the highest quality sources is of top priority. We especially want to avoid getting our protein from processed foods such as burgers, hot dogs, fried chicken and any other fast food or junk food. Whilst the protein in these foods may come from the same place as a lean cut of meat, they also come packed full of fats and unhealthy additives such as preservatives, rusk and batter.

The majority of our protein should come from lean cuts of meat, fish, eggs, low fat dairy and whey protein (obviously if you are vegetarian or vegan this may not be possible!). Fattier cuts of red meat and poultry can be eaten occasionally but these tend to be high in saturated fats and omega 6 fatty acids, which we don’t want to consume too much of (more about this later).

Eat – All fish, chicken/turkey breast meat, eggs, greek yogurt, low fat cheese, lean red meat, whey protein powders, tofu/meat substitutes

Eat in moderation – fatty cuts of red meat, chicken/turkey leg meat, full fat cheese, whole milk

Avoid – processed meats, burgers, hot dogs, anything deep fried or battered, chicken/turkey skin

Carbohydrates

With carbohydrates, our priority is avoiding foods with a high glycemic index as these are more likely to cause us to put on body fat. Carbs with a high glycemic index such as sugar and white bread also tend to be devoid of any nutritional value, which is not very useful to anyone who wants to be healthy!

Try to eat 5-10 servings of fruit and vegetables per day to ensure you are getting the vitamins and minerals that your body needs. The other carbs in the ‘Eat’ category all have a low glycemic index but less nutritional value than fruit and veg. This is not really an issue and these carb sources do not have the same disadvantages as sugars and baked goods.

Eat – rice (basmati, brown, long grain), white potato, sweet potato, yams, oats, all vegetables, salad leaves, low sugar fruits (berries, melon, lemon, lime, apples, grapefruit)

Eat in moderation – brown bread, rice (short grain, risotto), rice cakes, brown pasta, sugary fruits (banana, mango, pineapple, orange, cherry, grape, kiwi)

Avoid – sugars, cakes, cookies, doughnuts, ice cream, fast food (pizza, fries, etc.), sugary drinks (soda, fruit juice, energy drinks, milkshakes), white bread, white pasta, sugary cereals

Fats

Not all fats are equal and some are really good for our health. They are often demonised by mainstream nutritional guidelines, but we must look at fats individually and not bundle them all into one group. We want the majority of our fat intake to come from healthy monounsaturated fats and omega 3 fatty acids. Foods we should try to avoid are those containing large amounts of saturated fat and omega 6 fatty acids.

Omega 6 fatty acids can promote inflammation and omega 3 fatty acids help to reduce inflammation. If these are in balance then all will be well within our bodies, but if we take in too many omega 6 fatty acids this can lead to an increased level of inflammation in the body. We should try and reduce our intake of omega 6 fatty acids because they are contained in so many of the foods we eat, especially vegetable oils and animal products like meat and dairy (also nuts excluding macadamia nuts can be high in omega 6). This makes it very easy to consume a lot more omega 6 fatty acids than omega 3 fatty acids.

There is a great deal of debate about whether saturated fats are bad for our health. Since eating a large amount of them is not essential to achieving our goals, it makes sense to limit our intake but not cut them out entirely. The saturated fats in coconut are an exception to this rule as they are primarily made up of medium chain trigycerates (MCTs), which are more easily broken down by the body and can readily be used for energy. The foods in the ‘Eat’ category are packed with good fats and should form the majority of your fat intake.

Eat – avocado, raw macadamia nuts, coconut, olive oil, oily fish, olives

Eat in moderation – all other nuts, nut butters, butter, dark chocolate

Avoid – vegetable oil, sunflower oil, vegetable spreads, mayonnaise, anything deep fried.

Check out http://traineatgain.com/ for more brilliant articles like this on fitness, diet and health.

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I love pasta. Can I eat it and still lose weight?

Yes! Of course you can eat pasta and lose weight, provided of course, you keep your portion size in check and it’s not stuffed with meat or smothered with cheese or Alfredo sauce.

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By itself, pasta is a nutritious food. It contains almost no fat, cholesterol and sodium and is an excellent source of low glycemic carbohydrates. Foods with a low glycemic index are broken down slowly in the body and release their carbohydrate (glucose) gradually into the bloodstream. As a result, they can help you feel full longer after eating.
https://chloewellbeing.wordpress.com/2013/06/24/explanation-of-good-and-bad-carbs/

Research shows that most people lose the same amount of weight whether they follow a low-carb, lowfat or Mediterranean diet. That’s because calories matter most: Eat too many calories (from bread, pasta or anything else) and you’ll gain weight; eat less than you burn and you’ll lose weight.
The catch: Starchy carbs are high in calories, so you have to keep serving sizes small—but many people find it all too easy to go overboard on pasta, potatoes, rice and even the better-for-you whole grains like whole-wheat pasta or brown rice.
So, how much pasta can you eat if you’re trying to lose weight?
Click here to follow the correct guidelines-
https://chloewellbeing.wordpress.com/2014/10/05/why-youre-not-loosing-weight/

Ideally, top your pasta with tomato sauce which is low in calories and fat and a good source of vitamins A and C. Tomato sauce is also an excellent source of lycopene, an antioxidant linked with protection from certain cancers. If you’re using a store-bought pasta sauce, look for a product with no more than 70 calories, 1 gram saturated fat and 350 milligrams of sodium per one-half cup serving.

To help you feel satisfied, be sure to include protein in your pasta sauce – lean ground turkey, chicken breast, shrimp, white kidney beans, and so on. Bulk up your sauce by adding plenty of vegetables,such as chopped zucchini, bell peppers, mushrooms, rapini and baby spinach.

Carbohydrates in Your Diet

When deciding what carbohydrates to eat, don’t worry about whether or not they are classified as simple or complex carbohydrates. Instead, try to ensure that you are getting your carbohydrates from minimally processed vegetable, fruit, bean, and whole grain sources. Carbohydrates from these sources are ideal because they have high vitamin, mineral, phytonutrient, and fiber contents, so they are not only providing your necessary caloric energy but they are also delivering a significant amount of additional healthy nutrients that are lost in the more refined and processed carbohydrates (i.e. in carbohydrate sources like white flour, table sugar, white rice, fruit juices, sodas, cookies, cakes, jams, etc…).

Generally speaking, carbohydrates from vegetables, fruits, beans, and whole grains are digested slower, which allows you to feel satiated for a longer period of time and reduces spikes in blood glucose levels, which are associated with increased risk for diabetes and heart and weight problems. Some examples of how to choose your carbohydrates are as follows:

-Try to increase the relative proportions of fruits and vegetables in your diet
-When eating bread choose whole wheat bread rather than white bread
-When eating pasta choose whole wheat pasta rather than regular pasta
-When eating rice choose brown rice rather than white rice
-At breakfast try eating oatmeal, preferably steel-cut oats, or perhaps quinoa, rather than your normal breakfast cereal.

Here are some yummy low-carb alternative recipes

Delicious Zucchini Lasagna

http://theturquoisehome.com/2013/10/delicious-zucchini-lasagna/

Mac-and-Cheese-Style Cauliflower
Get all the creamy, cheesy goodness of mac and cheese—without the high starch content of macaroni.

http://www.vegetariantimes.com/recipe/mac-and-cheese-style-cauliflower/

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Are rice cakes making you fat?

Rice cakes – the dieters nightmare.

You may see rice cakes as a staple diet snack but don’t be fooled. Rice cakes can have a glycemic index rating as high as 91 (pure glucose has a rating of 100), making it the kind of carbohydrate that will send your blood sugar on a roller coaster ride. This is bad for weight loss and for your health!

GLYCEMIC INDEX

Although rice cakes are low in calories, it is easy to eat too many because they don’t make you feel full and can’t fully satiate your craving for more food.

The glycemic index of a food is a measurement of how fast the carbohydrate it contains raises blood glucose levels and insulin secretion as it’s digested.
Rice cakes have a high carbohydrate content at 21 g per serving, and three cakes have a very high glycemic index of up to 95. High-glycemic foods rapidly raise blood glucose levels and create a high insulin demand, which could lead to irreversible diabetes and cause cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and weight gain, warns Oregon State University. J. B. Miller and colleagues at the University of Sydney’s Department of Biochemistry conducted a study to determine the glycemic insulin-index values of various rice products, including rice cakes. The conclusion, as published in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” in 1992, was that rice products are classified as high GI food.

Basically you won’t be satisfied or full- Not a good way to stick to the diet, as you’ll be reaching for a more filling (and more fattening) snack in no time. Swap the rice cake, which has a GI of 87, for a Ryvita, which has a GI of 63.

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FODMAPs – Simply explained!!

 FODMAP’s

The diet with the weird name may help your IBS symptoms – and has now become the new buzzword, featuring in two well-known female magazines this month (July 2013).

The FODMAP diet is has some proof that it helps IBS sufferers. Avoiding these foods seems to reduce bloating, gas, constipation, and abdominal pain in IBS sufferers.

These foods have short chain carbohydrates and therefore can be hard for your small intestine to absorb. So the food ends up being digested by bacteria in the large intestine, ie your colon. This can lead to extra water in your bowels, gas, bloating, diarrhoea, and other symptoms of IBS.

 What’s behind the FODMAPs diet – how did it all start?!

A study by Gibson PR, Shepherd SJ, showed that a low FODMAP diet decreased “functional gut symptoms” for people with IBS, while a high in FODMAPs increased those symptoms. In other words, less FODMAPs consumed, less IBS symptoms for IBS sufferers.

To combat this Dr Sue Shepherd’s low FODMAP diet recommends the elimination of complex foods for about 8 weeks.

The low FODMAP diet has been used at Guy’s and St. Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, London and has been supported by research at King’s College London.

The NHS says that while the exact cause of IBS remains unclear, it is believed to be triggered by a range of factors including stress and issues with the immune system.

Sue has developed a dietary management approach which has revolutionised the management of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (low FODMAP diet) – her pioneering research has contributed world-first information, and for which she was awarded the Gastroenterological Society of Australia’s Young Investigator of the Year Award in 2006.

Sue is also the director of a busy private dietetic practice (Shepherd Works), specialising in gastrointestinal nutritional conditions, such as coeliac disease and irritable bowel syndrome, employing twelve dietitians. See – http://shepherdworks.com.au/services/about-sue-shepherd

What does FODMAP stand for?

It is an acronym for…

Fermentable,

Oligo-saccharides,

Disaccharides,

Mono-saccharides

And

Polyols.

All of these are carbohydrates. 

1. Fermentable – as they ferment in our intestines.
2. Oligo-saccharides – are fructans and galacto-oligosaccharides.
3. Di-saccharides – are lactose.
4. Mono-saccharides– are fructose 
And
5. Polyols– are Sugar Alcohols.

2.   Fructans and galacto-oligosaccharides are poorly absorbed in all people so restriction of these helps most people with IBS symptoms.

Fructans can also be known as fructo-oligosaccharides and are chains of sugar fructose. In the real world this means wheat products, some vegetables i.e. onion and garlic and when they are added to processed foods and FOS, oligofructose or inulin.

E.g. (Artichokes (Globe), Artichokes(Jerusalem), Asparagus, Beetroot, Chicory, Dandelion leaves, Garlic (in large amounts), Leek, Onion (brown, white, Spanish, onion powder), Raddicio lettuce, Spring Onion (white part), Wheat (in large amounts), Rye (in large amounts), Inulin, Fructo-oligosaccharides.)

Galacto-oligosaccharides are chains of sugar glucose : beans and pulses.

E.g. (Legume beans, baked beans, kidney beans, bortolotti beans, Lentils, Chickpeas).

5.Polyols are sugar alcohols i.e. sorbitol and xylitol. These occur naturally in some fruits and some vegetables. They are also added as sweeteners to many low sugar products such as sugar free chewing gum, mints and ‘diet’ foods.

E.g. Apples, Apricots, Avocado, Cherries, Longon, Lychee, Nectarines, Pears , Plums, Prunes, Mushrooms, Sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, maltitol  and Isomalt.

There are two further groups, Fructose and Lactose. These two groups are not malabsorbed in everybody with symptoms and breath tests can tell you if you have a problem.

3. Lactose is something we all know. It is found in animal milk and milk products.

E.g. Milk, icecream, custard, dairy desserts, condensed and evaporated milk, milk powder, yoghurt, margarine, soft unripened cheeses (eg. ricotta, cottage, cream, marscarpone).

 4. Fructose can be found in large amounts in different foods especially in some fruit and honey. It is also added to many food products as a sweetener or flavour enhancer. So its time to start checking food labels in supermarket!!

E.g. Honey, Apples, Mango, Pear, Watermelon, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Corn Syrup Solids

 These are,the main groups that when starting the Fodmap diet all sufferers must stay clear of for at least 6-8 weeks before entering the reintroduction stage.

Basically, the idea is to avoid all foods that are high Fodmap, the list is far too long for me to write on my blog!

Go to Dr. Sue Shepherd’s website, shepardworks.com, for info on HIGH FODMAP foods and this website is good too: http://lowfodmapsdiet.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/ListOfFodmapsFoods3.gif

However please, please go to your GP if you have any symptoms of IBS as this diet can really help and quite literally change your life! Ask for a referral to a dietician and insist on help for the Fodmap Diet. They will help you as an individual to help you get better and explain thoroughly what food you can eat, what you can’t, starter recipes to get you cooking good low Fodmap meals, snacks and brands that are good for you.

 More Sciencey stuff!

http://good-food-girl.blogspot.co.uk/2011/11/science-bit-or-fodmap-bit.html

 

IBS food and cooking simple

http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/ibs-cookbook-for-dummies-cheat-sheet.html

OTHER LINKS USED:

http://solvingtheibspuzzle.com/the-fodmap-diet-for-ibs.htmlhttp://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/diane-taylor/fodmap-diet-ibs_b_1153782.html