18 August 2018

Is the wait worth the weight?




Intermittent fasting

Intermittent fasting, what is it?

There are a number of ways of achieving the same goal here but simply put this is a period of fast in your eating. Common ways of introducing a break in eating are introducing a 14-16 hour fast into a 24 hour period, whilst this may sound like a long time one way people find relatively easy to achieve this stretch is by including the 8 hours of sleep at night time into this and skipping breakfast in the morning. Other ways you may have read about are the 5:2 diet, the 24 hour fast, alternate day fasting, the warrior diet, spontaneous meal skipping and many more!…

The 5:2 diet has previously been discussed here , the 24 hour fast is tricky for a lot of people as the fast window is so big, on the alternate day fasting it is recommended to eat 500kcals on your fast day, the warrior diet proposes a period of fast during the day and feast at night, and so on…

Q: What do the marketeers promise from the results of intermittent fasting? and what do some in the fitness industry (marketeers?) promise from the results of intermittent fasting?

A: Weight loss and improved athletic performance respectively

TRUTH:

Firstly throw away anything you read that promises you anything, you want to read only information backed by peer reviewed scientific study; this will ensure you receive objective, unbiased information not motivated by your cash. You will be offered statistics to prove or disprove a hypothesis made in the publication followed by a conclusion based on the stats, i.e. simply offered the scientific results.

We often hear from people that there is too much confusing and conflicting information out there, this is because you are reading information from the wrong source! The majority of people writing online are doing so because they are making a living doing so and therefore need to influence you!.A good place to start if you do not have access to scientific papers through a university is Google scholar. Fortunately I do have access to a University library (I am completing my doctorate as we speak!) and have filtered out some relevant papers on this subject to clarify the debate:

The subject of weight loss as a result of intermittent fasting (IF) is inconclusive. Testing hundreds of fasting protocols across many species in many research groups has not led to the guaranteed weight loss solution that is punted by get rich quick marketeers. The weight loss results from IF are no better than the results from calorie restriction and have actually been shown to increase sleep disturbance and reduce concentration/accuracy result when tested with patients in a Ramadan fasting study (similar to the warrior diet). What this means is that whilst you may lose weight as a result of IF it may not be directly due to the metabolic and hormonal changes that IF induces, instead probably being the results of a reduction in overall calorie intake.

Reducing your overall calorie intake has been proven scientifically to reduce weight, however this is only maintained long term under certain conditions for example; reducing calorie intake (generating a calorie deficit) by a small amount (a percentage of your daily BMI is usually the way we calculate this) over the medium term, ensuring you still hit your daily macro nutrient split (although varying these is reputed to have effects on satiety, which we will discuss in another post) and then gradually increasing your calories after the period of deficit. These results will be maximised with a balanced exercise program, but significantly the weight loss gains you make have been proven to be best in those who engage in regular exercise after the period of calorie deficit as well as during.

What the studies do agree on with IF, however, is that of gut health improvements leading to lifespan extension, it ameliorates the clinical course and pathology of Multiple sclerosis (MS) and can counteract other disease processes, has profound beneficial effects on many different indices of health, can improve functional outcome in a wide range of age-related disorders including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancers and neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease Parkinson’s disease and stroke. All due to a cascade of reactions related to the gut flora changes.

So that’s the science. Now you make up your own mind

31 July 2018

Macro’s 101




online macronutrients

You’ll hear this term a lot if you read anything to do with food and balance; in the fitness industry we use it in the same way as they do in the nutritional industry. Which is to say that a diet is made up of macronutrients and micronutrients. Macronutrients, or macro’s are your carbohydrates, fats and proteins whereas micronutrients are your vitamins and minerals.

In biochemistry a macronutrient is any substance such as carbon, hydrogen or oxygen that is required by the body in relatively large amounts and it is the same in botany (plants) for nitrogen, hydrogen or phosphorus.

Macro, from the Greek makros, means large and so we use it to describe fuels that are required in large amounts by the body.

Carbohydrates, fats and proteins are made up from molecules and these in turn are made up from atoms of carbon, hydrogen or oxygen in different combinations. It is how these atoms are put together and with what bonds between them that determines their function in the body. Essentially, the break down of molecules releases energy and this energy is used by the body to function.

The body operates a priority system whereby the first source of energy is derives is from the glucose circulating in the blood. This is a small molecule that is easily accessible and easily broken down to be used for energy, however there is only a certain amount of circulating glucose one can store in ones blood and so the body then must turn to its second choice. This usually happens after about 20mins of aerobic exercise and is one of the key factors we consider when, as online personal trainers or Brighton personal trainers, we are creating weight loss plans for clients. Because what happens next is crucial; the body looks for its next favourite energy source and as a result of prior planning it is able to accesses the molecules of fat it has stored for just these occasions.

These are converted to glucose to be used for energy, in fact the number one goal of the body is to serve the brain with energy so this is the first place the body will check if it needs fuelling. In an exercise session the energy will quickly then be directed to the working muscles via the pumping blood flow to ensure they can keep operating at the level needed.

So that’s it in a nutshell! If you have any questions about any of this or anything else just drop us a line as usual…

24 December 2011

Yummy things




Who would have thought being a veggie would make you want to cook? Veggie’s eat a bland diet full of pasta, cheese and lentils dont they?….NOT SO!
The free life nutrition plan ive been following for the last couple of years has taken its next turn…these days its no meat, fish nor wheat and the only dairy involved is that from a bottle of milk with a green top (raw milk)
Mainly still issues around morality for me on the meat and dairy thing, but the wheat thing has stemmed from an interest in the paleolithic eating movement thats growing in popularity of late…more on all that in another post.
With such constraints on what Im willing to ingest it became immediatley apparent that my familiar methods of procuring food were not going to be as possible and I have found myself having to organise my time a little more efficiently if it was going to work.
Lunches out of Tesco’s is not really an option unless you go for a bean salad…they’ve got some nice one’s in take out boxes but its soooo boring after a couple of days. I have made some corkers though and i thought id share a couple of my favourites.
I enjoy flavourful, heavily spiced foods. I also cannot cook following recepies so the following may turn out slightly differntly from mine if followed as the amounts are very approximate:

Spiced parsnip nut burgers:
1xsweet potato
3xparsnips
1xfresh chilli
1xstick lemon grass
mixed spice (smallish teaspoon)
1xbunch corriander
4xcloves garlic
2xred onions
2xlarge bags unsalted mixed nuts
salt & pepper

Fry onions. Add crushed garlic, chilli, lemon grass and let it all soften. Peel and dice potato and parsnip and add with a small amount of water. Cover and let roots soften and water evaporate entirely. Crush the nuts in carrier bags with a hammer and add with the mixed spice, salt and pepper. Let it all heat through before you add the corriander. Take off heat and whizz it up with a hand blender then make the mush into burger shapes and place on a baking tray. Makes about 6 fat burgers.

Root vegetable and olive mash:
3xred onions
2xsweet potatos
5xparsnips
5xcarrots
1xsmall turnip
1xtub black pitted olives
5xsundried tomatos in olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1cm cubed root ginger
1xstick lemon grass
1xfresh chilli
mixed herbs
1xbunch corriander
1xbunch parsley
sprinkle of cinnamon
small teaspoon nutmeg
salt & pepper

Fry onions in oil with garlic, lemon grass, chilli and ginger. Add diced potatoes, parsnips, carrots and turnip. Add water and cover until veg are soft and water has evaporated. Add sundried tomatoes, mixed herbs, cinnamon, nutmeg and olives. Heat for a while before finishing with all the chopped herbs, salt and pepper. When its all a mush blend it with a hand blender, if you want a soup instead of a tapenade texture then add water. Makes enough for 10

24 December 2011

The way of the Homo sapien




Humankind gradually evolved during the Paleolithic era. Paleolithic hunting and gathering peoples ate primarily meat, fish, shellfish, leafy vegetables, fruit, nuts and insects in varying proportions.
The Paleolithic diet (also known as the paleodiet or the caveman diet) is a modern diet that seeks to eliminate diseases of affluence from contemporary industrial society, by replicating the dietary habits of Paleolithic hunter-gatherers. By this we usually refer to type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and cerebrovascular disease, because they ate mostly lean meats and plants and frequently engaged in intense physical activity.
So the theory goes that since the homo sapien appeared about 200,000 years ago our metabolic requirements haven’t changed that much despite the obvious transformation in our lifestyles.
Try typing paleolithic diet into a google search and see how popular the movement has become….everyone from dieters and athletes through to the office worker and mum at home are trying this one. Its reaching Atkins proportions!
Personally i love the fact that people have recognised how to improve the foods we have to eat and are moving in the right direction to fix it. What needs to happen now is an equally popular yet much more sustainable safety net diet plan needs to be promoted to catch the people who fall off the paleolithic wagon and provide a stepping stone for those who want to try it. As i see it,the problem is that unlike the first homo sapiens food for us has turned into a pleasure rather than a functionality. Meaning we place emphasis on the way it is prepared, tastes and presented. And lets be honest a huge hunk of meat, with a side serving of grains aint exactly nuvo is it?
So its sustaining the diet which seems to be the problem, mostly the problem with most diets. Id like to see it not being called the paleolithic diet but instead something like “the way of the homo sapien” or how about “nutrition for humans” I think we should be re-educating the kids with this stuff….when the hell is that food pyramid going to go? everyone’s been talking about it for over a decade….but no ones got the gumption to screw the dairy industry and come to mention it the pharmaceutical industry either. Anyway staying on the topic of the day the following is a list of the dos and donts of the way of the homo sapien:

Meats and Eggs
Meats (including seafood) and eggs are perhaps the most important components of the Paleolithic Diet. Ideally, the animals from which the eggs and meat come from are fed a natural (to the animal) organic diet. That is, chickens have access to greens, insects, etc, as well as grain. Cattle eat grass and other pasture greenery. Fish should come from the wild, or at least be fed what wild fish eat.
In any case, meats should be free of breading of any kind.
Loren Cordain (The Paleo Diet) believes we should seek out low-fat meat sources, while others disagree. His reasoning is that today’s meats are much higher in saturated fat so we should seek out low fat meats and then supplement with fats from other sources.

Vegetables
Vegetables are encouraged, although some versions of the diet except green beans and peas as they are legumes. Some versions simply say that if it can’t be eaten raw, don’t eat it (though this doesn’t mean that it must be eaten raw, only that it should be able to be eaten raw). Potatoes and other starchy tubers (e.g. cassava) are not allowed.

Fruits
Fruits are generally allowed. Audette (NeanderThin) advises that people who need to lose weight should limit consumption of high sugar fruits. He allows juices in limited quantities. Cordain suggests avoiding juices altogether and limiting dried fruits.

Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are generally allowed, though Cordain suggests that those who want to lose weight limit them to four ounces per day. Note that peanuts are legumes and NOT allowed. Audette doesn’t allow cashews since they can’t be eaten raw. Unsweetened almond milk and coconut milk are often used as substitutes for dairy.

Oils
Though authors vary on recommended oils, basically the consensus seems to be that the oils from allowed plants are fine. Olive oil, nut oils, and flax seed oil are universally endorsed. Cordain recommends canola oil, but not coconut oil. Fish oil supplements are often recommended.

Beverages
Cordain is much more lenient about beverages than Audette. With Audette, it’s water and tea, and limited quantities of juice – specifically no coffee and no alcohol. Cordain anything other than water should only be drunk in moderation, with the following recommendations.
•Diet soda (very controversial in the Paleo community from what I can tell)
•Coffee
•Tea
Also, although in one place Cordain says alcohol “should be limited to an occasional glass of wine, beer, or spirits”, in another place in the book he defines moderation as:
•Wine – 2 4 oz glasses
•Beer – 1 12 oz serving
•Spirits – 4 oz (which is more than is recommended by anyone else, Paleo or not)

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