The Importance of Protein
The word protein originates from the idea that proteins are central to life and the first nutrient. Vitamins – vita meaning life and amin meaning protein – got their name from the misconception that amino acids, the building blocks of protein, were the essential components for maintaining life.
Proteins are found in animals and plants, but the mixture of amino acids – the building blocks of the protein found from different sources – varies. As a result, there are 21 common amino acids consisting of 12 nonessential and nine essential amino acids. Essential amino acids are those that cannot be synthesized from other amino acids, but must be consumed in the diet. The usual way that nonessential amino acids are formed is by metabolism of other amino acids. All amino acids have a basic structure of an alpha-amino nitrogen and carboxylic acid.
Maintaining the amounts of protein in muscles and organs is essential to life and is the main objective of the adaptation to starvation. In fact, loss of more than 50 percent of body protein is incompatible with life. The protein is stored in organs and there is no labile compartment.
The Importance of Protein
There is evidence that modestly increasing the proportion of protein in the diet, while controlling total calorie intake, may:
* Improve body composition.
* Facilitate fat loss.
* Improve body weight maintenance after weight loss.
Mankind is very well adapted to malnutrition and starvation, and this adaptation is reflected both in the way the body stores energy and how it uses these stores of energy when food intake is reduced or eliminated altogether. In the average 70 kg (154 lbs) man:
* The largest store of calories is in the form of fat in adipose tissue with approximately 135,000 calories* stored in 13.5 kg (30 lbs) of adipose tissue.
*A dietary calorie is 1,000 calories or a kcal, but for simplicity will simply be noted as calories. You may also see dietary calories capitalized as “Calories.”
This storage compartment can be greatly expanded with long-term overnutrition in obese individuals.
There are approximately 54,000 calories stored as protein both in muscle and organs, such as the heart and liver. Only half of these calories can be mobilized for energy, since depletion below 50 percent of total protein stores is incompatible with life. In addition to being an energy source, protein plays a functional role in many organs, including the liver, and depletion is associated with impaired immunity to infection. In fact, the most common cause of death in an epidemic of starvation is typically simple bacterial pneumonia. Conservation of protein is an adaptation tightly linked to survival during acute starvation.
Meal Replacement Shakes and Weight Maintenance
Studies show that meal replacement shakes are a viable way to maintain weight, as recognized by the European Food Safety Authority, and that increasing the protein to about 30 percent of resting metabolic rate, as estimated by bioelectrical impedance, leads to greater loss of fat with retention of lean body mass
What is Fitness Science
The principles involved in human performance nutrition, also known as sports nutrition, are built upon the principles of general nutrition and fitness science with special emphasis on optimizing human performance. Optimal nutrition is an essential part of every athlete’s training program, and the information contained separately in the Textbook of Nutrition is essential to understanding the proper application of nutrition in athletics.
The primary areas of concern are:
1) consuming enough calories to support performance;
2) consuming the correct balance of macronutrients before, during and after exercise; and
3) proper hydration.
There are other concerns for certain population groups as well, such as vegetarian or vegan athletes, or female athletes – particularly those who compete in sports that focus on weight or body build, such as figure skating and gymnastics.
Nutrition before, during and after exercise has significant effects on human performance. A pre-event meal keeps the athlete from feeling hungry before and during the event, and it maintains optimal blood glucose levels for working muscles. Carbohydrate feedings just prior to exercise can help restore suboptimal liver glycogen stores, which could result, for example, after an overnight fast. Allowing for personal preferences and habits, the pre-event meal should be high in carbohydrate, low in fat and fiber and easily digested.
Hydration and nutrition during an event has revolutionized human performance. During exercise, athletes should consume 30 to 60 grams of carbohydrate each hour (120 to 240 calories from carbohydrate per hour). Since both carbohydrates and fluids are necessary during events, sports drinks can go a long way in providing adequate carbohydrates and fluids. Typical foods that are used during long events include sports drinks, carbohydrate gels, energy bars and bananas. During vigorous activity, heat that is produced is dissipated through the process of sweating. However, long-term, extensive sweating can pose significant challenges for athletes with regard to fluid and electrolyte balance.
Without effective management, athletes will fatigue prematurely and, as dehydration progresses, heat exhaustion, heat cramps and heat stroke can result. Finally, recovery from intense activity requires nutrients that will replenish muscle glycogen stores, body water, electrolytes and triglyceride stores in skeletal muscle. Proper nutrition during the recovery period is essential for rapid and effective recovery and for optimal performance at the next event or workout.
Over the long term, athletes must pay attention to general nutrition and conditioning, while, during an event, adequate hydration and electrolytes become critical to maintaining optimum performance.
What Are Healthy Carbs?
Carbohydrates are an important element in the diet, and many of the foods that are rich in carbohydrates are also rich in fiber and phytonutrients. Good carbs are simply fruits, vegetables and some whole grains. Carbohydrate needs should be met first by consuming five to nine servings per day of diverse and colorful fruits and vegetables, which provide a wealth of beneficial substances. If more carbohydrates are needed, they can be supplied by whole grains and legumes (e.g., beans). A low-carbohydrate diet restricts carbohydrate grams to such a low level that individuals consuming these diets cannot benefit from the many health benefits of fruits and vegetables.
Carbohydrates are made up of atoms of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen but no nitrogen, and are broken down into sugars, such as glucose and fructose. Undigested carbohydrates are eliminated from the body and are referred to as dietary fibers.
Hidden Simple Sugars
Simple sugars include glucose, fructose, lactose and sucrose. These are listed as sugars on food labels, while the so-called complex carbohydrates are not included in this list, despite their similarity to simple sugars. Simple sugars can be directly absorbed by the mucous membranes of the mouth. However, short-chain carbohydrates, such as maltodextrin or corn sugar, consist of 15 glucose units, which are hydrolyzed in the stomach by enzymes and acid into simple sugars. These are often called complex carbohydrates on food labels but act like sugars.
The digestion of starches begins in the mouth in the presence of salivary amylase. As with proteins, much of the digestion takes place on the intestinal mucosal villi, which have both digestive enzymes and specific transport systems for sugars.
Lactose and sucrose are combinations of two different sugars linked together. Lactose is made up of galactose and glucose, while table sugar or sucrose consists of glucose and fructose.
High-fructose corn syrup is made from corn by a process that ends with 55 percent free fructose and 45 percent free glucose, approximately equivalent to table sugar. The tastes of corn sugar, sucrose and fructose are different. Fructose, the sweetest-tasting sugar, is found in fruits such as oranges. Corn sugar tastes like pancake syrup and is the primary sweetener in colas in the United States. In some countries, such as Mexico, sucrose is used to sweeten colas and they taste distinctly different from their U.S. counterparts. The issue with corn syrup is not its chemical character but the huge amount in the diet. Due to government subsidization of corn, large amounts of corn syrup are used in many foods,including soft drinks, which results in extra calories added to the diet. Studies suggest that the obesity epidemic can be linked to the following:
* Consumption of large amounts of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).
* Consumption of high-fat foods.
* A sedentary lifestyle.
Since dietary fibers are not digested, they do not contribute directly to the nutritive value of foods in terms of calories, but they have many effects on human physiology. Ancient man consumed a great deal of fiber, and this fiber resulted in numerous large, bulky stools that filled the colon and caused it to contract against a large volume load. Modern man eats a small amount of fiber, approximately 10 to 15 grams per day, compared to 25 grams per day in a healthy, plant-based diet and well over 50 grams per day in ancient diets.
Carbohydrates have a bad reputation, due in part to the recent popularity of so-called high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets for weight loss. Classifying foods as carbs, proteins or fats is misleading since few foods are composed purely of one macronutrient, and the quality of the food can vary significantly. A high-carbohydrate diet could be a plant-based, whole-foods diet with phytonutrient-rich fruits and vegetables at the base, with a moderate amount of whole grains and healthy low-fat proteins to balance nutritional needs. But, since sugars, refined flour products (such as white bread and pasta) and refined grains (such as white rice) are all considered carbohydrates, a diet that is based primarily on refined grains, while it could be low in fat, could also be very high in calories because these low-fiber grain foods are not particularly filling.
Individuals who consume a diet of this type may feel virtuous for avoiding fat, but they could easily gain weight on a diet based on refined grains. The recent popularity of a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet came on the tails of the high-carbohydrate craze of 20 years ago, because people found they were gaining weight on bread, cereal, rice and pasta if they made no distinction between whole grains and refined products. Pasta, which had previously been considered good because it is low in fat, is now viewed as bad because it is often a refined flour product (there are whole grain versions available).
In sports nutrition, especially for aerobic exercises, large amounts of carbohydrates are used to provide energy that is burned in the course of exercise. In the Fitness Science section, this topic is discussed in detail.
Smoothies make weight loss easy!
The busier we are, the more likely we are to make hasty, unhealthy food choices – which is why the fast food industry is thriving. Planning, shopping for and cooking healthy meals takes time – something most of us don't have enough of. Fortunately, there are alternatives – high protein meal replacements and bars are a great way to fit high quality nutrition into a busy lifestyle. There are a plethora of choices when it comes to meal replacement bars and shakes, but beware – not all bars and shakes are created equal. Most are loaded with bad sugars, artificial sweeteners and trans-fats. Our nutrition club as reviewed 1,000's of products on the market – we use a proprietary blend of only the highest quality ingredients without sacrificing taste. For example, our proprietary meal replacement powder offers you great taste (much better than chalky powder mixes you may buy at the store) and a balanced nutrition – a complete meal, not just another protein shake. Along with 9 grams of high-quality soy protein (remember protein is the foundation for a healthy meal!), our mix provides 23 vitamins and minerals (including antioxidant vitamins C and E), fiber and beneficial herbs. Shakes can be made with fruit juice, soy milk, low-fat milk or yogurt – giving you the flexibility to get the amount of protein you need and the taste you want. The best part? There are many fantastic flavors and recipes you can try. Here are just a few that you can try when you come into our club:
Very Berry Day
And many more…
Love the flavor? We will give you the recipe, along with our Proprietary Meal Smoothie mix and Protein Blend, so you can make your favorite smoothies at home. Meal planning just got easier!
All about Fats and Oils
Healthy Fats and Oils
In this section, you will learn how excess fat comes into the diet and also how different fatty acid sources have different effects on physiological processes.
Fats and oils provide the most concentrated source of calories of any foodstuff. The vast majority of the fats you eat and store are called triglycerides. This name comes from the fact that triglycerides are made up of three fatty acids on a carbon backbone.
Fat and Oil Sources
The principal dietary sources of fat are meats, dairy products, poultry, fish, nuts, vegetable oils and fats used in processed foods. Vegetables, fruits and grains contain only small amounts of fat. Vegetable oils are pure fat only as a result of the processing of plants. The most commonly used oils and fats for salad oil, cooking oil, shortening and margarine in the United States include:
* Canola (low erucic acid rapeseed oil),
* Palm kernel
These fats and oils contain varying compositions of fatty acids that have particular physiological properties.
Essential Fatty Acids
Fats provide two essential fatty acids, linoleic and linolenic acids. These two fatty acids are made by plants but not by humans, so we need to get them from our diet, while vegans obtain these two essential fatty acids by eating plants, which are about 10 percent fat calories. These fatty acids, which are necessary to maintain life, need to be present at a very small percentage (five to 10 percent) of total calorie intake. Fats carry fat-soluble vitamins and concentrate the tastes of foods to make them more palatable. Wherever there is food scarcity, fats are good as they are compact calories. The body stores 95 percent of excess calories as fat, and there are 130,000 to 160,000 calories stored in the body fat of a normal weight individual.
Omega-3 for Balanced Nutrition
An examination of the numerous studies on fish oils suggest they may have many benefits. However, these studies simply provided supplementation of fish oils without regard for the existing excess body fat or the underlying diet rich in n-6 (omega-6) fatty acids. Therefore, the novel approach of draining the body fat of n-6 through a low-fat diet and then adding back small amounts of n-3 (omega-3) is a key component of balanced fat nutrition. Omega-9 oils, such as olive oil and high oleic acid sunflower oil, can be added to the diet without affecting the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids. However, all fats, regardless of the source, have nine calories per gram or more than 135 calories per tablespoon. So they must be used in moderation as needed to enhance taste and texture of foods.
The Impact of Food Industrialization
The industrialization of the food supply, which began more than 400 years ago, accelerated in the last 50 years due to strong agribusiness subsidization by the United States and other governments. The desire for populations to eat more meat products as their wealth increased also played an important role in changing the food supply and dietary patterns. Special grain varieties, such as hybrid corn, were developed for feeding livestock efficiently. A by-product of the overproduction of grains has been the popularization of refined vegetable oils in cooking and processed foods. Even rural areas of China, where the economic boom has not yet been fully realized, have increased their intake of refined vegetable oils rich in omega-6 fatty acids and poor in omega-3 fatty acids.
The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 in corn oil is 57-to-1, while in soybean oil it is 57-to-8 (or about 7-to-1). As the public became more aware of the problem, some companies produced higher contents of omega-3 short-chain fatty acids, such as canola oil, which has a 21-11 ratio (less than 2-to-1). But canola oil still contains large amounts of omega-6 fatty acids. In contrast, fish oils are a concentrated source of omega-3 fatty acids with very little omega-6 fatty acids.
Omega-9 rich fats, such as olive oil and high oleic safflower oil, do not affect the balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. By increasing these fats in the diet, it is possible to reduce refined carbohydrates and add taste. However, these fats need to be used in moderation as a single tablespoon of fat adds more than 135 calories to the diet. Using fats sparingly by spraying them onto non-stick cooking pans and reducing their use in baked goods are good ways to maintain taste while cutting unnecessary calories.
Evolution and Omega-3
This situation has been further aggravated by the corn feeding of livestock so that the proportion of short-chain fatty acids from two competing families called omega-3 and omega-6 have been drastically changed from what they were in the plants on which mankind evolved 50 to 100 thousand years ago. Today, grass-fed beef has a different fatty acid profile than corn-fed beef. Hidden fats in cooking and vegetable oils also contribute more omega-6 fatty acids to beef during preparation. It has been estimated that the modern Western diet is deficient in omega-3 fatty acids with a ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 of 15/1-to-16.7/1, instead of 1-to-1 as is the case with wild animals and, presumably, ancient human beings who lived in nutritional equilibrium.