How is Your Digestion?
This is something that is actually simple but gets over looked a lot when it comes to weight loss and your health in general. One major issue that can lead to you stopping progress in your weight loss goals is bad digestion. Not being able to absorb nutrients properly due to bad digestion would be comparable to us driving a car without ever changing the oil. Over time you will be running on fumes! The body needs to be able to absorb certain key nutrients that will help us not only stay regular, but also aid in keeping a healthy metabolism, which is where the weight loss issue comes into play. A few of the key indicators that you may be having issues with your digestion are itchy skin, hives, bloating, and feeling excessively full after a meal.
Is there a Difference?
Research has shown that both of these options can be effective for weight loss, and keeping blood sugar and insulin lowered. But is one option better than the other? Or does it even matter which you choose, as long as the carbohydrate levels stay down. Let’s break them down and see what the research says.
In Regards to Weight Loss
Both carb restriction and fasting can help you reduce your total calories, which can lead to weight loss, and both are easy to follow. But, if you have any issues with feeling hungry it may be tough for you to consistently stick to your meal plan if you have issues with fighting hunger. So from the perspective of staying the most consistent, I would have to vote for just following a lower carbohydrate diet consistently vs fasting.
What About For Health Benefits?
As far as the health benefits go surprisingly fasting showed a greater drop in glucose and insulin for a 24 hour period. Additionally for those that were doing an evening fast that lasted throughout the night into the early morning saw an even greater decrease in glucose levels.
This is great news, but you can not just fast all the time! So what can we do to find balance to try to reap the health benefits of fasting, and also continue with our weight loss efforts?
IF or intermittent fasting, also known as temporary fasting is where you fast for a temporary amount of time throughout the day, or during the day into the night. Most people doing temporary fasting will eat the majority of there calories in a window of say 8 hours, and then fast for the next 16 until the next day. For example, say you wake up at 8am, and eat your first meal around 9am. Between the hours of 9-5pm you would eat what you had planned for the day, then from 5pm until 9am the next day do not eat anything. Some will squeeze the window even tighter where they only eat in a 4 hour window and fast for 20 hours. Obviously this will take a lot more discipline, but in time it can be done. This way you can reap both the health benefits of fasting, and get the weight loss benefits as well. Give this a try sometime, and see if you can stick with it. Personally, I think it is worth giving a shot even just for the health benefits alone. What do you think?
For years now there has been a long debate on whether consuming wine has any real health benefits, or was this merely a scheme cooked up by good marketers to make us feel good about consuming booze. After doing some digging I was able to locate some interesting information regarding the benefits of wine. Interestingly enough the benefits that are mentioned are correlated to the amount taken in. Now, do not go running out and start hitting the bottle just yet, the amount tested was between 5-8 ounces. So this would be equivalent to 1-2 glasses. Here are some of the benefits mentioned below….
Diabetes: Drinking between the above mentioned 5-8oz of wine per night has shown to lower the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Cardiovascular Disease: Wine has shown to have a positive effect on cardiovascular disease and LDL or bad cholesterol.
Stroke: Wine has also shown to reduce the risk of stroke as well.
What is the Connection?
It seems that there is one main ingredient found in wine that is aiding in all of these great benefits, and they are called polyphenols, which are micronutrients found in certain fruits and vegetables. Wine is naturally made of grapes, which contain a good amount of polyphenols in them. And it just so happens that when wine is produced, and ferments, even more polyphenols are developed. For more information on the benefits of polyphenols and there benefits I would recommend checking out this link here.
The bottom line with wine is simply this. Consuming a little wine here and there, 1-2 glasses of wine a night can have benefits to your health. But going over this amount consistently will actually start to have the opposite effect on you, causing negative side effects, which we will talk about more in our next installment on the effects of alcohol in the body.
This time of year there will be a lot of people jumping on the new year’s resolution train with there weight loss goals. Before you get too wrapped up in all the noise that is coming in about ten days, let me share with you five simple reasons low carb diets work, and why I would recommend them as a place to start to get the body you want.
- They Are Easy to Follow!– This has to be the number one reason by far to choose a low carb diet. No counting points, no subtracting certain nutrients to get the “net sum”. All you need to mainly focus on is keeping those carbs low. Staying consistent on a diet plan is hard enough without any extra nonsense to track.
- They Increase Nutrient Density, While Decreasing Total Calories– In the simplest terms, low carb diets tend to cause things like this to happen. Instead of ordering the french fries, you order a salad. Or instead of having dessert at a restaurant you tough it out, go home, and eat celery and peanut butter for a snack. In these scenarios, by choosing a low carb alternative you are also simultaneously decreasing total calories consumed AND you are increasing your nutrient density.
- They Work Fast– It is no mystery that low carb diets have a quick effect on us. Results begin to show in as little as a week of consistent meal planning. This can be important for those that need to “see” the results to keep them motivated.
- They Reduce Sugar– Pretty simple, but important none the less. reducing sugar will keep your blood sugar and insulin levels more stable throughout the day, promoting more of a metabolic environment. From a health standpoint reducing sugar is beneficial for a multitude of reasons. If you consume excess sugar consistently, and the liver becomes full of glycogen, any excess sugar then being consumed will convert directly to body fat, and also contribute to a fatty liver.
- They Increase Protein Intake– This last one is really by default because a low carb diet is going to be more rich in foods with less carbohydrates. Different types of meats all have little to no carbs per serving, and are rich in protein. The higher the protein intake is, the more satiation you will feel, helping prevent you from over eating. Also, eating more protein contributes to maintaining lean muscle mass while dieting, which in turn keeps your metabolism steady.
When it comes to weight loss I often get asked if having six meals per day, or eating every three hours is ideal to keep his or her metabolism raised throughout the day. The easy answer is, it doesn’t really make a difference whether you eat three meals or six meals per day. Many studies have been conducted on this over the years and never has their been any substantial evidence causing a noticeable difference in ones metabolism. The most important thing to consider in your meal plan is what kind of foods are you taking in. Best thing to do is ask yourself are the foods I am eating helping me reach my goals? Now, if you do not truly know the answer to this, then find a friend or someone that can help you with this area of your diet and get it dialed in. Nutrition is number one when it comes to losing weight.
How Much Protein Do We Actually Need?
This is one of the most frequently asked questions I get so I wanted to take the time to address it. How much protein you need daily is truly determined by your goal and activity level. If you are not exercising regularly, especially with weights, chances are your protein requirements are going to be much less than an athlete who competes regularly. But, the issue that many run into is what is a good baseline to follow to make sure we are getting enough. A general rule of thumb to follow has been somewhere between 80%-100% of your body weight in grams of protein per day. So, for example…A male or female training 3-4 days per week that weighs 200 pounds would require between 160-200 grams per day. Now, this doesn’t always follow suit thou. Personally, I find that I do best taking in slightly more than one gram per pound of protein per body weight. For example, I currently weight 210 lb and take in 250 grams of protein per day on average. This allows me to recover well from my training sessions I do 4 days per week and still feel good going into my next workout.
To get your protein requirements dialed in for your needs I would recommend getting with a nutrition coach, or some type of fitness professional that you can personally work with to get your meal plan in place properly. Most of your protein should be coming from solid foods, such as eggs, chicken, lean ground beef, etc. Protein powders can be used, especially around workout times as long as the quality is good, but do not get carried away with them. Keep their use to one or two shakes a day to get in your requirements. I know personally for me when I initially started getting my own meal plan structured eating all solid food was a little impractical for my schedule. So throwing in a shake was an easy fix, plus the digestion of the protein shake is easier as well.
What is Turmeric?
Turmeric is actually a root grown in the ground that is orange and yellow in color and is full of health benefits. The key to turmeric is curcumin, which is a compound contained in turmeric root that is a super antioxidant. Here are a list of the benefits…
- Anti-Inflammatory- Curcumin has shown to reduce chronic inflammation and pain in the body. Taken at the right dosage, curcumin has even been used as a natural alternative to pain medication due to it being non addictive.
- Lower blood sugar- Curcumin has great benefits for type two diabetics in that it can help keep blood sugar more stable throughout the day.
- Anti Cancer- Test subjects that supplemented with curcumin have shown a decrease in tumor size and even cell apoptosis.
- Enhances Recovery Post Workout– Since strength training and other strenuous physical activity causes minor tears in muscle fibers and inflammation, curcumin causes quicker recovery from exercise because of its anti inflammatory benefits.
- Brain Health- Curcumin has shown to cause a release in what are known as macrophages, which are cells that can destroy abnormal protein structures that are in part responsible for cognitive decline.
What is the best way to take Turmeric?
Turmeric can be taken in various ways orally, whether that be the dried powder form used in a smoothie or juice, or in a more concentrated capsule form. One of the best ways to supplement with turmeric is with black pepper, or piperine. Black pepper extract, also known as piperine, has shown to increase the absorption rate of turmeric by as much as 300%, so this is definitely important if you want to get the most benefit. I would look for a capsule form of this product to avoid the mess the powder can cause, and make sure that the curcumin has the piperine in their as well for absorption benefit. One last thing to mention here, when buying curcumin pay attention to the actual percentage yield of curcumin in your dose! The percentages can range between 30 and 95 percent, with 95 percent being the best I would go for that so you do not have to use as much. Most people do not pay any attention to this detail when purchasing and end up buying junk.
You will notice that I have been using turmeric and curcumin interchangeably throughout this post. Just remember turmeric is the root itself, while curcumin is the active ingredient contained in the root with the above mentioned benefits. This being the case some folks will buy actual turmeric root at the grocery store and juice it, or grind it up into a powder. I find the best way for myself is to buy the capsules with a better yield of curcumin in them to avoid all the extra leg work, but to each his own here. Whichever way you prefer is all relative really. Just know the rule of thumb is that turmeric root itself contains between 5-15% curcumin per 1000mg or 1 gram. This will play a role as well when it comes to figuring out the dosage you want.
The proper dosing is a wide range when it comes to curcumin. You will hear anywhere between 1000mg all the way up to 5000mg depending on the situation. Personally I take 1000mg daily monday thru friday as a maintenance dose. Keeps my inflammation at bay and aids my immune system this time of year, which by the way is another benefit I forgot to mention…Curcumin is an immune booster too.
Things to Consider
I would recommend doing a little more research if you are taking curcumin for any specific reason such as type 2 diabetes or cancer. Also curcumin can thin the blood and inhibit iron absorption so keep this in mind as well when supplementing. I always use the premise less is more. Mega dosing something deemed beneficial can turn up negative, hence the old too much of a good thing quote. If you have any questions regarding how to supplement with curcumin or just anything health and fitness related please feel free to leave a comment below.