Tag Archives: protein

Diet and Exercise Combo: A “Real Deal” Breaker

What happens when you eat mostly protein? Well if you are not up on the latest research you might just think more protein equals weight gain or maybe even that the extra protein is wasted and does not contribute to any change in body composition.

But I am excited to share a recent study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition in October,, entitled “A high protein diet (3.4 g/kg/d) combined with a heavy resistance training program improves body composition in healthy trained men and women – a follow-up investigation”.

A very high protein (HP) diet, ≥3 g protein/kg/d, three times  greater than current recommended intakes, was tested and compared with a “normal” protein (NP) diet. Forty eight fit male and female volunteers completed the study that coupled diet and heavy resistance training types of exercise (not aerobic activity) that was designed to increase strength and lean body mass.

For 8 weeks participants trained 5 days per week and ate either normal or high amounts of protein from food or protein powder. No significant changes in carbohydrate or fat consumption occurred in either group. Calories did not change in the NP group but there were significantly more calories and more protein consumed in the HP group.

Performance, health and body composition were measured.

The authors explain that:

  • the specific training plan resulted in an adaptive response because both groups experienced changes in body composition as a 1.5 kg gain in lean body mass with significant improvements in strength and performance for squats, bench press, pull-ups and vertical jump.
  • gains in body fat are unlikely to occur with protein overfeeding
  • eating a high protein diet (2 grams/kilogram of body weight) of protein/day as a minimum) is safe.

Kudos to Dr. Jose Antonio and his group at Nova Southeastern University. The findings are ground breaking and long awaited for those of us who do not place a heavy emphasis on calories (with the belief that the calorie theory supporting more calories consumed would automatically translate into greater fat mass gained) and instead choose to focus more on manipulating macronutrient (carbohydrate, protein and fat) distribution to achieve desired body composition results.

Positive and significant changes in body fat percent were seen in both groups.  While the NP group lost a little over half a pound, the HP group lost about 3.5 pounds of fat and body fat was decreased by 2.4%.

What does this mean for you?

There may be an additional tool that can be offered to those who are looking to lose weight or improve lean body mass. Speak with your doctor and ask about this study. If you get the green light (maybe work up to the level of high intensity exercise if you are not active at all) and are a candidate,  try this “Real Deal” Combo. A high protein diet (2 grams of protein/pound of ideal body weight) coupled with high intensity resistance (not aerobic) workouts 5 days a week. While it may go against current dietary and activity recommendations, it just may be the “fix” you need.


Posted by on December 14, 2015 in diet, exercise, Uncategorized


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Kids: Fuel The Competitive Edge

Image result for eat to compete

Gaining a competitive advantage for anyone is more than just getting involved with a fad diet and adding a few supplements to pre-competition meals, see my previous blogs:,

Almost thirty million kids participate in some form of team sport, As an athlete, parent or coach a well rounded nutrition strategy should take into account: bone growth, minimizing muscle wear and tear while maximizing strength, flexibility and promoting all around good health.

According to A. Collins et al. (10.4236/health.2012.410133), athlete or not , kids are not eating right. “Nutritional intake may jeopardize optimal athletic performance and place children at risk for future chronic diseases, including osteoporosis.”

Eating to achieve can expand across sports to academics and into successful friendships. And it cannot be denied, family time centered around eating and playing together is good for everyone!

3 Critical Elements for attaining a Competitive Edge

  1. Protein with all meals and snacks will help keep appetite stable, help repair muscle tissue after workouts and provides better absorption of certain micronutrients like iron, zinc, copper and B vitamins. Real whole food sources of protein at 1 g protein/pound of body weight and about 3 oz. protein about 30-45 minutes after practice to refuel.

    2. Micronutrients typically found in nuts/seeds, vegetables, and fruits are just as important as macronutrients when considering optimal nutrition. They do not provide energy directly but help assist the body in creating energy, growth, building muscle and bones and much more.

The Linus Pauling Institute lists important general micronutrient    requirements for children,

   3. Salt is lost in sweat and is critical for fluid balance so replenish it by adding Himalayan sea salt to water or foodsAvoid beverages containing sugar (like Gatorade), caffeine and carbonated drinks to avoid dehydration. Click on the links to my previous blogs above for specific water recommendations.

Build meals with lots of color and remember with variety comes an abundance of nutrients. Eating the same thing daily even if it is healthy only provides the same nutrients every day is not optimal and will not to replace needed nutrients.

An assortment of kid friendly sample meals and snacks that taste good while helping to maximize nutritional intake and sports performance should include all of the above, try these:

Breakfast (2-4 oz. protein)

  1. Eggs(or hard boiled eggs) with spinach broccoli and cheese
  2. Peanut butter in celery or banana boats
  3. Whey or pea protein shake with added fresh fruit
  4. Cottage cheese or plain Greek yogurt with fresh or frozen fruit
  5. Oatmeal pancakes made with protein powder or topped with peanut butter
  6. French toast sprinkled with cinnamon and turkey franks

Visit these sites for more breakfast or snack options:

7. Cinnamon Churritos:

8. Canadian Bacon, Cheddar and Tomato Stacks:

9. White Chocolate Almond Protein Drink:

Lunch/Dinner (average 6-8oz of protein based on body weight)

  • Cheese/hamburger or hot dogs (1/2 bun)
  • pork
  • chicken
  • steak
  • tuna or any fish

Natural meat from grass-fed livestock has higher omega 3 and does not contain excess hormones and antibiotics.

Animal sources of protein, especially red meat provides quality protein, easily absorbable iron (especially important for teen girls), niacin, vitamin B12, zinc and selenium.

Sizes (4-6 1/2 cup servings as part of meals and snacks)

  • Broccoli
  • cucumbers
  • celery sticks and carrots
  • sweet potato baked or cut up as sweet potato fries
  • wild rice
  • pickles
  • peppers
  • veggie stir fry

* add a little guacamole to almost any side

These sides provide: vitamins A, C, E , K, B vitamins, Riboflavin, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Selenium, Fiber, Folate, Potassium, Manganese, Copper, Potassium, vitamins A, B6, C, Fiber


cheese sticks or snack packs

homemade trail mix (Lindt 85% chocolate, almonds, shredded coconut, sunflower/chia/pumpkin seeds)

turkey, roast beef, ham roll up (any veggie or cheese)

crackers and peanut butter

If eating right seems impossible speak with your pediatrician about supplements with the  GMP seal (there are other brands that are reputable too). My advice:

  1. Multivitamin
  2. Omega 3
  3. A green drink (with sea vegetables) such as Greens plus ( and/or a homemade veggie smoothie
  4. A calcium (bone health) supplement including boron*, vitamin D and K2, magnesium, silicon

*Boron is important for its role in building strong bones and muscles, improving thinking skills and muscle coordination.   Natural food sources include chickpeas, almonds,  beans, vegetables, walnuts, avocado, broccoli,  oranges, apples and pears.

Want The edge? Individual nutrition care plans with broad spectrum nutrients  will get you there. For active kids, all the pieces of the nutrition puzzle must fit together. If one piece of the puzzle is missing (it can lead to dehydration, blood sugar imbalance, vitamin/mineral deficiency, injury…) the picture is not complete.  There is no competitive edge.


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Winning The Hunger Game: 5 Strategies

fight food cravings

Image and great article:

A hungry person will fail at weight loss unless of course they are able to ignore and endure the physical and mental consequences of hunger. Winning the hunger game is all about controlling the hunger. Targeting hunger as an important aspect of managing diabetes, low blood sugar or any blood sugar issue and weight loss will enable successful treatment.

Many people I speak with about weight loss think they have to cut down on calories or live in a state of food deprivation to look good, lose weight or control blood sugar.

The truth is I cannot help anyone “win” the hunger game if they are not fueling up on healthy satisfying food. When  battling the bulge or managing health, feeling satisfied and eating to fuel your body is a mandatory requirement because clear thinking and decision making hinges on smart eating, “fueling”.

A recent study of adolescent “breakfast skipping” females found that cravings during the day were reduced by eating breakfast, Therefore in the context of managing cravings, eating is an important tool in attaining a weight or health “nirvana”.

In this crossover study a “normal”(15grams) and high protein (35 grams) breakfast were compared to skipping breakfast.  Homovanillic acid (HVA) was measured. HVA is an acid related to levels of dopamine in the “reward/pleasure portions” of the brain. Findings showed an inverse relationship between HVA and cravings. The higher the HVA concentration the lower the craving. “The addition of breakfast led to reductions in food cravings and increases in homovanillic acid, with the high protein breakfast eliciting greater response and a reduction in cravings”.

It has long been known that eating protein quenches frenzied eating. This information reinforces what we already know and helps provide a biological reason behind why skipping breakfast for some people may not be a good idea when trying to avoid hunger or control cravings. Certainly the study results do not fit into the rocket science category. Avoiding meals and depriving nutrients to the body triggers hunger and cravings. Eating a high carbohydrate, low protein breakfast can contribute to the same effect, try upping the protein and lowering carbs then gauge how you feel.


  1. Put the craving to rest. Keep protein and fat containing foods around you at all times and eat the minute you start to think about food.
  2. Stay satisfied. Do not eat a snack that will leave you searching for food an hour later. If you need to eat a mini-meal, for example a scoop of tuna salad or sliced mozzarella cheese with tomato drizzled with oil and vinegar, then MANGIA!
  3. Do not over eat find a “just right” balance between too little and too much.
  4. Stay hydrated. Drinking soda, coffee and sports drinks that contain water also have dehydrating components like sodium, caffeine, sugar so drinking enough water, even if flavored with lemon…, to stay hydrated and stave off cravings is important.
  5. Divert emotional cravings with activities other than eating, any hobby, exercise or just calling a friend to say hello.

Winning the hunger game is not easy but it is possible and attainable. Nourish your body (physically and emotionally), cravings disappear, appetite is controlled and you win!


Posted by on September 3, 2015 in appetite, Food, low carb diet


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Gain Good Weight: 6 Reasons to Build Muscle

Not many people would say  gaining weight is a good thing.  Yet gaining muscle is a good thing for most people whether thin or overweight, young or old, male or female, there is no down side if you do it the right way and for the right reasons. No one expects you to look like a body builder, if you do not want to, but adding strength training to your daily routine can be a big payoff where health aging and appearance are concerned.

Why should you add a little muscle to your physique? The benefits of gaining muscle are:

  • improving physical appearance and appearance of aging sagging skin
  • increasing metabolism (more muscle burns more calories, actually 6 calories/day vs. 2 calories each day fat)
  • defying aging (there is a 5% decline in muscle mass each year after the age of 40)
  • lowering risk of injury and falls (joints become more stable as the connective tissue in muscle gets stronger)
  • preventing or reversing diseases such as bone loss in conditions like osteoporosis and metabolic conditions such as insulin resistance or diabetes, (regular resistance exercise training has been shown to increase ‘insulin sensitivity’, meaning the body can intake and utilize glucose more effectively, Pollock et al., 2000).
  • Improving self-image and self-esteem

By the time we reach fifty muscle mass is reduced by 10% and the loss continues as we age. Muscle strength is especially important for seniors who rely on it for typical daily living  activities such as walking, doing chores or carrying groceries.  Get into good habits now to prevent the loss of mobility.  You can counteract the normal process of muscle loss as we age by gaining muscle.

Gain Weight

  • Feed your muscles protein. According to a study in the Journal of Applied Physiology, to build muscle the rule of thumb is 1 gram of protein for every pound of body weight. If you weigh 150 pounds, eat 150 grams of protein. A breakdown looks like this:

2 oz. protein at breakfast ( 2 eggs) to total 14g

2 oz. protein snack ( 2 cheese sticks ) totals 14g

1.5 oz. protein snack (1/2 can tuna) 10.5g

8 oz protein dinner (steak) 56g

2 oz. snack (peanut butter)14g

From here figure out the amount of carbs and fat you need. Adam Campbell, Mens’ Health suggests, uses this formula to calculate calories,

  • Sleep well. The jury is out on the safety of synthetic growth hormone. Natural human growth hormone is highest at night while you sleep. It is involved in muscle growth. So rest up to support muscle growth.

I’ve given you 6 reasons to gain (muscle) weight and 3 simple points on how to get better health and quality of life. Whatcha gonna do? It is up to you.


Posted by on January 13, 2014 in diet, Muscle, weight gain


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Eating Less Calories May Not result in Weight Loss-Part 1

Green coconuts

“I bumped up my total fat intake last Wednesday and I have already lost 4 pounds”.

“If I log my meals, I get anywhere from 80-100g protein (including the plant proteins), less than 50g carbs, and 175-250g fat”.


Clients and low carb followers boast of weight loss after eating more calories. They start on low carb diets but also try keeping fat low. Frustrated by less than satisfactory results, they seek an alternative that would not have been considered before.

This may sound inconceivable but calories are added with the inclusion of healthy fats into their plan (stir frying veggies, including coconut, ghee, avocado, butter). Adding fats without changing any other food would automatically result in increased calories (fat will add an extra 9 calories/gram of fat added).

If this is true it goes against the laws of thermodynamics, many low-calorie research studies and what most healthcare professionals believe to be true.

How can this be true? Anyone want to share thoughts?


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Top 10 Low Cost, Low Carb, Food List

Freerange eggs

Image via Wikipedia

As promised, here’s my list of lower cost, low carb, high protein foods.

Remember 2 points:

1. Look for sales or managers’ specials. Many times if the date on the package of food is expiring within a day, you will likely get a great price.

2. Grass fed free range meats may cost less than items marked organic and are better options than conventional options.

10 Low Cost Low Carb Protein Sources

1.       Canned Tongol tuna

2.       Canned salmon

3.       Eggs

4.       Chicken thighs

5.       Turkey

6.       Ground meat

7.       Hot dogs (Nitrite free )

8.       Peanut butter (Natural)

9.       Cottage or ricotta cheese

10.   Any meat on sale


Posted by on March 7, 2012 in Uncategorized


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What is the Difference Between 20g and 50g of Protein?

What is the difference between 50 and 20 grams of protein? The simple and obvious answer is 30 grams.

But Heather Leidy, assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology at Missouri University has a much more detailed and interesting answer.

Her study, “Neural Responses to Visual Food Stimuli After a Normal vs. Higher Protein Breakfast in Breakfast-Skipping Teens: A Pilot fMRI Study”, published in Obesity in May 2011, measured brain activity in response to skipping breakfast, consuming 20 grams (3 oz.) or 50 grams (7 oz.) of protein.

When calories and fat were the same, eating more protein (7oz.), similar to a low carb eating plan, as compared to eating less protein, helped:

1. increase feelings of fullness throughout the day because hunger control signals in the brain were activated

2. lower “reward-driven” eating behavior

3. lessen the frequency of meals consumed (3 vs. 6 meals) because 3 meals were filling; eating more frequently with lower amounts of protein did not affect appetite or satiety

FYI: If you do not want to read the science, this press release sums it up nicely, They mention two other interesting studies:

1. “A study that showed men ate roughly 112 fewer calories at a buffet lunch and 400 fewer calories in the 24-hour period following a protein-rich egg breakfast compared to a bagel breakfast.”

2. “A study demonstrated that overweight dieters who ate eggs for breakfast lost 65 percent more weight and felt more energetic than those who ate a bagel breakfast of equal calories and volume.”

This is enough for me to suggest that anyone who has followed a calorie restricted diet and has felt deprived and hungry may want to consider adding a few ounces of protein to meals to stave off hunger and help control other aspects of eating behavior.


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