Category Archives: Sports Nutrition

It’s In Your Genes: Ten Factors That Influence Exercise Outcomes

I have recently introduced you to the book Body by Science by Doug McDuff, MD and John Little. This book offers a clear explanation of the actual science of exercise, how activity relates to hormones, and how this determines what happens in your body. In short, it answers the question I am frequently asked. “Why am I gaining weight when I am working out every day?”

In the introductory article I summarized his key points. In this article I will address one of those key points. Genetic expression plays a major role in our physical appearance. People can do similar types of exercise but in the end their genes determine how their physical activity is expressed in their body.

One of my favorite parts in Body by Science is the discussion of genetic expression. Quite simply there are certain things that are meant to be and they aren’t going to change. They show a picture of a forest of the same type of tree, yet one is significantly taller than the others. If you only saw it, you’d assume it was the norm, but in fact it is the exception.

These same basic principles apply to the human body. Some people are the way they are simply because of genetics. Two people could do the exact same workout but based on their genes one can emerge as a championship body builder and the other will not.

Here’s a look at ten genetic factors that come into play.

1. Somatotype – a fancy word for body types. There are three main body types for humans. Endomorphy is the tendency towards soft and round body contours. Mesmorphy is the tendency towards being more muscular. Ectomorphy is the tendency towards being skinnier. What you are is what you have to work with. The ectomorph will have a hard time becoming an Olympic weight lifter!

2. Muscle length determines how long a muscle can become, which will ultimately determine how large it can be.

3. Muscle fiber density determines the mass potential for the muscle. If it can have more fibers, it can become larger.

4. Skeletal formation – this will also impact how large a muscle can become based on how and where it attaches to the bones.

5. Neuromuscular efficiency – how wells nerves and muscles communicate will impact how well the muscles can develop.

6. Myostatin – this is a protein produced due to gene GDF-8 (growth and differentiation factor 8). This protein stops the muscles from becoming too large. So, a particular expression of this gene will allow muscles to grow larger than the might ordinarily be.

7. Interleukin-15 – this gene has various combinations which has associations to how one’s muscle size will respond to exercise.

8. Alpha-Actinin-3 – this is a protein component of fast-twitch muscle. Eighteen percent of the population lacks it while all champion athletes have been found to have it.

9. Myosin Light Chain Kinase – this is an enzyme that supports how your muscles build. Some people experience more muscle damage with exertion so should have a longer recovery time meaning they should train less frequently to maximize results.

10. Angiotensin Converting Enzyme – an enzyme that determines vascular tone. This influences exercise endurance.

So there you have it. What does it all mean? Set realistic expectations and goals around your exercise program. Accept who you are and the exercise you can perform. Some areas are out of your control and pushing beyond your body’s genetic design is not going to get you anywhere.

Bernard Rosen, PhD is a Nutrition Consultant and Educator. He works with individuals, groups, and at corporations to create individualized nutrition and wellness programs. His office is in Mequon, WI. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, e-mail at bernie@brwellness.com, call (262) 389-9907 or go to www.brwellness.com.

March 2015 Newsletter: Exercise, Science, and the Cardio Myth

“I Don’t Get it. I Work Out Every Day with My Trainer and Can’t Lose Weight.”

Is this you? It is many of my clients. And, I hear this statement more often than you’d think. What’s going on? In January I introduced you to the book Body by Science. This month you’ll learn more of the details. I have a series of four articles to share with you which capture the major themes from the book. The first two appear in this newsletter. The four articles are:

1. Introduction to Body by Science

2. The Cardio Myth

3. Fat Metabolism

4. Genetic Expression

So, without further ado, let’s get to Body by Science.

Getting Started With Body by Science

“I don’t understand. I work out every day and I’m still gaining weight.” Believe it or not I hear this question quite frequently. On the surface it seems to be quite the paradox. All the conventional wisdom tells us to lose weight all we need to do is watch what we eat (meaning to eat less) and exercise more. Follow this simple formula: use more calories than you take in.

In the past I’ve explained part of this myth – how all calories are not created equal. Based on what the calorie is from (protein, fat, or carbohydrate) it will have a different effect in your body. If you need a refresher you can find that article on my blog at http://brwellness.com/nutrition-news/?p=135.

Now let’s explore the other half of the equation: exercise more. This of course leads to a series of questions. What type of exercise is best? How many times a week should I exercise? How long should I exercise?

For the rest of the article click here: http://brwellness.com/nutrition-news/?p=27

The Cardio Myth

In the introductory article I summarized his key points. In this article I will address one of those key points. His recommended method of exercise is what he terms high intensity training (or HIT). It benefits both the aerobic and anaerobic energy pathways. Most “cardio” only works the aerobic pathway.

High intensity training is in many ways the complete opposite of what is now known as “cardio.” HIT is designed to be short and sweet. The techniques work the major muscle groups to exhaustion and then you must stop, rest, and then begin the next exercise. Cardio is designed to be lower intensity so that you can perform the exercise without stopping, usually anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour.

For the rest of the article click here: http://brwellness.com/nutrition-news/?p=26

The Cardio Myth

I have recently introduced you to the book Body by Science by Doug McDuff, MD and John Little. This book offers a clear explanation of the actual science of exercise, how activity relates to hormones, and how this determines what happens in your body. In short, it answers the question I am frequently asked. “Why am I gaining weight when I am working out every day?”

In the introductory article I summarized his key points. In this article I will address one of those key points. His recommended method of exercise is what he terms high intensity training (or HIT). It benefits both the aerobic and anaerobic energy pathways. Most “cardio” only works the aerobic pathway.

High intensity training is in many ways the complete opposite of what is now known as “cardio.” HIT is designed to be short and sweet. The techniques work the major muscle groups to exhaustion and then you must stop, rest, and then begin the next exercise. Cardio is designed to be lower intensity so that you can perform the exercise without stopping, usually anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour.

The roots of modern cardio trace back to the mid-1960’s when Kenneth Cooper was searching for an exercise that he thought would optimize cardiovascular fitness. This was the time when we first began to see a dramatic increase in heart disease related deaths and the thinking was by exercising our hearts they would not attack us!

Unfortunately he began with a false premise. He believed that “aerobic” was the same as “cardiovascular” and wanted to develop an exercise that would isolate the aerobic metabolic system. He created the term “aerobics” to refer to his exercise technique. This low intensity and steady in state method he developed is now referred to as “cardio.”

But this is where we have to understand how the body works! The body has two pathways for metabolism – aerobic and anaerobic. These processes are conducted in each and every cell in our body. Both are essential for the total health of the cell and thus the entire organism. Aerobic means “with oxygen” and anaerobic means “without oxygen.”

Cooper believed that the aerobic was the most important pathway therefore it should be isolated and trained. There was no actual evidence that one pathway was more important, it was just his belief, and unfortunately for many he was wrong. For many it proved to be dead wrong.

His main error was that the pathways cannot be separated in a live human (remember our body is not a test tube – what happens in the body is different than isolating something in a test tube!). The aerobic pathway is fueled by a substance called pyruvate which is produced by the anaerobic pathway.

As we’ve discussed before energy comes from glucose going from the blood stream into the cell. It takes a series of twenty chemical reactions to produce pyruvate from glucose. This is an anaerobic process. Pyruvate then goes to the mitochondria of the cell. If you remember your basic biology the mitochondria produces energy via the Krebs cycle in an aerobic process.

So, as you can see, we need an exercise method that will strengthen both systems of metabolism. Modern day “cardio” does not fit the bill as it isolates the aerobic and the science share in the book shows it does not benefit the anaerobic. It is high intensity training that will benefit the complete system.

The effectiveness of any exercise is all about hormones, fat metabolism, and blood glucose levels. High intensity training works the major muscle groups to exhaustion, uses up glucose, and encourages the body to burn fat and build muscle. This is explored further in the article Hormonal Implications of Exercise.

Another irony concerning aerobic specific training is that it produces additional oxidative stress on the body which creates inflammation and excess free radicals in the body. This factor puts one at increased risk of heart disease – exactly what the “cardio” exercise is supposed to help prevent!

Bernard Rosen, PhD is a Nutrition Consultant and Educator. He works with individuals, groups, and at corporations to create individualized nutrition and wellness programs. His office is in Mequon, WI. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, e-mail at bernie@brwellness.com, call (262) 389-9907 or go to www.brwellness.com.

Why and How You Can Work Out Every Day and Gain Weight

“I don’t understand. I work out every day and I’m still gaining weight.” Believe it or not I hear this question quite frequently. On the surface it seems to be quite the paradox. All the conventional wisdom tells us to lose weight all we need to do is watch what we eat (meaning to eat less) and exercise more. Follow this simple formula: use more calories than you take in.

In the past I’ve explained part of this myth – how all calories are not created equal. Based on what the calorie is from (protein, fat, or carbohydrate) it will have a different effect in your body. If you need a refresher you can find that article on my blog at http://brwellness.com/nutrition-news/?p=135.

Now let’s explore the other half of the equation: exercise more. This of course leads to a series of questions. What type of exercise is best? How many times a week should I exercise? How long should I exercise?

Some people say “aerobic” is best. Some say weight lifting. Others say yoga, or interval training, and still others say high intensity training. Some tell you to do a different type of exercise every day for an hour. On the other spectrum some will tell you once to twice a week for fifteen to twenty minutes is all you need. You can see there is quite a variance in the answers.

To best understand any issue relating to health and nutrition I always ask one simple question. How is the body designed? When I discuss with clients what they should eat and what they should avoid I just don’t say “eat this and not that.” I explain to them how their body works and what the different foods will actually do in their body. When we understand how our body is designed to work it makes it much easier to determine what it needs and to separate myth from fact. Unfortunately in the world of health and nutrition there is a lot of myth and hype which is quite different than the facts.

Of course I am limited by the space of this article. Whole books have been written to address these questions and I’ve read quite a few of them! Recently I read one that I believe explains it the best – Body by Science by Doug McGuff, M.D. and John Little. With his medical background, Dr. McGuff understands how the body is designed and he uses this to explain the science of exercise.

My plan is to have several articles based on the book. I will use the remainder of this article to summarize the major points of the book. Future articles as noted below will be more in depth on specific topics. But in the mean time, if you are interested I’d encourage you to read the book sooner rather than later. It will likely change the way you think about exercise! Here is a quick summary of his major points:

1. Who can you trust? Most exercise testimonials and a fair amount of “research” is shall we say – slightly misleading and biased and does not address the true science of exercise.

2. Genetic expression plays a major role in our physical appearance. People can do similar types of exercise but in the end their genes determine how their physical activity is expressed in their body. I will have a separate article on this subject.

3. Being “fit” does not mean you are healthy.

4. High intensity training is his preferred method. It benefits both the aerobic and anaerobic energy pathways. Most “cardio” only works the aerobic pathway. The effectiveness of the exercise is all about hormones and blood glucose levels. High intensity training works the major muscle groups to exhaustion, uses up glucose, and encourages the body to burn fat and build muscle. I will have a future article about the “cardio myth.”

5. Fat metabolism and fat loss is also determined by hormone activity which is affected by the type of exercise. Hormones signal the body to burn fat and to store fat. Some exercise will produce the “burn” signal, others the “store” signal. I will have a future article about fat metabolism.

6. Exercising once to twice per week for 15 to 20 minutes when done according to his methodology is all you need to properly engage your body and manage the body building and fat burning hormones.

As you know from past articles I am also a big believer in “walking the talk.” I have found a local trainer who follows the basic principles as outlined in the book and began training several weeks ago. In one month I have already noticed several significant changes. I will keep you posted on that as well.

Bernard Rosen, PhD is a Nutrition Consultant and Educator. He works with individuals, groups, and at corporations to create individualized nutrition and wellness programs. His office is in Mequon, WI. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, e-mail at bernie@brwellness.com, call (262) 389-9907 or go to www.brwellness.com.

Installment 9 – Pre and Post Practice/Workout Meals

Pre and Post Practice/Workout Meals


What to eat before practice?

It is best to eat before you leave. Depending upon the time of day you will want to choose an appropriate meal or snack. See below for ideas. If you must eat while driving to practice your best options are:

1. Having a protein drink that was made before you leave and drinking it in the car. This is also a great recovery drink. That drink should include:

a. A high quality protein mix from undenatured whey, brown rice protein, or pea protein, or combination of them. No soy protein.

b. Use water or organic fruit juice.

c. Add one cup of blueberries or strawberries (frozen is fine). You may add ½ of banana.

d. Optional: flax seed oil, ground flax seeds, or chia seeds.

e. Optional: raw (not roasted) nuts or nut butter (almond, walnuts, pecans, Brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds).

f. Optional: powdered greens, celery, cucumber, ½ an avocado.

g. Best mixes are those you need to blend that have fewer ingredients.

h. Watch out for artificial sweeteners, specifically aspartame, sucralose, and acesulfame potassium. These are hidden in the long ingredient lists of many protein powders.

2. Whole grain bread (sprouted bread is best) with nut butter or hummus. Again, almond is better than peanut. If use peanut be sure only ingredients are peanuts and oil. Organic peanut butter is best. Have some veggie sticks on the side: carrots or celery. For additional protein add hard boiled eggs or jerky.


What to eat after practice (i.e. while driving home, right when they get home)?

This is a good time for a Recovery Drink (when get home). During the drive have a snack from the healthy snack list.

Other tips:

1. Add green drink to recovery drink.

2. Add fresh lemon to water when possible.

3. If you drink coffee – reduce or eliminate.

4. Have recovery drink within 30 minutes.

Installment 8 – Water and Hydration

Of course the big question with water is how much to drink. To be honest, this is an individualized question and greatly depends on your activity level. We have all heard to drink eight glasses of water a day, but I do not know about you, but whenever I have followed that advice, I wind up running to the bathroom every 20 minutes!

Here is my rule of thumb for normal daily activity. I go by how often I have to urinate. Once every 2-3 hours seems reasonable. I do not think our body was designed to go every 20 minutes!

That being said many people do not drink enough water. Perhaps telling them eight, will get them to do six!

Many discomforts we experience can be linked to sub-clinical dehydration. That means we are not officially dehydrated, but we could certainly use more water!

Water sources: Pure water, fruits and vegetables.

Water, water, water!
Avoid tap water, drink filtered water
Lemon water
Other acceptable drinks

· Organic, herb teas

· Roasted chicory, replacement for coffee

For the competitive athlete this discussion goes beyond water into the whole concept of hydration. Here are some general hydration guidelines:

Before exercise: Drink about 15-20 fluid ounces 2-3 hours before exercise and drink 8-10 fluid ounces 10-15 minutes before exercise.

During exercise: Drink 8-10 fluid ounces every 10-15 minutes during exercise. If exercising longer than 90 minutes drink 8-10 fluid ounces of a sports drink every 15-30 minutes.

Hydration after exercise: Weigh yourself before and after exercise and replace fluid losses. Drink 20-24 fluid ounces of water for every 1 pound lost.

Installment 7 – The Calorie Myth

The Calorie Myth

What should I eat? How many calories per day should I have?

Most diet and exercise programs are based on us “counting calories” and assuming all calories are created equal. What if this were not quite true?

This way of thinking goes back to the 1870’s and the science of the First Law of Thermodynamics. We learn from Wikipedia, “The first law of thermodynamics states that energy can be transformed, i.e. changed from one form to another, but cannot be created or destroyed. It is usually formulated by stating that the change in the internal energy of a system is equal to the amount of heat supplied to the system, minus the amount of work performed by the system on its surroundings.”

Sounds good in theory, but what about the real world – the human body? Does it apply to the human body? If it does then the logical conclusion is what we have so often heard – the calories we consume through eating we need to burn through activity. Otherwise, these calories will store as fat and we will gain weight. But, what if it does not work that way?

Consider the following – we are told that if we eat x less calories per day we will lose y number of pounds over a certain period. Here’s the actual numbers. We’re told that to lose one pound we need to burn or cut 3500 calories. If we want to lose a pound a week we can cut 500 calories per day from our diet. Therefore, it is only logical if we maintain that restricted calorie diet we will eventually melt away to nothing (if you started at 300 pounds this would take six years!). Since we have never seen anyone disappear we can conclude that it may not work that way.

Also during this period there was another scientific breakthrough. Scientists were able to assign specific calorie counts to specific foods through the use of a new breakthrough – the bomb calorimeter. Here is how it works. In one compartment a substance is burned. This is surrounded by water in another chamber. As it burns it gives off heat. The heat is measured.

The temperature increase in the water is converted into calories. The energy needed to raise a liter of water 1 degree is a kilocalorie (that we have shortened to “calorie” further confusing us). Thus telling us how many calories that food potentially stores.

This leads us to two key questions. First, does our body work like a bomb calorimeter? And, second are all calories the same? Are all calories used for energy and therefore the same independent of the food we eat?

To the first question I think it is safe to conclude that our body is not a bomb calorimeter. End of story. But for argument’s sake and to address the second question, let us assume that it does. Does the body treat all calories equally?

While you will read and hear many distinguished authors citing many studies supporting the notion that a calorie is a calorie is a calorie does this really make sense? Let us take a logical approach.

A hardboiled egg has 75 calories. Approximately one slice of bread or a quarter of a bagel has 75 calories. One bite of a chocolate covered donut or a piece of cake has 75 calories. Who really believes that these 75 calories will have the same impact in your body after you eat them? I don’t think so and shortly you will see why.

Let us return to the calorimeter for a minute. Here is what was found. Carbohydrates had 4.2 calories per gram. This was rounded down to the familiar 4.0 that we know of today.

Proteins had 5.0 calories per gram. They were rounded down to 4.0 due to some perceived inefficiencies of how they burn.

Fats had 9.2 calories per gram which was rounded down to 9.0.

This gives us the numbers that we are all familiar with: 4 calories per gram of carbohydrate and protein and 9 calories per gram of fat. Simple conclusion – eat too much fat and you get fat.

Well, to start with, the figures are misleading! Let us look at fats first.

Different fats have different amounts of calories depending upon saturation levels. Further studies have shown that polyunsaturated fats have 9.1 calories per gram, animal fats range from 6.5 to 8.0 calories per gram, while cocoa butter (the most saturated of fats) has 5.5 calories per gram.

Now let us turn our attention to carbohydrates. As we learned earlier your body operates with a very simple equation: carbohydrates = sugar. All carbohydrates (both “simple” and “complex”) are ultimately broken down into simple sugars.

To accomplish the conversion to simple sugars your body uses a process called hydrolysis in which water is added to the chemical reaction. This causes total mass to increase which actually creates more calories! So, simple sugars really have 4.2 calories per gram, yet starches (the more complex carbohydrates) have 4.44 calories per gram. Also note that soluble fiber has 2.0 calories per gram.

What does this mean? We are getting significantly more calories per gram of carbohydrate than we may think.

Now for the grand finale! This whole theory assumes that all calories we consume are used for energy. This too simply is not true.

As we saw protein is used for a variety of body building functions. In fact very little protein is used for energy. We could even possibly say that these calories do not count. Think about the Atkins diet. It includes lots of protein, yet people lose weight. In fact they are told to eat as much as they want and still lose weight.

Next, let us look at fat. Fat too is used for other functions besides energy. So, in reality, only some of these calories truly count.

And here is the important point – it is only carbohydrates where all the calories count! Many studies have shown that the number of calories is insignificant compared to their composition. People can gain or lose weight on calories ranging from 1000 to 4000 calories per day. It is all about how much fat, protein, and carbohydrate are in the diet!

If you’d like to read more about this topic I refer you to books written by Barry Groves – “Trick and Treat: how healthy eating is making us ill” and “Natural Health and Weight Loss.”

Installment 6 – Fats

Fats

Everybody knows that fat is bad for you. Right?

Well, not exactly. Of all the nutrients, it is fat that has been most unjustly demonized. We have been suffering from a low fat craze for the last thirty years. Everybody (well not really everyone!) has been convinced that fat is bad for us and should be avoided at all costs. So what has happened? We got fatter! Obesity rates are going through the roof. If you remember from the carbohydrate discussion it is excess carbohydrates and sugar that causes us to gain weight.

So yes, we need fats. They make up cell membranes and hormones, are required for absorption of the fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K), are critical for infant brain development and the female reproductive system, and provide energy. Ever wonder why everyone seems to have a Vitamin D deficiency these days? Perhaps because they are not consuming the right fats for Vitamin D metabolism.

There are two types of fats – saturated and unsaturated (further defined as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated). One of the easiest ways to tell them apart is that saturated fats are solid while unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature. Unsaturated fats are much more sensitive to oxygen, light and heat.

This sensitivity underlies the critical nature of fat you need to understand. When fats are heated or exposed to excess light and oxygen they oxidize. It is dangerous when we consume oxidized fats. Oxidation leads to inflammation which damages cells and is linked to a variety of diseases including heart disease.

Saturated fats are able to withstand greater temperatures before oxidation occurs. The most susceptible fats to oxidation are the unsaturated fats, particularly the polyunsaturated ones such as vegetable oil, corn oil, soybean oil, canola oil, and cottonseed oil. Note that margarine is made from various combinations of these oils.

Therefore, when cooking with fats and oils we want to use saturated fats such as butter, clarified butter (ghee), or coconut oil. For salad dressing or other room temperature uses olive oil is best.

Another fat we hear of are trans-fatty acids. These are formed during the process of hydrogenation. Hydrogenation is used to “stabilize” vegetable oils so they will not oxidize and was initially developed to lengthen shelf life of processed foods.

In the hydrogenation process polyunsaturated oils, usually corn, soybean, safflower, or canola, are heated to high temperatures and injected with hydrogen atoms. During the heating process the nutrients in the oils are destroyed, the oils become solid and have oxidized.

Trans-fats have been linked to many ailments, including cancer, heart disease, and reproductive problems. Trans-fats are commonly found in commercial baked goods, cookies, crackers, margarines, vegetable shortenings, and processed dairy products.

What fats should I eat?

Eat these foods for healthy fat:

Butter
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Virgin Coconut Oil
Fish oils
Fresh Flaxseed oil or ground flax seeds
Chia seeds

Practice balance and moderation of these foods:

NUTS & SEEDS: Nuts and seeds, almonds, cashews, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, etc., raw or dehydrated
DAIRY:

· Eggs

· Butter

· Cheese, Cottage cheese

· Yogurt without added sugar

Avoid these foods (the trans-fats and oxidized oils):

Margarine
Vegetable oil, corn oil, soybean oil, canola oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil

Installment 5 – Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates

Carbs are great for energy, right? Need to carb load before the game, right?

Carbohydrates are one of the more controversial of the macronutrients. You will see heated debates illustrating the benefits of both low carbohydrate diets and high carbohydrate diets. The Standard American Diet (SAD) has become a high carbohydrate diet.

We use carbohydrates for energy. They provide quick energy. Carbohydrates are converted into blood glucose which feeds our brain and red blood cells. Ever notice how irritable you get when hungry? The brain does not operate very well without nourishment.

Remember our previous discussion regarding energy, fats and carbohydrates: the paper and the log? What happens in your body?

Do you have energy throughout the game or do you fatigue as the game progresses? This is a combination of being fit and having energy reserves to fuel the fitness.

What carbohydrates are best for me?

When most of us think carbohydrate we think grains, breads, and sweets. They are not the only choice. Vegetables and fruits contain carbohydrates and roughly 30% of protein converts to carbohydrates.

Remember this simple equation. To your body: CARBOHYDRATE = SUGAR! That’s all you need to know. If we consume lots of carbohydrates we consume lots of sugar. While sugar can be used for energy, excess sugar depletes essential nutrients (such as the B vitamins) and is converted into fat and stored. It has many adverse affects on the body.

The bottom line – it is sugar that makes us fat! For a more complete look at the dangers of excess sugar I recommend this web site: http://nancyappleton.com/ and particularly this page: http://nancyappleton.com/141-reasons-sugar-ruins-your-health/.

Eat these foods for carbohydrates:

VEGETABLES

· Raw or steamed vegetables, preferably low carbohydrate veggies (leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower) with two meals per day and snacks

· LIMIT starchy veggies (potatoes, yams, corn, squash, peas) to 3-4 times per week

· Fresh vegetable juices, diluted 50% with water

· V-8 and tomato juice (low sodium)

· SALADS: Raw vegetable salads

Practice balance and moderation of these foods:

GRAINS (Limited quantities ONLY – 1-2 times per day maximum):

· Sprouted grain bread: such as “Ezekiel”

· Whole grain breads/crackers

· Whole grains – brown rice, quinoa, bulgur, millet, wild rice

· Whole grain cereals, pastas – i.e. oatmeal, health store cereals

FRUITS:

· Fresh grown fruits

· Fresh fruit juices, diluted 50% with water

· Limit to 25g of fructose per day (see Fructose table below)

SWEETENERS: Not advised at all. But if you must, limit to limited amounts of the following

· Stevia (a natural sweetener)

· Raw Honey

· Pure Maple Syrup

Avoid these foods as best as possible:

Refined/White flour
Refined/White grains
Cookies, cakes, pastries
White sugar, brown sugar, all sweeteners not listed above
Processed refined grain cold and hot cereals
All artificial sweeteners

While it would be ideal not to eat these foods I recognize reality. So, since most people will continue to eat these foods, it is even more important to consume the foods listed as healthy!!

Assessing Fructose Burden
-Fruit Fructose Content
Fruit Serving Grams Fructose
Limes One 0
Lemons One 0.6
Cranberries 1 cup 0.7
Passion Fruit One 0.9
Prune One 1.2
Apricot One 1.3
Guava Two 2.2
Dates (Deglet) One 2.6
Cantaloupe 1/8 2.8
Raspberries 1 cup 3.0
Kiwi One 3.4
Blackberries 1 cup 3.5
Star fruit One 3.6
Cherries 10 3.8
Strawberries 1 cup 3.8
Pineapple 1 Slice 4.3
Boysenberries 1 cup 4.6
Tangerine/Mandarin One 4.8
Nectarine One 5.4
Peach One 5.9
Orange One 6.1
Papaya Half 6.3
Honeydew 1/8 6.7
Banana One 7.1
Blueberries 1 cup 7.4
Date (Medjool) One 7.7
Apple One 9.5
Persimmon One 10.6
Watermelon 1/16 11.3
Pear One 11.8
Raisins ¼ cup 12.3
Grapes (green or red) 1 cup 12.4
Mango Half 16.2
Apricots (dried) 1 cup 16.4
Figs (dried) 1 cup 23.0

Seek to limit daily consumption of fructose to
25 grams per day to avoid fatty degeneration

Installment 4 – Neurotransmitters

Neurotransmitters

Before we learn about carbohydrates and fats it is important to have a brief discussion of neurotransmitters.

Ever wonder what really makes you feel good?

While many people will answer “sugar” because they notice the “high” as sugar is flowing into their blood stream and giving them energy. Of course, we all know what follows – the “low” as the sugar runs out and we crave more sugar to feel good again. As you may have guessed, the correct answer is protein and the neurotransmitters which are made from it. Neurotransmitters help you feel good for the long haul.

We can certainly see the physical nature of proteins – a healthy and strong body contributes to how we feel. But that alone does not do it. We need the mind as well. This is where the neurotransmitters come in to play – the “messengers” from the brain to the body. Protein is essential for building neurotransmitters and their receptor sites on cell membranes.

Think of receptor sites as parking spaces and the neurotransmitters as cars. Without a place to park you just keep driving around in circles. Once you are parked you can go about your business. The same goes for neurotransmitters and receptor sites. You need the message to be sent and for it to reach its destination – the cell.

Quite simply – neurotransmitters give us the ability to be happy, alert, remember, and focus – all essential for the competitive athlete.

There are two types of neurotransmitters. Excitatory neurotransmitters energize, excite, stimulate, focus, learn, and remember. Inhibitory neurotransmitters keep us happy, relaxed, and peaceful. As with most areas of life, it is all about balance.

There are six key neurotransmitters: For focus – dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine; for learning and remembering – acetylcholine; for feeling relaxed – GABA; and for being happy – serotonin.

Perhaps the most significant of all is serotonin, the “feel good” neurotransmitter. Low levels of serotonin have been linked to depression. The major anti-depressant medications (Prozac, Zoloft, and Lexapro) are known as SSRIs (or serotonin selective reuptake inhibitors). These drugs work by making serotonin last longer in the brain so that you feel good longer.

Of course this is not addressing why one would be low in serotonin in the first place. Low serotonin is also linked to cravings, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, aggressive behavior, and headaches.

Another important feature of serotonin is that it converts into melatonin. This hormone regulates sleep and is an important antioxidant. Some sleeping disorders may be from lack of melatonin. Serotonin is made from the amino acid tryptophan which is found in turkey and seafood. Also note that serotonin is depleted by high sugar (carbohydrate) diets.

Dopamine is our pleasure and reward neurotransmitter. It is responsible for keeping us focused and alert (thus allowing us to receive our reward!). Dopamine is made from the amino acid tyrosine which is found in poultry, fish (particularly tuna), eggs, beans, nuts and seeds.

Epinephrine and norepinephrine work with dopamine and are stimulating and energy-giving. They are made from the amino acids tyrosine and phenylanine. Low levels of dopamine are associated with attention and behavior disorders (such as addiction).

Acetylcholine supports our memory, attention, and ability to think. One of the key ingredients is choline – found in highest quantities in eggs, beef, and beef liver, but also in broccoli and Brussels sprouts.

GABA is our calming neurotransmitter. It is made from the amino acid taurine. Taurine is a non-essential amino acid that can be manufactured from cysteine in the liver, but vitamin B6 must be present. Taurine is found naturally in seafood and meat. Low levels of GABA are associated with panic attacks, anxiety and insomnia.

As you can see protein (and mainly animal based protein) is a key source of the nutrients required to build our neurotransmitters. Unfortunately, many of our diets lack sufficient protein. Does yours?

Therefore I recommend protein is consumed with each meal.