3 Tips to Burn Fat Efficiently

Posted on |

Getting your body in the best condition for effective fat & weight loss.

 

Do you workout at least three times a week, but don’t see the fats melting away? Yet you know of people who move no more than twice a week, still lose fat and keep it off. It almost seems unfair.

“What’s their secret?”, you think.

Well, there’s no secret. In the nutrition world, nutrition coaches have this simple formula for fat loss:

Calorie input > Calorie output = weight gain

Calorie input < Calorie output = weight loss

So if your body fat percentage and weight seems to have stagnated despite your best efforts, it’s time to look at your diet. Is it filled with refined and processed carbohydrates such as white bread, white rice/noodles, egg noodles, pasta, pizza, and cakes, or glucose- or sugar-laden energy drinks?

As you can quickly see, this is a carb-rich diet (sugar becomes carbs in the body). However, for fat loss, we need to reduce the consumption of carbohydrates so that the body burns fat. Thus, there has been increasing interest in Low-Carb-High-Fat diets that promote weight loss.

Other than What you eat, also equally important is When you eat and How much you eat. This is closely linked to the calorie output part of the equation, which we shall address below by looking at the science of what the body uses for fuel during intense activity periods.

 

FUEL SOURCES

Most people think that as long as they get in some form of exercise for 30-minutes, they are burning fat because their heart rate increases, they become short of breath, and they start to perspire profusely.   Unfortunately, when we do aerobic exercises, the most readily accessible fuel that the body uses is not fats, carbohydrates or protein — it is glycogen. This compound is produced from complex carbs found in vegetables or grains from our most recent meal, and it would have been stored in our liver and muscles. There’s usually 500g to 800g of stored glycogen, which is the main fuel for the first 60 to 90 minutes of moderate intensity exercise.

Thus, exercising for less than 30-minutes will barely touch your body fat reserves. All you’ve done is depleted your body glycogen reserve. Then if you hydrate with an energy drink mid-workout or post workout, the glycogen stores would have been replenished. No fat burning has happened!

So, how can the fat burning be activated? Here are three tips to get the fats melting, and staying off.

  1. High-Intensity Interval Training: As its name suggests, HIIT is high-intensity movements, done in short bursts with rests of the same duration in between each exercise. The intensity of this form of training activates the mitochondrial and fat burning functions of the body. It’s tough, but it is short, sharp, fuss free (no need of much equipment and can be done anywhere), and you continue to feel the effects of the workout for at least 24-hours after.

With regular training, your metabolism becomes stronger and your body will begin to burn fat more efficiently. Your body will also begin to generate ketones at low levels, also known as nutritional ketosis, which helps with memory, and also helps to burn fat as you sleep.

If you have specific weight loss goals to achieve, you can consider working with a personal trainer to adapt your HIIT workout to match your goals. There are even HIIT routines suitable for people with chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and cancer.

After each HIIT workout, ensure that you consume about 20g of good quality protein to help your muscles to recover. Do this ideally within 30-minutes of completing the workout.

For a good quality protein that is easily absorbed by the body, opt for Clean Lean Protein — add a scoop to your water, coconut water, or nut mylk in a shaker bottle, and enjoy chilled.

  1. Superset Training: This is an alternative to HIIT workouts, and involves free weights. A form of strength training, a superset is when you alternate between two exercises without taking a rest in between. So as an example of a superset for the arms and shoulders, you would complete 20 reps of side lateral raise and immediately go into 20 reps of alternate dumbbell press. You may take a rest after this set to catch your breath or take a sip of water, before repeating the set another three times.

Likewise, the intensity of a superset training will activate the fat burn in your body.

Depending on your endurance, it is possible to train for 60-minutes when doing supersets. Should this be the case, consider adding branched chain amino acids and a good quality multi-nutrient with your protein, post workout. Here’s where a scoop of Good Green Stuff comes in handy: it is packed with more than 75 ingredients that meets your daily vitamin, minerals, and nutrient needs.

  1. Intermittent Fasting: If for some reason you’re unable to increase your output i.e. exercise, then you’ll have to decrease your input. One method that has long been used by athletes of sports that have weight class (powerlifting, mixed martial arts, rowing, boxing) is intermittent fasting. This is a pattern of eating less, and less often — a cycle of feasting followed by famine (more about this in the article Why Most Weight Loss Diets Fail).

On an intermittent fast, the rule is to eat no sooner than five hours after your last meal. Another rule is to eliminate all refined and processed carbohydrates, which we have mentioned earlier. Lastly, since it is a fast, snacks between meals are out too. Throw in a couple of training sessions when you’re on a fast, and your body will quickly shift into fat burning mode.

Usually, intermittent fasting should be taken on with the guidance of a nutrition or health coach. The coach will assess your training intensity and schedule, as well as your end-goal of the intermittent fasting, so as to come up with a fasting schedule and food plan suitable for you.

 

END GAME

By keeping in mind that weight loss happens when the output is more than the input, the choice is then to change our eating habits —how much, what, when — and/or increase our movement habits. When the conditions for the body is right, it will start to burn fat more efficiently.

How to Reduce Stress using Food & Nutrition

Posted on |

“I am stressed about work/my relationship/ my family/ my studies…” this is a common exclamation often heard in Singapore.

No one enjoys being under stress. If someone says that they like stress, they probably mean that they like the challenge that the ‘stressful’ situation presents to them.  Yet, ‘good’ stress can be a useful tool that keeps us focused, and alert.  So what is ‘good’ and ‘bad’ stress?

‘Good’ stress:

  • Is infrequent
  • Is over quickly (in a matter of minutes of hours)
  • Motivates you to action
  • Leaves you better than you were before
  • Can be part of a positive life experience

An example of ‘good’ stress is exercise: you feel uncomfortable when you do it, but it is over within 30- to 60-minutes, and leaves you feeling better after.

‘Bad’ stress:

  • Is chronic/ongoing
  • Lasts a long time
  • Demotivates you
  • Is negative and depressing
  • Leaves you worse off than you were before

As you can tell, ‘bad’ stress can be detrimental to physical, mental and emotional health.

The good news is that stress can be managed and even reduced. All you need is to know the early warning signs that tell you that you’re not coping well, and give yourself enough time to recover.

 

STRESS & WEIGHT

When we are placed under chronic stress, the body responds by going into the “fight or flight mode”, as a way of protecting you. In this mode, the sympathetic nervous system is activated. This triggers the HPA axis, a carefully controlled set of feedback loops that involve the hypothalamus, pituitary glands, and adrenal glands.

In simple terms, when the hypothalamus detects stress, it will shut down the production of sex hormones. This can decrease the speed of thyroid hormone production, and lead to “slow’ metabolism.

When this happens, highly stressed people will suddenly find that, despite training more and eating less, they’re still piling on weight or have difficulty in shedding weight.

Equally important is the parasympathetic nervous system, which regulates digestion and intestinal motility through the gastrointestinal tract (GI) when the body is in “rest and digest” mode. Which means, when the body is placed under stress, digestion and movement of food through the GI tract is slowed down.

Additionally, when we are stressed, we tend to eat quickly and less mindfully — we may not chew food properly, and gulp our food down in chunks. This places additional pressure on our digestive system, which has to work harder to digest the larger portions of food. In the long run, this upsets gut health, which adds more stress.

 

FOOD FOR THE MOOD

Clearly, feeling relaxed is important for managing stress. Ironically, while we require food for energy, food is also a stressor. When food enters the body, the latter needs to determine if it is friend or foe. This triggers the release of cortisol, otherwise known as the stress hormone.

So firstly, reduce the pressure placed on your gut! This simply means feeding it as much whole, minimally processed foods as possible while reducing foods that have a high sugar content, refined carbohydrates, or are highly processed. Opt for fresh fruit when your sweet tooth hits, or Nuzest’s Just Fruit & Veg is a blend of five fruit and five vegetables that provides a sweet snack without all the refined sugar and processed stuff.

Secondly, ensure that your musculoskeletal systems are fully supported and that your body has the energy it requires to easily handle stress.   This means eating daily meals that are high in vitamins and minerals, including magnesium, potassium, boron, and vitamin K.

The body also requires folate aka vitamin B9, the key vitamin required for cell renewal. Since the B vitamins work together, the body will require the entire family: B1 thiamine, B2 riboflavin, B3 niacin, B5 pantothenic acid, B6 pyroxidine, B7 biotin, and B12 methylcobalamin. Minimal levels are required for daily functions, in particular, up to 250mg of B5 is required daily by the body’s adrenal glands. However, an adrenally-stressed body will require more when faced with challenging situations. The vitamin B family can be found in dark leafy greens such as spinach and kale.

Also great for supporting the body’s systems are complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, vegetables and fruit (one each from all six colours of the phytonutrient spectrum, namely green, orange, yellow, red, blue/purple, white). Not forgetting healthy fats, and clean protein (approximately 1-2g per kg body weight or one palm).

However, it isn’t just choosing foods with high vitamin and mineral content, they also have to be in a form that is easily absorbed by the body. One of the best ways to ensure this is with Nuzest’s nutrient-packed Good Green Stuff bars or powder. It is packed with more than 75 vitamins, minerals, probiotics, antioxidants and essential nutrients that the body requires on a daily basis.

 

EATING HABITS

How you are eating is also an important factor in reducing stress – energy is required for digesting food, and eating more than what the body requires means that energy that could otherwise be used for dealing with life’s challenges are spent on digesting the additional food intake.

Keep to eating two to three balanced, varied and well-portioned meals a day. When the body is fed with fresh, natural, minimally processed whole foods, it will not require snacks, which can stress the body unless you’re burning off the excess energy with endurance activity.

Eating smaller portions also reduces the stress on your body’s systems. Portion control gives the GI tract time to rebuild, considering that the cells lining your gut are replaced every other day. The microbes and gut flora also have time to recover from their work of digestion and regulation of immune health.

One way to assist the GI tract is to feed it with probiotics, prebiotics, and antioxidants. There are several plant-based options such as dandelion, hawthorn, turmeric, and green tea.

Finally, eat slowly—chew each mouthful at least 20 times. The act of eating slowly sends signals to your brain that you are relaxed, and the parasympathetic nervous system is activated for better digestion.

 

REST & RELAX

Back to resting and relaxing, having good quality sleep is essential for reducing stress. Sleeping well allows your body’s cells to repair and rejuvenate well.

Sleep quality is affected by the types of food we eat, portion sizes, and even when we eat.

Besides the previous tips, you can also avoid eating too close to bedtime. A three to four hour window between the end of your meal to lights off will allow your body time to focus its energy on digesting food before switching gears to relaxation.

 

TAKE HOMES

It’s easy to reduce stress using food and nutrition. Just keep these in mind:

  • Eat fresh, minimally processed, whole foods.
  • Support the body with foods that are high in essential nutrients and minerals.
  • Avoid snacking, especially on foods that have a high sugar content, or on simple carbohydrates.
  • Eat smaller portions and slowly.
  • Avoid eating too close to bedtime.

Why Most Weight Loss Diets Fail

Posted on |

And how to use nutrition to successfully reach your weight goals.

Do you find that despite your best efforts to lose weight with a weight loss diet, you find it hard to resist sweet treats? It’s not uncommon that most diets fail, because most people give in to the call for sweet food.

Although we can’t do much about the cravings for sweet stuff, which is normal as we shall see later, we can use nutrition to ensure that we maintain our healthy weight goals.

It’s simply understanding why we behave the way we do when it comes to food and eating. After-which, it’s a matter of making small changes so that we develop eating habits that support a sustainable, long term weight loss.

 

THE SUGAR TEMPTATION

Ever felt the need order dessert, even though you’re stuffed from your main meal? Or when standing at the dessert section of a buffet, you can’t resist piling your plate with one serving of every cake, cookie, ice cream flavour or waffle offered?

Relax, you’re perfectly normal! It’s part of our evolutionary programming to want to feast, especially on sweet items — in the hunter-gatherer days, sweet foods were scarce in nature, so when humans came across these, they ate as much as they could and stored the excess calories to help them get through leaner times. They didn’t care about diets or weight control then, it was all about surviving through winter or times when there wasn’t sufficient food.

In present times, humans have easy access to an abundance and wide variety of fresh food. These types of food easily supply our bodies with the necessary nutrients that our bodies need for health.

Despite this, the urge to load up on energy still remains, thanks to the genetic programming that we possess since our hunter-gatherer ancestors: the body knows how to react to survive famines but not through feasts. This is what draws us towards foods that are high in calories or refined carbohydrates, because they are converted quicker by the body into the various types of energy that the body seeks.

The next question is: why can’t we simply eliminate sugar from our meals?

Like other stimulants such as alcohol and cigarettes, sugar is a stimulant. If you’ve stopped eating sugar for any length of time, you may notice that your palate changes and you stop craving for sweet food. However, should you give in to sugar again after a period of abstinence, you will find it harder to resist it.

This is why many weight loss diets fail, from giving in to sugary food.

Now, this may seem like a tiny infraction. However, overindulging in foods loaded with sugar can lead to increasing rates of chronic disease. Let’s look at how this happens.

 

THE HEAVY PRICE OF SUGAR

When we eat simple or refined carbohydrates, insulin is produced by our body. Known as the energy storage hormone, insulin’s job is to ensure that our blood sugar levels are balanced so that our energy levels are consistent. It does so by signalling to the body to store energy as either triglycerides (from carbohydrates) or glycogen (from fat).

Our body needs triglycerides, glycogen, as well as amino acids to function well. Too much of one type of energy tips the balance in the body, and can result in negative consequences for our health and weight.

When there is too much sugar in our body, insulin tells the body to predominantly burn sugar (a form of carbohydrate) instead of fat for energy. Since our body is built to deal with sugary foods on occasion rather than as a regular occurrence, the body can develop insulin resistance when it is constantly bombarded with foods high in sugar.

Increased sugar intake means the pancreas has to pump more insulin to regulate the excess glucose. However, the body can only sustain a certain number of insulin receptors for each cell, and hence the amount of glucose taken in by the insulin receptors. So the higher workload literally lead to less sensitivity and glucose uptake by the insulin receptors, which leads to insulin resistance over time.

When this happens, the body is unable to extract glucose from the blood for energy. When the body’s muscles have no energy to function, the brain shuts down the body’s desire to be active so that it can conserve energy. As you can tell, this is counterproductive to any weight loss program.

Additionally, when there is too much glucose in the blood on a daily basis, the liver becomes the only organ that can get rid of the excess sugar, as it doesn’t require insulin to do so. This isn’t ideal as it stresses the liver and affects weight loss goals.

Glucose or sugar is converted into triglycerides in the liver. They are then stored in adipose tissues, which is a collection of fat cells and most commonly seen as unwanted weight in hard-to-shift places such as the waistline, thighs, butt. These fat cells are left in storage and are harmless, until they are needed as a fuel source. However, this is not a source that will be accessed, if the body is flooded with sugar or processed, refined carbohydrates on a daily basis.

Adding on to that, higher glucose levels leads to more fat cells created, and more fat cells deposited in the body. Do you see the ongoing cycle?

 

MAKE YOUR DIET WORK WITH FOOD

The good news is that this cycle can be broken, and with food, no less. The idea is to shift your food choices from process, refined carbohydrates and sugary foods to fresh, unprocessed food choices. This will give the body a larger variety of energy sources to meet its energy needs, and reduce the desire for sugary foods.

A good way to begin is by incorporating the Nuzest range of Clean Lean Protein 100% natural vegetable protein that is low in carbohydrates and fat. So the body gets energy from essential amino acids.

Once you give your body more sources of energy, which are also natural, your body will gradually reduce its dependence on sugar for energy, which will allow it to return to balance once more.

How to Use Nutrition to Reduce the risk of Heart Attacks

Posted on |

Of the various known heart failures, coronary heart disease (CHD)—more commonly known as a heart attack—is the most common in industrialised countries, including Singapore.

According to the Ministry of Health, CHD (also known as Ischemic Heart Disease) is the third principal cause of death in Singapore for the years 2015-2017 [source: https://www.moh.gov.sg/resources-statistics/singapore-health-facts/principal-causes-of-death], while the Institute of Health Metrics & Evaluation (IHME) lists it as the top cause of death and premature death in Singapore for 2017 [source: http://www.healthdata.org/singapore].

Although CHD is a life threatening condition, it can be prevented and managed by understanding the symptoms and causes of a heart attack, and taking steps to prevent its development.

 

What is Coronary Heart Disease

CHD occurs when the arteries supplying blood to the heart become narrow or blocked. This reduces the amount of oxygen supplied to the heart muscle, and it subsequently suffers damage. If the damage severely affects the heart’s ability to pump blood, a ‘heart attack’ or heart failure occurs.

The narrowing or blockage of coronary arteries is typically caused by atherosclerosis, which is the buildup of fatty lipids or low density lipoproteins (LDL) in the coronary arteries.

Other factors that contribute to atherosclerosis include:

  • High blood cholesterol levels
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Heavy smoking
  • Obesity
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Excessive mental stress
  • Sleep apnea
  • Family history
  • Old age: males over the age of 45, females over the age of 55 are at higher risk

 

Symptoms of a Heart Attack

Most people fail to recognise a heart attack as the symptoms are varied.

The main symptom of CHD is an angina, which is a squeezing tightness in the chest, signalling that the heart is not receiving sufficient blood and oxygen. Sometimes there may be pain, which may spread to the abdomen, the upper left part of the body, neck, and jaw instead of being concentrated in the chest.

However, there are incidences when an angina is “silent”, where there is no physical discomfort or pain felt by the person. It is in such cases where a heart attack gets its name as “the silent killer”. An angina can also be stable or unstable.

A stable angina presents itself as a regular or predictable pattern, such as pain or discomfort when walking up a flight of stairs or during activities that increase the heart rate.

An unstable angina occurs without warning. It presents itself as a sudden sharp pain without any prior symptoms or CHD, and can occur even with no physical exertion. Thus, the unstable angina is a more serious condition than the stable angina.

Although the risk factors for CHD are many, they can be managed with lifestyle choices that include sensible nutrition and regular exercise.

 

Nutrition for Heart Health

IHME states that the top contributing risk factor driving death and disability combined, including CHD, is dietary risks. What we eat—and don’t eat—greatly affects our health and mortality.

Saturated fats and trans fats are the biggest contributing factor to blood cholesterol levels—high LDL levels in the blood and trans fat have both been linked to increased heart disease. It is recommended to lower the intake of saturated fat as well as avoid trans fat to lower the risk of CHD. This can be achieved by switching to foods with mono and polyunsaturated fats, which has generally been shown to lower LDL levels in the blood. Simple changes such as opting for vegetable oils, as well as reducing the consumption of high-fat meat products, cheeses, whole-milk products, and processed and/or packaged foods.

Some people believe that overconsumption of sodium may increase blood pressure, and in turn increase the risk of heart disease. Many packaged foods contain high levels of sodium, so be sure to check food labels. Aim to consume no more than 1,500mg of sodium per day by opting reducing packaged foods, choosing low-sodium alternatives, or replacing sodium with herb spice blends.

Potassium can be useful in counterbalancing the effects of sodium—it helps lower blood pressure, which is healthy for the heart. It is naturally abundant in vegetables and fruit, including bananas, avocadoes, and kiwis. Blend them into a breakfast smoothie bowl or smoothie drink, together with Nuzest Clean Lean Protein or Just Fruit & Veg for an added boost.

Soluble fibre helps inhibit cholesterol absorption in the small intestine, thus reducing LDL blood cholesterol levels. Oats, barley, legumes and fruit are rich in soluble fibres. A good source of soluble fibre is psyllium husk, which is good dietary supplement for those who are unable to get sufficient fibre from their daily meals.

Plant sterols have also been shown to lower LDL blood cholesterol levels by inhibiting cholesterol absorption. They can be obtained in plant based dietary supplements, including Nuzest’s Good Green Stuff powder and bar and Clean Lean Protein bar.

Omega-3 fatty acids, also known as EPA and DNA, are healthy fats that lower blood triglyceride levels. They may be beneficial for those with CHD.

Moderate alcohol intake and avoid binge drinking, as alcohol can raise blood pressure and contribute to empty calories, which may lead to weight gain. Males are advised to consume less than seven drinks a week, and females no more than four drinks a week

 

Exercising for Heart Health

Give your heart a lift, literally, with exercises. Movement increases the amount of oxygen supplied to the blood, which reduces the workload on your heart muscle. Exercise also lowers blood triglycerides as your body needs to convert fat into energy. This helps with weight loss, improves insulin sensitivity, and lowers blood pressure.

It is recommended to engage in at least 30-minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most days of the week. Begin with a brisk stroll, gentle yoga, or simply taking the staircase instead of the lift up to your apartment.


Make Heart Healthy Choices

Although CHD is life threatening and develops due to various genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors, it can be managed effectively with consistent physical activity and nutritious eating habits.

Begin by including more fresh, whole, and plant-based foods in your daily meals, gradually reducing the amount of processed and packaged foods. Including plant based supplements, such as Nuzest products, can provide an added boost for your heart health.

HOW A HEALTHY DIET CAN HELP YOU AVOID TYPE 2 DIABETES

Posted on |

According to SingHealth, diabetes affects 9% of the population in Singapore, with Type 2 diabetes more common amongst Singaporeans. While full remission of Type 2 diabetes may not be achieved, it is possible to reverse it with nutrition.

What is Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes usually presents itself in one of two ways:

  • the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin for the cells of the body to metabolise sugar; or
  • the body has become resistant to insulin, and thus is not absorbing enough insulin to metabolise sugar.

In either scenario, there is insufficient insulin for the body to keep blood glucose levels normal. Type 2 diabetes can develop at any age. So it can affect anyone, ranging from children to senior adults.

Some common risk factors of diabetes include:

  • Higher than normal blood glucose levels, which is a condition known as prediabetes;
  • High blood pressure and cholesterol;
  • Excess weight, especially around the abdomen, since fatty tissues increase the body’s resistance to insulin;
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Increased age.

Diabetes symptoms include:

  • Excessive thirst and frequent urination
  • Increased hunger
  • Blurred vision
  • Frequent skin infections and/or wounds that take a long time to heal
  • A feeling of tiredness over prolonged periods of time

However, as Type 2 Diabetes develops slowly, and with some people displaying none of the known diabetes symptoms, many people may be unaware that they have the condition until their health is seriously affected.

One of these conditions is known as hyperglycemia, where the blood sugar levels are higher than normal. If left unmanaged, hyperglycemia can cause to complications that affect the kidney, eyes, nerves, and heart.

Can I Stop the Progress of Type 2 Diabetes?

While it is not easy, many people have been able to slow down the progress of diabetes, and even reverse it. It involves intensive lifestyle management that often involves weight loss and improved nutrition.

A 2014 study into the frequency of remission of Type 2 diabetes with lifestyle intervention compared to diabetes support and education alone concluded that, in overweight adults, intensive interventions with weight loss were more likely to result in partial or complete remission.

A 2016 study examining the effects of a very low-calorie diet on patients with Type 2 diabetes found that a sustainable weight loss program was effective in lowering fasting plasma glucose, and potentially reversing Type 2 diabetes.

Lastly, a 2014 study by the Second University of Naples showed a low-carb Mediterranean-style diet helped 15% of participants achieve remission within one year. Other diets, including low-fat diets were also tested, but with less robust results.

It seems that carbohydrate and caloric intake is most associated with reversing diabetes.

Reversing Type 2 Diabetes with Nutrition

Insulin injections and other medication are commonly used to manage Type 2 diabetes and hyperglycemia. However, a more sustainable and lasting approach would be using nutrition—together with physical activity—to reverse the condition, especially for those who wish to wean off their dependence on diabetes or hyperglycemia medication.

The way to do so is to break the cycle of strain on the cells that produce insulin, which can be assisted through a healthful diet and physical activity. Start with eating a varied diet consisting of fruit, vegetables, whole grain products, and lean protein, and reduce the consumption of processed food.

Plant Protein vs Animal derived protein – Going head to head

Posted on |

Plant based protein is the biggest story in today’s protein market. By incorporating plant-based proteins into diets it is possible to decrease or fully eliminate meat consumption. Due to this more and more are adopting vegetarian and vegan lifestyles. However, many people are still focused on consuming “high quality” meat products either for taste preferences, or because they believe meat is nutritionally superior. We want to set out the challenge of answering the underlying question “what is the difference between plant protein versus animal protein?”

Amino Acids in Plant Protein and Animal Protein

Protein is made up of amino acids. A total of 20 amino acids are needed by the human body. Of the required 20 amino acids, 9 are considered “essential,” meaning they must be obtained through the diet. The other 11 amino acids can be synthesized in the body.

Animal proteins tend to deliver all of the amino acids you need in one food. But what is not commonly known is that you don’t have to get all amino acids in one meal to experience the benefits. For years, it was believed that plant proteins were somehow inferior to animal protein. The premise was; plant proteins could only be “incomplete” proteins – meaning they lacked one or several of the the essential amino acids. In order to be “complete,” one would have to diligently plan meals to get a full range of amino acids. This is where the whole “you need to eat rice and beans together for complete protein” idea comes from.  Since this time, science has entirely debunked the myth that you need to consume all amino acids simultaneously to reap the protein rewards. We now know that you can consume various forms of plant foods with different amino acid profiles separately (spaced out throughout the day, across a few days, etc.) and still get adequate use of dietary protein.  Eating a robust, varied diet complete with various plant-proteins, you can get a full range of the amino acids that your body needs, even as a vegan. The Nuzest Clean Lean Protein has a complete panel of amino acids.

Animal Protein, Plant-Protein, and Chronic Disease

The World Health Organization (WHO) currently classifies red meat as a Group 2A carcinogen, meaning that it is probably carcinogenic to humans (meaning they believe red meat might cause cancer) Processed meat is classified as a Group 1 carcinogen, meaning, it is cancer-causing to humans based on sufficient human data. Limiting intake of red and processed meat could be beneficial in lowering cancer risks.

Furthermore, epidemiological studies of various dietary habits have shown that vegetarian and vegan diets are usually protective in terms of cancer risk and that fruit and vegetable consumption is linked with lower risk of cancer. Additionally, plant foods usually are full of free-radical quenching antioxidants, which can help protect your body from harmful oxidative reactions and are often rich in fiber. Other large observational studies have connected red meat consumption with cardiovascular disease and processed meat with increased risk of cardiovascular-related deaths, as well as increased risk of Type 2 Diabetes.

The amount of red and processed meat you consume makes a difference!

You don’t have to go fully vegan in order to benefit from the wide ranging benefits of plant-based foods. Even if you love meat, cutting back on animal proteins from processed and red meat sources may be beneficial against these diseases, especially if you replace meat with nutrient-rich plant foods such as legumes, nuts, beans, whole grains, and fruits and vegetables.

Protein and The Environment: Is Meat Sustainable?

It is accepted that meat is simply less environmentally friendly. Producing just one kilogram of beef (or 2.2 pounds) emits a hefty 26 kilograms of carbon dioxide. Lamb emits even more carbon dioxide: roughly 39 kilograms of CO2 per kilogram of meat. Livestock also emits methane (another greenhouse gas) from burps, farts, and poop.

To complicate things further, even ‘healthier alternatives’ such as grass fed livestock tend to emit even more greenhouse gases compared to factory-farmed livestock due to efficiency in terms of land-use and resources.

Plant proteins typically produce far fewer carbon emissions. For example, a kilogram of lentils emits 0.7. kilograms of carbon dioxide (CO2), a strikingly lesser amount than livestock production. Furthermore, they tend to have a much smaller water footprint, making them an overall more sustainable food choice.

Even if you’re a fan of meat, swapping some animal protein for plant-based protein will not only be beneficial for your health, but it will also help shrink the overall carbon footprint you produce. To add more plant-based protein to your diet, check out Nuzest Clean Lean Protein or other products in the Nuzest lineup.

We have a range of amazing Clean Lean Protein Smoothies, Smoothie Bowls and other recipes for you to follow!  Check these out here.

* Original article posted by Nuzest USA https://www.nuzest-usa.com/need-know-plant-protein-vs-animal-protein

Turmeric for post-workout recovery

Posted on |

We’ve all felt it – that pain and stiffness that occurs several hours (and even days!) after unaccustomed exercise or overworking a particular muscle group. Known as ‘delayed onset muscle soreness’ (DOMS), we typically experience these pains when eccentric muscle activity is involved and the contracting muscles are forcibly lengthened.1 This mechanical stress triggers an inflammatory response and the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) resulting in sustained inflammation and oxidative stress which can eventually lead to muscle injury and the dreaded DOMS.2

The medicinal benefits of regular turmeric consumption have been well documented; from improving brain function to lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease, preventing and treating Alzheimer’s Disease and even fighting certain types of cancer. What is less commonly known is that Curcumin (the active constituent of Turmeric that gives it its distinctive yellow colour) has also proven to be beneficial in recovery from exercise due to its powerful antioxidant and inflammatory effects.

To test the theory, a trial was carried out to measure the effects of oral curcumin versus placebo on DOMS following unaccustomed heavy eccentric exercise. The study was a double-blind, randomised-controlled crossover trial in which the Curcumin or placebo were taken two days before to three days after eccentric exercise and the results found that only the Curcumin had beneficial effects. These included:

  • moderate to large reductions in single-leg squat and gluteal stretch pain at 24 and 48 hours post exercise,
  • reduced pain on walking down stairs, and
  • improved muscle performance.3

Another recent randomised, placebo-controlled, single-blind trial comparing Curcumin with placebo was designed to assess the muscle damage of healthy male volunteers after performing a 45 minute downhill running race. Results found that 1g of turmeric given twice daily resulted in:

  • reduced MRI evidence of muscle injury in the posterior and medial compartment of both thighs,
  • less pain in the lower legs, and
  • reduced systemic inflammatory response in comparison to placebo.2

The results from these studies suggest that turmeric has the potential to be very beneficial in reducing post-exercise soreness after high intensity training.

Nuzest’s Chai, Turmeric and Maca Clean Lean Protein (CTM-CLP) contains 1g of 100% pure Indian turmeric root and 19g of digestible protein per 25g serve, making it the perfect pre- and post-workout supplement. Because Curcumin alone has a very low bioavailability, CTM-CLP also contains 100mg of black pepper per serve which has been proven to enhance the bioavailability of curcumin in humans by 2000%.4 A clinical study conducted on elite rugby players has shown that the combination of curcumin and piperine (black pepper’s active ingredient) supplementation before and after exercise may help lessen some aspects of muscle damage.5

So if you’re looking to dial up the intensity of your training, or you want to recover and get back into it faster, try adding turmeric to your diet.

References:

1Proske, U., & Morgan, D. L. (2001). Muscle damage from eccentric exercise: mechanism, mechanical signs, adaptation and clinical applications. The Journal of Physiology, 537(Pt 2), 333–345. http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-7793.2001.00333.x

2Drobnic, F., Riera, J., Appendino, G., Togni, S., Franceschi, F., & Valle, X. et al. (2014). Reduction of delayed onset muscle soreness by a novel curcumin delivery system (Meriva®): a randomised, placebo-controlled trial. Journal of The International Society of Sports Nutrition, 11(1), 31. http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1550-2783-11-31

3Nicol, L., Rowlands, D., Fazakerly, R., & Kellett, J. (2015). Curcumin supplementation likely attenuates delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). European Journal of Applied Physiology, 115(8), 1769-1777. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00421-015-3152-6

4Shoba, G., Joy, D., Joseph, T., Majeed, M., Rajendran, R., & Srinivas, P. (1998). Influence of Piperine on the Pharmacokinetics of Curcumin in Animals and Human Volunteers. Planta Medica, 64(4), 353-356. http://dx.doi.org/10.1055/s-2006-957450

5Delecroix, B., Abaïdia, A. E., Leduc, C., Dawson, B., & Dupont, G. (2017). Curcumin and Piperine Supplementation and Recovery Following Exercise Induced Muscle Damage: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, 16, 147-153.

 

The Benefits of Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT) for Energy and Exercise

Posted on |

MCTs

Fats – the endless scrutiny continues. Which ones are bad for us? Which ones are meant to be good for us? Which ones will make us put on weight? Everyone seems to have a different opinion. The good news is there is one type of fat that experts agree we don’t need to be concerned about – one that is not only good for our health but can also improve our energy and the quality of our workouts.

Medium Chain Triglycerides/Triacylglycerols (MCTs) are a unique form of dietary fat that provide numerous health benefits. Their reduced chain length not only means that they carry fewer calories, it also allows for accelerated metabolic conversion. This means that instead of our bodies storing them as fat (like Long Chain Fatty acids (LCTs)), the calories in MCTs are used immediately by our organs and muscles, making it one of the fastest, cleanest sources of fuel for the body.

MCTs have gained popularity with athletes looking to increase energy levels and enhance endurance during high-intensity exercise. 1 A review of the literature has shown that short-term ingestion of foods containing a small amount of MCTs suppresses the increase in blood lactate concentration and the rate of perceived exertion (RPE) during moderate-intensity exercise; whilst extending the duration of subsequent high-intensity exercise, at levels higher than those achieved by ingestion of LCT-containing foods.2

MCTs have also been found to assist with weight loss because of their lower caloric content than other fats, as well as their ability to enhance metabolism, increase energy expenditure, and promote the production of ketones – all without adversely affecting metabolic risk factors such as cholesterol and blood pressure.1,3,4,5 Scientists have attributed the energy-enhancing properties of MCTs to their rapid formation of ketone bodies thus making them an excellent choice for anyone that has increased energy needs or requires enhanced athletic performance.

Now that we have cleared the air on this group of ‘super’ fats, it’s time to put them to use in your own daily routine. Nuzest’s Coffee, Coconut + MCT Clean Lean Protein contains approximately 600mg of coconut-derived MCTs per 25g serve, making it the perfect pre-workout protein smoothie.

Click here for our Pre-Workout Coffee, Coconut + MCT thick shake recipe to help get the best out of every workout.

 

References:

  1. Dean, W. & English, J. (2013). Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) – Beneficial Effects on Energy, Atherosclerosis and Aging. Retrieved from https://nutritionreview.org/2013/04/medium-chain-triglycerides-mcts/
  2. Nosaka, N., Suzuki, Y., Nagatoishi, A., Kasai, M., Wu, J., & Taguchi, M. (2009). Effect of Ingestion of Medium-Chain Triacylglycerols on Moderate- and High-Intensity Exercise in Recreational Athletes. Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology, 55(2), 120-125. http://dx.doi.org/10.3177/jnsv.55.120
  3. Mumme, K., & Stonehouse, W. (2015). Effects of Medium-Chain Triglycerides on Weight Loss and Body Composition: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Journal of The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 115(2), 249-263. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jand.2014.10.022
  4. Rego Costa, A. C., & Rosado, E. L., & Soares-Mota, M. (2012). Influence of the dietary intake of medium chain triglycerides on body composition, energy expenditure and satiety; a systematic review. Nutricion Hospitalaria, 27(1), 103-108.
  5. St-Onge, M.-P., Bosarge, A., Goree, L. L. T., & Darnell, B. (2008). Medium Chain Triglyceride Oil Consumption as Part of a Weight Loss Diet Does Not Lead to an Adverse Metabolic Profile When Compared to Olive Oil. Journal of the American College of Nutrition27(5), 547–552.

 

FREE shipping on EVERY order! Dismiss