Everyone eats carbohydrates. You pretty much can’t get around it. We need carbs for energy after all.
But the questions still remain: How many carbs should I eat in a day?
Are there drawbacks from eat too little or too many carbs?
What are the side effects of eating carbs or abstaining from eating carbs?
When should I eat carbs during the day?
- Insulin resistance
- Activity level
- Target body weight
- Exercise goals
The most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans, as stated by the Department of Health and Human Services, suggest that roughly 50% of your daily calories come from carbs. Thus, a person who eats approximately 2,500 calories per day should take in about about 300 grams of carbs. This number is not altogether bad for the average American, but we have to take into consideration the sources of those carbs.
These are the kinds of carbs to avoid at all costs:
- Sugary snacks and pastries
- Sugar-sweetened soft drinks or fruit juice
- Regular fried greasy chips
- Processed, packaged snack foods
- High sugar kids cereals
- Processed white flour products such as white bread and pasta
These foods offer virtually no nutritional value, and they contain far too many calories. Some of these foods also contain saturated and trans-fats that are bad for your heart, and sugary foods can lead to such maladies as type II diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Specifically if you are already insulin resistant, you should avoid these bad carbs as they will just ruin your day by making you tired, slow, dumb, and hungry.
Instead choose these kinds of carbs:
- Fresh fruit
- Whole wheat and whole grain products
- Beans, nuts, and other legumes
When Do I Need More Carbs?
People that exercise with high intensity or with prolonged endurance, can benefit from a high carbohydrate intake before exercise. It is feasible to consume a high carbohydrate meal before a marathon, or a moderately high carbohydrate meal before lifting weights or martial arts training. It is not a good idea to consume too many carbs in one sitting, but 50 grams is not out of the question if you are preparing for a physically draining event.
During and after exercise is also a key time to consume carbs. In fact this is the only time it is recommended to consume sugary carbs. I tend to sip on Gatorade during a workout and my post-workout Shake contains about 40 grams of carbs in the form of dextrose and about 36 from natural apple sauce. This helps me to replenish lost glycogen stores and restart protein synthesis after a demanding workout.
When Do I Need Fewer Carbs?
There is no need to eat carbohydrates at night. Ever. Some folks believe in consuming a high-carb meal the night before an event like a marathon, but I just don’t see it. I would say eat that meal in the morning if the event is in the late morning or early afternoon. The best time for a high carbohydrate meal is in the morning, when your body is prepared to uptake glycogen for energy for the day. Lunch should be a moderate carb meal as you don’t want to get that ‘bonk’ feeling in the middle of the afternoon. Also consider that if you don’t plan to exercise during the day then there’s really no need to gulp down many carbs at any point in the day.
Carbs and Fat Loss
If you are on a fat loss diet, then there’s definitely no need to eat more than 100 grams of carbs in any one day. I don’t necessarily support Atkins, but there are valid points to that diet. Ultimately, you should contact a Nutritionist for your specific prescription.
In conclusion, I recommend that if you are moderately active, you should derive maybe 30% of your daily calories from carbs. Sure, my opinion differs from specialist government agencies, but that’s only because I have seen low carb diets work. I have also seen Americans grow obese and suffer from a long list of carbohydrate induced diseases.
A 200 lb man on a 2500 calorie diet would probably eat maybe 180 grams of carbs in a day, all from unprocessed whole food sources. A 140 lb woman on a 1500 calorie diet might only eat 100 grams of carbs in a day.
Someone on a strict diet might limit themselves to 50 grams of carbohydrates a day regardless of sex or weight. Just remember to avoid those nasty sugary processed carbs so that you can stay healthy, avoiding energy crashes and adult-onset type II diabetes.
Almost all nutritious food has fat in it. Fats are used for a variety of purposes including transporting vital nutrients to cells, assisting in digestion of certain foods, and providing us with energy in times of nutrient depletion. To be healthy you can’t, and shouldn’t, stay away from fat. Still we find ourselves asking:
How much fat should I eat in a day?
What are the pros and cons of eating low-fat or fat-free?
What kind of fat should I be eating most?
Which foods provide healthy fats and which foods will kill me quickly?
It all depends on a couple factors:
- Current bodyweight
- Dietary goals
- Cholesterol profile
- Activity level
- Time of day
The American Heart Association recommends limiting dietary fat to 30% of total calories. Take into consideration however, if you are overweight, need to lower blood cholesterol, or have another medical concern, you may need less than the recommended 30%.
Why do I Need to Eat Fat?
Fats are vital to many of the body’s primary functions, specifically digestion and nutrient absorption. The main form of fat found in food and also found in the body, makes up most of the body’s stored energy. You may have heard of these type of fats before, we call them triglycerides. When your body is at rest or performing activity of a low intensity, it generates most of its energy from free fatty acids, which are released from the body’s stores of triglycerides.
The calories in fat molecules (9 calories per gram) provide more than twice as much energy as carbs and protein (4 calories per gram). This is especially true in a glycogen depleted state, in which the body turns to fat for nearly all of its energy.
Lipids (fats) in foods transport fat-soluble vitamins to the intestines. This facilitates the absorption of of many vital nutrients such as A ,D, E and K. You risk developing deficiencies for some of these nutrients without an adequate amount of fat in your diet.
Eating foods that are high in fat helps us moderate our appetite through two means:
- fat satiates hunger; you feel more satisfied after eating when you consume a meal higher in fat
- since fat digests slower than carbs or protein, the presence of fat in the digestive system slows down the digestion process. This means a higher fat meal will stay in your stomach longer than a lower fat meal.
You might find yourself faced with increased hunger when your intake of calories from fat is reduced below 20% of total caloric intake.
Omega-3s and Omega-6s, the essential fatty acids, need to be ingested as part of the diet, as they cannot be manufactured within the body. These nutrients are the essential building blocks of compounds and molecules that are responsible for performing vital bodily functions such as helping blood to clot, immune system response, and blood pressure regulation. In women, the essential fatty acids also aid in healthy childbirth. The essential fatty acids can be found in foods containing soybean or canola oil, as well as in sardines, tuna, and salmon.
We also need to be aware that when fat is removed from most foods, the food manufacturers usually add carbohydrates in order to preserve a desirable taste and texture. Typically these carbohydrates are the worst kind of carbs for your body as they are mostly high-glycemic, processed refined sugars. Many low-fat and fat-free products remain energy dense for just this reason, since they still contain a high concentration of calories from carbohydrates rather than fat.
We always need to remember that the source of our calories counts. Whether they come from fat, protein, or carbs we always need to be sure to use moderation when choosing portion sizes, even when eating fat-reduced foods. By now everyone is aware that the increasing variety of lower fat items is directly proportional to the American average weight going up, up, up. Eating reduced fat or fat free is not the solution for weight loss. In fact, eating too many of these foods over the course of our childhood, teenage, and young adult years, can often lead to nasty diseases such as adult-onset type II diabetes.
Why Should I Stay Away From Fat?
The answer is simple: you shouldn’t. The folks that should really stay away from fat the most are those with high cholesterol, and even then, they should be sure to consume the proper ratio and amounts of Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids to stay healthy. If you have been told by your doctor that you need to reduce cholesterol, you should attempt to stay away from pork, beef, and eggs. Also check labels often for cholesterol content, because something like a salad dressing might contain more cholesterol than you think.
If you are extremely overweight, you will probably want to go easy on the fat only because it is so calorie dense. But in the same respect, if you are willing to bring your carbohydrate intake under 100 grams per day, then you should replace those lost carbs with protein and healthy fats.
When Should I Stay Away From Fat?
During the day you will probably want to stay away from fat late at night, and anytime near or around a workout. You want glycogen to be readily available, so you won’t want slow down digestion by consuming fat before or during a workout. Doing so would also steal blood away from your extremities to send to the stomach to assist with digestion. It may sound petty, but every little bit counts. You also want to get fat-free glycogen back into the muscles ASAP after training. Therefore your post workout shake should contain 0 grams of fat if possible. My post workout shake contains, no sugar added apple sauce, cinnamon, waxy maze (Dymatize Flud), and Quattro Protein.
In conclusion we can say that fat is good. Deriving 30-40% of your daily calories from fat is acceptable. Try to eat healthy fats from fruits, veggies, fish, eggs, nuts, and canola/soybean/olive oil. Minimize trans fats and saturated fats, making sure not to eat fats that are solid at room temperature like butter and animal fat. Try not to cook with fat either, since cooking healthy fats actually makes them unhealthy fats.
Eating a lower calorie, higher protein, higher healthy fat, lower carb kind of diet is one sure way to stay healthy and lose some weight. This is the type of lifestyle that can be permanent and effective!
Hardcore bodybuilders, powerlifters, and other weightlifters eat a ton of protein in a day. OK, they don’t eat a “ton”, but they do eat more than the average person.
Just how much protein do they eat?
How much protein do you eat?
How much protein is appropriate?
Can we eat too much protein?
If so, what are the side effects?
The ultimate question is: How much protein should I eat in a day?
As with how much fat to eat in a day and how many carbs to eat in a day, it all depends on a couple factors:
- Body size
- Activity level
The recommended amount of protein for a healthy adult is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight. Since a kilogram is roughly equal to 2.2 pounds, that translates into .36 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight.
An exception to this rule is the recommended levels for pregnant women, which say that pregnant women should eat 10 grams more each day than the recommended amount. Lactating women require an additional 15 grams of protein during the first six months of nursing, and an additional 12 grams after that.
I firmly believe that this recommendation is grossly inadequate. In fact I wouldn’t recommend any less than .8 grams of protein per pound (rather than per kilogram) of body weight, for people looking to maintain a healthy body composition, and I wouldn’t recommend any less than 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight for people looking to gain muscle.
Males who participate in regular vigorous exercise typically will eat from 1 to 1.5 gram of protein per pound of body weight. This can be both positive and negative for the body. The additional protein will assist in muscle recovery and fat loss, but the effects of digesting the protein will place additional stress on the body.
Why Should I Limit My Protein Intake?
While protein is as vital to cellular metabolism as oxygen, there certainly lies a threshold for healthy and unhealthy consumption levels especially for those in poorer health. Processing protein requires a lot from kidneys and liver which is why those with problems with either of those organs are often ordered by their physicians to eat a lower protein diet.
An indirect drawback from excessive animal protein consumption is its effect on the cardiovascular system. Since many meats contain a fair amount of saturated fat, this can lead to atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, as well as obesity.
For example, only 25% of a T-bone steak’s calories come from protein while the rest comes from saturated fat. Even a leaner cut of beef like a flank steak is still roughly 50% fat. The same holds true for eggs. Only 31% of eggs’ calories come from protein. Fish and chicken are certainly better sources of protein.
Remember when eating a diet higher in protein to drink plenty of water in order to replenish the considerable amount lost during protein metabolism. Try and stay on the safe side by avoiding extreme high-protein diets full of saturated fats like the ketogenic diets (Atkins) and you will be in much better physical standing.
To Gain Muscle:
I recommend 1 gram of protein per lb of lean body mass for males and females who exercise at least 3 times per week and are trying to gain muscle mass.
A 200 lb man with 10% bodyfat would aim to consume about 180 grams of protein in a day. That’s 6 meals with an average of 30 grams of protein per meal, and THAT, my friends, is quite doable.
If you have trouble consuming that much protein with food alone, I highly suggest you pick up some Optimum Nutrition Protein Powders, a source of inexpensive, high quality protein. One extra protein shake a day could make all the difference in the world.
To Lose Fat:
I recommend .8 grams of protein per lb of lean body mass for males and females who exercise at least 3 times per week and are trying to lose body fat.
A 150 lb woman with 25% bodyfat would aim to consume about 90 grams of protein in a day. That’s 3 meals with 20 grams of protein per meal and 3 snacks with 10 grams of protein, and THAT, my friends, is also very doable.
More importantly, keeping your unhealthy fat consumption and processed carbohydrate consumption low, will go a long way to preserve your health for the long haul.
Thanks! The Wired Fitness Bootcamp Staff
Alcohol in your system is detrimental to any kind of fitness activity (except maybe on the dance floor). Here’s how booze wreaks havoc on your regimen.
1. Slower Recovery Hard workouts drain the glycogen stores (carbs stored in the liver and muscles) and leave your muscle tissue in need of repair. “Pouring alcohol into your system as soon as you finish stalls the recovery process,” says Tavis Piattoly, R.D. High levels of alcohol displace the carbs, leaving your stores still 50 percent lower than normal even eight hours later, according to one study. Sip or snack on a combo of muscle-repairing protein and carbs (think low-fat chocolate milk or peanut butter on whole-wheat crackers) before tipping back.
2. Packed-On Fat When booze is on board, your body, besides having to deal with the surplus of calories, prioritizes metabolizing the alcohol over burning fat and carbs. Alcohol also breaks down amino acids and stores them as fat. “For some reason this process is most pronounced in the thighs and glutes,” says Piattoly. “Excessive alcohol consumption really chews up muscle in those areas.” It also increases levels of cortisol (a stress hormone), which further encourages fat storage, particularly in your midsection.
3. Disrupted Sleep Boozing also blows your muscle recovery and performance by sapping your sleep. In a study of 93 men and women, researchers found that alcohol decreased sleep duration and increased wakefulness (particularly in the second half of the night), especially in women, whose sleep time was decreased by more than 30 minutes over the night. “Disrupting the sleep cycle can reduce your human growth hormone output—which builds muscle—by as much as 70 percent,” says Piattoly.
4. Depleted Water and Nutrients Alcohol irritates the stomach lining, which can reduce your capacity to absorb nutrients (the reason you have an upset stomach after a few too many), says Brian R. Christie, Ph.D.—not to mention that alcohol makes you pee. For every gram of ethanol you suck down, you pump out 10 milliliters of urine (that’s about 9.5 ounces for two beers). As little as 2 percent dehydration hurts endurance performance. And by the way, you can’t re-hydrate with a dehydrating drink (e.g., beer).
IS IT REALLY WORTH IT? Read #2 again :-)….
Do you exercise because you want to lose weight?
Well, if so, Low intensity cardio is NOT the best way to go about burning fat.
Low intensity workouts are great for building endurance, but they’re not the best choice if your goal is weight loss. When your muscles have to continuously contract for 30, 45 or 60 minutes (such as the case for low intensity cardio), that energy has to come from somewhere. The body is stubborn and doesn’t want to burn fat for energy so it often times eats up your muscle instead during this type of training. This immediately kills your metabolism and it robs your body of strength and athleticism.
Why should you care about your muscles?
Because the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn, even at rest- You have to treat your hard earned muscle like GOLD- As it’s what keeps your metabolism revving. Even if you’re goal isn’t muscle growth, you need to AVOID losing muscle just for the fat loss benefits alone! If you lose muscle, you’re making it harder to lose weight, not easier. One of the keys to getting ripped – for girls and guys – is exercising in a way that stimulates your metabolism, even after you’ve stopped exercising.
When it comes to cardio, scientific research shows that high intensity cardio is significantly more effective than low intensity cardio.
High intensity cardio forces your body to keep burning fat and calories after you stop training. Think about this for a second. If you do low intensity cardio, you’ll burn calories ONLY during exercise. When you stop exercising, you stop burning calories. But imagine this…
Even AFTER you’ve stopped exercising, your body burns fat. You could be sitting on the couch, watching TV, and your body would still be burning fat and getting you lean. That’s what happens when you do high intensity cardio. Instead of jogging, walking or swimming for 30 to 45 minutes, do high intensity cardio.
Do short, quick circuits of body weight exercises such as jumping jacks or burpees, similar to how we put together your Bootcamp workouts. For example, do burpees for 20 seconds, then take a 10 second rest. Repeat the circuit 8 times.
Now – there’s important lesson coming up. It’s about a Fat Loss Myth – “Just eat less and you’ll lose weight.” Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.In fact, this advice can be downright harmful. Cutting calories is NOT the way to lose weight.
In a few days, you’ll find out why……
Caffeine tends to get a bit of a bad rap
that is hardly warranted when used properly.
Studies show consuming approximately
200mg of caffeine pre-workout can increase
the number of calories you burn by increasing
your metabolism by about 10%.
Other benefits of caffeine can include enhancing
your focus, awareness, energy levels, and feeling
of well being while increasing fat oxidization.
On top of this, caffeine has been associated
with increased strength and endurance while training.
Personally I know I’ve had my best workouts when
I have a good jolt of caffeine in my system.
Now you can’t overdue it though, as this is when
the negative aspects of caffeine can rear it’s ugly head.
I find the sweet spot for myself is about 300mg of
caffeine 20 minutes pre-workout. Any more than
this and I tend to get jittery.
I’ll almost always include my caffeine in the form
of a pre-workout supplement from Adrenalyn, AAKG, and Beta Alanine,
but caffeine in the form of pills or plain black
coffee work well too.
A cool thing about consuming caffeine in the form
of plain black coffee is that it has a thermogenic
effect in the body meaning it takes more calories
to metabolize the ingredients than what you’re consuming.
Anyway, that’s your tip for the day!
Think about this next time you think no one is watching when you cheat, eat that on the go burrito, stop at a fast food restaurant, or pound 4+ alcoholic drinks….
It wasn’t long ago that a very popular doctor developed a weight loss plan that involved the hormone HCG, better known as the Human Chorionic Gonadotropin. This may sound like a mouthful, but many people thought that injections of this hormone, with a strict caloric diet would be their key to weight loss glory. The recent rebirth of this diet in today’s society reveals that there are many HCG diet dangers that most people aren’t aware of.
HCG was first prescribed as a treatment for obesity back in 1954, by Dr. A Simeons. His method consisted of prescribing patients with a strict diet of about 500 calories per day, combined with 125 units of HCG injected six days per week for eight weeks. (Whoa! Sounds fun, huh?)
This solution for obesity became more popular in the 1970’s when people displaying their love for this method took to the streets and claimed that they had experienced rapid weight loss with minimal hunger, no weakness, and noticeable loss of fat in their stomach, hips, thighs, and upper arms.
Contrary to these joyous claims, there has been recent scientific evidence that shows the hormone HCG has no effect on the treatment of obesity.
Although there have been no specific claims of HCG causing harm or weight loss in patients, it is the intense calorie-restricted diet that is the cause of most concern.
500 calories a day is like telling your body, “I don’t like you, so I’m going to punish you for making me so overweight.” This way to lose is not the answer.
If you suffer from obesity, or just need to lose weight, the best thing you can do for your body is to eat satisfying portions of foods that are well-balanced with essential protein, carbohydrates, and yes, even fat. (the healthy kind!). You definitely don’t need hormone injections of HCG to maintain successful weight loss.
Harmful diets like the HCG diet are detrimental. Why? Since your body is literally starving, it forces your body to feed off itself for energy to fuel your metabolism. This is a very disturbing fact, but it’s true.
You can still stick to a calorie-restricted diet, it just can’t be TOO restricted. In fact, Dr. A’s diet is dramatically far below the RDA’s recommendation for daily caloric intake in adults.
In order to avoid HCG diet dangers, find a diet or meal plan that contains a controlled caloric intake between 1,200-1,500 calories. This may seem a like a lot compared to Dr. A’s prescribed 500, but diets like these actually cause your body to retrain its metabolism to maintain weight loss more effectively.
So, if someone tells you that the HCG diet is the way to go, remember the simple facts: Starving your body is never the answer. Our bodies need nutrition to function, and can’t maintain successful weight loss without it.
By skipping the hormones, and eating properly balanced meals, you can avoid these diet dangers and lose weight the safe and smart way!
Researchers recently found, using data gathered from the Framingham Heart Study, that study participants who followed a diet consistent with the recommended dietary guidelines and exercised regularly had less abdominal fat.
The study, which was published in Diabetes Care, followed 2,926 adults who underwent CT scans to measure abdominal fat. Exercise and healthy eating weren’t the only lifestyle factors that impacts abdominal fat. The study found that smokers had higher levels of VAT (a deep layer of fat that surrounds the abdominal organs and is linked with metabolic risk factors).
In addition, men whose lifestyle includes consuming higher amounts of alcohol had higher volume of this abdominal fat (VAT) .
While the idea that lifestyle impacts abdominal fat is nothing new, the specific type of abdominal fat that is increased by these lifestyle choices seems to be more harmful than previously thought. Authors concluded the volume of dangerous VAT can be significantly reduced when more healthy habits are adopted.
Back in the bad old hunter-gatherer days, the human species got a lot of use out of the hormone cortisol. That’s the stress hormone activated during the fight-or-flight response, causing our blood pressure to rise and heart rate to increase.
Throw in a little adrenaline and these useful, even essential, physical adjustments made it possible for our forebears to do things like battle marauding tigers on a moment’s notice, or scoop up their offspring and flee from raging wildfire.
But in the modern world, there’s little need to either fight or flee, yet the cortisol release remains functional in the species, only now, it’s activated in response to the stressors of modern society-bad traffic, malfunctioning machinery, domestic discord-rather than natural perils or challenges to survival.
There are some real downsides to this artifact of our rugged past. Research indicates that cortisol is also associated with abdominal fat production. And without the physical release demanded by, say, wrangling an enraged wildebeest, cortisol seems to end up accelerating abdominal fat production.
For virtually anyone, this can lead to higher cholesterol levels, blood sugar levels and elevated blood pressure, all factors for heart disease. But people who are genetically prone to holding their fat stores around the middle are especially susceptible, which makes this a bigger concern for these apple-shaped people than it is for those pear-shaped individuals who tend to carry their extra on the hips and thighs.
And there is other research that shows that abdominal fat retention–distinct from lower-body fat retention–causes specific, recognizable chemical changes in the body that can ultimately lead to lowered metabolism and symptomatic cravings for sweets.
In this way, abdominal fat retention can lead to ever more weight gain, putting overweight people with a predisposition to the apple shape at a much elevated risk for disease. Add a stressful lifestyle and excess cortisol production to those factors, and you have a time-tested recipe for a heart attack.