Meal Frequency!

MEAL FREQUENCY

 

Common phrases we hear:

It’s best to eat 5 – 7 times a day.”

“Eating every three hours fuels your metabolism.”

“If you skip meals, your body goes into ‘starvation mode,’ you gain fat, and burn muscle for energy.”

Chances are that you’ve probably heard something like the above statements if you have read anything about diet or exercise in the last ten years. Many of you (myself included) probably spent a lot of time preparing and eating meals, in the hopes of optimizing fat loss and better muscle gain.

In this article I want to discuss meal frequency in regards to muscle growth and fat loss.
Although some short-term studies suggest that the thermic effect of feeding is higher when an iso-energetic test load is divided into multiple small meals, other studies refute this, and most are neutral. More importantly, studies using whole-body calorimetry and doubly-labelled water to assess total 24h energy expenditure find no difference between nibbling and gorging. Finally, with the exception of a single study, there is no evidence that weight loss on hypo-energetic regimens is altered by meal frequency. We may conclude that any effects of meal pattern on the regulation of body weight are likely to be mediated through effects on the food intake side of the energy balance equation.
Many ‘experts’ or gym know-it-alls out there who will tell you to only consume “X” amount of protein at a meal because only “X” amount of protein can be absorbed by the body at a meal.

Is it possible to eat too frequently?
How long will a typical meal maintain the body in an anabolic state?
By determining a potential maximum and minimum amount of time that should pass between meals, an optimal meal frequency can be developed. As well, I want to examine the idea that different meal frequencies might be optimal under different conditions (i.e. maintenance versus mass gains versus dieting).

It’s not uncommon to read about bodybuilders or other athletes taking the eat-more-frequentlyto extreme levels, eating every one to two hours. The idea behind this is the idea that optimal results should occur by maintaining a near continuous influx of nutrients into the body.
This may not be a good idea in the first place. Some research, primarily using amino acid infusion, suggests that skeletal muscle can become insensitive to further stimulation of protein synthesis. In one study, amino acids were infused for 6 hours to 70% over normal levels. Protein synthesis increased after roughly 30 minutes and was maintained for the next two hours at which point protein synthesis decreased back to baseline.
Importantly, this decrease occurred despite the maintenance of high levels of blood amino acids. Additionally, there was an increase in urea production (a waste product of protein metabolism), indicating that the excess AAs were simply being catabolized in the liver to be excreted in the urine; that is, those AAs were wasted and never utilized by the muscle.
The researchers took this as a suggestion that there might be a maximum amount of protein synthesis that can occur at any one given time before a “muscle full” situation is reached. Perhaps more interestingly, based on the amounts of AAs infused, the researchers estimated that only 3.5 grams of AAs would be required to result in this “muscle full” situation. I want to make it very clear that this doesn’t mean that 3.5 grams of orally ingested AAs would cause the same effect. Rather, this represented the delivery of 3.5 grams of AAs to the muscle itself.
However, the total amount of dietary protein to achieve this amount wouldn’t be huge. Most dietary proteins are roughly 40-50% EAAs, and due to processing in the liver, slightly less than half of the ingested AAs actually make it into the bloodstream. To provide 3.5 g EAAs to skeletal muscle would require roughly 15-20 grams of whole protein over a two hour time span.
Interestingly, other more direct research supports this. Subjects received doses of EAAs ranging from zero to 20 g EAAs and protein synthesis was studied. In young subjects, muscle protein synthesis was maximized with an intake of 10 g EAAs and there was no further increase with 20 g EAAs. This represents roughly 20-25 grams of whole protein.

Dietary protein has more functions for athletes and the average gym goer than simply the stimulation of protein synthesis. Although the amount described above might very well maximize skeletal muscle protein synthesis, optimizing the function of other important pathways of AA metabolism would very likely raise requirements even further. As well, while excess amino acids may simple be oxidized off, there is evidence that increased AA oxidation is involved in preventing muscle loss during caloric restriction or high calorie expenditure situations.
their most recent study, the same group examined the effect on protein synthesis of a variety of doses of infused AAs. Infusing AAs at four different ranges, the group saw a similar pattern to their earlier work, an initial increase in protein synthesis followed by a return to baseline despite maintenance of high AA levels. Additionally, while the lower infusion rates caused a significant increase in protein synthesis, further increases at the higher concentration levels showed smaller additional benefits. Essentially, providing low to moderate amounts of AAs gave the greatest result.
The researchers suggested the existence of some type of amino acid “sensor” in the muscle cell membrane that sensed AA levels. The study also suggested that it was the changes in extracellular AA concentration, rather than the absolute amounts that were driving the changes in protein synthesis. That is, it was the change from lower to higher that had the effect more than the absolute amount of AAs present.
Along with the indication of a “resistance” to further stimulation of protein synthesis, it appears that raising AA concentrations (after a meal) followed by a decrease in concentrations yield the best results. Basically, spacing meals apart and allowing blood AA levels to drop, rather than maintaining AA concentrations at continuously stable levels, appears to have the greatest impact on protein synthesis. Unfortunately, this still gives no indication of how far apart those meals need to be spaced to allow a “resensitization” of the muscle to a subsequent increase in AA concentrations.
Additionally, since it was based on an amino acid infusion, it’s unclear how this would relate exactly to the consumption of meals. Between digestion and the hormonal response that occurs with eating, it may very well be that eating protein would yield a different result than what the above research found using AA infusion.
A solid meal of 33-40 grams of protein would yield enough essential amino acids to yield maximum protein synthesis. Whey at 27 grams of protein. You can refer to Layne Nortons article on maximizing protein synthesis with types of protein.
Related to the above research, another group compared the body’s use of leucine with subjects either given small hourly meals or three separate meals. They found that protein oxidation was decreased (by 16%) in the group given three meals. Essentially, providing amino acids too frequently appears to decrease the body’s utilization of those aminos. Rather, having discrete meals where blood amino acid levels first increase (stimulating protein synthesis without overloading the body’s ability to utilize AA’s) and then decrease for some time (so that muscle can become “sensitive” to the effect of aminos again) would seem to be ideal.
At this point it would appear that eating too frequently (less than every three hours) has no real benefit, and could possibly be detrimental due to the muscle becoming insensitive to the impact of amino acids. It’s interesting to note the preliminary report above which found increased LBM gains with three versus six meals per day. Perhaps by spacing the meals further apart, greater stimulation of protein synthesis occurred when protein was eaten.

 

How long to maintain an anabolic state after a meal?
Having looked at the possibility that eating too frequently might actually be detrimental (or at least not particularly beneficial) given how long a typical meal takes to digest, I want to look at how long a given meal might possibly maintain an anabolic state.
Mentioned above, considering the relatively slow rate of protein and other nutrient digestion, it appears that even a moderate sized meal maintains an anabolic state for at least five to six hours . Individual whole food meals are still releasing nutrients into the bloodstream at the 5-hour mark . Very slowly digesting proteins such as casein may still be releasing AAs into the bloodstream seven to eight hours after ingestion. Considering this research, we might set a conservative limit of five hours as the absolute longest time that should pass between eating some source of dietary protein during waking hours.
It appears that eating too frequently could potentially be detrimental to the goal of gaining muscle mass in that muscle tissue becomes insensitive to further stimulation by amino acids, increasing protein oxidation in the liver. Eating more frequently than every three hours would seem to not only be unnecessary (based on the rate of digestion of whole proteins) but could possibly be detrimental.
Given a moderately sized whole food meal, the body will generally remain in an anabolic state for at least five to six hours (and possibly longer depending on the foods chosen). Conservatively, we might use five hours as the upper limit cutoff for time between meals.
This yields a duration between meals of anywhere from three to five hours. This should keep the body in an overall anabolic state without causing problems related to too frequent or too infrequent consumption of meals.
Full time athletes with time to eat very frequently are probably best served with the higher meal frequency simply to ensure adequate caloric intake. Again, smaller individuals with lower total energy intakes may want to use slightly larger meals eaten slightly less frequently for practical reasons. Similarly, individuals who work jobs and are unable to fit in a meal every three hours needn’t worry obsessively about becoming catabolic. A solid food meal containing a high quality protein, carbohydrates, fat and some fiber eaten every five hours will maintain an anabolic state readily.
Related to the topic of meal frequency is the question of whether the day’s protein should be spread evenly throughout the day, or if some other pattern of intake might be superior.
As discussed above, one early study examined whether providing 25% of protein at breakfast and lunch and 50% at dinner had any impact on nitrogen balance compared to spreading the protein evenly across the day’s three meals; no difference was found.
More recent work has examined a dietary strategy called “protein pulse” feeding. With that approach, 80% of the day’s protein was given at lunch with only 10% at the other two meals; this was compared to a “spread” pattern where the day’s protein intake was distributed evenly across four meals. In elderly women, the “pulse” pattern led to a greater protein gain compared to the “spread” pattern  However, in younger women, the “spread” pattern was superior and led to a greater nitrogen balance
There is a substantial and increasing amount of data that putting some amount of the day’s protein around training is beneficial. Outside of ensuring adequate protein before, during and after training.
protein requirements have to be context dependent: that is, the goals of the athlete determine what is optimal in terms of protein intake. While they were talking primarily about total daily protein intake, this idea can be extended to other aspects of nutrition including protein intake throughout the day and how it might interact with specific training goals.
Logically, gaining muscle mass versus maintaining muscle mass at maintenance calories versus trying to maintain muscle mass under conditions of caloric restriction (dieting) are different situations, potentially requiring different optimal intakes of protein, AAs.
For practical purposes, I’m going to consider the following discussion in terms of two different goals: muscle mass maintenance (either at maintenance calories or while dieting) and muscle mass gain. I want to note that most of this discussion will be somewhat hypothetical since little direct research exists to date.

Large spikes in amino acid concentration appear to stimulate protein synthesis (recall also the infusion data I discussed above) with little to no impact on protein breakdown. In contrast, maintaining constant low levels of AAs appears to reduce protein breakdown with less of an impact on protein synthesis.
Consuming very large amounts of protein at once (as in the protein “pulse” studies discussed above) has an effect similar to a fast protein such as whey, spiking blood amino acids and promoting protein synthesis as well as oxidation.

In contrast, spreading protein out in smaller amounts throughout the day has an effect closer to that of casein, inhibiting protein breakdown with a smaller impact on protein synthesis.
I’d mention again that, in the original whey versus casein study, reducing protein breakdown via casein had a larger impact on net leucine balance compared to whey. Recall also that adding whey to other food, which had the effect of slowing down digestion, had a similar effect.
Given that data, it may very well be that simply maintaining relatively constant low levels of amino acids (with a spike around training, discussed next chapter) is optimal for all goals. This would be conceptually similar to the strategy of keeping insulin low but stable during the day with a spike around training. This is essentially the strategy that bodybuilders have empirically settled on under all situations: they eat small amounts of protein, carbohydrates and fat throughout the day with a relatively larger intake of nutrients around training.
With regards to muscle mass maintenance and dieting, there is little to discuss: based on the direct research available as well as the general difficulty in stimulating protein synthesis when calories are reduced, a slow/spread pattern of protein intake is clearly optimal. Maintaining continuous low levels of amino acids throughout the day (in addition to increasing total protein intake) to limit the body’s need to mobilize stored body protein from muscle and other tissues should be the goal. A combination of slow proteins combined with evenly spaced meals to keep blood AA levels stable throughout the day would seem to be optimal.
But is this also the optimal pattern for gaining muscle mass? On the one hand there is the suggestive study above where a group receiving three meals per day gained more LBM than a group receiving six per day; as well there is the research suggesting that maintaining constant levels of AAs might cause skeletal muscle to become “insensitive” to further stimulation; increasing extracellular levels of AAs and then allowing them to fall again appears to be superior. Both of these data points suggest that keeping blood AA levels stable throughout the day might not be optimal from the standpoint of muscle mass gains.
Another recent study throws a wrench in the typically held bodybuilder idea that simply maintaining continuous levels of amino acids with frequent meal feeding is optimal. In that study, two groups were compared. The first received three whole food meals while the second received the same three meals with an essential amino acid (EAA) supplement in-between. I should note that the study suffered from one huge design flaw: the groups got different amounts of total protein. It should have also tested a group that got 6 whole food meals and the same amount of protein as the EAA supplemented group.
Recognizing that limitation, the study made at least three major observations. The first was that the EAA supplement generated a greater protein synthetic response than the whole meals. The second was that the EAA supplement generated an anabolic response even when given in-between meals. That is to say, the previously consumed meal, which was still digesting when the supplement was given, didn’t blunt the effect of the EAA supplement. Finally, the EAA supplement didn’t blunt the anabolic response to the meal. Of course, the study didn’t examine what impact this would actually have in the long-term on muscle mass gains but is interesting nonetheless.
This study suggests that a potential pattern at least worth experimenting with for athletes seeking maximal muscle mass gains would be to alternate between slower digesting meals with faster acting sources (perhaps a whey protein drink or an EAA supplement) throughout the day.

So at the end of the day, choose a meal frequency that is sustainable for you and your lifestyle!

 

References

1. Bellisle, F., & McDevitt, R. (1997). Meal frequency and energy balance. British Journal of Nutrition, 77, 57-70.

2. Mansell, P., & Fellows, I. (1990). Enhanced thermogenic response to epinephrine after 48-h starvation in humans. The American Journal of Physiology, 258, 87-93.

3. Staten, M., Matthews, D., & Cryer, P. (1987). Physiological increments in epinephrine stimulate metabolic rate in humans. American Journal of Physiology, Endocrinology, and Metabolism, 253, 322-330.

Carbs for Fat Loss ??

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 If you want to lose weight don’t eat bread, pasta, flour, crackers or any kind of carb! Right? Wrong!!  Low carbohydrate diets seem to be all the rage right now (eating like our Palaeolithic ancestors use to eat.  The hunters and gatherer’s, eating only meat and vegetables.)  The problem is, even scientists and archaeologists don’t know what our ancient ancestors ate.  It is known however that humans have consumed grains for over 2.5 million years.  It seems absurd to think that humans have had it all wrong all this time!

 Do We Need Them?

 Carbohydrates are very important to our bodies,  providing energy for muscles, fuel for the central nervous system, enabling fat metabolism, and preventing protein from being used as energy.

Energy

Carbohydrates are the preferred source of energy for muscle contraction and biological work in the body.  In other words, it’s used for all your daily activities, from walking, exercising, doing housework, and even thinking!  Your brain needs approximately 100-125 grams of carbohydrates to function optimally daily.  Just to give you an idea, that’s about 2 Cups worth of potatoes or rice!  Your muscles store excess carbohydrates that aren’t being used as energy for later use.  This is called glycogen stores.  It depends on how much muscle you have as to how many carbohydrates you can store.  The more muscle you have, the better your carbohydrate storage will be.  This is a great reason for building some more muscle on your frame through resistance training!  After these glycogen stores are full, only then will excess carbohydrates convert to body fat!

Retaining Muscle

The more muscle you have, the faster your metabolism will be!  Metabolism is how many calories your body needs to maintain itself on a daily basis.  Your body will first use carbohydrates for energy.  If you don’t have enough carbohydrates, your body will begin to use protein as energy. Your muscles are made primarily of protein, which means you may be burning through your muscle tissue if the protein from your food cannot keep up with the demands.  This is a disaster for the metabolism.  Cutting carbs out of your diet and being in a calorie deficit may help you lose weight, but it will be the wrong kind of weight.  You may end up with less muscle tissue, which will not give that lean and toned look that most of us desire!  When you go back to eating normally again, your body will have a lower metabolic rate and you will gain the weight back, probably more rapidly than before!

Brain Function

 Glucose is the main source of energy for your brain!!   Yes it can run on ketones however without this vital macronutrient, you would feel sluggish and foggy all the time!

Types of Carbohydrates

 Complex

Some examples of complex carbohydrates are rice, whole grains, potatoes, sweet potatoes,  beans, legumes, vegetables and some fruits etc.  These have a more complex structure and contain starch and fibre.  Most North Americans don’t get enough fibre in their diet, which is an important part of good gut health.

Simple

These tend to be more refined carbohydrates, such as sugar, syrup, juice, jams etc.  These can be very high on the glycemic index.  They raise blood sugar very quickly and are not ideal choices in a healthy diet.  Watch out for the added sugars (listed below) in processed foods.  Fruits, although healthy, do contain simple sugars and therefore should be eaten in limited amounts, 1 – 2 servings per day.

 Sugar Table

 

Blood Sugar

Carbs raise blood sugar.  This statement is absolutely true.  What most people don’t realize is that protein also raises Insulin to help shuttle the amino acids, yet people are very quick to jump on high protein, low carb diets.  The glycemic index shows, on a scale from 0 – 100, how much a food will increase your blood sugar and is an important tool for those who have blood sugar and insulin problems, like diabetes.  However, a downside of this list is that the foods are tested on their own.  For instance a white potato is a 76 on the index, which is considered high glycemic.  However, most people would not eat a plain cooked potato!  You’d add butter or sour cream and probably eat it with a serving of meat and a vegetable.  Eating proteins and fats with the potato lowers the glycemic index significantly, making it a healthy option.  Who wants to eat a plain potato anyway?  This is one of the reasons we endorse a balanced macronutrient approach to healthy eating.

So, we hope we’ve convinced you that carbs are not the enemy.  It is an essential macronutrient that your body needs for fuel!  Use them properly in a well balanced diet and your body and stomach will thank you for it!  In our e-book “Finding Balance – 100 Recipes to Fit Your Life”  you will find a ton of ways to incorporate healthy carbs into your eating plan.  After making some of the recipes and meal ideas, you will soon learn proper portion sizes for a meal.  No gimmicks here!  Learn how to eat and you will be able to maintain health and your ideal body for your entire life for you and your family!

Book Title

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References

 

Clean Eating Vs Flexible Dieting

So most people know the difference between clean foods and unclean foods. The list goes on with Organic fruits and vegetables, Organic meats, Organic whole unprocessed grains, Organic oils, and nuts and seeds. And that’s just a start!

As much of these as possible should be the staple of a healthy eating plan.  If you don’t know how many calories you expend on a daily basis you can over eat or under eat to the point where fat loss won’t occur, or you hit a plateau in your efforts.

To start off, whether your goal is muscle building or fat loss, you need to calculate your BMR.  The basal metabolic rate formula takes several variables into account like height, weight, age, and gender. I use different ones with my clients but the one I use the most is the Harris Benedict Formula.  This takes into account BMR and multiplies it depending on your activity level.  Modest decreases or increases in calories are figured out based on your calculation.  You should then design a meal plan based on these calories with the macro-nutrient breakdown required to meet your goals.

As much as eating the foods mentioned above should be staples; busy lifestyles, kids, work and family functions can get in the way.  Attempting to eat only these “clean” foods can disrupt your life and is not something most can consistently follow.

“Unhealthy Obsession with Eating Healthy Food”

A study was conducted in 1997 to demonstrate unhealthy obsessions with healthy food.  A general physician named Steven Bratman coined the term orthorexia nervosa [21], which he defines as, “an unhealthy obsession with eating healthy food.” It reminds me of the counterproductive dietary perfectionism I’ve seen among many athletes, trainers, and coaches. One of the fundamental pitfalls of labeling  foods as good or bad, or clean or dirty, is that it can form a destructive relationship with food. This isn’t just an empty claim; it’s been seen in research. Smith and colleagues found that flexible dieting was associated with the absence of overeating, lower body weight, and the absence of depression and anxiety [22]. They also found that a strict all-or-nothing approach to dieting was associated with overeating and increased body weight. Similarly, Stewart and colleagues found that rigid dieting was associated with symptoms of an eating disorder, mood disturbances, and anxiety [23]. Flexible dieting was not highly correlated with these qualities.

What can we learn from this?

For those hoping that I’ll tell you to have fun eating whatever you want, you’re in luck. But, like everything in life, you’ll have to moderate your indulgence.  The 10-20% guideline is the best way I’ve found to do this. There currently is no compelling evidence suggesting that a diet whose calories are 80-90% from whole & minimally processed foods is not prudent enough for maximizing health, longevity, body composition, or training performance. As a matter of fact, the research I just discussed points to the possibility that it’s more psychologically sound to allow a certain amount of flexibility for indulgences rather than none at all. And just to reiterate, processed does not always mean devoid of nutritional value.

So, this is what we do at FitNSync. We build a meal plan based on your individual needs and likes, so your goal is never jeopardized. We include balanced meals with whole foods and processed foods that will fit into the calories that have been formulated for your goals! If you are not following a meal plan that is easy for you to follow for the rest of your life, then it is a diet or worse, a free for all! I like to use the saying the word DIET has the word “DIE” in it for a reason……

References: 21. Bratman S. What is orthorexia? Accessed August 2011. http://www.orthorexia.com/index.php?page=katef
22. Smith CF, et al. Flexible vs. Rigid dieting strategies: relationship with adverse behavioral outcomes. Appetite. 1999 Jun;32(3):295-305.
23. Stewart TM, et al. Rigid vs. flexible dieting: association with eating disorder symptoms in nonobese women. Appetite. 2002 Feb;38(1):39-44.

Post Workout Nutrition

With decades of research on post-workout supplementation, this article would take me a long time to write. The best article I have ever read cites almost every paper written on the subject by two of the smartest and respected gentlemen in the field Alan Aragon and Brad Scheonfield. If you want to really learn and forget all the fitness dogma pumped out over the years this is by far the best! www.jissn.com/content/pdf/1550-2783-10-5.pdf

 

Fat Loss Foods

  • With fat loss supplement sales soaring there are foods that we can incorporate daily to help us achieve our weight loss goals a little faster. Even though these won’t strip off belly fat quickly, every little metabolic advantage we can get to see that dream body we are all striving for isn’t so bad!
  • Green, oolong, chai teas

Tea offers a variety of health benefits, but one it has been continuously researched for is fat loss effects. Its antioxidants EGCG have shown to increase fat usage when consumed daily. Aim for 200-400mg daily. This can be consumed through 6 cups of tea warm or cold with a little freshly squeezed lemon and stevia or supplementation. Make sure it is organic as it may have less flouride, than it’s non organic varieties.

  • Cayenne peppers, black pepper

These fiery goodies, help spice up food, but also contain capsaicin and piperine which have shown to promote lipid oxidation as well as reduce hunger and food intake. Douse your food with hot sauce, don’t worry the burning sensation reduces with consumption over time. Side benefit is it is one of the best spices for your circulatory system!

  • Ginger

Not just used to reduce nausea and improve digestion, gingerols have shown to support healthy blood sugar levels, and increase lipid oxidation slightly, great to add to green smoothies raw or use in stir-fry.

  • Garlic

Not just for scaring away vampires, nor is it something you want to consume in large quantities in hopes of burning some body fat before a hot date. Garlic has shown to increase thermogenesis, in addition garlic has been linked to lower blood sugar levels. One of garlic’s components allicin has shown to be heart healthy in numerous studies. Aim for 2 cloves a day away from public appearances.

  • Cocoa

Japanese researchers reporting in the May 2005 issue of “Nutrition” tested the ability of cocoa to interfere with the ability of the body to metabolize dietary fat into fatty tissue. They fed two groups of rats a high-fat diet and supplemented cocoa in one group and an artificial cocoa in the other. After three weeks, the body and fatty tissue weights were significantly lower in the rats fed the real cocoa. Theobromine one of the active compounds increases mental acuity and thermogenesis.

  • Grapefruit

Nootkatone a component found in grapefruit has been shown to significantly increase fat-burning (AMPK) activity. Nootkatone also increases calorie burn and reduces stomach fat accumulation in rats as well quercetin another compound was shown to extend the thermogenic effect of caffeine. Consider grapefruit as vitamin C- rich snack, add grapefruit slices to a spinach salad or have half a grapefruit with a side of organic eggs.

  • Organic apple cider vinegar

A study published in the Journal of Diabetes Care found that consuming apple cider vinegar could promote weight loss.  There are several reasons ACV promotes fat loss but one of those reasons include that ACV reduces sugar cravings and improves detoxification.  Another study found that supplementing with the acetic acid found in apple cider vinegar reduced body fat in mice by 10%.

  • Cinnamon

A research study published in Diabetes Care found that cinnamon could be used to reduce the glycemic index of your meal by 18-29% while also reducing triglycerides and LDL (bad) cholesterol.  They also found that those who added cinnamon to their diets could reduce the risk associated with type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Aim for 2-3 teaspoons daily.

  • Wild salmon, mackerel, anchovies, herring

Omega 3 fatty acids EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) lower your insulin levels and any extra calories you eat are burned off for energy, instead of being stored for later use (as body fat)
All omega 3 sources are anti-lipogenic (they block fat storage in your body) and increase your metabolic rate, so you burn body fat faster

Always consult your physician before beginning any exercise program. This general information is not intended to diagnose any medical condition or to replace your healthcare professional. Consult with your healthcare professional to design an appropriate exercise prescription. If you experience any pain or difficulty with these exercises, stop and consult your healthcare provider.

Possible Benefits of Omega 3’s

  • There is strong evidence that omega-3 fatty acids have a beneficial effect in bipolar disorder.
  • Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation is associated with reduced mania and depression in juvenile bipolar disorder.
  • Clinical studies have reported that oral fish oil supplementation has beneficial effects in rheumatoid arthritis and among some asthmatics.
  • Fish oil improves tubular dysfunction, lipid profiles and oxidative stress in patients with IgA nephropathy.
  • Omega 3 fatty acids improve the cardiovascular risk profile of subjects with metabolic syndrome, including markers of inflammation and auto-immunity.
  • Omega-3 in modest doses reduces cardiac deaths, and in high doses reduces nonfatal cardiovascular events.
  • Dietary supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids reduces the incidence of sudden cardiac death in patients with myocardial infarction.
  • Omega-3 fatty acid reduce the total mortality and sudden death in patients with left ventricular systolic dysfunction.
  • Raising blood levels of omega-3 fatty acid levels may be 8 times effective than distributing automated external defibrillators (AEDs), and 2 times more effective than implanting implanting cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) in preventing sudden death.
  • Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation reduces total mortality and sudden death in patients who have already had a heart attack.
  • Consuming small quantities of fish is associated with a reduction in coronary heart disease.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D supplementation results in a substantial reduction in coronary calcium scores and slowed plaque growth.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids prevent atrial fibrillation after coronary artery bypass surgery.
  • Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation has a therapeutic effect in children with ADHD.
  • A combination of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids as well as magnesium and zinc consumption provide a beneficial effect on attentional, behavioural, and emotional problems of children and adolescents.
  • Fish oil supplementation has a significant therapeutic effect on children with autism.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids appear to be an effective treatment for children with autism.
  • The consumption of omega-3 fatty acid supplements decreases homocysteine levels in diabetic patients.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids improve macro- and microvascular function in subjects with type 2 diabetes mellitus.
  • In patients with stable coronary artery disease, an independent and inverse association exists between n-3 fatty acid levels and inflammatory biomarkers.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids improve endothelial function in peripheral arterial disease.
  • Fish oil has a beneficial effect on blood viscosity in peripheral vascular disease.
  • Fish oil supplementation improves walking distance in peripheral arterial disease.
  • The omega-3 fatty acid docosapentaenoic acid (DPA) reduces the risk of peripheral arterial diseaseassociated with smoking.
  • An 8-month treatment with omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) has a positive effects, such as decreasing inflammation, in patients with cystic fibrosis.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids may have a protective effect against mucus over-production caused by pulmonary bacterial colonization in cystic fibrosis.
  • Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation reduces inflammatory biomarkers, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, and interleukin-8 concentrations in cystic fibrosis patients.
  • DHA increases resistance to Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection.
  • EPA supplementation has therapeutic value in the treatment of chronic hepatitis C patients.
  • EPA and DHA have therapeutic value in the treatment of systemic lupus erythmeatosus.
  • Omega-3 fish oil reduces the severity of symptoms in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus.
  • Fish and long-chain omega-3 fatty acid intake reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and total mortalityin diabetic women.
  • Higher plasma concentrations of EPA and DPA are associated with a lower risk of nonfatal myocardial infarction among women.
  • Omega-3 fatty acid consumption is inversely associated with incidence of hypertension.
  • Fish oil, but not flaxseed oil, decreases inflammation and prevents pressure overload-induced cardiac dysfunction.
  • The consumption of fish reduces the risk of ischemic stroke in elderly individuals.
  • A moderate intake of EPA and DHA may postpone cognitive decline in elderly men.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids may have a therapeutic effect on postpartum depression.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids may have therapeutic value in the treatment of dry eye syndrome.
  • Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation exhibits therapeutic value in the treatment of children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptomatology.
  • Fish consumption reduces the risk of ischemic stroke in men.
  • Omega-3 Fatty acids supplementation prevents and reverses insulin resistance.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids prevent the formation of urinary calcium oxalate stone formation.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial for children with bronchial asthma.
  • Omega 3 fatty acid supplementation may contribute to the prevention of early preterm birth in both low-risk and high-risk pregnancies.
  • Fish consumption is associated with a 63% reduction in prostate cancer-specific mortality.
  • Omega 3 fatty acids decrease the severity of autoimmune disorders.
  • Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) may have a therapeutic role in attenuating pulmonary hypertension.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids resulted in an improvement in weight bearing in dogs with osteoarthritis.
  • Primary open-angle glaucoma patients have reduced blood levels of DHA and EPA.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids alleviate insulin resistance and fatty liver in obese mice.
  • Intake of eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids from fish may be associated with a reduced prevalence of allergic rhinitis.
  • Cod liver oil (omega-3 Fatty Acids) reduces the need for NSAIDs in patients with r
    • heumatoid arthritis.
    • Omega-3 Fatty Acids has significant therapeutic benefits and drug sparing activity in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.
    • Diets containing EPA and DHA have an inhibitory effect on breast cancer growth and metastasis.
    • Dietary Omega-3 fatty acids may protect smokers against chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
    • Omega-3 fatty acids were shown to be more effective than placebo for depression in both adults and children in small controlled studies and in an open study of bipolar depression.
    • The omega-3 fatty acid EPA is as effective as fluoxetine (Prozac) in treating major depressive disorder.
    • A diet low in trans-unsaturated fat and rich in omega-3 fatty acids and olive oil may reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration.
    • Higher intake of omega 3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of pneumonia.
    • Studies show people who exercise  may recover faster, and may reduce body fat faster with  consuming 2-3 grams of EPA + DHA daily.  
    • Always consult your physician before beginning any exercise program. This general information is not intended to diagnose any medical condition or to replace your healthcare professional. Consult with your healthcare professional to design an appropriate exercise prescription. If you experience any pain or difficulty with these exercises, stop and consult your healthcare provider.

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Probiotics – Your friendly bacteria!

Probiotics

 So what are they, and what do they do for us? Our digestive system is home to more than 500 different types of bacteria. Gross, you say?  Not so!  These microscopic bacteria are essential for maintaining the health of your intestines!  These beneficial micro organisms are found in foods such as fermented dairy, vegetables, miso, and others. “I eat yogurt, isn’t that good enough?”  Pasteurized commercial yogurts have less active bacteria due to the effects of pasteurizing, destroying most of these gut friendly goodies. Research on probiotics show that they help with:

  • Assimilation of food.
  • Adsorption nutrients.
  • Maintaining the integrity of the intestinal lining.
  • Maintaining a strong immune system.
  • Healthy metabolism and blood sugar levels.
  • Production of healthy neurotransmitters.
  • Fighting chronic inflammation.

In 2011 Yale University reviewed numerous studies and concluded that probiotics are most effective for helping decrease bacteria induced diarrhea.  Dairy free probiotics help colon function for those suffering from Crohn’s disease and colitis.

Likewise a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition links probiotics to fat loss. Of the 210 overweight people in Japan who participated in the study, the group consuming the probiotic for 12 weeks lost approximately eight percent visceral fat. (That’s fat around the organs)  The placebo group however did not experience any significant fat loss.

As you can see probiotics are very important to add to your diet either through supplementation or fermented foods.

Here are some of the most beneficial!

  • Lactobacillus acidophilus
  • Lactobacillus bulgarius
  • Lactobacillus reuteri
  • Streptococcus thermophilus
  • Saccharomyces boulardii
  • Bifidobacterium bifidum
  • Bacillus subtilis