We’ve all heard about the importance of getting fiber in our diet. Still, most Americans only get about half of the 25 to 35 grams of fiber recommended each day. That’s unfortunate because fiber’s value extends well beyond its well-known support of digestive health.
With the popularity of low-carb dieting, excluding grains and vegetables can dramatically reduce your daily intake of fiber. Low-carb diets contain more protein and fats from eggs, red meat, chicken, fish and turkey. The thing is, these high-protein foods are all very low in fiber.
One of the ways that fiber helps you feel full is the comparatively slow digestion rate of fiber-rich foods. It’s a feeling known as satiety. When you feel full, you’re much less likely to eat more than you should or snack. Make exceptions in your low-carb diet by making room for food choices like these:
Artichoke – One medium artichoke contains 10.3 grams of fiber
Spinach – Ten ounces of frozen spinach equals 8 grams of fiber
Peas – One cup of peas equals 8.8 grams of fiber
Broccoli – One cup of broccoli contains 5+ grams of fiber
OPTIMUM NUTRITION’s FITNESS FIBER
It’s generally recommended that adults consume 25 to 35 grams of fiber per day. Most Americans only get about half of that amount. Fiber’s value to athletes and health conscious individuals is centered on its important role in digestive support. If you’re not consuming enough fruits and vegetables to meet your fiber needs, adding a teaspoon of Fitness Fiber to your favorite, beverage, protein shake, oatmeal, or bowl of cereal gets you 5 grams closer to meeting your goal – with only 10 additional calories.
Beyond The Basics
- Contains a blend of several different fiber sources
- 5 g of fiber per serving
- Only 10 calories
- Unflavored versatility
- Mixes easily
Very low carbohydrate diets have been shown to reduce body fat during the initial stages of a weight loss program. But since carbohydrates are your body’s primary fuel for physical energy, you’d think this kind of dieting might take something away from your training. A study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition suggests otherwise.
Researchers recruited 9 gymnasts in their early 20s and had them switch from a typical western diet to a very low carbohydrate diet of green vegetables, olive oil, fish and meat for 30 days. Strength performance was assessed before and after the 30-day program, and there were no significant differences in push up, leg raise, pull up, dip, squat or countermovement jump performance. On average, these athletes lost 4 pounds of fat mass while gaining what study authors considered a non-significant amount of lean muscle.
True Strength Moment: Considering that these subjects continued their regular training while low-carb dieting, the results of this study are impressive. Of course, there are some drawbacks to reducing carb consumption over the long term. Saturday’s Olympia Prep blog by IFBB Figure Pro Alicia Harris and Sunday’s fiber satiety post by Natural Mr. Olympia John Hansen provide interesting insight. Read them at ABBperformance.com
Whey protein is available in several different stages of refinement. Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC) has been ultrafiltered to about 80% purity. Whey Isolates are further refined so that most of the fat, cholesterol and lactose has been ‘isolated’ out. WPI weighs in at 90+% purity. If you hydrolyze whey protein, you break down the components for even fast digestion.
Does it matter which variation you choose? According to research on lab rats published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 30 days of supplementing with hydrolyzed whey protein can promote higher levels of the BCAA leucine along with a greater increase in insulin when compared to WPI. Leucine and insulin both play important roles in protein synthesis.
True Strength Moment: While there’s nothing wrong with using WPC or WPI, it appears from this study that hydrolyzed whey offered a performance advantage to rodents who appreciate the value of recovery from exercise. Try a month-long comparison test to see if the advantages can be experienced by human subjects.
It’s pretty common to see questions about creatine on Internet forums. It’s one of the world’s most popular and widely researched supplements. A paper published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutritionmight help fill in some of the blanks for those seeking answers.
The majority of studies used creatine monohydrate, and the consensus is that this sports nutrition product helps increase strength and fat free mass with resistance training better than resistance training by itself. Creatine may also assist with high-intensity sprinting, but the effects start to decrease with the duration of your workout.
How does it work? The generally accepted explanation for creatine’s impact on performance is increased creatine storage promotes faster regeneration of the adenosine triphosphate (ATP) your muscles use to fuel short bursts of intense energy.
How much do you need to use each day? The paper references new research suggesting 0.1 gram per kilogram of body weight which amounts to 7.9 grams for a 175 pound adult. This would be considered a daily maintenance dose and not intended for a ‘loading’ phase.
True Strength Moment: The old school approach to creatine supplementation began with a week-long loading phase where you’d take four separate 5-gram doses spread between morning and evening. After that, you went to a 5-gram maintenance dose. Then there was the question of cycling on and off. Everyone responds a little differently to creatine, so experiment for a few weeks at a time to see what works best to support your goals.
You may have heard that not getting the recommended 7 to 8 hours of sleep can contribute to weight gain. New research presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior suggests that consuming a high-fat diet can disrupt normal sleep patterns. Kind of a chicken and the egg ‘which came first’ scenario.
Analyzing the 24 hour sleep-wake cycle of lab rats, scientists found that when normal rodents were fed a high-fat diet they tended to sleep more during the times when they’d normally be awake and active. Even worse, their time spent sleeping was more restless and fragmented than the slumber of rats fed a normal diet.
True Strength Moment: Orexin is a brain chemical that helps stabilize the sleep wake cycle. Researchers found that a high-fat diet decreased sensitivity to orexin and lead to poor sleep quality. Considering that the majority of muscle rebuilding takes place while you’re sleeping, what you eat to fuel exercise recovery takes on a whole new level of importance.
If you’re keeping a food journal along with a workout by workout record of your accomplishments in the gym, congratulations. A study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggests that writing down a list of everything you eat can help you lose 6% more weight when dieting. On the other hand, eating out at just one lunch per week contributes to 5 fewer pounds of lost weight and meal skipping can cut your weight loss by 8 pounds.
This research tracked the efforts of 123 older obese women who were either focused exclusively on reducing caloric intake or exercising while dieting. Over the course of this year-long intervention, subjects lost an average of 19 pounds which accounted for 11% of their original body weight.
True Strength Moment: Restaurants have a reputation for providing larger portions than size-conscious people need and regularly skipping meals can slow your metabolism over time. Being able to review what you’ve eaten throughout the day and on past days helps you stay on top of that delicate balance required for maintaining a healthy diet.
The satiety effect that protein provides has been known for a while, but not very well understood. A study published in the Cell Press journal Cellhelps explain how this muscle building macronutrient helps you feel less hungry.
Researchers analyzed the mu-opioid receptors (MOR) in lab mice. They are located in the portal vein’s wall, a primary vessel for draining blood from the digestive tract. When stimulated, MOR enhances food intake. But protein consumption blocks MOR signaling.
True Strength Moment: Active adults who care about how they look and watch what they eat don’t typically feast until their mid-section bulges. But they do experience a feeling of fullness, or satiety. It turns out that the protein you rely on for muscle recovery also helps suppress appetite and control caloric intake.
Active adults who are knowledgeable about nutrition consider breakfast to be one of the most important meals of the day. It ranks right up there with their post-workout whey proteinshake. Still, about 18% of Americans older than age 2 regularly skip the traditional first meal. Participants in a panel discussion at the Institute of Food Technologists 2012 Annual Meeting & Food Expo found a lot of fault in that decision.
They point to research suggesting people who regularly eat breakfast get about 17% of their daily nutrients at that meal. Those nutrients include about half of the vitamin A, B12 and D typically consumed during a 24 hour period. Not only do breakfast skippers miss out on those important vitamins, they’re likely to consume 40% more sweets and 45% fewer vegetables than regular breakfast eaters.
True Strength Moment: Protein also weighed in on the panelist’s conclusions. When teenagers who regularly skipped breakfast sat down to the meal, they tended to overeat less during the rest of the day. The best satiety results were realized when a high-protein breakfast was served. Subjects who ate a high-protein breakfast consumed about 200 fewer calories snacking in the evening.
Anyone who has tried to lose weight knows that success doesn’t come easily. Cutting calories and exercising can make a big difference, but a study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism shows the importance of keeping tight control over your eating and training habits even after experiencing impressive results.
To help preserve muscle mass during weight loss, researchers had a group of obese subjects exercise vigorously while their caloric intake was cut back. This 30-week program helped reduce body weight by 33% on average. Approximately 17% of this weight loss was from muscle tissue while the remaining 83% was fat. Unfortunately, resting metabolic rate decreased significantly despite the successful effort to retain muscle mass.
True Strength Moment: On a typical diet, you’ll lose almost as much muscle as fat. This program incorporated vigorous exercise with calorie cutting and produced impressive results. Because of the drop in metabolic rate, these subjects will have to remain true to their exercise and diet program to keep the weight off. If you’re determined to look and feel your best, realistic physique goals are attainable.
Eating clean while living a busy lifestyle can be a big challenge. It’s hard for most people to eat a small meal every 3 hours much less get the right combination of foods to maintain a growing physique. Here are some tips for eating on the run:
Plan Ahead – This is the most important key to eating clean when outside the comfort of your own home. If you’re going to be gone all day, think about how many meals you’ll need during that time and make plans to cook and prepare those meals before you leave. You can store them in containers and keep them in a cooler if you have food that might spoil in the heat. It takes a little more work, but fixing your food ahead of time is well worth the effort.
Stay Hydrated – It’s important to bring enough water to last you the entire day. Drinking water in between meals will help keep you full so you avoid the vending machine and other snacking temptations you might encounter. It’s also critical that you stay hydrated by drinking enough water. Many people get so busy in their daily lives they forget to drink enough water and may become slightly dehydrated without even exercising.
Use a Timer to Stay on Schedule – Some people get so immersed in their daily routine that they forget to eat. You might be in meetings or on the phone and before you know it the day gets away from you. It may help to have some type of alarm or timer to stay on track. Your cell phone or computer may be able to let you know when it is time for your next meal.
So you fell off that dialed in diet at a holiday barbeque and want to lose a couple of added pounds. A study published in The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness compares the body composition altering potential of high intensity interval training (HIIT) to steady state running at a moderate pace.
Although the research went on for 12 weeks and used overweight college students, the results might inspire you to go the HIIT route. Subjects who performed HIIT 5 times a week alternating intensity between at 85% and 50% of exercise capacity achieved more impressive results than subjects who jogged continuously at 50% of capacity. TIP: Use an outdoor track for this kind of training, sprinting the straight sections and jogging the turns. See today’s Daily Fitness News for a different exercise routine for battling body fat.
To lose weight, most people get in a lot of cardio conditioning and cut way back on calories. The thing is, on most diets, you’ll lose almost as much muscle mass as fat. A study published in The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness offers an alternative that builds muscle mass to change body composition.
Sixty three overweight young adults took part in a resistance training program that incorporated one set of between 3 and 6 reps for 9 different exercises. Training sessions took place 3 times a week. After 6 months, both male and female subjects had gained about 3.3 pounds of muscle which helped prevent the additional fat accumulation seen in a control group that didn’t exercise.
True Strength Moment: Although these subjects did not actually lose any fat mass, the weight they gained was muscle mass. They didn’t get any fatter either. Imagine what could have been achieved if researchers had put them on a reduced calorie diet and introduced a cardio element to this program. To get an idea of what can be accomplished with HIIT and steady state jogging, see today’s Performance Blog.
How many diets have you tried over the years? If that number is roughly equal to the number of times the weight has crept back, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association should be of interest. Researchers compared the effects of a low fat diet to a low glycemic index (GI) diet and low carb program. In addition to being the easiest plan to stick with, the low-GI diet produced the best results.
Both the low carb and low-GI diet reduced the post-meal surge in blood sugars better than the low fat diet, but the low-GI diet accomplished this without the stress and inflammation typically associated with low carb dieting. The low-GI diet was also more effective for burning calories after the metabolism has slowed from initial weight loss.
True Strength Moment: In the long run, studies have shown that only 1 in 10 people are able to keep the pounds off after experiencing initial success with weight loss. The low-GI diet used for this study served up 40% of daily calories from carbohydrates with a low glycemic index. Just 20% came from protein with the remaining 40% of calories derived from healthy fats.