Earlier this month we asked our nutrition coaches if calorie counting is important and if dietary fat makes you fat (see Part I of our blog series HERE). Hopefully this helped clear some things up for you and made healthy eating seem a little less overwhelming. So now that you’re not stressing about calories and aren’t afraid to snack on almonds, let’s move on to two more common questions!
DO YOU NEED TO CUT CALORIES TO LOSE WEIGHT? – KATIE CONN
There is a lot of confusion around carbohydrates, and with the advent of low-carb diets, there are a lot of opinions behind whether or not carbohydrates are good or bad for you. Often times when we think of “carbs” we immediately think of super delicious pastries or that bagel we grabbed as we were rushing to work, but carbohydrates can also include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans.
So are carbohydrates really bad for us? The short answer: not necessarily! Carbohydrates are our bodies’ preferred fuel source, and we can easily convert them into energy. So when you are powering through that tough HITT session with your trainer, carbohydrates are helping you get through those dreaded burpees. Carbohydrates are also our brains preferred fuel source, so even outside of the gym, carbs can play a vital role in helping you function optimally as you work on projects or presentations.
When looking to lose weight, the goal will be to stop eating processed carbohydrates and focus more on whole food sources such as fruit, vegetables, grains, and legumes. Processed carbohydrates, such as cookies, chips, and muffins, are not helpful in stabilizing blood sugar and it is really easy to overeat them since they are not filling and they are super delicious. However, the whole food sources of carbohydrates are rich in nutrients and fiber and will help you feel satisfied with your meals while also feeling awesome as you power through your day and get in those workouts. So you do not necessarily need to cut carbohydrates in order to lose weight, but rather look to swap some of your typical carbohydrate foods with more whole food options.
WHY IS PROTEIN SO IMPORTANT? – CHERYL WATKINS
A good protein target for each meal is 15-20 grams. If you are unable to measure your proteins, use the palm test – your protein portion should be the diameter of your palm and the thickness of a deck of cards. No one needs to be eating 8-10 ounces of any protein source at one meal!
Macronutrients are the nutrients that our bodies require in the largest amount to sustain good health, energy, strength, cognitive function – and so much more. We get “micronutrients” — vitamins and minerals — from ample amounts or macronutrients – proteins, carbohydrates and fats. The macro that we need to build and maintain muscle in our bodies is Protein.
We often hear that eating extra protein builds more muscle. However, this is not the case. Unlike carbohydrates and fats, our bodies do not have a mechanism to store proteins. Therefore, we do not have a reservoir to draw on when we need a new supply. So, the old concept of “well, it’s protein, I can eat as much as I want” is a myth. The fact is, we need less total protein than most people think. However, we need a strong protein source at each meal, balanced with a serving of a fat and carbohydrate. Of the three macronutrients, protein is the last to be broken down and metabolized, so it helps to keep us satiated for longer periods of time. This, coupled with the fact that eating protein with carbs keeps our blood sugar stable, is essential for losing weight by reducing hunger.
The only way to build muscle is by exercising with ample protein in your body. Amino Acids, which are the building blocks of proteins, are needed to heal the exercised tissue strained from weight lifting or from using our own body weight for resistance training. We don’t create more muscle just by eating more protein and we don’t create more muscle by exercising without essential amino acids in our bodies. It is important to time the intake of proteins around our workouts.
Dietary sources of protein include: eggs, fish, turkey, chicken, beef, soy, dairy – all with varying amounts of saturated fats. The egg white is the portion of the egg which contains protein. One egg white provides 4 grams of protein and is a complete and optimal source of Amino Acids.
For vegetarians, it is very important to consume adequate protein! This is important in order to maintain a healthy body composition (muscle to fat ratio). Be sure to include foods that have a variety of different proteins in them. Some examples of non-animal protein sources are: black beans, lentils, quinoa and oatmeal.
One helpful tip for dining out: proteins are measured raw and lose 1.0-1.5 ounces once cooked. So, your 8 ounce filet will be closer to 6.5 ounces when it arrives to your table.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
If you feel like you know the “what”, but don’t know the “how” when it comes to nutrition then reach out to someone for support because it is not a one size fits all when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle. Cornerstone offers nutrition counseling that can help you get past the overwhelm and provide you with the guidance you need to achieve your health goals. Call the club most convenient to you to get started:
Warrington – 215.918.5900
Doylestown – 215.794.3700
New Hope – 215-862-2200