Posts tagged ‘John Berardi’

Simple Rules for Good Nutrition

Simple Rules for Good Nutrition
I do not claim to be all knowing about good nutrition, but what I have learned and what I do know is that it really is simple. I did not say EASY, but it is simple. I cannot find two better resources than Michael Pollan’s book “In Defnese of Food” and “Food Rules”, as two simple uncomplicated approaches to developing good nutrition habits.

He breaks it all down to three things
1. Eat Real Food
2. Not Too Much
3. Mostly Plants

I read a lot of blogs, books and listen to a lot of podcasts (these are my favorite) and it all keeps coming back to these three ideas.

EAT FOOD
Eat food not food like substances; learn how your food labels read. Be aware of what you put in your body. Do you even read or look at your food labels? I know it is like foreign language trying to decipher what it all means. Heck – I cannot even tell you what it all means, but shouldn’t that be clue maybe these chemicals should not enter our body!
NOT TOO MUCH
Michael Pollan’s focus here is centered around how society has reengineered us today and the foods we eat through marketing low priced, low quality, high quantity foods. It really is common sense to think and he offer the thought “How might paying more for food help us eat less of it?” He says that “how much we eat is strongly influenced by the cost of food in terms of both the money and effort required to put it on the table.” In my opinion, if you have already made the EAT FOOD rule a good habit. Eating real food and eating often will keep you from eating too much at one sitting. Stop thinking of eating in traditional meal times, aka breakfast lunch and dinner. Start a new way of thinking that you need to fuel yourself throughout your waking hours, eating small meals every 2-4 hours. Frequent feedings that incorporate the necessary components (protein and vegetabeles) revs up you metabolism and most importantly keeps you from overeating at one particular meal time. Personally, I have experimented also with intermittent fasting and while this strategy has its merit in certain circumstances, I have found frequent feedings through smaller meals the best option for seeking a life long nutrition plan.
MOSTLY PLANTS
Mostly plants, the old adage you always heard from your grandparents has much merit! Put simply, eat your vegetables! At EVERY meal time. Find out what vegetables you like, experiment with different recipes and preparation strategies for these vegetables and eat your vegetables at every meal. It really is that simple, there is no need to overcomplicate things when it comes to eating your vegetables. Yes, it will take a little thought and effort on your behalf to actually do something different than what you do now. So, you ask why eat vegetables at every meal? Vegetables have necessary vitamins and minerals that your body alone cannot supply. You must get these from your external food sources. Don’t just think because you are taking your multivitamins and multi-minerals this is enough. Again, Remember Eat Real Food, supplements are not real food. It is beneficial and in my opinion necessary to supplement our nutrition with multi vitamins and minerals, however, it should not be your sole method of receiving these nutrients. In addition to vegetables supplying you necessary vitamins and minerals, vegetables also contain valuable phytochemicals. Phytochemicals act as antioxidents helping to protect you from free radicals, influence hormonal function and may help protect you from disease.

What’s holding you back…
Ask yourself three questions.
1. Where are you now?
2. Where do you want to be?
3. What will you have to change to reach your goals?

Do not move forward until carefully and thoughtfully answering these questions above. Do not proceed in trying to achieve your goals until you can fully commit making the necessary changes. Meaning is your commitment level a 10 on a scale of 1-10. This is very important and if you try to achieve your goals without a commitment level of a 10, most likely you are setting yourself up for failure.

So am I saying give up if you are not a 10, ABSOLUTELY NOT!
Now, if you are not a 10, simply re-evaluate your goals and set more appropriate goals where you can become 10. Write down your goals, make them visible and start taking action to the possibilities that lie ahead.

In the words of John Berardi of Precision Nutrition, “Make your actions match your goals”. If that’s not possible, for whatever reason, it’s perfectly ok, and does not make you a bad person. You just need to take a few minutes to evaluate your current goals to make them more achievable, right now. If you are screaming, but I really want to reach my initial goals. I am not asking you to loose sight of that goal, but you must realize that’s not where you are right now. If you cannot make your actions fit your goals, then you need to establish new goals based on your level of commitment. Like, I said before, this does not make you a bad person and does not mean that you will never reach what you initially wrote down. Realize what’s going on in your life right now and adapt.

What I am telling you is proven and is not a new concept I conjured up myself. Think of it in the theory of Dave Ramsey and becoming debt free. It’s much like the snowball effect when you are trying to reduce debt. Pay off your smaller debts first, build momentum with small victories along the way and by the time it comes time to conquer your largest debt, you will have built up a enough strength, momentum, good habits and motivation to keep on going for the gusto.

Remember to enjoy your journey to good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle!

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July 3, 2011 at 12:41 pm Leave a comment

All About Soy

All About Soy
by Ryan Andrews, March 23rd, 2009.

What is soy?
The soybean plant originated in China and made its way to North America in 1765. Soy production in North America started as a means to feed animals, only becoming a food crop for humans in the early 1900s. Genetic modification of soybeans was introduced in 1995; today, about 90% of the soybeans grown are genetically modified.

Soybeans may contain up to 48% protein with a PDCAA score (a measure of protein quality) just below 1.0, with soy protein isolate at 1.0. 1.0 is the highest score a protein can get, and soy ranks up there with milk, beef, and egg proteins. The ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fat in soybeans is about 1:7, which is sensible, especially when compared to oils like sunflower and peanut which are 1:100+.

Soybeans contain a mix of slow-digesting carbohydrates, including fibre and other starches that may be good for promoting the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut. Thus, for people who do not have an intolerance to soy, soy could be considered GI-friendly.

What you should know about soy
Cultural observation tells us that most traditional cuisines in Asia don’t incorporate soy as a staple food. The average soy intake in East Asian populations is between 40 – 90 grams per day (1.5 to 3 ounces). That’s total soy intake (not soy protein grams). This amount of soy provides 10 – 20 grams of soy protein. Soy foods are typically used as a condiment to the main dish and used in a “whole food” form such as edamame, or fermented, as in miso, tofu, natto and soy sauce. The FDA recommends 25 grams of soy protein per day as part of a balanced diet.

In North America, refined soy products such as soy concentrates, textured soy, and soy lecithin are finding their way into more processed foods. Between 2000 and 2007, U.S. food manufacturers introduced over 2,700 new foods with soy as an ingredient. These forms of processed soy are what most people equate with soy consumption (rather than the whole food and fermented forms in traditional Asian cuisines).

Sales of soy products have drastically increased, perhaps due to health claims made about soy

Why is eating soy so important?
Hundreds of foods, including soy, contain phytoestrogens (PEs), also known as isoflavones (a type of flavonoid — the same flavonoids that make tomatoes, green tea and red wine “healthy”). In the plants, they serve as a defense mechanism and fungicide. In humans, PEs, which include genistein, daidzein and glycytein, act as natural estrogen receptor modulators. PEs are similar in structure to estradiol, a form of human estrogen. They have both weak estrogen-stimulating and estrogen-inhibiting effects, depending on the circumstance. The UK Committee on Toxicity (2003) noted that PEs bind weakly to the sex-hormone binding proteins and are unlikely to prevent estrogen or androgen binding (at normal blood levels).

PEs provide the basis for much of the current soy controversy. When soy protein isolates and concentrates are created from soybeans, PE (and phytonutrient) content is diminished due to the alcohol used in extraction. However, some remain.

Phytoestrogen content of selected foods
Food Serving Total PEs (mg)
Soy protein concentrate, water wash 3.5 oz 102
Soy protein concentrate, alcohol wash 3.5 oz 12
Miso ½ cup 59
Soybeans, cooked ½ cup 47
Tempeh 3 ounces 37
Soybeans, dry roasted 1 ounce 37
Soy milk 1 cup 30
Tofu based yogurt ½ cup 21
Tofu 3 ounces 20
Soybeans, green, cooked (Edamame) ½ cup 12
Soy hot dog 1 hot dog 11
Soy sausage 3 links 3
Soy cheese, mozzarella 1 oz 2

A traditional daily intake of soy for someone may include 6 ounces of tofu, a half-cup or soy milk, and a ½ cup of edamame. That would provide roughly 75 mg of PEs. This is well below the amount necessary for having an unfavorable influence on hormone levels. However, as the chart above shows, a high intake from some processed soy products could easily provide much more.

We still can’t predict exactly how PEs will function after we swallow them. The actual effects depend on total amount of PEs in the body, receptor binding affinities, and possibly a host of genetic factors. Despite these mixed results and a lack of consensus, there is a common theme: extremely high levels of PEs have an unfavorable influence on hormone levels for both men and women, and may inhibit muscle gain and fat loss to some degree.

Soy and cancer
Prostate cancer is low in countries that regularly consume soy and rodent studies have also found that PEs inhibit the development of prostate cancer and prostate tumor metastasis.

Soy and PE consumption does not seem to affect the endometrium in premenopausal women, although there have been weak estrogenic effects reported in breast tissue. Thus, studies in women have mostly shown beneficial effects (in cancer prevention), although the magnitude of the effects is small and of vague significance. If someone has existing cancer, it’s critical to know if the cancer is estrogen receptor positive. If it is, then it may be wise to avoid foods with a higher PE content.

Soy and pregnancy
Although there are still questions regarding in utero or early postnatal exposure, the low potencies and concentrations of PEs in the diet compared with the hormones manufactured in the body make it unlikely that adverse effects occur at common exposure. PEs in mom’s diet will appear in breast milk, but PE intake of breastfed infants is negligible. The American Association of Pediatrics cautiously recommends giving soy-based formula to infants, but only in cases where other options are insufficient.

Soy and sperm
There is a body of research in which controlled amounts of soy were fed to humans or primates and no negative effects on quantity, quality, or sperm motility were noticed. Could eating a lot more soy potentially lower sperm count? Sure. Is it something you should be concerned with? Probably not, unless you’re trying to make those sperm earn their rent.

Soy and bones
A meta-analysis (done on women) showed a significant benefit of PEs on spine bone density, especially when PEs were given in higher doses and for longer periods. A second meta-analysis showed that PEs significantly increased bone formation and decreased bone breakdown. Translation = soy PEs could be helpful for bones.

Soy and body composition
A review found that individuals lost equivalent amounts of weight (and inches in some cases), using soy protein, dairy milk meal replacements, and beef or pork at equal calorie levels. When soy protein supplements are used as part of a sensible training program and varied, calorie-sufficient diet, they act much in the same way that other protein supplements might act: increases in lean body mass, decreases in stress hormone responses to training, and improvements in performance. (See, for example, this study.)

Soy and anti-nutrients
Soy foods contain trypsin inhibitors and phytic acid, substances that can inhibit nutrient absorption. These substances are deactivated by cooking and fermentation. Thus, consuming cooked and fermented soy foods is unlikely to inhibit protein and mineral absorption. Also, phytic acid may have anti-cancer properties. Goitrogens found in soy (and other vegetables) only seem to cause thyroid problems when iodine intake is low and soy intake is high. Iodine can be obtained naturally from foods such as sea salt and sea vegetables (aka seaweed, e.g. kelp, dulse, etc.)

Soy and the heart
Heart health is influenced by the sum of one’s diet and lifestyle, not an ounce of miso. Small amounts of whole soy foods may help to control cholesterol levels.

Soy and the kidneys
Soy protein, despite being of high quality, doesn’t appear to have the same effect on kidney function that occurs in response to animal proteins. So, if your doc, or your mom, still gets worried about the high protein meals, mix in some soy for good measure.

Other interesting information about soy
The World Health Organization has identified soy as a high quality protein that can meet all of the essential amino acid requirements of humans.

Soy sauce and soy oil do not contain PEs.

Tamoxifen has long been an effective treatment for women with estrogen receptor positive breast cancer. In a study conducted in mice, researchers found that when genistein (a PE) is consumed as part of the daily diet, it can stop the ability of tamoxifen to halt breast cancer growth.

Summary and recommendations
In general, it’s hard to go wrong with whole, unprocessed foods. Problems typically occur with processed food, in all forms including soy. Manufacturing processes remove the dietary fibre, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, and hundreds of other helpful plant chemicals — leaving behind almost pure soy protein. The whole is healthier than the parts.

Although some studies show limited or conflicting results, when viewed in its entirety, the current literature supports the safety of PEs as typically consumed in diets that include small amounts of whole soy foods.

It seems best to avoid consuming isolated and highly refined forms of soy (such as soy isolates, soy concentrates, textured soy protein, etc.) on a regular basis. Whole soybeans, soy milks, tofu, tempeh, and miso, on the other hand, are better options. In terms of total intake, we’d say 1-2 servings (a serving is 1 cup of soy milk and 4 ounces of tofu/tempeh/soybeans) of soy per day seems to be a safe and potentially healthy intake, but exceeding 3 servings per day on a regular basis may not be a good idea.

We don’t think soy is anything special in terms of disease prevention. Nor do we think it’s extremely harmful in your quest for optimal health, body comp, or performance. With that said, we do caution against excessive soy intake.

Further resources
Iowa State University Database On The Isoflavone Content Of Foods

References
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February 21, 2010 at 10:20 pm Leave a comment


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