Tag: food

How Much Protein Do You Actually Need?

How Much Protein Do You Actually Need?

Protein is the building block used to create new cells. This includes anything from new skin cells to muscle tissue.

Protein is also an energy source and, though, it provides the same amount of energy as carbohydrates, it is not a good energy source. It has a long metabolic process, requiring a lot of energy to break down, and gives you a very slow and weak energy source.

This is great for people trying to cut back on carbohydrate intake, or to lose weight, but is not good for high performance and function.

To function at your best, you should use carbohydrates for fuel and protein for recovery.

Amino Acids and Protein

Proteins themselves are made of amino acids linked together. Each amino acid has a distinct shape that enables it to perform a unique function.

There are 20 different amino acids. Most are obtained by food while some can be created in the body.

However, if any of the 20 amino acids are lacking, then a protein, or new building block, cannot be made.

Without complete proteins, a new cell cannot be formed and the energy obtained from the extra amino acids is used as energy, or stored as body fat.

This means that we should be consuming complete proteins and not just amino acid sources in order to gain the best results.

How Much Protein Do You Actually Need?

Naturally every day we lose thousands of cells every day that need to be replaced with new cells. This includes anything from dead skin cells to broken down muscle tissue.

Individuals who exercise or do strenuous work, in which muscle is broken down often, need even more protein than sedentary individuals, to replace the lost cells.

However, there is a limit to how much protein we should be taking because it has been discovered that taking too much protein (over 1.5g/lb or 3.3g/kg of body weight) can put an unnecessary, and potentially harmful, strain on your body’s systems.

Also, your body can only grow so much in one day so taking extra protein, no matter how big and muscular you are, will only put more strain on your body and give you a weak energy source.

Therefore, it is best to consume only what is needed to recover and use carbohydrates and fats as your main fuel sources. 

To ensure you get enough protein to maintain or gain strength, aim to consume 0.5-0.7g of protein per pound (1.2-1.6g/kg) of body weight daily.

For individuals who do not exercise or break down muscle often, it is recommended that they consume only 0.4-0.5g per pound (0.8-1g/kg) of body weight daily.

In either case, any excess protein that is not used to build new cells will then be used for energy or fat storage.

Protein is not a bad source of energy, but it is not optimal either. It is much slower to break down and uses the most amount of water during metabolism.

By maintaining a constant level of protein daily, based on your needs, then the better energy sources, carbs and fats, can fluctuate depending on your daily activities.

Carbs are fast digesting while fats are slow digesting. So on days that you have a lot of intense activity consume more carbs while on less intense activity days you should rely more on your fat intake for energy.

Good protein sources are meats, beans, legumes, and dairy products.

Protein supplements can help to accumulate more protein in a diet but should be used sparingly, as whole food will always give you better results, guaranteed!


If you want to learn more, check out: The Truth About Protein Supplements!

Tip: Supplementing with BCAA’s, or branch chain amino acids, can be effective, but only if you are lacking one of the 8 essential, or 2 semi-essential, amino acids. Any excess amino acid that cannot be used to make a complete protein will be used for energy or stored as fat.

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Why You Need Fat In Your Diet

Why You Need Fat In Your Diet

Fats, also known as lipids, are valuable sources of slow, but long-lasting energy consumed in the diet.

This valuable nutrient is great for helping you stay fuller for longer but is easy to overconsume, and just like anything else you eat, if you do not use it for energy, then it is stored as body fat.

There are three types of Fat:

  1. Saturated Fat,
  2. Unsaturated Fat,
  3. and Cholesterol.

Saturated Fat

First, saturated fat is known as “bad” fat due to its properties linking it to many heart illnesses.

However, one important thing to remember about saturated fat is that it is created in the body. For fat to be stored in the body it must be converted into saturated fat so that it can be solidified at normal body temperature.

This means that saturated fat does not need to be in the diet!

Yet, it is not recommended to avoid natural meats that have relatively high amounts of saturated fat, because these meats also have higher nutrient content as well. Without saturated fat in your diet, your health will suffer through a lack of fat soluble vitamins.

To avoid excess saturated fat, simply do not eat the fat that you see on meat and avoid foods that have an abundance of saturated fat in them, with few other key nutrients.

Unsaturated Fat

Next, there are two types of unsaturated fat:

  • Polyunsaturated
  • and Monounsaturated.

Both forms of unsaturated fats are essential and must be consumed often to maintain a healthy body.

To ensure you get an adequate amount of these essential fats, consume foods rich in unsaturated fat and low in saturated fat, such as nuts, avocados, olive oil, fish and lean meats.


Cholesterol is also linked to many heart illnesses, but this is more due to the excessive saturated fat in our diets rather than the cholesterol consumed.

Like saturated fat, cholesterol is also formed in the body.

Cholesterol is used by the body to create hormones such as estrogen and testosterone. This makes cholesterol a highly valuable nutrient, especially for those looking to build muscle and get stronger.

We are told to avoid excessive cholesterol in our diets, however, the body makes way more cholesterol than is consumed in a regular diet, and those that train hard need a lot of cholesterol to keep their hormones up.

It has been found that only when saturated fat is high in the diet alongside a lack of exercise, so too are the dangers associated with cholesterol and heart illness.

With this in mind, realize that cholesterol is not harmful. Lack of a healthy diet combined with a lack of exercise is.

Eat Your Fat!

Realize that fat is important for every diet. Even body fat is important for optimal body function as well as fat-soluble vitamin storage.

Fat is a great source of energy, an insulator and allows the body to perform optimally. Without proper amounts of all 3 types of fat in your diet, your health and performance will suffer.

To ensure an adequate amount of these essential nutrients, consume these foods regularly:

  • Eggs
  • Red Meat
  • Lean Meat
  • Fish
  • Nuts
  • Avocados
  • Olive Oil


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Think Before You Eat!

Think Before You Eat!

Each time before you eat, think of what your goals are and if this meal choice will help or hinder your progress.

Eating is a common social pass-time, but it can stop you from reaching your goals if you don’t put some thought into what you consume. Think about if you are actually hungry, or just eating because you are bored.


Before you overindulge, think of these things…

Are you hungry, or are you actually just thirsty? Sometimes, thirst is mistaken for hunger. If you are not keeping up with your water intake, you may actually just be thirsty.

Are you craving something sweet, or are your electrolytes out of balance? In the kidneys, glucose or sugar is filtered with sodium (Na+). When your Sodium (Na+) to glucose ratio is off, which is common during weight loss or low carb diets, cravings will often occur in the form of sweet and/or salty foods.

When cravings occur, it is often helpful to have 1-2Tbs of natural peanut butter, which will help fight off cravings while still maintaining a healthy diet.

If that does not work, you can try having flavorful tea.


If you have to go off your diet…

For most diets, it is reasonable to not be completely strict all the time. It is reasonable to go off of your diet 10-15% of the time and still make progress.

Still, the stricter you are with a diet, the greater your results.

Always remember to keep your goals in mind. Think of what your meal really consist of and be accountable for what you put in your body.

Think of why you started a specific diet. Think if this meal will help you reach your goals. Each time before you eat, think of what your goals are and if this meal choice will help or hinder your progress.

If you want to learn more about managing your diet, check out our Strength Articles in which we discuss a wide variety of topics to help make you healthier and stronger!


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Why You Should Limit Dairy After You Turn 20, or Sooner!

Why You Should Limit Dairy After You Turn 20…or Sooner!

We are all born with a certain level of the lactase enzyme in our bodies but can lose it over time. To avoid any intestinal and immune distress, begin to minimize dairy intake after you turn 20 years old, or when negative symptoms are felt.

First, dairy is anything that consists of lactose or did at one-time. Lactose is a disaccharide sugar made from glucose and galactose bonded together. The only way to break this bond is with an enzyme called lactase.

If the bond between these two sugar molecules cannot be broken, then it cannot be absorbed from the intestines into the bloodstream, as it is supposed too. When these sugars are not broken down to be absorbed, they continue through the GI tract as a waste product.

Along the way, the body fights this sugar by creating intestinal inflammation (which can cause distension, pushing your stomach out looking like a “beer belly” or “pregnant belly”). This is the same effect you would get when eating something else that your body is allergic too, such as gluten for those that are gluten intolerant.

Also, water moves with sugar molecules which, in this case, leads to diarrhea, and increases colon discomfort. This can be constipation, an increased stench of gas or increased gas frequency. If you have any of these symptoms, it may be time to minimize your dairy intake.

For most people, this is not a problem until they finish puberty, or around the age of 20 years old.

Puberty signals the body to grow and milk, or dairy, is a natural substance that promotes growth. It has good amounts of fat, carbohydrates (lactose) and protein, along with calcium. Milk is what many growing things survive on for the first few years of life until more solid foods can be digested. It is also useful to support growth during puberty.

However, after growth is finished, dairy products are not as useful because the growth of bones and overall size does not continually occur. Our body realizes this and then begins loosing the unnecessary, or unused, lactase enzyme. When it is lost, it is slow to come back, if it does at all.

To avoid any intestinal and immune distress, begin to minimize dairy product use after 20 years of age or when negative symptoms are felt.

Many people go their entire lives with slowly increasing lactose intolerance and do not notice it until later in their life, after years of intestinal destruction have already occurred. Others are born with or become extremely lactose intolerant over time, while few have no lactose intolerance at all.

A study on lactose intolerance compared to heritage found that those who had a heritage closest to Germany were more likely to have a strong tolerance for dairy products throughout their life, while those farther from Germany had less tolerance for lactose in their diets. It was believed this was due to the fact that historically people in cold regions, such as the present day Germany, had to survive on cow’s milk year round in order to be fed while warmer regions could be satisfied by crops.

Still, it is best to heir on the side of caution when negative symptoms are felt after ingesting dairy products. Usually, low sugar dairy products like heavy cream or cheese can be digested because of the lack of lactose sugars.

Some dairy in your diet can be useful to encourage proper calcium (Ca++) supply but is not necessary.

Other products containing calcium (Ca++) are dark green vegetables and fortified products, such as almond milk or orange juice.

Overall, dairy is useful during growth but should be limited when growth is not occurring.

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How To Manage Cravings!

How To Manage Cravings!

Though cravings can sometimes be intense, they are controllable. Overall, just keep your total food intake at a reasonably constant amount.

Cravings are similar to addiction.

Cravings, like an addiction, can start as only a small temptation but has the potential to grow to unmanageable behavior. There are two common cravings that occur in our diet; salt and sugar cravings. Though cravings can sometimes be intense, they are controllable.

Why do I crave…?

First, let’s look at why cravings may occur. In the kidneys your blood is filtered to remove waste products and then what is needed is reabsorbed. During this process, glucose (blood sugar) and sodium (Salt) are filtered and reabsorbed together. If one is out of balance with the other, there can be a need or craving sensation. This is natural and good to maintain balance.

In most typical diets, there is a lot of carbohydrate intake and not so much salt, so the balance is constantly fluctuating.

Usually, when there is a high amount of glucose in the diet there is a craving for salty foods (chips, peanut butter, salted nuts, etc.) or sweet and salty foods (mainly candy bars). This can also occur during overhydration or a large fluctuation in fluid intake.

On the other hand, if there is a high amount of salty foods in the diet compared to sweet foods there is likely going to be a craving for sweet things (anything sugary) along with an increase in thirst to better balance the body’s electrolytes.

How to Fight the Cravings:

To avoid indulging in too many foods that may be less healthy than others here are some things to try to fend off cravings.

When you are craving something sweet and/or salty try having a small scoop of natural peanut butter or any nut butter. The texture and flavor commonly help the mind settle its cravings. If that does not work, you can try having a less impactful sugary food such as tea sweetened with a little honey or a piece of fruit.

Having flavored protein can also help as long as it does not over exceed your protein limit for the day (over 1.5g/lb or 3.3g/kg of body weight).

I’m still craving those Reeses!

If all of that fails, you can always work sweet or salty foods into your daily diet by eating less total calories throughout the rest of your day.

For example, if you have cravings for chocolate at night or any time of the day, have some but eat less fat and carbohydrates during other meals. This will allow for your total calories for the day to stay about the same.

It is best to keep a natural diet with only few craving indulgences, but we all have our needs. With at least 90% of your diet being strict, 10% can be used for indulgences in less nutritional foods.

Overall, just keep your total food intake at a reasonably constant amount.

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