calories

Sugar Isn't The Villain Here

So recently ive been on a bit of a roll blogging about carbohydrates, and this post is no different. Today we are dicsussing wether sugar deserves the bad reputation it has received in recent years through the media, and since sugar is a form of carbohydrate it is certainly worth discussing.

So is sugar really the villian that the media has portrayed to us in recent years? Is really that extra doughnut? Or slice of cake that is making you fat? Does all that sugar in a can of coke really make a difference?


Well here is the seriously interesting thing, and it’s that when you look at the data on sugar consumption and not the sensationalist media headlines, it has actually dropped since the 2000's, yet obesity has continued to rise unabated.

source: USDA Economic Research Service, image courtesy of Layne Norton Phd

source: USDA Economic Research Service, image courtesy of Layne Norton Phd

So why is this? Well, each year the US economic research centre releases a summary of food consumption patterns and it summarised:

"According to the loss-adjusted food availability data, Americans are consuming more calories per day than they did 40 years ago. In 1970, Americans consumed an estimated 2,039 calories per person per day; whereas in 2010, they consumed an estimated 2,536 calories (after adjusting for plate waste, spoilage, and other food losses).

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Of this 497-calorie increase, grains (mainly refined grains) accounted for 171 calories; added fats & oils, 225 calories; added sugar & sweeteners, 34 calories; fruit and vegetables, 10 calories; dairy, 27 calories; and meats, eggs, and nuts, 19 calories".

So we're eating about 500 more calories per day than the 1970's - that's equivalent to about a pound of fat per week, given that 1lb of fat is = to 3500 kcal, and 500 kcal x 7 days = 3500 kcal.

We're eating more refined grains (like cakes, buns and things containing flour etc) - easy to overeat as they have a very low satiety.

We're eating more fats and oils - the biggest increase in calorie intake, which are very calorie dense (fats containing 9 kcal per gram) and not very satiating (sorry keto fans).

So what about added sugar intake? A tiny 34 calorie increase in the last 40 years. THIRTY FOUR CALORIES!

Basically the issue here, is simply the calories, obesity is primarily linked to calorie excess, Fat containing 9 kcal per gram and Carbs (including sugar) 4 kcal per gram & Protein 4 kcal per gram. ANY of these eaten in excess, will lead to weight gain and all the associated health problems with it. The graphs above highlight this that its the increase in calories that have continued the trend of increased obesity, and that is what we need to focus on.

But, "Added sugar consumption is unhealthy" i hear you say, “that’s what the media tells me! That’s what Jamie Oliver and Davina Mccall tell me”.

Well, science also disagrees with that claim. A summary of the the clinical research to date on added sugar consumption and health found:

"We conclude that added sugars consumed in the normal forms in which humans consume them, at amounts typical of the human diet and for the time period studied in randomized controlled trials, do not result in adverse health consequences".

Which is basically a fancy way of saying: unless your  diet consists solely of coke, and haribo you should be ok.

Well… fair enough your dentist won’t love you, but you should be ok otherwise.




THE LIE ABOUT CARBS

lie about carbs.png

If you were unlucky enough to watch the abomination ‘THE TRUTH ABOUT CARBS’ on the BBC or on it's Iplayer, then it's time to set the record straight.

Dr Maassarani is a GP who thinks "Beige carbs" are somehow uniquely fattening. As has been covered elsewhere recently, GP's get next to no nutritional training, unfortunately. Not to be discouraged by a lack of training in the field of nutrition our Doc goes on to claim that: Most of the starch and sugar in these beige and white carbs are broken down into glucose for energy, and if you eat too much, the glucose is stored as fat.

Firstly, glucose is rarely, if ever, stored directly as body fat. Sorry Doc, that's just basic physiology. Suffice to say if you eat too much of anything- a calorie surplus -then you gain fat. Be that carbs, fat or protein. Carbs are not unique in this effect; yes Mr. Wicks, even those "healthy fats" can make you fat. But what's worse for our intrepid Doc is that he even lumps potatoes and rice into the beige claim!

Secondly, whilst there are studies that show that one person may have a differing sensitivity to carbs compared to the next person, which may alter the effectiveness and efficiency of their desired results, the overlying rule remains, calories in vs calories out; weight loss and weight gain goals are dictated by this principle. Further understanding how your body reacts to certain macro nutrients will certainly enhance the speed and effectiveness of your diet to you're desired results, but potatoes aren't why you put on weight, eating too much and not moving enough was.

So here are a few things to consider about carbohydrates, that refute a lot of what was said in the documentary:

1. White potatoes have one of the highest satiety scores of all foods -this means they keep you feeling full- good if your goal is weight loss, as this means less snacking, less likely to go over you're calories limits.

2. 127m Japanese and 1.3 BILLION Indian citizens may dispute his claim that "beige" rice (a staple of their national diets) is somehow the cause of all our weight gain woes, those nations having some of the lowest obesity rates on the planet! So why were his patients successful by eating more "green carbs" and omitting their usual beige fare? They ate fewer calories, plain and simple. Green vegetables are considered “free food” as they have very few calories and are often a negative calorie food when we consider the energy needed to digest them is more than they often provide us with.

Research also shows that low carb diets result in a spontaneous reduction in calorie intake, even if you're not monitoring your diet intake, this basically means that:


1. You're limiting one whole food group, so you have less choice. Less food variety a lower
calorie intake.
2. You eat more protein, upping protein intake reduces hunger = lower calorie intake.
3. By opting for "green carbs" over those supposedly nasty "beige carbs" you eat more vegetables, which are fibre rich and also contribute to feelings of fullness a lower calorie intake.
Clue: It's not carbs it's too much food (calories), period.

The Metabolism Myth


Hey - it's James here.Founder of Route 1 health and fitness and today I have an important question I'd like to ask you.


Are you actually contributing to your own setbacks?

It's no secret that many of us are in a continual battle with the potential pitfalls that are regularly knocking, hounding us and trying to trip us up, and it's vital that the actions we make aren't adding to this list.

How many of you due to your past experiences with failure, would rather not try, because potentially stumbling again (even if it is a tiny remote chance) is too psychologically painful. .

One of the most important steps you can take toward achieving success is to address misinformation ( everyone has an opinion, but do you know what is actually accurate or who is just after your money?),



Another is to understand or recognise what are your usual pitfalls, and steer yourself toward habits/behaviours that contribute to weight loss (and keeping it off long-term) and any other health and fitness goal you may have.

It is a commonly known fact that on a basic level to achieve weight loss we must be in a calorie deficit, which we do by restricting calories and following an exercise program, simply put ( eating less and moving more as my sister would tell me). Both are crucial parts of a weight loss plan, but when taken to extremes these can leave you miserable and cause more harm than good, physiologically and emotionally, and lead you to fall off the wagon, binge and feel guilty for doing so. Something “extreme” might by going straight into a 7 day workout plan with weights nearly everyday, and ridiculous amounts of cardio, this is insane if you're just starting, it’s unsustainable and reckless.

If anyone tells you to train like this, they either don't know what they are talking about, or are being irresponsible after all are you training for the olympics?, (even i don't do such huge amounts of cardio everyday).

It’s Not JUST a Calorie Deficit

Yes it is true that weight loss is achieved through caloric deficit (calories consumed < calories used = weight loss), the journey though is rarely as easy this equation makes it out to be.

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Above is my own weight loss over the last year and ass you can see it trends down, but it is not a linear straight line. The was a consistent calorie deficit in this period, but many factors lead to minor raises and spikes here and there. Hormones, stress and water retention are all factors to consider, fat loss was consistent, but weight loss as you can see isn't linear.

When we consider how hard it is to actually achieve weight loss, and then throw in all the misinformation and promises of a quick and easy fix, what we have is the perfect storm for failure.

It has been my experience that many trainers offer nothing outside of the ‘numbers’ giving them just the calories and maybe some more nutritional advice but nothing after that. A coach doesn't just simply give you a plan and send you on you're way, a coach should give you this info and then teach you about it, help you to learn to motivate yourself and arm you with adequate info so that you can go forward and achieve long term results

 

A Bad fat loss plan won’t offer any support outside of nutrition.

It is important NOT to be drastic in caloric restriction, because we don't want to create a toxic relationship with food, there’s a sweet spot that can encourage weight loss, but still avoid possible physiological and emotional damage to the you. Studies show that while exercise is important, weight loss from exercise alone is modest and must be combined with a sensible and structured diet that leaves the client in a deficit, it is true what they say, “it is extremely difficult to out train a bad diet.”

In other words, you need to understand two important things:

  1. You need high levels of physical activity.

  2. But your high levels of activity do not have to be vigorous.

That means you do not need to do hours and hours of slogging away on the treadmill each day. Instead, you would benefit more from moderately intense cardio activity for 30 minutes three times per week, with increased walking throughout the day ( i personally do 30 mins of high incline walking on a treadmill several times a week - and burn around 300 calories!).

Is It Possible to Harm Someone’s Metabolism?

This brings us onto the Big Question, the one that many people use as a convenient excuse for their failure due to all the misinformation out there regarding weight loss programmes. can you damage your metabolism through a calorie deficit?

Maybe you've heard horror stories of people whose metabolism was completely wrecked from following low-calorie diets and programs that involved insane levels of activity.

The simple answer is not exactly, this is because as you're body changes so does it's requirements, if you don't make account for these adjustments then it is only logical that results may stagnate as you're body settles and fully adjusts to its’ new composition

The equation for changes in body composition is:

Changes in body stores = energy in – energy out

Think of it this way, if you're in a calorie deficit, and you're losing weight, your body requires a certain amount of calories just to maintain itself, eventually, you're weightloss will match the calorie deficit, and you're weight loss will slow and stop, as you're body composition now matches the required maintenance calories, so to continue weight loss, you must adjust for you new stores and work out what your new calorie deficit must be and vice versa to gain weight. Remember heavier bodies require more energy to move around, therefore require far more calories than a lighter body, so the lighter you are the less you will need.

The above equation holds true for everyone, but there are a lot of other factors that must be considered as well, such as:

  • Sex hormone levels

  • Macronutrient intake

  • Exercise style

  • Age

  • Medication

  • Genetic predisposition

These things should also be considered as variable as they can affect the above equation making it a bit harder to hone in on goals.

To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with the calorie-in-calorie-out equation.

The aim then of this post, really then was to address that a ‘damaged metabolism’ is really just a myth and created through misinformation or spread by lazy trainers and coaches who aren't doing their job properly. (i'm keeping separate those who have medical issues related to their thyroids etc)

To reach your goals, you should learn to recognise what is happening to your body. As you're body settles into its new composition it is important to adjust the required calories for your goals accordingly, the amount of calories your body will need to alter its composition will alter as you do, to match the new requirements.

Tracking your diet accurately is challenging, but the point I’m really trying to highlight is that attributing a lack of weight loss progress to “metabolic damage” is merely convenient and misleading. The truth is, creating a negative energy balance is the only way an individual will lose weight and vice versa.

So now that we have addressed that myth what we need to look at for you is how to prevent pitfalls in the future so you can continue on safely in the knowledge that you are moving on productively to your goals.

  • If your progress begins to slow, remember it is likely you need to adjust for your current body composition as it will have changed significantly from what it was previously.

  • Avoid going on extreme fitness plans, they are unsustainable to the uninitiated and can be harmful to you psychologically as well as physically

  • Train appropriately - moderately intense cardio (30 mins) and weights 3 times a week is more than enough to  start.

  • Make sure you're caloric deficit is enough to nudge you into weight loss, extreme deficits can be damaging mentally and are more likely to leading to you “falling off the wagon”, and going on a binge.

  • If you are making use of a trainer, make sure they offer more than just the ‘basic number’ when it comes to you're nutrition, you want to learn how to structure your diet, as well as understand why you are doing what you're doing.

I see myself not just as a trainer/coach but also a teacher, my ambition is to ensure you understand why you are doing what you're doing and why it is appropriate for your goals. I do this because if you understand why you're doing it, i find that most people are more likely to proceed and achieve success.

One of the keys to your success is understanding how to adapt to your body, when it has adapted its current situation, when you crack this you will be well on the way to achieving your body goals as long as you are consistent



The Problem With Joe Wicks

Hey Everyone!

Just wanted to talk about a mild source of frustration I have at the moment, and that is this guy

Joe-Wicks-body-coach-t.jpg

Some of you may recognise him, and for those that don't, this is Joe wicks “the body coach”, the guy responsible for recipe book series like “lean in 15”

So what’s my problem with this guy?

Well it's a comes down to a couple key things really. His recipe books ignore the essential fundamentals of nutrition.

Don't get me wrong I've looked through some of the recipes and they sound great And I've even attempted some and yes they were great tasting,  but this is what sets us up for the big fall!

NONE of his recipes have any nutritional information on them.

Yes the ingredients are pretty good and clean for the most part, and the recipes taste nice, but nowhere does his book list the calorie content of the meals? The fat, protein or carb content…

These are the bare essentials to know when It comes to achieving your body goals. (so much for being a body coach ey Joe)

Obviously a fitness professionals like myself is educated, on the topic and so when I cook a meal I'm very aware of how much I can have calorie wise and macro wise (macros being proteins carbs and fats) and I can tailor these recipes to my needs, but the average person out there may not?

Eating healthy foods is great, but trust me eating too much healthy food is still going to be stored as fat, and not eating enough will lead to other health complications. Calories are calories and consuming more than you use will gain weight, and using more than you consume will lose it. A fundamental truth, and it is completely absent in his books

A simple fix would be to simply add that info to the recipe, and then you the consumer would have that info to know if you need more or less from your meals.

Nutritional education is vital in getting the results you want! Most people who get results from Joe wicks recipes do so because it is a vast change to how they were eating before, but to ensure you get the best possible you need to know how much you should be eating. The guess work should be taken away from you.

I'm frustrated because he is a classic case of cash before the consumer… I mean honestly… if he is promoting uncle bens microwave rice, I can't really take him seriously!

However i do understand WHY he hasn’t or neglects to give you this information. If he doesn't inform you of how to structure your own recipes and diets, then you may not need to continue buying his books. However that is a flawed logic, plenty of recipes books exist out there that contain healthy meals. He could still put forward tasty meal ideas and provide you with info that you need to ensure you get the best results

This man lost a lot what remained of his credibility, as he is famous for saying he doesnt “beleive in calorie counting” (im sorry but calorie counting doesnt care about beleif, its a thermogenic fact joe),

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but later on in a twitter post stated that to lose weight you must be in a deficit, which contradicts everything he has stated


Thanks for bearing with my rant