By Matt Fitzgerald | For Active.com
Counting calories is a simple concept. Throughout the day you rely on food labels and online resources to determine the number of calories contained in each food and beverage you consume. At the end of the day you add it all up and, voila, you know exactly how many total calories you took in.
But what is simple in principle is almost impossible in practice. A few factors combine to make it almost unobtainable to accurately measure your daily calorie intake. One component has to do with the difference between how calorie counts are determined in the laboratory and how calories are extracted from food in your body. To determine the calorie content of foods, scientists incinerate them inside a device called, appropriately enough, a calorimeter. This device incinerates all types of foods equally well.
Your body is different. It extracts calories more easily from cooked foods, soft foods and low-fiber foods than it does from raw foods, harder foods and high-fiber foods. So, for example, if you eat 100 calories of steamed white rice, your body will absorb more calories than it would from 100 calories of raw lettuce.
Apart from this issue of calorie extraction, the calorie information you see on food packaging and on restaurant menus is seldom 100 percent accurate in the first place. A 2011 study by researchers at Tufts University found that only 7 percent out of 269 items on restaurant menus contained calorie counts that were within 10 calories of advertised totals.
Things get even more dicey when you try to count calories in home-prepared meals and snacks. Even experts admit that their estimates are little more than wild guesses. “I have a Ph.D. in nutrition, and I can’t tell if my dinner is 500 or 800 calories just by looking at the plate,” said Jean Mayer, lead author of the study mentioned above, in an interview for U.S. News & World Report.
By Coach Robin & Coach Stephanie
Stick with salads or grilled lean protein with lots of veggies. Pasta is NOT your best choice for fat loss. Most places have grilled fish, chicken, and beef options. Avoid creamy sauces & dressings.
Chose lean cuts of beef, chicken, or fish with steamed vegetables and a side salad (remember to ask for dressings on the side & skip the croutons).
Great ordering options at a Mexican restaurant are fajitas without tortillas or taco salad without the shell (ask for it on a plate or in a bowl). Skip the sour cream and go easy on the cheese.
These restaurants (Applebee’s, Chili’s…) offer steak, chicken, and fish. Make sure to ask for it grilled. There are usually a nice selection of salads. Ask to add extra protein (double the grilled chicken, fish, or steak) and leave off the fatty extras (crunchy noodles, excess cheese, etc…).
Most Asian restaurants offer steamed entrees. Ask for the sauce on the side. Go with the protein+ veggies and a few bites of rice.
What is your favorite healthy dish when going out?
Nutrition Coaches Stephanie Wolfe & Robin Luke
JOIN TODAY. LEARN ABOUT HEALTHY DINING OUT AND ENJOY DISCOUNT MEAL PRICING, DOOR PRIZES, AND LOCAL ROME RESTAURANTS!
1. Do your homework- If you have the chance to know ahead of time where you will be dining, check out their menu and look at their nutrition. Avoid the obvious (fried, creamy). There are plenty of apps for phones these days that allow you to look up the restaurant’s menu and/or nutrition, like “Fast Food” and my favorite “My Fitness Pal”.
2. Order water- don’t waste your calories on empty things such as sodas, alcoholic beverages, or sweetened drinks.
3. Don’t be afraid to be “that” girl, or guy– Never be afraid to ask for sauces or condiments on the side. Let’s be realistic, a salad may sound healthy, but most restaurants do not put just a sprinkle of cheese or bacon and drizzle ranch. To be on the safe side, I always order my cheese and dressing on the side & no croutons.
4. Skip the appetizers, bread, or chips– Again, appetizers can be empty calories as well, being that they have little to no nutritional value. Get your calories from nutrient dense food. Also, if you attend a restaurant that serves bread or chips, just simply ask your server to not even bring them. That way you do not have to resist the urge of wanting a bite or 5.
5. Safe orders- For myself, I know that I can safely get by with protein and veggies at most restaurants. This meal is very satiating. Remember that instead of a starch, you could always do a protein and double veggies.
6. Mindful eating- I tend to eat really fast so this can be challenging for me. Be in the moment and focus on what foods you are putting in your mouth. SLOW DOWN! This means breaking out of autopilot eating habits which so many of us have.
7. Starches- This includes breads, potatoes, pasta, beans… If you make the choice to include these in your meal, eat them LAST. Eat your lean protein and veggies first and THEN take a few bites of your starch.
8. Sodium- Restaurants typically go way overboard with salts/seasonings, so ask them to go easy on the salt. If you forget, just make sure you drink lots of water during and after the meal to help avoid the sodium bloat.
9. Alcohol- Combining alcohol with fat and starchy carbs is a fat loss disaster. If you chose to drink alcohol while dining out, limit yourself to one or two glasses at the most and stick to eating lean protein and vegetables.
10. No one is perfect- Sustainable fat loss is NOT all-or-nothing. Come up with your restaurant plan and do your best to stick with it. IF you stray from the plan, don’t beat yourself up too much. Put that behind you and focus on getting right back on track with your fat loss. Fat Loss Happens Anywhere- It’s all about making smart choices.
Do you have any tips for eating healthy when you are going out? Let us know in the comments below.
Want to know more about our nutrition club? Check it out.
By Great Harvest Bakery Owner Carol Rutledge
There is quite a buzz these days about eating whole grains and thankfully so. The United States Military is now serving soldiers whole grains over processed grains. Michelle Obama is advocating whole grains in the schools. Best-Selling food author Michael Pollan is telling us to eat foods closest to nature, like whole grains, because they’re healthier and tastier.
Yet, knowing which products are truly whole grain and healthy can be confusing! Especially when so many commercially produced products can contain puzzling claims.
Understanding what constitutes a whole grain product is pretty simple. The product must feature all parts of the grain – the bran, germ and endosperm. If any of the parts are removed, so is the whole grain designation. Refined grains are those that have one or two grain parts removed, which removes naturally occurring nutrients and other healthful benefits like fiber.
The bran, the outer most layer of a grain kernel, is where the fiber comes from along with some vitamins and minerals. The endosperm of a grain is mainly the carbohydrate source. It contains good things like trace proteins, vitamins and minerals. The germ of the kernel is a nutrient powerhouse because it contains good fats and vitamins, especially B and E and minerals.
3 Whole Grain Servings a Day
Whole grains are good for you. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans by MyPyramid (the FDA food) recommends three or more servings a day. Why? Because whole grains among other things, have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, strokes and certain types of cancers. Whole grains are also great for weight management because they provide a consistent source of energy and help you stay fuller longer.
The essential vitamins found in whole grains include iron, zinc, potassium, magnesium, folic acid and many B-vitamins. Surprising but true- whole grains from wheat and oats are equal in antioxidant activity to spinach and broccoli! Plus, carbohydrates are the only source of energy for your red blood cells and are a main source of energy for the brain and central nervous system. This is particularly important during pregnancy. Also, children who eat more whole grains reduce their risk of obesity, diabetes and asthma.
The big picture for good health is to remember that a diet rich in whole natural foods, such as whole grains, fresh vegetables and fruits is rich in vitamins, fiber, minerals and antioxidants, which are essential to your health and lifestyle. The key is to eat delicious, nutritious foods closest to nature – like whole grains.
By Guest Author Carol Rutledge
Carol’s passion for nutrition and baking led her to open the Great Harvest Bread Co. in Rome, GA. She loves offering Rome the best tasting breads and sweets around. She is a 3rd generation native “Roman”.
By Peter Pfitzinger | DistanceCoach.com
Warm weather is here, along with the twin menaces of heat and humidity. Running in the heat can quickly lead to dehydration, which ranks up there with dobermans among runners’ worst enemies. Dehydration hurts your performance, and slows your ability to recover for the next workout. Continuing to run when dehydrated can lead to heat stroke and death.
To better understand the dangers of dehydration, let’s take a look at what happens in the body when you run on a warm day. First, your body automatically sends more blood to the skin for evaporative cooling, leaving less oxygen-rich blood going to your leg muscles. Second, the warmer it is, the more you sweat, and the more your blood volume decreases. Less blood returns to your heart, so it pumps less blood per contraction. Your heart rate must increase, therefore, to pump the same amount of blood. The result is that you cannot maintain as fast a pace on a warm day.
Worst of all, dehydration tends to catch you unawares. If you replace a little less fluid than you lose each day, after a few days you will run poorly but may not know why. Exercise physiologist and marathoner Larry Armstrong, Ph.D., induced dehydration equal to 2% of body weight in runners and observed a 6% decrease in speed over 5K or 10K. That’s a 3% decline in performance for each 1% decrease in bodyweight due to dehydration.
It is not unusual to lose 3-4 pounds of water per hour when running on a warm day. At this rate, after 2 hours a 150 pound runner would lose 6-8 pounds, representing a 4-5% loss in bodyweight and a 10-15% decrement in performance. That’s about an extra 1 minute per mile. Losing more than 4-5% of your bodyweight, however, could do even more serious damage to your body.
If you are running in temperatures over 70 degrees, or over 60 degrees if the humidity is high, then staying properly hydrated can become a challenge. You need a strategy for preventing dehydration during today’s run, and for minimizing the cumulative effects of hot weather running.
Before workouts and races, concentrate on drinking enough fluids to ensure you are fully hydrated. Do not just rely on your thirst-your body’s thirst mechanism is imperfect. Also, you cannot just sit down and drink a half gallon of fluid at one sitting and assume you are fully hydrated. It takes time for your body tissues to absorb fluid. To top off the tank, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends drinking about half a liter of fluid (just over 1 pint) about 2 hours before exercise to help ensure adequate hydration and to allow time to excrete excess water. Drinks containing sodium are more readily retained by the body.
How much you should drink during your runs depends on the heat and humidity, and how far you are running. The maximum amount you should drink is the amount that can empty from your stomach. Research has shown that most runners’ stomachs can only empty about 6-7 ounces of fluid every 15 minutes during running. If you drink more than that, the extra fluid will just slosh around in your stomach and not provide any additional benefit. You may be able to handle more or less than the average, however, so experiment with how much liquid your stomach will tolerate.
Read more …
By Coach Robin
Eat less, exercise more or simply focusing on calories in vs. calories out DOES NOT WORK for SUSTAINABLE FAT-LOSS! SUSTAINABLE FAT-LOSS… isn’t that what we really want? We want to lose excess fat resulting in a transformation into a leaner, more fit, and even younger looking & feeling body. Did you know every time you eat (what you choose to eat) or exercise (what you choose to do), you are turning on fat-burning or turning off fat-burning?
Weight-loss vs. Fat-loss
What’s the difference? Weight loss is loss of body weight including the body’s fat and muscle. You have heard of the different body shapes such as pear shaped, apple shaped, etc… Well if you are pear shaped and you loss weight (fat & muscle), you will simply be a smaller pear shape. Fat-loss, on the other hand, is the loss of fat and minimal loss muscle. Your muscle can change in shape (creating the leaner, more fit look) with quality, proper nutrition and short, effective exercise. You can also think of muscle as the engine driving the body’s metabolism. The more muscle you have, the more fuel/energy your body requires throughout the day=greater calorie burn. Studies of the most popular and “effective” weight loss programs indicate that only 20% of people actually achieve short-term weight loss. Wow! That’s 80% of people engaging in weight loss programs will FAIL! Of those who do have some short term success, only 5% will keep the weight off for 2 or more years. I don’t know about you, but I find those statistics REALLY depressing.
Hormones-the body’s metabolic messengers
(You don’t want to miss this…BUT if it’s too much science for you, just skip to So what’s the plan.)
Talk hormones with me for a minute (think beyond just the reproductive hormones). Our bodies produce a multitude of hormones that we should think of as metabolic messengers that influence and effect everything in the body. Let’s focus on a handful of these metabolic messengers/hormones that tell our body to store fat or burn fat and in turn signal the body with feelings of hunger, fullness, and sometimes cravings: insulin, cortisol, adrenaline, human growth hormone, and reproductive hormones. Unfortunately, if you have engaged in the up-hill struggle of diet weight-loss programs in the past of calorie counting and lengthy aerobic exercise, these important hormones are not being “heard” by the body. Your metabolism is not operating effectively or efficiently. When someone is yo-yo dieting (losing some weight only to gain it and sometimes more back after a short time), the metabolic messengers that tell the body to burn fat all but shut down. What influences how effectively your body’s metabolic messengers/hormones are working? Food/fuel choices, exercise, sleep, and stress together significantly impact the body’s sensitivity to and responsiveness to these metabolic messengers.
So what’s the plan?
Minimizing stress throughout your day and getting a good nights sleep are a (very good) start. A nutrition plan (NOT a diet) including frequent meals of lean protein, high fiber, and starchy carbs in moderation combined with short, intense hybrid strength training sessions will put you on track to transform your body through sustainable fat-loss. Not sure how to get started? Your GOGO NUTRITION coach can set you up with a good starter plan or design an individualized nutrition and exercise plan just for you.
STOP STRESSING! GO GO NUTRITION IS HERE TO HELP YOU! DON’T OUT IT OFF ANOTHER DAY! GET STARTED NOW!
Jade Teta & Keoni Teta. “The New ME Diet.”
Recipe by Charles & Julie Mayfield, Co-authors of Paleo Comfort Foods | Recipe
The sweet potatoes give you a huge post workout carbohydrate punch to quickly restore glycogen stores and the sausage throws a little protein in the mix. The really cool thing about this recipe is its portability. Charles likes to vacuum seal and freeze servings of this to take with him to the gym. This hash is great served warm, but packs plenty of flavor if served cold also. It makes a really easy/portable snack that can easily travel with you and hold up when you are on the go.
2 tbs. coconut, avocado, or olive oil
1 sweet onion, diced
1 pound (450g) sweet potatoes, peeled & shredded/grated
1 pound (450g) cooked chicken or turkey sausage
3 tbs. cumin
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add in oil
2. Saute onion until translucent
3. Stir in potatoes, mixing to combine and cook until potatoes start to soften and eventually brown slightly.
4. Mix in sausage, cumin, cayenne, salt and pepper, and cook until sausages start to get a bit brown
Looking for a good side for dinner tonight? Wanting to eat more vegetables? Try this recipe and let us know what you think.
- 1 lb winter squash, such as butternut or acorn, peeled and cut into 1″ cubes
- 1/2 lb brussels sprouts (about 12), quartered
- 3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4″ diagonal slices
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley1
- 1/2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
2. Toss squash, brussels sprouts, carrots, and onion with 2 tablespoons of the oil and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt in large bowl. Spread vegetables in single layer on baking sheet (use two if necessary) and roast until browned and tender, about 30 minutes. Stir once or twice during cooking.
3. Transfer to bowl. Toss with parsley, vinegar, pepper, and remaining oil and salt.
You can substitute the vegetables
Certain foods can help combat the common cold and flu.
Nothing can sideline your training like a bad cold or the flu, and both run rampant this time of year. But your immune system has a complex network in place to keep you healthy–if you fuel it well. When a pathogen invades, white blood cells (called macrophages) engulf the virus, prompting B cells and killer T cells to attack it. This response leads to the creation of other cells designed to destroy the same virus if it shows up at a later date. But just a few nutritional missteps can weaken your body’s response. That’s why it’s important to eat foods that provide the nutrients your body needs to shore up your defenses.
Almonds are packed with an immune-boosting duo (vitamin E and manganese), providing 37 percent of your daily need for both in one ounce. Many runners’ diets tend to be low in these nutrients, and studies show that not getting enough can weaken immune cells’ initial charge on pathogens.
Eat It: Top cereal and yogurt with chopped almonds, or add to salads and rice.
A three-ounce serving supplies more than 100 percent of your daily need for vitamin D. This nutrient keeps a wide variety of immune cells in working order; not getting enough can put you at risk for infection. Salmon also provides protein and omega-3s that boost immune-system strength.
Eat It: Mix with chopped celery, parsley, and a touch of olive-oil mayo; stuff into a whole-wheat pita for a quick recovery meal.
Collards pack 45 percent of your daily folate need in one cooked cup. This B vitamin helps generate immune cells every time your body gears up to fight a pathogen. Com-pounds called glucosinolates calm inflammation caused by killer T cells, helping you feel better when you do get sick.
Eat It: Sauté or steam for a side; stir into soup; or add raw leaves (not stalks) to salads.
Check out a few more food items to strengthen your immune system.
By Ragan Sutterfield | Competitor.com
Many triathletes generally avoid the junk—no processed foods, no simple sugars, just good whole foods—in their daily diets. But all of this tends to end on race day where gels, protein bars and sport drinks fuel athletes toward the finish line. For many the combination works, but for others the gels and sports drinks just don’t fit as a part of a lifestyle aimed at health. The question becomes: Are there good whole-food alternatives that work as well as the processed options?
New research gives some hope to those wanting to fuel with whole foods. A recent study compared a 6 percent carbohydrate sports drink to whole bananas consumed by trained cyclists over a 75K time trial. The result? There was no difference in performance or recovery between the cyclists who ate bananas and those who consumed the sports drink. But how practical is it to stuff a bunch of bananas in your tri kit pocket during a race?
Six-time Ironman world champ Dave Scott would know. In the early days of Ironman he raced Kona with a load of bananas in his jersey pocket. “It was a catastrophe,” he says. “With five bananas in my jersey in the Kona sun sloshing around, they became a mess quickly.” As a coach, even though he wouldn’t recommend a jersey full of bananas, Scott thinks whole foods still have a place. “I have athletes who can’t handle much sugar on the run and use coconut water for hydration and electrolytes,” Scott says. He knows other athletes who have successfully used baked potatoes in races. “The key with whole foods is to eat more frequently with less volume,” Scott says, noting that most athletes nosh too much, too soon in a race.
One athlete who has found success with whole-food fueling is Diane Isaacs, a top age-grouper who has claimed fourth in her age group at Kona. While racing, Isaacs relies on sprouted seeds, small avocados, soaked nuts and goji berries to fuel her body. “Sprouting and soaking helps makes seeds and nuts more easily digestible during a race,” Isaacs says.
Ultra endurance athlete Rich Roll, the author of Finding Ultra, says he eats lightly baked yams and bananas on rides, but he believes that processed carbs can have their place during a race—especially products with complex carbs rather than simple sugars. The goal though, says Roll, should be to “get back to basics—as close to the natural state as possible.”
For some, simplicity may mean that gels and sports drinks will stay in their race-day diet. But for those who don’t want to consume heavily processed products even on race day, there are alternatives that are working for competitive athletes. Whole-food fueling might just take a little more planning and a lot of experimentation to find what works for you.
Try it: Whole-Food Swaps
To train with whole foods is akin to changing from gasoline to diesel—you must train your body to adapt to the new fuel. If you’re used to gels, bars and blocks, here are a few alternatives you should try as you make the change.
Check out these whole food recipes for gels, chews, bars and sports drinks.