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Nutrition Questions?

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I’ve spent a lot of time the past 10 years studying health and fitness articles, and yes I’ve watched a few episode of health shows like Dr. Oz, The Doctors and Food Revolution.  When I find an article or show topic that I think will be helpful I tend to write the information down in a notebook to keep track of things that I might use later.

So, what I decided to do is to make a list of nutrition questions I’ve researched and have been asked over the years and put them together in one spot for quick reference.

Question #1: If I have high blood pressure, why do I have to reduce my salt intake?

Answer: Since the 1940’s doctors have treated high blood pressure by reducing salt intake and study’s show that a diet low in salt can help reduce your risk of a heart attack.  Salt is necessary for our survival, without we would die.  Normally the kidneys control the level of salt. If there is too much salt, the kidneys pass it into urine. But when our salt intake levels are very high, the kidneys cannot keep up and the salt ends up in our bloodstream. Salt attracts water. When there is too much salt in the blood, the salt draws more water into the blood. More water increases the volume of blood which raises blood pressure.  As you can see the real problem lies in the amount we consume.  If your blood pressure is normal, there is no reason to reduce your intake of salt, just keep it in check.

Question #2: I just can’t eat vegetables, is there something else on the market to compensate for the fact that I can’t eat veggies?

Answer:  Currently there is not pill on the market that can provide you with all the nutrients you would get from eating a healthy dose of vegetables  Before I started to drink Shakeology, I got most of my daily intake of vegetables from drinking V-8.  According to the can an 8 ounce drink is the equivalent to 2 servings of fruits and vegetables.  The part your missing from the real vegetables is the natural fiber which helps control hunger and cravings.  “It’s still the best vegetable substitute around,” says Melinda Hemmelgarn, R.D., a nutritionist at the University of Missouri.

Question #3: Why is Brown Rice better than White Rice?

Answer: It’s simple, unrefined grains, for example “whole wheat” grains are not made by having all of their nutrients refined or taken out of them.  Plus, whole grains are full of fiber which will help you feel full and keep you from being hungry.  Products made from refined ingredients, such as white rice, white pasta, white bread, etc have the fiber taken out.   Why does this matter? Eating “white” foods that lack fiber causes your blood sugar to rise and for your pancreas t release insulin.  This is a signal for you body to store these foods as FAT.

Question #4: What’s best: fresh, frozen, or canned?

Answer: Fresh is always best.  However, not supermarket fresh because when a supermarket label says fresh, according to research, its almost a week old and traveled over 1,000 miles to get to your grocery isle.  Plant it, water it, pick it and eat it – that’s about as good as you can get.  Canned vegetables are the worst because they contain added sugar and excess sodium, plus during the preservation process they can lose a high percentage of their natural vitamins and nutrients.  Frozen is the best and most convenient choice.  Since vegetables and fruits are flash frozen, they maintain nutrients because they are frozen at peak ripeness.

Question #5: How much water should I drink a day?

Answer: The recommended goal is 8 glasses.  However, that’s for the “average” American, if you are more active and workout regularly it’s possible that amount should increase.  Water helps protect joints, build muscle, prevent heart attacks, helps you feel full, and revs up your metabolism.  German researchers have discovered that if you drink approximately 16 oz of water, first thing in the morning you can boost your metabolism by 24% for at least an hour and a half.  Special note: 75% of Americans are severely dehydrated.

Question #6: Should I try to build muscle or lose weight first?

Answer:  Remember this – muscle burns fat.  The more lean muscle you have the more efficient your body will be at burning fat.  A pound of muscle will burn three times as many calories as a pound of fat.  If you have a choice between weight lifting or resistance exercises or cardio, its always best to stick with the weights.  Yes, cardio does burn calories and fat, but it also burns muscle, thus you are not maximizing your fat burn.  Cardio should always be mixed with resistance training.

Question #7: Is it possible to get a fast food fix between a 9 to 5 job, workouts and managing a household?

Answer: When life’s got you running in circles, you might resort to a drive-through window.  Keep in mind that most fast-foods are high in calories, fat and sodium.  But with a little help you can get away with an occasional pit stop.  Chicken will be your best bet, here are some examples:

1.) KFC – Tender Roast Sandwich = 300 calories, 37 g of protein, 23 g of carbs, 5 g of fat and 1,060 mg of sodium.

2.) McDonald’s – Premium Grilled Chicken Classic Sandwich = 420 calories, 32 g of protein, 51 g of carbs, 10 g of fat and 1190 mg of sodium

3.) Subway – 12 in. Oven Roast Chicken Breast = 670 calories, 43 g of protein, 95 g carbs, 11 g of fat, and 1680 mg of sodium

Question # 8: Should I buy organic or stick to the regular produce?

Answer: The benefits of eating organic food go straight to the farm, where no pesticides and chemical fertilizers are used to grow the organic produce shipped to grocers.  Eating organic means avoiding the pesticide residue left on foods, and it may even mean more nutritious variety’s.  There’s lots of reasons to buy organic. First, it’s better for the environment.  No pesticides means healthier soil, water, and wildlife.  Buying organic supports small farmers.  Organic farmers can earn a fairer price for organic produce compared to factory farming.  Organic farmers are growing a wide variety of non-genetically modified (non-GMO) fruits and vegetables.

Finally, organic foods are healthier for you. The research on whether consuming organic food is healthier for people remains inconclusive.  However, the USDA’s own tests show that most non-organic produce contain residual pesticides even after washing.  The long term effects of consuming these pesticides has not been sufficiently studied, but they can’t be good for you.

Question # 9: Is morning or evening the best time to workout for weight loss?

Answer: There have been many arguments as to which time is the best to workout.  Some will tell you that to lose weight, it is best to workout in the morning. You do not have the fuel from breakfast, so your body turns to the stored fat for energy. You then burn more fat, and this primes your body for an increased metabolism throughout the rest of the day.

On the other hand, some suggest you should workout later in the afternoon or evening because your muscles have been warmed up from the day, and you will have more energy to perform the exercise which will mean more of an effort and more energy expended. More weight on the bar or pushing yourself that extra mile will help you achieve your desired effect more quickly.

In my opinion, It really doesn’t matter! I’ve achieved great results whether I’ve workout in the morning or evening.  Weight loss is primarily based on your body’s ability to burn more calories than you take in. It isn’t as much a question of when you exercise, just that you do something every day so you expend more calories than you take in.

Question # 10: How many times a week should I workout?

Answer: The actual number depends on what you’re trying to do, but if you’re looking to lose body fat, you should aim to do at least 30 minutes of cardio at 60 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate four to six times per week.  For beginners, most experts recommend at least 20 minutes of exercise three times a week. Just doing something is better than no exercise at all. Remember, 20 minutes is considered the minimum prescribed amount of exercise for one day. As your body adjusts to this level of exercise, you should increase the amount of exercise that you are doing to continue receiving the maximum benefits.

Once your routine becomes too easy, increase the number of days that you work out. You can do this by increasing your weekly number of fitness training sessions. For example, if you are pacing yourself correctly, it is OK to increase your exercise sessions from three times a week to four or five times a week.

Challenging your fitness level is very important.  Too little work may have little effect on your body, therefore causing you to waste your time. For each type of exercise, there is a maximum level of force that your body produces. Your current fitness level determines the amount of force you can produce. Ultimately, overload means to work harder. Whether you are a beginner or expert, you should always try to work harder than your normal comfort zone. When this occurs, you will be increasing your frequency, duration, intensity and progression.

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