A tale of two clients
Getting ready for a fitness competition. Branched-chain amino acids as fuels and anabolic signals in human muscle. You have to make your own food and measure every meal down to the last gram. Simply provide an email address below. What you have to do more of? This site is intended for informational purposes only and not to provide medical advice.
Two common misperceptions
Cinnamon supplements may modestly improve blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes whose blood sugar is not well controlled with medication. Keep in mind, however, that only certain varieties of cinnamon have been shown to have this effect, and long-term safety studies have not been conducted. Curcumin from turmeric may improve blood sugar levels, according to preliminary studies, and one study found curcumin to dramatically lower the chances of prediabetes in middle-aged, slightly overweight men and women with somewhat higher than normal blood sugar levels.
Alpha lipoic acid may improve insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes, although it may only slightly reduce levels of glycosylated hemoglobin HbA1c. Chromium picolinate may help some people with type 2 diabetes decrease fasting blood glucose levels as well as levels of insulin and glycosylated hemoglobin HbA1c. However, be aware that high doses may worsen insulin sensitivity in healthy people who are not obese or diabetic.
Having adequate blood levels of vitamin D may reduce the risk of insulin resistance in people who are obese. There is some evidence that a certain blood level of vitamin D is needed for normal glucose metabolism in women who are overweight and obese but not diabetic , but it is not clear whether any further benefit is gained with higher blood levels.
In healthy people, consuming a moderate amount of olive oil with a meal has been shown to reduce increases in blood sugar after the meal compared to the same meal consumed with corn oil. In people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, olive oil may improve glucose metabolism. Increasing dietary fiber , especially insoluble fiber from cereal and grains, is associated with a reduced risk of diabetes and has been shown to reduce fasting blood glucose and modestly lower HbA1c in people with type 2 diabetes Martin, J Nutr ; Post,J Am Board Fam Med In people with type 1 diabetes, 50 grams of dietary fiber per day has been shown to significantly improve blood sugar control and reduce hypoglycemic events Giacco, Diabetes Care The American Dietetic Association states that "diets providing 30 to 50 g fiber per day from whole food sources consistently produce lower serum glucose levels compared to a low-fiber diet.
Ginseng , both American and Korean Red ginseng from Panax ginseng , may reduce blood sugar levels in people with diabetes, according to preliminary research. Drinking whey protein before a high glycemic meal may help to lessen increases in blood sugar after the meal in people with well-controlled type 2 diabetes.
Silymarin, a component of milk thistle , may decrease blood sugar and hemoglobin A1c in people with type 2 diabetes, and reduce insulin resistance in people with coexisting diabetes and alcoholic cirrhosis. Inulin, a type of prebiotic , may improve measures of blood sugar control in women with type 2 diabetes, although it did not improve blood sugar levels or insulin resistance in a study of prediabetic men and women.
Berberine a compound found in plants such as barberry , Oregon grape and goldenseal may reduce blood sugar levels in people with metabolic syndrome or type 2 diabetes, according to a few small studies. Fenugreek may help to lower blood sugar, according to preliminary studies, and one study found fenugreek extract to significantly improve some measures of blood sugar control and insulin response in people with type 2 diabetes.
D-ribose , often promoted for energy or sports performance, may also lower blood sugar levels Fenstad, Internet J Nutr Wellness White mulberry Moruns alba or Morus indica has been traditionally used in Asia to help treat type 2 diabetes, and there is some preliminary evidence to support this use. Mulberry leaf extract species not given may lessen increases in blood sugar after ingestion of table sugar in healthy people and people with type 2 diabetes Mudra, Diabetes Care There is mixed evidence as to whether CoQ10 may lower blood sugar.
To be safe, people with diabetes or who take medication to lower blood sugar should consult a physician before using. Preliminary evidence suggests certain other supplements, including aloe , ashwagandha , ginkgo , green coffee bean extract , glucosamine , black cohosh , rhodiola , reishi mushroom and tart cherry juice may lower blood sugar.
While there is not enough clinical research to support the use of these supplements for this purpose, it's important to keep this in mind, as they could enhance the blood sugar lowering effect of other supplements or medications you may be taking. CLA conjugated linoleic acid , a popular supplement for slimming, may worsen blood sugar control in diabetics and in obese people without diabetes.
Also note that high doses of vitamin C may increase blood sugar or interfere with certain blood sugar tests. I am having trouble sleeping. I regularly take a multivitamin, fish oil, magnesium, calcium, vitamins D and K, and a protein supplement. I also take a low-dose blood pressure medication. Could any of these supplements be causing my insomnia? Among these supplements, vitamin D seems the most likely cause. Multivitamins , fish oil , magnesium , calcium , vitamin K and protein supplements are not generally known to cause insomnia.
High doses of vitamin D, as well as high blood levels of vitamin D have been associated a deterioration in sleep quality — and you seem to be supplementing with both vitamin D and a multivitamin that likely provides more vitamin D.
High amounts of vitamin D may interfere with the body's production of melatonin. Be aware that beta blocker medications, such as atenolol Tenormin and metoprolol Lopressor, Toprol XL that help lower blood pressure may also lower your body's nighttime production of melatonin and interfere with sleep.
A small study suggests that melatonin supplementation may improve sleep in people taking these medications. However, be aware that melatonin may increase blood pressure in people taking another type of blood pressure lowering medication.
Does soy affect the risk of breast cancer or prostate cancer? The relationship between soy or soy isoflavone intake and the risk of breast cancer and prostate cancer is not clear-cut. Soy contains compounds called phytoestrogens , such as isoflavones, which have weak estrogen-like activity. Soy and soy isoflavones may have varying effects depending on age, estrogen status and type of cancer. In women, high soy consumption early in life may help to lower the risk of breast cancer but there is concern that high doses of isoflavones may not be safe in women with estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer and may also slightly increase the risk of uterine cancer.
In men, higher soy intakes are generally associated with a lower risk of prostate cancer, but higher intakes of soy isoflavones are associated with an increased risk of advanced prostate cancer.
Also see the Encyclopedia article about Soy Isoflavones. I do moderate exercise for about an hour a few times a week. Which supplements might help me? When working out, nutritional needs to consider include hydration and electrolytes, energy, and protein. As long as you are fairly healthy and eating a balanced diet, if you work out for an hour, you only need water to recover; you don't need an "electrolyte" supplement.
This was shown in a study which compared water to coconut water and a rehydration sports drink as discussed in the Coconut Waters Review. Only when doing strenuous exercise for long periods of time i. However, after a long-period of strenuous exercise, a drink or food which provides some sugar energy may help restore blood sugar levels.
Extra protein from a powder or drink can help athletes build muscle and older people prevent or reverse age-related loss of muscle strength when used in conjunction with resistance -type exercise such as free weights, weight machines, resistance bands, or your own body weight — as with squats. If you are not doing resistance-type exercise, extra protein won't help. Evidence for Other Supplements: Your actual needs will vary depending on your size, goals, genetics, and the duration and intensity of your activity.
For example, an endurance athlete preparing for a 20 mile run will need more carbs than someone getting ready for a 45 minute gym session. This article talks more about how you can individualize these meals for your own needs. Rather than eating a larger meal hours before exercise, some people like to eat a smaller meal closer to the session. The only issue with that: What you eat or drink during exercise is only important under specific circumstances.
But if you are going to eat during exercise, your goals will be similar to those for pre-workout nutrition. However, if you include protein in the mix, you can achieve the same endurance benefits with only grams of carbohydrate per hour.
But you should try to avoid eating fats during exercise. So make sure you bring plenty of water. But what about sports drinks? Especially if you ate a good pre-exercise meal. For training that is longer than two hours, sports drinks can be a huge help. Many endurance athletes prefer to drink water and eat fruit and other foods to supply their energy even on really long runs. If you are exercising intensely for longer than two hours, especially in the heat, do not rely on water alone.
This will decrease your performance and your recovery. And it could also lead to hyponatremia, a condition in which the sodium levels in your blood become too low. Hyponatremia causes your muscles and heart to contract erratically, and can even lead to death.
Eating protein after exercise prevents protein breakdown and stimulates synthesis, leading to increased or maintained muscle tissue. In the past, most fitness experts recommended fast acting proteins like whey or casein hydrolysate. This is because early research indicated that the more quickly amino acids get to your muscles, the better the result.
However, new research shows that hydrolyzed, fast-digesting proteins may get into our systems too fast. Which means you can choose whichever type of protein you want for your post-workout meal. Any high quality complete protein should do the job, as long as you eat enough. That means about grams for men or 2 palms and grams for women 1 palm. In fact, a blend of minimally processed whole food carbohydrates, along with some fruit to better restore or maintain liver glycogen is actually a better choice, because:.
Endurance athletes who perform two glycogen-depleting sessions within eight hours of one another might be an exception to this guideline, as speed of glycogen replenishment is critical in that situation. But for most healthy exercisers, whole food with some fruit is a better way to go. These levels are easily reached if you eat a mixed meal or drink Super Shake a few hours before and after training.
Plus, with mixed meals, your levels should stay at this rate for about four hours after consumption. Dogma has it that we should avoid fats after exercise because they slow the digestion and absorption of nutrients. The same with fats. In fact, one study compared what happens when people drink skim milk rather than whole milk after training. Participants drank either 14 oz. Yet the whole milk drinkers actually ended up with a higher net protein balance!
And the researchers had no explanation other than the fat content of the whole milk. Additional research shows that eating as much as 55 grams of fat post-training, and another 55 grams in the two subsequent meals did not get in the way of glycogen replenishment compared to lower fat meals with the same amount of carbohydrates.
In fact, it actually might provide some benefits of its own! Failing to eat within a two-hour window following training can slow recovery. Probably within an hour. But if you ate a normal sized mixed meal a couple of hours before training or a small shake closer to training , then you have a full one to two hours after training to eat your post-workout meal and still maximize the benefits of workout nutrition. The approach to recover from training is the same as your preparation for a workout: Sometimes after training you might not feel hungry.
Make a Super Shake using the same hand-sized portion guidelines as discussed above. The protein, carbohydrate, fat, and fluid requirements for a lb. Times of your training year will also dictate different needs in the post-exercise recovery period. That same bodybuilder will need a different approach when he starts to diet in preparation for a contest. For most of us, people without athletic competitions on the horizon, the best pre- and post-training meals will contain some combination of high quality protein, high quality carbohydrates, healthy fats, and some fruit and vegetables.
These whole foods provide an awesome blend of nutrients: Of course, you can eat solid foods or drink smoothies. And the amount of each macronutrient can vary depending on your needs as well as personal preferences and tolerances. In terms of timing, you have about one to two hours on both sides of your training to still get maximal benefit.
And, according to the most recent data, the total amount of protein and carbohydrate consumed over the course of the day is far more important to lean mass gain, fat loss, and performance improvements than any specific nutrient timing strategy. Our next group kicks off shortly. Plus the ability to turn that knowledge into a thriving coaching practice. Click here to view the information sources referenced in this article. Download the audio recording here… We also created a cool visual guide.
Meanwhile, another client, Anika, had the opposite concern. She just wanted to lose a little weight, and get a little more fit. Of course, neither of these are true. Right now in the U. You can do it with a few relatively small, easy-to-implement changes. The most important thing is that you realize: In order to change… you have to change. But this process is not for the faint of heart. And it often distracts from other areas of life that these athletes might enjoy and value.
You have to make your own food and measure every meal down to the last gram. That food is generally very plain — lean protein, steamed vegetables, plain potatoes or rice, etc. You have to carry that food with you so you can eat at a precise time. You cannot eat in restaurants. You have to do a specific workout on a given day, exactly as specified. No sick days, no slacking.
You have to sleep and recover precisely. No parties or staying up late. Your whole life revolves around making food, dieting, training, and recovery protocols. So forget having a sex life, social life, parenthood, school, and probably a regular job. Is that level of leanness worth it? Go to any amateur physique competition for a first-hand view.
Getting clear, getting real Clarity is essential in change. Figure out your goals and priorities. In the above steps, be brutally honest and realistic yet compassionate with yourself.
Now you have your action plan. And you know where you are on the cost-benefit continuum. Take the long view Whatever change you want to make, remember: It will take time. What matters to YOU?