Tag Archives: Healthy Living

Resistance Training, Endurance Athletes, And A High Protein Diet

November 9th, 2016
0
Matt Poteet, Pharm.D.

Resistance Training, Endurance Athletes, And A High Protein DietHaving recently looked into a study on high protein diets for athletes doing resistance training, it quickly became apparent that certain exercise types — such as resistance training and endurance training — have unique dietary needs to be completely effective.  There was no significant change in body composition for anyone in the study, but other studies regarding a high protein diet all agree with this one thing: that the high protein diet burns fat mass — and the fear that it would raise cholesterol have been debunked.

A high protein diet can actually lower cholesterol and there is no chance of renal failure or significant changes to blood lipids or hepatic functions. Also, high protein diets may reduce fat mass by inhibiting lipogenesis in the liver. And if, however, you do a periodic resistance training schedule along with other sports training, a high protein diet can significantly change your body composition. Endurance athletes’ dietary needs are better met with significantly higher amounts of protein.

Most endurance athletes require more dietary protein intake for 3 reasons:

  1. Insufficient carbohydrate calories to meet energy expense
  2. Insufficient protein calories to meet energy expense
  3. Exercise training expenditure increases 10-fold above resting state

Why A Paleo Diet Is Beneficial To Athletes

The Paleo Diet is not necessarily a high protein diet, more of a low empty-carbohydrate diet. That being said, it reduces the number of sugars as well as grains. You get your sugars naturally from fruit and your carbohydrates from them as well as vegetables like carrots, cauliflower, and yams or sweet potatoes. It doesn’t make you feel deprived, it’s versatile and allows you to eat when you want, as much as you want. Most high protein diets still allow grain carbohydrates and a significantly higher sugar intake than the Paleo Diet. This diet just asks: “What would a caveman eat?”

When training for any event or have a significant workout, nutrition is very important.  The Paleo Diet can be modified to fit the athlete’s needs. If you have a significant game or a marathon to run, eating a small, balanced (500-1000 calories) meal 3-4 hours beforehand is recommended. For the caveman, it will include potatoes, sweet potatoes or yams, a variety of green vegetables and a regular portion of meat. This meal should be lower in fat, as fat takes longer to digest. If the meal is closer to the event, it should be smaller still. Be sure to include plenty of water with this meal and during the pre-event time.

The after event meal is slightly more important and should include carbohydrates, protein, and fat. This meal should also be consumed within 30 minutes after the event, to make optimum use of the nutrients. This is when protein synthesis is at its best and the carbohydrates can help replenish the diminished glycogen stores and enhances muscle growth. If you do not feel you can eat, a protein shake is recommended with milk, almond or coconut milk. (So many options!) Add whey or soy protein, some fruit if desired or vegetables for a complete “meal”. If you are an endurance athlete, this is actually the meal when you want to add more protein to your intake. A four to one ratio of protein to carbohydrates is recommended.

Protein Needs For Athletes

The amount of protein needed for an athlete depends on the amount of exercise that is done. This is where the high protein diet comes into its best effect.

1-1.5 hours of exercise requires 1.2 grams per kilogram of weight per day

2-4 hours of exercise requires 1.4 grams per kilogram of weight per day

5 or more hours requires 1.7 grams per kilogram of weight to replace the amino acids that have been cannibalized during the extreme exercise

After all this, any athlete may need extra carbohydrates to help fuel all the exercise output. Paleo is not a diet you have to absolutely stick to. It is a guideline and can be modified to meet your needs. Let me repeat that. The Paleo Diet can be modified to meet your needs. This is very important to remember. If you need more carbs and the sweet potato fries aren’t cutting it, add another baked potato. Put butter and sour cream on it, if you like. Whatever hits your fancy. Eat whatever your body needs, as long as you’re eating enough carbohydrates to meet your performance goals.

Fats are also an important part of the athletic diet. The Paleo Diet includes fats as a part of the complete nutritional picture. Having fats in your diet is as important as having the right amount of protein or carbohydrates to fuel your performance.

Calorie counting on the Paleo Diet is not necessary unless you need more calories to keep up your performance goals. If you jog for an hour or two a day and have nothing else strenuous going on, you will still need at least 2500 calories to maintain your weight and performance levels, more if you are trying to gain muscle.  You want to make sure you have enough food, this also means fat, in your daily intake. So, forget about the skinless chicken breasts; instead have bacon, pork shoulder, avocados, and eggs – WITH the yolk.

Now, remember, this is for the endurance athlete and the ones who exercise rigorously twice a day or more. The rest of us can get by on the usual fare; basically, there is no need to have those before and after event meals. (But we can still have an extra potato if the need or want arises.) The Paleo Diet is wonderful and not really a diet at all. Especially not a low-carb or low-fat diet. More a life guideline, if you choose to do it. Do not let yourself get run down or exhausted, especially if you have been working out. That includes walking (or jogging) the dog…..Have another potato or more bacon!

Click Here To Read More On Paleo Diets

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The Paleo Diet As A Lifestyle Choice

November 1st, 2016
0
Matt Poteet, Pharm.D.

Paleo Diet Lifestyle Choice

Our caveman ancestors were hunter-gatherers and were in shape. Eating what they could hunt or find, and doing a lot of walking in the process, kept them lean and muscular, athletic and versatile. That was their lifestyle. Although they did not choose it, we can choose it for ourselves today.

Paleo Diet For Nutrition and Healthy Lifestyle

I know a woman who started the Paleo Diet because she wanted to lose a bit of weight she had gained. It was difficult at first, not having any desserts or other sweets, but she stuck to it, even started jogging. After a few months of the new “diet”, she felt ambitious enough to enter a 5 km run nearby. That was three years ago.  She now runs many different marathons of 20 to 50 km and some even on mountainous terrain. And won a few! She has kept up the Paleo Diet, modifying it for her and her family’s needs and it has become their lifestyle.

Now, I am not saying we all need to run marathons to keep the Paleo lifestyle for us. But doing Paleo will make us feel better, gives us more energy, helps us lose weight and definitely helps build muscle.  You can start walking the dog more often, rather than the dog walking you or just sitting there, forlorn. You will have the energy to keep up with your kids or your grand kids and might even be able to surprise them a time or two. Maybe the exercise regimen you have now can be upgraded or done more often! The possibilities are endless!  A few tips to remember:

  • In order for any “diet” to work, it must be a lifestyle choice. In other words, we need to change our way of thinking and do the “diet” for the rest of our lives. Many diets do not work well this way. The Paleo Diet does.
  • NO PROCESSED FOODS! NO DAIRY! NO SUGAR! Fresh fruits and veggies, good (grass fed, properly raised ) meats, eggs, fish, fowl – anything with wings, oils – coconut, avocado, olive, nuts (yes, peanut butter – no sugar added!!), sweet potatoes and yams (no potatoes!)
  • Use common sense. A moderate portion of meat and lots of veggies for dinner with sweet potato fries. Omelets with lots of veggies and apples dipped in almond or peanut butter. You can also go out to eat. Just substitute sweet potato fries for regular fries or potatoes, and if you’re craving a hamburger, just get it “Caveman Style”. The options are out there.
  • Remember where I said my friend had modified the diet to meet her needs? She loves cheese. She used to eat cheese on a daily basis. Now she eats it once a week. Oh, and chocolate? Dark chocolate is allowed on the Paleo Diet! It’s better for you anyways than milk chocolate. Once you have gotten used to eating Paleo; that is, much less carbohydrates, you can start modifying it to fit your needs. Or you can ease into Paleo by eating less and less carbs until you are doing pure Paleo.
  • With the Paleo Diet, the thing to remember is to eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full and not eat when you’re not hungry. You get your carbohydrates through your nutrient dense vegetables and fruits, as well as getting natural sugars (also carbs). The Paleo Diet is stress-free eating. You can eat a big breakfast, a couple of snacks and then a big dinner; eat a small breakfast and a lunch and snacks for dinner and a late pick-me-up. As long as you are eating Paleo, you can eat when you want and as much as you want. No counting calories!

The Paleo Diet is not for everyone. But those of us who could lose a few pounds or more, or are stuck in a rut or stressed out from yo-yo diet fads, or just want to feel healthier; this might be something to look into. Our bodies were never really meant to eat all those breads, cereals and sugar.

We were hunter-gatherers for 140,000 years and only in the last 10,000 have we had agriculture which has given us all those grains. Our bodies haven’t gotten used to all those fancy things. Maybe it’s time to go back to our roots and eat what we were meant to eat.  There are many websites and articles you can look up to learn more about the Paleo Diet. Do your research and get the facts. One of the better sites for finding out more is http://www.marksdailyapple.com/

The leading expert on the Paleo Diet is Dr. Loren Cordain. His page is at http://thepaleodiet.com/  I believe the best way to figure out if the Paleo Diet is for you is to try it for 30 days and see if you feel any better, have more energy, or lost any weight. To start you off, here is a recipe for Paleo Spaghetti:

Paleo Spaghetti

For the “Spaghetti”:

1 Spaghetti Squash, halved and seeds scooped out

¼ cup olive oil

Salt, pepper

For the Sauce:

1 lb fresh ground turkey

1 small onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon coconut oil

1 tomato, chopped

1/2 jar tomato sauce

½ teaspoon Italian seasoning

Salt, pepper to taste

Sprigs of basil for garnish

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Rub the olive oil on both halves, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Put in a rimmed baking dish cut side up and roast the squash for 40-45 minutes or until a fork can easily poke it. Remove from oven and let cool until you can handle it. Using fork, scrape inside of squash shredding the inside into strands.

While the squash is roasting, melt coconut oil in a pan, add minced garlic and chopped onion and cook for 4-5 minutes, until onion is glassy. Add the ground turkey and brown, stirring occasionally. Add the chopped tomato and tomato sauce, season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the Italian seasoning. Simmer on low, stirring occasionally until the spaghetti squash is done roasting.

Once the squash is shredded, place on plates, add sauce, garnish with the basil. Bon Apetit!

There are so many variations you can do with this recipe! Since the spaghetti squash can be a pasta substitute, use a pesto sauce instead! Or make your own homemade spaghetti sauce. Use Beef or ground chicken instead of turkey.  As long as the ingredients are Paleo, the sky’s the limit! And if you’re not quite ready to go Paleo all the way, you can still use Alfredo sauce or add a bit of Parmesan on top!

Bottom line is: at least do some homework on the Paleo Diet and try it for 30 days. The only thing you have to lose is weight!

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Delicious Paleo Diet Recipes For The Holidays

October 20th, 2016
0
Matt Poteet, Pharm.D.

Holiday Baking – Paleo Diet Style

Holiday Baking – Paleo Diet Style

Ah, the Holidays! Wonderful, sweet memories of baking pumpkin pies and gingerbread men with your grandmother.  Now that you’re on the Paleo Diet, you have to give up all those goodies, right? Guess again!  Here are a few yummy recipes to try. And don’t forget: modifying the recipes for your taste or preferences is definitely allowed!!

Paleo Pumpkin Pie Bars

With Thanksgiving coming just around the corner, I thought this would be a tasty alternative to the traditional pumpkin pie. You can play around with the spice amounts and make this recipe your own.

For the Crust:

  • 6 dates, pits removed
  • 1 cup almond butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt

For the Filling:

  • 1 can (14oz) pumpkin puree
  • ½ cup canned coconut milk
  • ¼ cup coconut cream concentrate or homemade coconut butter*, melted just to soften
  • 3 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/16 teaspoon cloves (don’t bother measuring, just shake)
  • Pinch of salt

For the Topping:

  • ½ cup pecans roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoon maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. First the crust: add pitted dates and almond butter into food processor. Pulse until it breaks down together.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients for the crust and puree until smooth.
  3. Grease an 8×8 pan with coconut oil and pour your mixture in, smoothing and leveling it out. Place in oven for 12-15 minutes or until firm and toothpick comes out clean. Let cool.
  4. While crust is baking, mix your filling ingredients into the food processer until pureed, incorporating the coconut concentrate/butter. It shouldn’t be chunky.
  5. When the crust is cooled, add your pumpkin puree on top, smoothing and leveling again
  6. Now your topping: add the coconut oil to a pan to heat under medium heat. Add your chopped pecans stirring constantly as they will burn easily. Add the remaining ingredients while stirring to prevent burning the pecans. Roast for about 3-4 minutes.
  7. Pour pecan mixture onto the puree and smooth out. Put into freezer for 20+ minutes
  8. Cut and serve. Keep refrigerated or in freezer to keep intact and from melting

*To make your own coconut butter, just get a bag of coconut flakes and put in the food processor. Process for about 8-10 minutes, scraping the sides occasionally. Done.

Brownie Eggnog Pumpkin Pie

If you would prefer a more traditional pie, but still want to do Paleo, never fear! There are lots of wonderful Paleo recipes for pumpkin pie, like this one:

For the Filling:

  • 1 can (14oz) pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup coconut or almond milk eggnog
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup coconut sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice*
  • Pinch of salt

For the Brownies:

  • 15 dates, pitted
  • ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 eggs, whisked
  • 2 tablespoon coconut flour
  • 2 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a pie plate with coconut oil
  2. Place all filling ingredients in a food processor and blend till smooth. Pour into a bowl and set aside. Wipe out food processer (doesn’t have to be super clean).
  3. Add dates to food processor and pulse until a clumpy paste forms
  4. Add coconut oil and cocoa powder, puree until well mixed and it has become smoother
  5. Finally add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth, about two minutes
  6. Spread half the brownie mixture into the bottom of the pie pan, smoothing it out to the sides.
  7. Pour pumpkin mixture on top.
  8. Lastly, add the remaining brownie mixture by the spoonfuls on top and swirl around with a knife. The brownie mixture will be sticky and not swirl easily.
  9. Place pie on baking sheet in oven and bake for 1 hour
  10. Let rest for about 20 minutes and then place in refrigerator for 2 hours before serving.

*If you have all the regular spices, you can use those instead in the traditional amounts or use the amounts from the pumpkin pie bars recipe above. And if you are using the pumpkin pie spice this recipe calls for, I recommend using a bit more than they ask for.

I added this one in, because we all love chocolate chip cookies and who doesn’t love bacon?

Paleo Chocolate Chip Bacon Cookies

Yes, you read that right! Paleo allows dark chocolate and of course, BACON!! Now we can put two of our favorite foods together and have the king of all comfort foods! I realize it is not a traditional holiday cookie, however, bacon! We require:

For the Dough:

  • 3 cups almond flour
  • 2/3 cups tapioca flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ bag of dark chocolate chips
  • [h2] For the bacon:
  • 5 slices thick bacon
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare the bacon: put the bacon into a bowl and coat with the maple syrup, using fingers is probably best. Place on a baking sheet and put into oven. Bake for 5 minutes. Turn the bacon over and give it another 5 minutes. Take out, let cool on baking sheet and lower the oven temperature to 375 degrees F. The bacon will crisp up as it cools and add a delightful crunch to the cookies!
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. In a smaller bowl, mix together the wet ingredients until fully mixed. When done, add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well.
  3. Once the bacon has cooled, cut into chocolate chip sized pieces and add to the mixture along with the chocolate chips.
  4. Roll your dough into 1 inch balls and place on a lined baking sheet. Flatten slightly with the back of a spoon. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Makes about 18 cookies.

You could replace the maple syrup with agave syrup, but it will change the flavor a bit. If coconut flour is less expensive in your area, try using that instead. These cookies are well worth a try and are a great addition to the holidays! Any holidays. Birthdays. Late night snack. Whatever. Mmmmmm, bacon.

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How Do You Like Your Eggs? Smoked Please

September 19th, 2012
0
Matt Poteet, Pharm.D.

If the latest media scare about eggs being as bad for your heart health as cigarettes is true,  then my wife and I may not have much longer to live. You see, based on credible research and my ability to tie that research to healthy lifestyles, the Shields’ household consumes about 4 dozen whole eggs per week. Heck, it would probably be 5 dozen if I took the time to cook some for our Great Dane.

Recently, a nutrition study based out of Canada inspired some over-the-top, but typical media frenzy. They would like us to believe that eating whole eggs is two-thirds as bad as smoking cigarettes; apparently, they harden our arteries. This is how media works – force the reader to question what they know, and then watch the panic begin. It’s important to understand that asking questions is what you should always do. However, that means questioning both sides of the argument. This type of misinformation is most evident in nutrition. First, “they say” such food is bad, then “they say” such food is good, then bad again. Who is “they”? Why do they keep changing their position? Here’s the reality. Stop listening to “they”. Look past the headlines, past what appears on the surface, and do your own research or ask a knowledgeable expert. I do it all the time. This particular “study” has more holes in it than Swiss cheese.

This survey asked some 1,200 senior-aged participants to estimate their average consumption of egg yolks per week times the number of years egg yolks were consumed, which was termed egg-yolk years. Yeah, that sounds like a very odd way to calculate how many eggs people eat.

This is called an observational study – one of the least reliable study methods available in proving that a single action causes a specific outcome. In science class, we learn that this type of study can only show a correlation and correlation does not equal causation. That means that just because the researchers may have seen a higher overall intake of whole eggs AND cases of hardened arteries, does not mean that eggs – and only eggs – were the culprit.

Typically researchers do know to account for other variables that would explain specific outcomes. For example, the researchers in this study did take into account the fact that cigarette smoking is attributed to worsening artery health. But what they did not do, was account for other very important factors, “…more research should be done to take into account exercise and waist circumference.”  So there was little consideration for the participants’ lifestyles.

The study also found that the participants that ate the most eggs (approx. 4.68 per week) had LOWER total cholesterol, lower triglycerides, and higher HDL levels than those who ate an average of .41 eggs per week. That was obviously left out of the study’s headline and media attention. Those results would make any doctor dance a jig.

Did the study gauge participants’ eating habits in general? There’s no mention of it. Let’s propose a hypothesis about egg consumption in America that reflects a very likely possibility. Health conscious people who make many other healthy choices tend to eat egg whites where as people who are not health conscious tend to eat whole eggs, and quite often those eggs are on the same plate as pancakes or part of an egg McMuffin not surrounded by a heap of vegetables.

So, how might whole eggs be associated with more plaque? Well, these researchers never say. Perhaps because they now know that cholesterol doesn’t cause plaque, as shown in this study, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15721501. It concludes that dietary cholesterol is less detrimental to cardiovascular health than previously believed. Here are a few other sources on the subject:

The egg yolk is what holds the majority of the nutrition you need. It contains optimal levels of heart-protecting vitamins like Vitamins A, B1, B6, Folate, B12, and D. The yolk also contains choline, which helps with memory function; lutein and zeaxanthin are also important for eye health.

The bottom line is that we must continue to question the details of studies like this one. And don’t forget to continue to eat real foods for optimum health; do not allow deeply flawed “nutritional science” to fool you. Do your research or ask a professional.

Take Home Points:

  • This was an observational study based on incomplete questionnaires.
  • Correlation does not equal causation.
  • Eating real foods will NEVER be bad for our health (I still laugh at the comparison to cigarettes).
  • Some of the most important vitamins and minerals we can consume are actually contained in the egg yolk. These help to protect the eyes, heart, and brain.
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Reconstructing the Anabolic Diet- Part 2

June 19th, 2012
4 responses
Matt Poteet, Pharm.D.

In part 1 of the series, we looked at the Anabolic Diet’s low carbohydrate, ketogenic weekday phase. We discussed the general premises of the diet, and I explained the modifications that I would make in order to make the diet more effective for body composition changes and much healthier in the long-term. In part 2, we will examine everyone’s favorite part of the diet- the weekend carb load.  We will examine the potential shortcomings of the original plan, the most common pitfalls in the carb load and how to avoid them, and I will provide a more detailed and targeted plan to accomplish the goals of the carb load which, in my opinion, will provide both superior body composition results and a better overall health profile for the dieter.

As we discussed in part 1, the biggest issue with Dr. Dipasquale’s original recommendations are again lack of specificity and quality. This problem gets compounded on the weekend carb load, due to the much higher amount of food and the very pronounced hormonal response that the weekend foods illicit. In fact, far from being the gluttonous period of gastronomic debauchery that so many Anabolic Diet practitioners see it as, the weekend phase is actually quite hormonally and biochemically complex. What was originally marketed as “anything you want for 36-48 hours is really best broken down into three distinct phases which correspond to the body’s  continually changing hormonal environment in response to the weekend foods. In order to really get the most out of the Anabolic Diet in physique development, careful attention should be paid to these phases. I will break down each phase, explain what you need to eat in the phase, why, and how long it needs to be. We will then put it together for a comprehensive  overview of the weekend.

Phase 1

If there is a period that most closely resembles the original Anabolic Diet’s weekend recommendations, it is the period I call Phase 1. In this phase, your body has the most favorable hormonal and biochemical environment possible for utilization of carbohydrate.  This is entirely due to the previous five days of low-carbohydrate, high- fat eating and training. These days:

  • Exhaust hepatic and muscular glycogen stores
  • Potentiate GLUT4 receptor activity
  • Stimulate AKT2 activity

Basically the body is almost out of immediately-usable energy stores, and it knows it. Since being low on energy is generally bad for surviving things which may arise, there is a compensation which takes place. The body gets exceptionally efficient at up-taking glucose from the bloodstream. Conversely, the environment for fat storage and converting glucose into triglyceride is very poor. Enzymes such as lipoprotein lipase, which is responsible for the uptake of triglyceride into the fat cells, are down-regulated. The liver is also in “storage mode”. The various enzymes which convert sugars into triglyceride are inhibited, while the enzymes responsible for glycogenolysis and storage are activated and hyper-sensitive. This “perfect storm” of biochemistry is what enables the consumption of all manner of junk food on the diet without adversely affecting the physique. Nothing is really off-limits in this period, even the dreaded high fructose corn syrup. In fact, this is the one time where fructose can serve a useful purpose as it is extremely efficient at replenishing liver glycogen in while the body is in this depleted state. Unfortunately this little phase doesn’t last forever, in fact it doesn’t last very long at all. All of these phases are very transient, and the physiological environment begins changing in response to the high levels of sugar immediately.  Once you take that first bite of whatever decadent, sinful food you decide to eat first on your carb load, the clock starts. So the big question is….how long does it last? The answer is very individualized, but in general a person with normal body fat levels and normal insulin resistance will last about 6 hours in this phase before conditions change. The better shape you are in, the longer the phase 1 environment can last. Some elite athletes and bodybuilders can stay in phase 1 for an entire 24 hour period.

Even for the elite though, there comes a time when phase 1 ends. It is then time to begin thinking again before you shove that food in your pie-hole.  For purposes of rapid fat loss, for those who are not in great shape and are just beginning this type of diet, and for those who have very poor insulin sensitivity and/or borderline diabetic phase 1 may be all that can be handled for the weekly carb load. The hormonal environment, insulin sensitivity, and intracellular glycogen stores are just not great enough yet to handle more than that. After a period of time on the diet this will change for the better and allow the individual to improve his baseline insulin sensitivity and to move on to phase two, where the majority of glycogen supercompensation takes place.

Phase 2

After you have driven back home from Dairy Queen and called an end to phase 1, an assessment of what is going on in your body is warranted. You now have a high to very high level of circulating insulin, while simultaneously continuing to hold on to good insulin sensitivity. This is a very advantageous phase for those who look to increase muscle mass on this diet. In fact this phase is essential of if the the greatest amount of muscle mass and performance is an objective. Due to the full liver however, special consideration must be taken when selecting the carbohydrate sources in this phase.  This is essentially where I diverge from Dipasquale’s recommendations. Whereas he would have you eating  pizza and ice cream the rest of the carb load, I believe in turning attention to the quality of carbohydrate in order to produce the most effective glycogen super-compensation in the skeletal muscle.  We also need to keep one eye on our long term health as well. While a six hour free-for-all sounds unhealthy, I doubt that there are any long term health consequences to such an eating pattern. The total weekly time is simply too low and the calories which are able to be ingested too small a percentage of the weekly calories to make a difference. Once we get into phase 2, the period starts stretching into a day-long affair and the implications are greater for poor food choices.

Recommendations for the carbohydrate source in this phase are for predominantly long chain amylopectin and amylose-containing foods. Rice (white or brown), potatoes, pastas, oats are all fine choices. The key in carbohydrate selection in this phase is the elimination of fructose-containing carbohydrates. Why? Well, that has to do with our biological processing of fructose. Essentially, fructose cannot participate in glycogen loading when the liver is full of glycogen. It is 100% metabolized by the liver, and in this scenario the vast majority of fructose will be converted into triglyceride. This is not what we want or need in any phase of our dieting life, and we certainly don’t want to be eating a large portion of our carbohydrate  during a carbohydrate load which cannot participate in making glycogen. The length of phase two can certainly vary based on all of the individual physiological differences that we talked about with phase 1.

I generally recommend phase 2 at that way. roughly twice as long as phase 1. In the scenario of the typical dieter mentioned above, this would be a 12 hour phase. Those with exceptional physiology could extend this though. Phase 2 accomplishes the real leg work of the carbohydrate load on the Anabolic Diet. Once completed, glycogen stores should very well be close to topped off.  Some people will say that, once this happens, you should go immediately back to low-carbohydrate eating. This is certainly one way to do it, and there may be some positives to doing it that way. I have found through experimentation that a phase 3, or “transition” provides an even greater glycogen supercompensation while making the transition back to ketosis easier on Sunday and Monday.

Phase 3

The purpose of phase 3 is two-fold; to provide additional carbohydrates in order to complete the super-compensation and to provide slightly more dietary fat back in to the diet in order to transition back into a “fat-fuel” metabolism. This phase is short- it is comprised of two meals over roughly 4-6 hours. For carbohydrate sources, complex carbohydrate with lots of dietary fiber is the goal. This is the time for Ezekiel-type breads, steel-cut oats, quinoa, and similar foods. High dietary fiber will limit absorption and coupled with the dietary fat slow gastric emptying. This provides a perfect “bridge” back to low-carb land. We are essentially tapering off of carbohydrate (and thus insulin), treating it as the powerful pharmacological substance that it is.

Putting it All Together

So, how does it all fit together in the real world? And the larger question, is DIpasquale’s diet most attractive trait, its livability, preserved?  Let’s look at it in totality. Instead of the 36-48 hour free-for-all we have:

  • 6 hour “free-for-all”
  • 12-18 hour glycogen supercompensation period
  • 4-6 hour transition

How does this translate into “livability”? Well, let us assume you go start the weekend at dinnertime on Friday night. Friday night will be the “hang out” night.  You can go to the ice cream social at the local senior living center, go out with the guys for some drinks, eat your corn dog and cotton candy at the fair. Do whatever you feel like doing, whenever you feel like doing it. You then stumble home with an insulin  hangover and go to bed. Getting up the next day, its whole wheat waffles, French toast, rice krispies for breakfast, a trip to the sushi buffet for lunch, and spaghetti for dinner on date night. And as day turns into evening, eat a couple of smaller meals before bed for your phase 3. Things like a small bowl of oatmeal with peanut butter, Ezekiel toast with bacon and eggs would fit the bill.

Conclusion

So that’s the weekend. Hopefully I have stimulated you to think a little deeper in regards to carbohydrate type, frequency, and duration. In part 3, we will wrap things up looking at supplementation and tying the entire diet into a comprehensive training system which takes full advantage of the Anabolic Diet’s cyclical properties.

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June Nutraceutical of the Month – Maca Root

June 11th, 2012
1
Matt Poteet, Pharm.D.

Maca Root ( Lepidium meyenii ) 

Do you feel tired? Despite the copious amounts of caffeine and other stimulants you scarf down throughout the day, do you find youself feeling like you just don’t have the energy left in the tank to complete all of the day’s tasks? Before you turn to harsh ( and usually harmful ) stimulant medications, more caffeine, or gimmicky energy drinks why not try a natural solution for a change?

Maca root has been used for hundreds of years by the ancient south american cultures to combat lack of energy and vitality. It was given to their warriors in preparation for battle or strenuous work, like building giant neolithic stone monuments. If it could power the building of giant stone cities, I think it just might also be useful in getting you through the 2 PM “sleepy time” and on to finishing that proposal by 5 PM. The mechanism of action isn’t well understod, but it possibly potentiates the thyroid gland to work more efficiently in the conversion of thyroid hormone to its active form. Try 1000 mg three times a day for a few weeks. Who knows….you may be so productive your boss will give you a raise. Maybe not, but we can dream can’t we?

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I Should Be Dead!

June 2nd, 2012
2 responses
Matt Poteet, Pharm.D.

For the past six weeks I’ve been experimenting with a very high fat diet where I’m getting 65% of my calories from fat. No, that’s not a misprint. The vast majority of my calories are coming fat, and a good chunk of that has been saturated fat. The very same fat you’ve been told to avoid for decades because it would “damage your heart, build up in your arteries, increase your risk of cancer and even lead to obesity.” Curious about how this was affecting my body, I scheduled a full blood panel with our doctor. After seeing the results of that blood work, I shared with my doctor the details of my diet and how I teach people that fat is actually beneficial. She warned me that while this diet may be working for me, I may be the exception to the rule.

Gary Taubes, in his ground-breaking book “Good Calories, Bad Calories”, dug through TONS of research and found something surprising. Fat, touted as harmful for your diet, is a lie. And it’s a lie that has been covered up and repeated so many times, it’s been accepted as truth. We all know what that’s like – we all have that one friend whose stories are so far out of whack but so often heard, that we begin to believe them. I was guilty of thinking this way too; most of us at some point have been. However, not only did Taubes discover studies that uncover the truth about saturated fat and cholesterol – both wrongly put on the “naughty list”, but new studies are now showing just how beneficial they really are[i].

One study centered on coconut oil, which is a fantastic oil to use for cooking and baking, in shakes, and when topically applied, is a detoxifying agent for skin. Coconut oil is very heavy in saturated fat. It has higher saturated fat content than red meat, which by the way, has more monounsaturated fat than it does saturated. Yet, thanks to the misguided war on red meat and saturated fat, we’ve come to believe that red meat is loaded in this stuff. But I digress. A Brazilian study showed that when middle-aged women replaced their intake of canola oil with the EXACT number of calories from coconut oil, an interesting thing happened. Their HDL (good cholesterol) increased, triglycerides lowered, and they lost abdominal fat. By including more saturated fat from coconut oil in the diet, regardless of the calorie content, several markers for heart health and diabetes risk drastically decreased. I’ll bet they looked younger and more vibrant as well.

It’s unfortunate. We’ve been told for decades to avoid these foods and build our diet around “good” carbohydrates. Yet, sadly, a high carbohydrate diet can promote weight gain for most people, decrease their HDL, and increase their triglycerides; this is in complete opposition to what conventional dietary wisdom says will happen. And yet we wonder why our children are obese at such young ages, and why our health across the nation is worse than ever. Even my doctor wonders why the vast majority of her male patients don’t have HDL numbers as good as mine.

Personally, I don’t believe it’s “simply” a matter of will-power, or one of individual responsibility. There are tens of thousands of people who spend hours at gyms and fitness clubs throughout the country, but who are frustrated that the pounds just won’t come off. I see it every single day. These folks tell me they’re eating healthy foods, have cut back on saturated fat and cholesterol, and are increasing their whole grain consumption. Are you seeing the pattern yet? This is NOT WORKING. Living a lifestyle with these parameters only causes us to avoid the foods – the REAL foods – that help to control our appetites, our weight, and lower our risk of disease.

So, how has a diet of high fat and high cholesterol worked out for me? Below is a picture of my results. Look specifically at the numbers circled in red.

These numbers squash claims that saturated fat and cholesterol are the “bad guys”. We’ve been told that red meat, eggs, and bacon increase our blood cholesterol. But I eat these foods along with coconut oil everyday and it looks like I’m doing just fine. In fact, I’m doing better than a lot of people. The studies I’ve mentioned prove that though your total cholesterol may go up, but it’s your HDL that’s holding the torch, and the LDL that’s struggling to catch up. When my doctor saw my HDL of 71, her eyes widened, “I almost never have guys with levels that high.”

If you’re not familiar with triglycerides, they are another piece of the puzzle that can clue us into our health status. When levels get above 150, doctors will get worried that you are at a higher risk of heart or diabetes issues. Mine clocked in at a low 45. My high fat, low-carbohydrate diet looks like it is keeping my triglycerides nice and low, which is further backed by numerous studies. My daily shot of fish oil doesn’t hurt either.

How can you predict the future of your heart health? Take your triglycerides and divide them by your HDL. This is your triglyceride to HDL ratio (TG:HDL). The ratio of triglycerides to HDL was the strongest predictor of a heart attack, even more accurate than the LDL/HDL ratio (Circulation 1997;96:2520-2525). As your ratio creeps above 3.0 and nearing the 4.0 range, the risk of heart problems is increased. Ideally you want to shoot for 2.0 or lower. My TG:HDL ratio is a svelte .63.

I also requested my physician order an NMR cholesterol test for me. This is a relatively new test and not all doctors will be aware of it. But, the cool thing with this test is that it measures the size of your cholesterol particles. While this topic is another article in of itself, essentially the NMR test gives you further input about the sizes of your LDL particles and can clue you into whether or not you have the fluffy “good” LDL (yes, I’m saying right now LDL is not bad cholesterol as you’ve been lead to believe) or if you have more small dense LDL that can be problematic for our health.

Here are my NMR numbers which were taken three weeks after my first cholesterol test. Take note that some of my numbers changed within only a few weeks. I’ll let Dr. Matt Poteet chime in on this section of the article to give his input on my readings.

LDL-P – 1,111

HDL – 63

Triglycerides – 32

Small LDL-P 390

LDL Size – 20.7

As we mentioned in the first part of our cholesterol series, both particle size and particle number are very important to extrapolate useful information from a lipid profile. Some of these levels will look completely foreign to the reader, due to the fact that mainstream medicine has yet to embrace them as a metric for cardiovaclar health. Mark’s test shows the strong trend toward increased LDL particle size, lower LDL particle number, increased HDL, and very low triglyceride which are all hallmarks of an excellent lipid profile. Every physician in America would be ecstatic to see their patients with these numbers, yet Mark produced these numbers eating a diet very high in tropical oils and animal fat which have been deemed terrible for you by the mainstream for decades. This is proof positive that there is much more to the story of heart disease than what we have been told through the years. For a little more information on the NMR test, click here. Interested in taking the NMR test? See this website.

-Matt

At this point, I should note that genetics are not on my side. Heart disease runs rampant on both sides of my family, affecting both parents at an early age as well as my father’s parents. As the saying goes, “genetics load the gun, lifestyle pulls the trigger.” By steering clear of the lifestyle habits on which I was raised, I was able to avoid that smoking gun. High blood pressure also runs in my family and mine is usually “normal” at 120-125/80-85. While on this low-carb diet my blood pressure has only improved and is now usually at 110-115/65-75. No surprise here as a high carb diet will elevate insulin levels which in turn will raise blood pressure. Plus, you retain more water on a high carb diet which will also increase pressure. If anything, I’ve been adding more salt to my diet lately because I’m eating more vegetables. It’s no wonder so many people have high blood pressure these days. They’re just following conventional dietary wisdom.

Rule of thumb- Don’t take health advice from people who look like this

The American Dietetics Association still supports the idea that saturated fat plays a role in increasing our odds of Type 2 diabetes. Yet, if we look at my A1C levels above, which is an average of blood sugar over the past three months, I’m well below the pre-diabetic category, let alone the diabetic one. Some health practitioners believe that 4% is ideal, so personally I’d like to see my number even lower. But after six weeks of this lifestyle, I’ve been able to bring down my fasting blood sugar by almost 10 points.

These recommendations of antiquity, in my opinion, immensely contributed to the obesity epidemic we see today. In fact, many of us don’t see it at all; we take it as the norm. But our “norm” shouldn’t be to expect heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, cancer, and Alzheimer’s as inevitable. Regular physical activity and REAL food will heal your body and your mind; which may give your doctor a stroke, metaphorically, of course.

So, eat up America! Red meat (from pasture/grass-fed cows), organic/local eggs (yes, yolk included), and organic bacon is back on the menu. Skip the stuff that comes in packages and anything that has a shiny and colorful “healthy” sticker on it. Remember this: health doesn’t come packaged like a toy in a cereal box, or down the chip isle at the organic store. All we have to do is eat REAL FOOD.

Stay tuned for the next article where we can look at another case study of someone who is following a diet a bit lower in fat than mine, but more strictly Paleo. You know, still full of all that stuff we’ve been told is bad for us.


[i]Study Links

http://www.ajcn.org/content/91/3/535

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20071648

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19751443

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20354806

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20683785

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21951982

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