INSULIN 101

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Most everyone has heard of Insulin and its relationship sugar and diabetes. However, what does this hormone really do and why is Insulin so important in its role with dispersing sugar. Here is the simple version of a complex subject.

Breaking down food is a twostep process. When you eat food it is broken down when you chew, then of course, it goes to the stomach where it is broken down even further. After the stomach has its way with the digested food, the food particles go to the intestines where the body can absorb those particles and dump them into the blood stream. Now these particles need help getting into the blood stream. Hello Insulin!

The pancreas releases insulin when your body senses that your blood sugar has increased. Now very high blood sugar levels are not good for the body, so insulin acts as a bridge between your cells and the sugar in your blood stream. Without Insulin, you would be walking around all day with high amounts of sugar in the blood stream, and this is exactly what Type II diabetes is! This happens when the body becomes “Insulin Resistant” which means that insulin is simply not doing its job of getting rid of the sugar that is in the blood.

Sugar gets in the blood stream a lot quicker when eating simple carbohydrates or processed sugars such as pies, cakes, candy or any foods with high amounts of sucrose (table sugar). When eating complex carbohydrates, foods such as whole grain rice or breads, oatmeal, potatoes and pasta, then sugar from these foods will still go to the blood stream after being digested but at a much slower rate.

When sugar, either from these simple processed carbohydrates or from complex carbs gets into the blood stream, then insulin will remove the blood sugar and then store it first (in the form of glucose) in the liver. After the liver is full, insulin will direct the glucose into the muscle for energy. Now the extra sugar that can no longer be used by the muscle will be stored as fat in order to lower the blood sugar back down to normal levels.

This is why (especially for diabetics) it is important to weight train to increase muscle mass. The more muscle mass then the more sugar that can be stored in of course, the muscle! However, sad to say, even the most muscular person on the planet is going to have a limit on just how much blood glucose that can be used by each muscle cell. Another important factor to know is that insulin is an anabolic hormone, in that it does cause weight gain and growth. Before your body starts pulling stored fat from fat cells for energy, it will pull stored glucose from your liver, then your muscle cells. This is why “low carb” diets work! It is easy for the body to burn-up the stores of glucose and then go right to the fat stores! This is also why Ketogenic diets work. The body becomes more efficient at using fat for energy, which means more fat is being burned to fuel the body.

Now an important point to remember is that when insulin is elevated you simply will not be burning fat. Insulin, while elevated, will also block Leptin and Leptin is a hormone that let’s your body know when it is full. One can also become Leptin resistant which means that there is nothing to signal the brain to stop eating! To make this complex subject simple, a take away is that having high insulin levels throughout the day simply means weight gain!

So you may ask, how does one go about lowering their blood glucose and insulin levels to burn more fat? The number one thing is to cut back on your carbohydrates, especially those processed sugars. “Complex” or slow digesting carbs as stated earlier will keep the blood sugar levels steady and remain steady for much longer periods of time. However, it is important to remember that one can still gain weight by eating complex carbohydrates or healthier foods. This is why portion control for body size and activity levels are so important.

Another important fact on just how to keep one’s insulin levels low is by consuming a higher protein diet. Protein is the only macronutrient that is not stored in the body. Taking in more protein will also help curb one’s appetite. This along with, (as stated earlier) a consistent weight-training program is very important for the control of insulin, maintaining a healthy body weight and for overall optimum health.

Chip Sigmon, CSCS*D, CISSN, USAW, RSCC*E

Wellness Coordinator, Europa Sports Products

Sigmon Sports Performance

THE SCIENCE BEHIND CAFFEINE (THE WONDER DRUG)

 

I saw a great video on the ISSN (International Society of Sports Nutrition) Facebookpage the other day on the science of Caffeine so I thought I would share some of it with you and of course throw some of my own knowledge in the mix as well. As you know, there is not a drug out there that is more popular than Caffeine! Just ask Starbucks. Caffeine is in so many liquid and food items nowadays, and there’s a good reason why. The demand for energy, that’s why! When life calls for you to be on the go at a rapid pace each day and you say GO but your body says NO, then you need a little pick-me-up, and it’s Caffeine to the rescue!

I don’t drink or consume a lot of pre-workout supplements, my 1 and a ½ cups of coffee does the trick. Oh, what’s that I smell? It must be Folgers!! I simply can’t do without my coffee in the mornings. It gives me that pick-me-up that I need to get me going and off to the races! But how does Caffeine do what it does, and almost every time?

Let’s get a little scientific; first there are 3 different but yet very similar molecules that make up Caffeine that are broken down in the liver. These 3 molecules are:

  1. Theobromine: which helps increase the flow of oxygen plus nutrients to the brain
  2. Paraxanthine: which helps increase athletic performance
  3. Theophylline: which helps increase heart rate and helps ones ability to concentrate

 

When these 3 molecules crash the brain they bind with the molecule Adenosine. This molecule is responsible for slowing down nerve activity in the brain giving us the cue to calm down and take a nap. Adenosine is also responsible for regulating neurotransmitters in the brain such a Dopamine. Now Caffeine bines well with Adenosine because of their molecular structure being very similar, and when they bind together it causes Dopamine to go crazy and gain a new heightened awareness. Now remember our friends Theobromine, Paraxanthine and Theophylline? These 3 molecules that make up Caffeine are now ready to perform their main functions and these functions are what make us feel so good and give us more energy! Speaking of energy, what people don’t realize is that Caffeine spares carbohydrates, which means that the body will use the Caffeine for energy first before relying on the carbs that you have taken in.

Now too much Caffeine can cause problems as well. Feelings of anxiety, nervousness and just general all around discomfort is just a few symptoms when overdosing on Caffeine. Scientists have found that 400mg per day is the safest average dose for adults. Now if you’ve gotten this far and past the scientific stuff, then the following information will be worth the wait! 400mg is equal to three, 8oz cups of coffee or 8 cups of black tea. Caffeine can be toxic

at 10 grams which is equal to 75 cups of coffee or around 180 cups of black tea. However the

lethal dose can vary from person to person. Don’t think I’ll be drinking that much coffee, but I

do like Folgers!

So, the next time you’re indulging in an espresso or your favorite energy drink, you’ll have a better understanding of what’s happening chemically in your body that will give you the energy you need for the task ahead. Now doesn’t that make you feel better…….and smarter!

Chip Sigmon CSCS*D, USAW, CISSN, RSCC*E

 

Strength & Conditioning, Wellness Coordinator Europa Sports Products

References:

  1. “Sports Nutrition & Performance Enhancing Supplements”; Abbie E. Smith-Ryan, PhD. CISSN and Jose Antonio PhD. FISSN, CSCS; Page 206
  2. ISSN Facebook Page; “The Science of Caffeine” May 21st, 4

BALANCING YOUR pH BALANCE

I remember seeing an article not long ago in a fitness magazine that was titled “pH Perfection”. The article laid out the importance of maintaining a good pH balance in your body and how beneficial that can be for one’s overall health. That article definitely brought back some memories! When I was at OrthoCarolina (before coming to Europa) assisting with physical therapy and working in their sports performance center, we emphasized to our patients and athletes how important it was in keeping and knowing ones pH balance. For our athletes, improved athletic performance and for our patients a faster healing rate for bones and joints. Now we might have “oversold” them about the importance of a good pH balance in the body, but before I go any further, let me explain. 

    When it comes to good health and longevity, pH balance is vitally important. When you have a proper pH balance then losing weight, gaining muscle, or even overall health is easier to obtain. Your body’s pH balance will determine to a large degree if one is in a healthy state by the body being more alkaline or in an unhealthy state by being more acidic. 

    The pH level in your drinking water can reflect how acidic water is. pH stands for the “potential for hydrogen”, which in this case refers to the amount of hydrogen found in water. The U.S. environmental agency (EPA) does not regulate the pH levels in our drinking water. It’s classified as a secondary drinking water contaminant whose impact is listed as aesthetic. The EPA recommends that the public drinking water systems maintain pH levels between 6.5 and 8.5. This is a good guide for individual well owners as well.

    The range of pH levels runs from 0 to 14, with 7.0 being neutral. Anything below 7.0 is listed as acidic and anything above 7.0 is listed as alkaline. Ideally you would like your body to be slightly higher than 7.0, which would be slightly alkaline. There are many things besides water that affect your pH levels. Everything from stress, too much exercise or over-training, and even the types of foods we eat can affect your pH.

    While we are on the subject of foods affecting your pH, a diet that is high in fat, especially cheese is very acidic. Cheese is one of the most acid producing foods—please avoid as much as you possibly can!  Processed foods such as sugar, sodas, chips, what I like to call “Dead Foods”; have very little nutritional value can and will make our bodies very acidic! Believe it or not, high protein diets especially red meats can make our bodies acidic. Make sure that every time you sit down to eat beef or a nice juicy steak, have some spinach, kale or any dark leafy vegetable. This will help counter the acids in red meats. Each time I eat a lean ground hamburger with rice for lunch I always include some spinach or kale. It’s a staple in the Sigmon household. 

    You may read in some articles that although high protein foods are more acidic, eating them leads the body to excrete those same acids more efficiently. However, I still like to be on the safe side and have my spinach and kale or a dark leafy vegetable with my protein. 

    Some signs that your diet may be too acidic could be anything from fatigue, mental fog, dry skin, heartburn, gas, bloating and cramps and even acne. When you eat a diet that is high in acid it flushes the acid out through the skin, which can cause unwanted acne or even mouth sores.

    However, eating alkaline is eating healthy. Put simply, eat natural foods like plenty of vegetables, fruits, lean meats, and limit your sugars. Just another reason to limit your sugar intake! An alkaline diet is truly one of the best things you can do for your overall health.

Chip’s Tips: I‘ll share with you some of the things that you can do to help your body become less acidic and more in an alkaline state. These are some things that I have been doing for years!

1.    Each morning I have a glass of warm water with a freshly squeezed lemon with my breakfast. Lemons are great for reducing acid in the body.
2.    Raisins! Bring a small box to work each day. Raisins are also great for helping the body get to a more alkaline state. Figs will do the same—(not an excuse to eat Fig Newton’s)
3.    Whenever you can drink bottled water, please do! Usually certain brands will have a positive pH levels. We sell a brand at Europa called AQUAHydrate, which has a pH level of 9 and is load with electrolytes! I recently saw a jug of water for sale called “Diamond Creek”. On the front of the container it states that it has a 9.5 alkaline base. It also states these facts:
•    Faster Hydration
•    Effective Antioxidant
•    Reduces Inflammation
•    A high Mineral Content
•    Reduces Acid Build Up


You’re seeing more and more of these types of waters manufactured, and why? It’s the up and coming thing on health plus the demand is there or they wouldn’t make this type of water… especially for $3.89 a gallon!
 
I have heard that “Deer Park” water has a positive pH balance but have not seen documentation to back that claim up with. This is the water that I prefer to fill my shaker bottle up with each day along with my BCAA’s. I will also add Glutamine to my drink. Not only does Glutamine help in recovery it has also been shown to neutralize acid in the body. Another reason why this supplement is one of my favorites!

So hopefully the next time you hear something about your pH balance you’ll know a little something more about what it is and what it really means. You’ll have your PhD in pH balance!

If you want to get serious about making sure that your body has a good pH balance you can purchase pH sticks at any drug store. The stick will indicate if your pH is balanced or not. It will require a urine sample. I did this for while I was at OrthoCarolina along with some other physical therapists and mine was always high, which inspired me to take control of my pH! Taking that initial test can help you navigate what you need to do to get your pH on the right track.

Chip Sigmon CSCS*D, CISSN, USAW, RSCC*E
Wellness Coordinator, Europa Sports Products

References:
1.    pH Perfection, by Nadine Dumas, Inside Fitness Women.com
2.    Myths About High Protein Diets, by Poliquin Staff, Poliquin Group, 2012
3.     pH in Drinking Water, Wellcare, Sept. 2007

RED MEAT: TO EAT IT OR NOT?

Not long ago the World Health Organization (WHO) came out with a study showing that vegetarians were about 40% less likely to develop cancer compared to meat eaters. In the United States, researchers studied Seventh Day Adventists because most of their members avoided smoking and tobacco and lived a somewhat healthy lifestyle (and most Baptists don’t drink or smoke either). Additionally, about half the Adventist population is vegetarian, while the other half consume small amounts of meats.

The fact that scientists were able to separate the effects of eating meat from other factors made these studies even more interesting. Overall, the studies showed a significant reduction in cancer risk for those who did not eat meat. The Harvard studies (in 2012) showed that daily meat eaters have almost three times the colon cancer risk, compared to those who very rarely ate meat. (1)

The outcome of all this research is not what I wanted to hear! You see, I love meat, especially red meat. In fact eating lots of red meat with the extra calories and protein is how I keep my weight up close to 170 pounds (in the 80’s I stayed around 185). This information however is what my oldest daughter Claire, who is into weight training, fitness, and nutrition, loves to hear to get her dad to become a vegetarian like her. So I had to research exactly what all the huff about meats, especially red meats really was! And to do that I went to one of my favorite authors, Lonnie Lowery PhD and RD who is a nationally known professor of nutrition and exercise physiology.

In his article “Meat! Down on the Pharm 4” that was published in 2006, Lonnie makes some great and scientific points concerning meat. (2) The fact of the matter is, most all red meats remain a very nutrient-rich food. One of the key words in all the nutritional circles is “Nutrient Density” which meats surely are. However, broccoli is also a very nutrient dense food, but try over-consuming broccoli and see how much muscle mass you put on. Lonnie also makes a good point that as far as the Gross Nutrient content of food, that’s where meat shines. Meat will always be near the top when it comes to key sources of vitamins and minerals!

Lonnie’s article states that meat is getting recognized as having some very special, almost pharmaceutical properties including:

- High Quality Protein

- Vitamin B-12: (essential nutrient, forms red blood cells, help promote energy)

- Heme Iron: (a readily absorbed form, helps fight fatigue in some people)

- Zinc: (most people don’t get enough through their diet, also there are over 100 different enzymes involved in catalytic reactions that are Zinc dependent)

- Creatine: (Muscular Power—this could be the only nutrient in meat and it would be worth eating)

- Carnosine: (Cellular buffering and antioxidant + longevity)

Lonnie explains that the amount of creatine and carnosine can’t begin to match the amount in a supplement of each and I would agree that this is true, however what researchers say on this matter may surprise you, but we’ll get to that later.

1) The Protein: What I like about beef is that it has a slow emptying effect in the stomach, providing a controlled anti-catabolic stream of amino acids (much like Casein Protein). And anytime an anti-catabolic process is going on, an anabolic process is not far behind!

2) Vitamin B12: Many people swear by its effects on energy levels and rightfully so, however B12 does this by helping the body breakdown carbohydrates. And when the body does this, Voila`! Energy! Where can one get this important vitamin? Beef!

3) Heme Iron: Plant foods are definitely different from animal foods when it comes to their iron content. In animal foods, iron is often attached to proteins called heme proteins, and referred to as heme iron. In plant foods, iron is not attached to heme proteins and is classified as non-heme iron. Heme iron is typically absorbed at a rate of 7-35%. Non-heme iron is typically absorbed at a rate of 2-20%. There are dangers of excess iron in men but there are also risks regarding low iron as well. Iron just happens to be the most common single nutrient that people can be deficient in. Does that mean you should take an iron supplement? By all means NO— unless prescribed by a doctor.

4) Zinc: A very important function that zinc controls is its ability to promote cell signaling which releases hormones, aids in nerve conduction and participates in apoptosis, (the programming of the death of a cell – sounds nice!)

5) Creatine: Yes, go to any store where supplements are sold and you’ll see plenty of Creatine containers stocking the shelves. But the only place that you’ll find it in your diet is through meat. It would take around 10 pounds of uncooked beef to approach a typical “loading” dose (15-20 grams) so your supplements do come in handy and can save you plenty of money on meat at the grocery store. Through the research of the International Society of Sports Nutrition and its various members they have concluded that the majority of the studies (about 70%) indicate that creatine supplementation promotes a statistically significant improvement in exercise strength and explosiveness. (3)

6) Carnosine (beta-alanyl-L-histidine): This is found exclusively in animal tissues. Once again it would take 4-6 pounds of beef to get in 4-6 grams of a daily dose of beta-
alanine. Carnosine goes through a long process of conversion where it’s broken down to be a strong lactic acid neutralizer and again it takes supplementation to do just that. Increasing muscle carnosine concentrations increases intracellular buffering capacity and thereby may delay the on-set of fatigue in athletes. (4) But carnosine does much more than being a lactic acid buffer. Research suggests that through your diet carnosine may also helpful as an antioxidant and also an anti-carbonyl, which means that when you are constantly overloading sugars into your system, this causes the collagen in your skin to age faster. It’s a process known as glycation. Carnosine can help to stop or slow down this process.

* Back to the Question; why eat red meat when supplementation does so much more especially with Creatine and Carnosine? Because research indicates that a reasonable intake of meat might prolong or even enhance the supplementation effects. (2)

** Bacon has been considered unhealthy because of all of the artery clogging saturated fats and all the sodium. However it has also been considered unhealthy due to the use of nitrates during the curing process. Now I always wondered that when I heard the word “nitrates”, that sure did sound familiar. Could it have anything to do with Nitric Oxide or NO in bodybuilding circles? And the correct answer is most definitely yes! It has some very healthy properties as well. Nitric oxide, formed by nitrite, has been shown to have vasodilator properties and may modulate platelet function in the human body, improving blood pressure and reducing heart attack risk. Nitrates may also help boost the immune system and protect against pathogenic bacteria. Since it is a vasodilator Bodybuilders take NO to increase blood flow to muscles that are being trained and with blood flow comes muscular growth. So it seems that the old-fashioned processing, involving leisurely time for curing and smoking, further enhances the conversion of nitrite to the beneficial nitric oxide molecule.

So why then has nitrates gotten such a bad rap? I’ve even seen in the grocery store bacon that had on the label “Reduced Nitrates”. The study that started the idea of nitrates causing or being linked to cancer has been discredited after much subjection to peer reviews. There have been many reviews in scientific literature that linked nitrates with human cancers or even suggested that it is or can be carcinogenic. These have also been discredited by peer reviews. (5)

How about all the fat in Bacon? Well, surprisingly all of the fat in bacon is monounsaturated, which is a good fat! 50% of the fat in bacon is oleic acid – the type so valued in olive oil! 3% of the fat in bacon is palmitoleic acid, a monounsaturated fat with valuable antimicrobial properties. About 40 % of bacon fat is saturated, a level that worries fat phobics, but this is the reason why bacon fat is relatively stable and unlikely to go bad under normal storage and cooking conditions. That’s important, given the fact that the remaining 10 % is in the valuable but unstable form of polyunsaturates. (6) Now personally for me I am a turkey bacon kind of a guy when I do eat bacon, but that’s for another time and article.

The Bad Stuff on Red Meat: There is a difference between regular non-processed beef and processed meats such as hot dogs, jerky, salami, and package meats. For over 50 years scientists have known that these types of processed meats combined with chemicals in your digestive tract form carcinogens. Processed meats are defined as meats that have been transformed through salting, curing, fermentation, smoking, or other chemical processes intended to either preserve or increase its flavor.

The WHO did another study recently trying to figure out exactly how many people have developed Cancer from eating both processed meats and regular beef/red meat. In doing so scientists resorted to a much less reliable method called an epidemiological study. This type of study is simply asking people what they eat or what they do not eat. No keeping a journal, just simply asking a series of questions about their diet and their lifestyle then conducted follow-ups at preset times.

So based on their collected studies they concluded that each time you eat a 50-gram portion of processed meat (around 2 slices of your favorite bacon), you increase your risk of colorectal cancer by 18%. However, let’s look at this what seems to be a grim statistic under a different light. So then, if you were to eat 2 slices of bacon a day (and remember that bacon is not that bad), your chances of developing colorectal cancer goes up about 18% – so that over a lifetime your chance of developing this type of cancer goes up from the normal 5% to around 6%. That my friend means that for every 1000 meat eaters, you would expect 65 of them to develop bowel cancer at some point in their life instead of the ordinarily 55 that are expected to get it or – about 10 more people.

Eating the plain red meat increased the risk of cancer by 17% instead of the 18% from eating the processed meats. Interesting indeed! (2)

So why would meats (processed or clean regular red meats and beef) up your risk of cancer? I wrote an article about a year ago entitled “Don’t Burn the Meat”. I took some information I read in an article from Doctor Natalie E. Azar about the dangers of burning your food while grilling or even frying. It stated that when meat — be it beef, pork, fish, or poultry — is cooked at high temperatures; it forms heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). According to the National Cancer Institute, HCAs and PCAs cause cancer in animal models (think: lab rats). So far it's unclear if humans sprout cancer growths after exposure to HCAs and PHAs, but we aren't volunteering for any trials to find out for sure. (7)

So the next time you're heating up your grill — or just the stove — follow these simple tips for cooking cancer-free cuts. And by the way, keep the temperature 300 degrees or below. In other words cook it slow. Your best bet is using a crock pot to ensure slow cooking, (I do this each and every Sunday). Also, if there are any black spots after your grilling or frying which of course would be burnt meat, break it off, don’t eat!

Marinate Your Meat:

Give your dish a healthy dose of flavor. Cooking meats with garlic, rosemary, fruit pulp, and vitamin E-rich spice rubs like chili powder and paprika may lower HCA production by as much as 70 percent, according to a review in Natural Medicine Journal.

Bonus: Cooking with (not drinking) beer can decrease HCAs' mutagenic powers. Also you can marinate your meats with citrus juice. The vitamin C inhibits the nitrites from combining with amines in your stomach.

So you have some of the good and the bad on red meat and beef. Now the choice is yours. However it may be wise when purchasing red meat or beef, choose a leaner cut and even the leaner cuts can be a diet buster if you prepare in unhealthy ways.

- Trim the Fat. Be sure to cut off any visible fat before preparing.

- Drain it. When cooking my ground turkey every Sunday I dump it in the strainer and rinse the meat with hot water. Then I blot the meat with a paper towel to remove the water.

The Healthier and Leaner cuts of beef would be: Cuts that are grass fed, plus: When you are at the grocery store, an easy rule of thumb is to find lean beef quickly is that anything with “round,” “chuck” or “loin” in its name is usually either extra lean or lean. Round and chuck steaks are often tougher cuts – use an acidic marinade to tenderize the meat for at least an hour before cooking it. A combination of lemon juice, light soy sauce and minced garlic, for example, tenderizes meat quickly. Do not add oil to your marinades, as this introduces unnecessary fat.

During this writing I received a copy of my blood work during my yearly physical I took in October. As I stated before, I eat plenty of red meat and beef — plenty! But all lean cuts, nothing above 10% fat content. My Cholesterol was 182 (expected range 140 to 250mg/dl). My good cholesterol was 74.6 (expected range 25-75 mg/dl) and my bad cholesterol was 98 (expected range 80-200). Plus my triglycerides (fat in the blood) was 47 (expected ranges 10-200 mg/dl). I know that I’m blessed with good genetics — thanks mom and dad. I only do cardio once a week (10 minutes on the Jacobs Ladder) and then I let the weight training be my cardio on leg day where I hammer out 25 or so sets of lower extremity work!

My daughter will be happy to know that I am not consuming any red meats for a while to see what happens — but the choice is yours. Hope the added information will help you make an informed decision!

Chip Sigmon CSCS*D, CISSN, USAW, CMFT

References:

1. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine; Meat Consumption and Cancer Risk. 11/1/2016

2. Lonnie Lowery, PhD. Meat! Down on the Pharm 4. 9/28/2006

3. Richard B. Kreider; Sports Application of Creatine; Essentials of Sports Nutrition and Supplements. Chapter 20; Pages 422-423

4. Jose Antonio, PhD, Abbie E. Smith, PhD; Sports Nutrition & Performance Enhancing Supplements. Chapter 10; Page 340

5. Chris Kresser, The Nitrate and the Nitrate Myth: Another reason Not to Fear Bacon, October, 5, 2012

6. Kaayla Daniel, Save the Bacon! Sizzling Bits about Nitrates, Dirty Little Secrets about Celery Salt and Other Aporkalyptic News. March 29, 2012

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A PROTEIN BAR?


That’s right; I’m asking you, what do you look for in a protein bar? Everyone is different in the types of bar that they personally like, from taste (flavor), how much protein, carbs, how much fat, fiber and on and on. So in this article I’ll tell you what I look for in a protein bar and will rate the importance from first to last. Don’t be afraid to get back with me and let me know what you like or if I’ve left out any ingredient that you think is important.
But before I get started on the things that I look for, let me state that I use protein bars not as a meal replacement but as a feeding between my 3 big meals. I may eat a bar between breakfast and lunch or lunch and dinner. Or let’s say I’m working out in the yard on a Saturday afternoon. When I come in for a break I’ll down a bar along with some H2O mixed with some BCAA’s of course!

1. PROTEIN: Stands to reason that Protein is what I look for first. I like around 20 grams or more since around 20-30 grams of protein is what we need at each feeding. One of my favorite bars only has 15 grams of protein but I love the taste so I’ll go with a lower dose of protein once in a while. The type of protein doesn’t matter (I just need to get some protein in the machine) however most bars now contain Whey or Casein or even both. A lot of bars contain either Hydrolyzed or an Isolate whey protein, meaning in simple terms; the hydrolyzed is broken down to be easily digested by the body (contains some lactose) and an isolate is broken down even further (sort of a predigested protein) but has no lactose. If you find a bar that contains concentrated protein, then it would have a lot more calories, fillers and much more lactose. One particular bar that I consume has both of these types of protein. I also like a protein bar with “less net carbs” than grams of protein. That means that the “net carbs” in a particular bar is the total amount of carbs minus the grams of fiber. Then if that total is less than the total grams of protein then 9 times out of 10 you’ve got a good protein bar on your hands.

2. SUGAR: A lot of protein bars are going to lower sugar content. Personally 8 grams of sugar is my ceiling. If a bar has more than that I probably won’t consume it unless that’s all that I have to eat at the time. Some bars have 20 grams of sugar or more. If that’s the case one might as well be eating a Snickers bar. However a lot of bars now are sweetened with stevia, a natural sweetener. The general public is getting to where they are demanding a more natural bar, and the manufacturers are trying to meet that demand.

Question: What exactly are Sugar Alcohols? A lot of companies are putting sugar alcohols in protein bars to give the bar a sweeter taste without adding real sucrose. Sugar alcohol is made from fruit or berries. The carbohydrates in these plants are altered through a chemical process to provide fewer calories than the table sugar (sucrose) mainly because they are not well absorbed and may even have a small laxative effect. One may grab a protein bar that says only one gram of sugar when if you read the label it has 16 grams of sugar alcohol—so even thou the sugar alcohols provide less of an effect on blood glucose, diabetics should beware. And please – read the profiles (labels) to see if any bars contain sugar alcohols. I personally don’t respond well to sugar alcohols and in many people sugar alcohol can cause some gastrointestinal issues as well—and I am one of those!

FAT: I don’t know why I look at the fat content of a bar before carbohydrate profile but I do. Most of the time you’ll see 2 types of fats listed; Saturated, and Transfats. Let’s take a look at what each one is.

-Saturated fats from a chemical stand point are simply fat molecules that have no double bonds between carbon molecules because they are saturated with hydrogen molecules. That’s why they are called “Saturated Fats”. Saturated fats are typically solid at room temperature. These fats are found in fatty beef, butter and cheese. Now on another personal note, there’s a ton of research out there that says saturated fats are not as bad for you as we once thought. Now this topic on saturated fats is for another article because it can be very complex, however I like to limit my saturated fats to or not over 10% of my diet and I do eat some red meats but as lean as I can get them.

-Trans-fats are man-made through a chemical process in which the hydrogen atoms are restructured which make foods taste good and give foods a better texture, however it makes them also really bad for you! The good news is that in the year 2018 the US government is banning them from all foods. Usually in 95% of the protein bars out there you won’t find a trace of any Tran’s fats.

-A side note: I am a big fan of Medium Chain Triglycerides. These fats are derived from coconut and palm oil plus some dietary fats. Some studies have shown that this type of fat lowers the BAD cholesterol LDL’s, and Raises the GOOD cholesterol, the HDL’s. I agree with William Lagakos Ph.D. that in time you’ll see more MCT in protein bars as you do with some RTD Protein drinks.

CARBOHYDRATES & THE CALORIES: This is where the main source of energy comes from in the protein bar. I really don’t pay much attention to these two because my weight has never been a problem, however to those of you who do count the calories and carbs let’s do some basic math (that might be a problem for me).

Let’s say a Profile of a Bar looks something like this:

-Grams of Fat or Total Fat = 13 grams / Each grams of fat = 9 calories so 9 x 13 = 117 calories

-Grams of Protein = 13 grams / Each gram of Protein = 4 calories so 4 x 13 = 52 calories

-Grams of Sugar = 5 grams / Sugar is a Carbohydrate so each gram of Carb = 4 calories so 4 x 5 = 20 calories

-Grams of Carbohydrates = 10 / (other sources of carbs that the company puts in the bar) so again 4 calories x per gram or carbohydrate which in this case is 10 = 40 calories

-Fiber is a carbohydrate so if there is 3 grams of fiber in a bar, 4 x 3 = 12 calories from the fiber.

-Total Calories if we add all the calories up should = 241 calories for this particular bar.

Personally, I would like a bar with more protein and less fat than this particular one. I would also like a bar with more carbs because of my long and busy days so I need the energy, but remember, I’m going off of a real live protein bar. If you are one of those (and most are) who are watching their weight so you pay attention to the calories, then the same would
apply, except you would not want the extra carbs plus a little less sugar. SODIUM: I’m looking at a bar right now that has 140 milligrams in it which is really nothing. The daily recommended allowance is 2000mg so this bar has only 6% of the RDA. For those who really hold in water with the least amount of sodium keep the amount in a bar that you like and eat often as low as possible.

Other INGREDIENTS: You’ll see Ingredients listed below the Nutritional Facts. If you see a protein bar with over 15 ingredients or more and you can’t pronounce half of the words then look for another bar! Two ingredients that you may see the most often are Corn Starch and IsomaltoOligosaccharides.

Let’s take a look at both.

-Corn Starch is simply starch derived from corn. Corn starch is also Gluten free and is mostly used in baked goods to give more structure, fullness and moisture. To say that corn starch is natural or is good for you is debatable. It’s made from the tiny endosperm of the corn kernel, however to get to the endosperm the kernels are processed so that the outside shell is removed. After that process is completed the endosperms are ground up into a fine white powder we know as corn starch.

-Isomalto-Oligosaccharides (IMO) is a plant starch so it is natural; however it’s not economically feasible to extract IMO foods on a large scale so this plant carbohydrate
can also be man-made through a chemical process. So in most bars it may not be “natural”—so as to cut down the cost. IMO’S are promoted as a prebiotic dietary fiber with a light sweetness profile that has properties such as moisture retention that is suited well for a nutrition bar. However, I could write another article on this type of
carbohydrate classified as dietary fiber including the good and the bad. Some of the good stuff is; Fermentation of IMO by colonic bacteria results in production of Short Chain Fatty Acids (SCFA) that metabolize in liver and confer many physiological benefits including: protection from colonic cancer, stabilize blood glucose levels, decrease cholesterol synthesis, lowering the digestive tracts pH which allows for an increase absorption of dietary minerals and help stimulate the immune function.
Some of the not so good is that only a small percentage when escaping digestion is able to cause a potential prebiotic effect however more studies need to be done. Some call IMO’s a fake fiber, and claim that whole grains can provide a much better profile for your digestive system than the IMO’s.

So, with all that being said, what do you look for in a protein bar?? And please, don’t make it as complex or as detailed as I just did, please!!

Chip Sigmon, CSCS*D, USAW, CISSN
Wellness Coordinator, Europa Sports Products
chipsigmon@europasports.com

References:
1. EAS Academy; IMO in Nutrition Bars: Not So Guilt Free, By Steve Hertzler, PhD
2. How to Choose a Healthy Protein Bar That Isn’t Candy, by William Lagakos,
PhD

KALE - ONE VERY NUTRITIOUS SUPERFOOD

Why is Kale deemed a “super food”, mainly because of its very nutritious profile. With its high levels of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, this green vegetable should most definitely be included in your diet. With any food group however, Kale should be eaten in moderation because eating large amounts of this green and leafy vegetable can cause bloating, gas and even constipation. Plus, conventionally produced Kale is known to contain numerous pesticides, so its best to buy organic Kale when possible.

Kale offers benefits for the brain, heart, bones, skin, and the hair. The nutritional properties of Kale have also been linked to lowering the risk of some cancers and even slow down the process of one developing diabetes. Incorporating this super food into your meals or snacking on Kale chips can improve one’s overall health and even help you maintain Healthy weight!

Check out these health Tips about Kale:

1. An Antioxidant Powerhouse: Kale is rich in sulfur, which produces glutathione, one of the most important antioxidants in the body. Kale also contains lutein and zeaxathin, which helps improve eyesight. Melissa Walshe, a writer for the Guiding Stars (a nutritional guidance program) states that Kale is great for protection from the sun due to these two antioxidants (lutein & zeaxathin) and because of these two disease busters can help lower the risk of Macular Degeneration.

2. Better to Eat with Something Else: Kale has so many benefits on its own but your body can benefit even more if you pair your Kale with other healthy foods. Healthy fats, such as olive oil, avocado, or almond butter and walnuts can combine with Kale to make fat-soluble carotenoids more available to the body.

3. Cancer-Prevention Benefits: An article that was published in the journal, Cancer Prevention Research noted that Kale contains very high levels of cancer-prevention properties such as gluosinolate phytonutrients. This can help protect against the development of tumors as well as block enzymes associated with cancer. This is according to the Cancer Letters journal.

4. Easily Adaptable: One of the neat things about Kale is that you can eat it at all times during the day. You can incorporate it into a breakfast omelet, a salad for lunch, and alongside your fish for dinner, even some Kale chips for a snack at night.

5. A Healthy Brain, Bones and Healthy Eyes: When it comes to a healthy Brain, Kale is packed with numerous flavonoids and Iron which helps reduce the risk for strokes and also helps carry oxygen to all cells in the body. The University of Maryland just released a study that said that 0-Mega 3 fatty acids found in Kale help improve Brain memory, function and overall performance. (one of many benefits of O-Mega 3’s) When it comes to having strong healthy bones, one cup of Kale has more calcium (the most abundant mineral in the body) than one cup of milk. “Kale is truly a nutritional powerhouse for the eyes because it contains high amounts of lutein, and zeaxanthin which are antioxidants found in the eyes and are needed to be replenished regularly for good eye sight and health” said Johanna Seddon, MD the Founding director of the Ophthalmic Epidemiology and Genetics Service at the New England Eye Center.

So after I researched Kale, I’ll be eating more of the power-packed vegetable myself!

Chip Sigmon CSCS* D, USAW, CMFT, RSCC*E, CISSN Fitness and Wellness Coordinator, Europa Sports Products

LOW CALORIE CARBS

When most people talk about healthy carbohydrates, they list foods such as oatmeal, baked or sweet potatoes, whole grain breads and rice. These are complex carbs which are called “Polysaccharides”, meaning that they are a type of sugar that takes awhile for the body to break down. These foods will give you sustained energy for long periods of time.

Note: Other types of sugars: Disaccharides include Sucrose (table sugar, lactose and maltose. Monosaccharide’s include: Glucose (dextrose), Fructose (fruit) and Galactose (sugar beets).

However, there are other types of carbohydrates that are just as nutritious and some even have half the calories (low calorie Carbs). As you know, there are plenty of bad carbohydrates out there, usually these carbs are processed and filled with too much sugar. The body still needs good carbs for energy without the extra weight gain. Below are my top 4 choices for belly-blasting carbs that'll leave you full, satisfied and will give you ample supplies of energy, while helping you achieve your weight loss goals before summer arrives.

#4 - Berries and Cherries Blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries and cherries (although not technically a berry) are some of the BEST carbs you can eat. They are high in fiber, packed with antioxidants, and score extremely low on the glycemic index, especially cherries which come with a GI of just 22. (Anything above 55 is considered high on the Glycemic Index.) I enjoy fresh berries for dessert several times a week and it's an awesome, nutritious way to finish off any meal. Great as a snack, too! Try them on top of Greek yogurt or in your oatmeal in the mornings... Mmm :)

#3 - Sprouted Grain Bread Sprouted grain breads, like Ezekiel 4:9 bread (one of the most popular brands of sprouted grain bread) is a great way to include bread in your diet on occasions without all the issues associated with white breads and even 100% whole wheat breads. Instead, Ezekiel bread is an organic, sprouted, 100% whole grain flourless bread. A 2-slice serving even contains 8 grams of complete protein and 6 grams of fiber, so don't give up the bread, just choose the right kind, particularly those which are Gluten sensitive.

#2 - Quinoa While brown rice or jasmine rice is thought to be the healthy grain, there’s one even better, and that’s Quinoa. I don’t talk about this one enough and just how good this carbohydrate is…my bust!! Quinoa is a gluten free grain that contains double the protein of brown rice along with greater fiber content, and a lower glycemic load. Not only that, but quinoa is the ONLY grain to contain complete protein and the full spectrum of amino acids. It comes in several varieties, including “oatmeal-like” flakes and its wholegrain rice-like form. Enjoy it as an oatmeal substitute for breakfast, in salads or casseroles, or as a wholesome whole-grain high protein side item to any lunch or dinner.

#1 - Beans, Lentils and other Legumes Beans and Lentils, part of the "legume" family, just may be my #1 choice for a healthy carb. Packed with loads of fiber and protein, these guys come in so many different varieties that you'll never get bored: lentils, chickpeas, black eyed peas, black beans, red beans, kidney beans, navy beans, butter beans, lima beans, pinto beans...and the list goes on and on! Because of their fiber & protein content, along with their versatility, I try to eat something from the legume family at least 2-3 times a week. I'd highly recommend you give legumes a try! Everyone needs a little variety in their life, especially when trying to eat healthy, so I hope this can and will give you some ideas to help you stay the course when it comes to eating some healthy carbohydrates!

Chip Sigmon CSCS, USAW, CMFT
Fitness & Wellness Coordinator
Europa Sports Products

EATING CLEAN / WHAT DOES IT REALLY MEAN??

"Clean Eating" dates back to the natural health food movement of the 1960s, which shunned processed foods for the sake of moral and societal values (rather than health and nutrition issues). Eventually it landed in gyms, where it gained momentum among body builders and fitness models. Recently, however, it has made its way into mainstream America, rejuvenating and inspiring a new generation of healthy eaters.


I remember walking into health food stores in the late 70’s where they had advertisements about eating clean and natural products to do so. I always wondered however just what did it mean to eat clean, especially when the food is packaged with all kinds of stuff and words on the label I can’t even pronounce. So I thought I would give you and me, some principles to live by and to help us understand just what the term “Eating Clean---Really Means”.
Bodybuilders do it (eat clean) all the time when dieting down for a show, which is usually anywhere from 10-12 weeks out. A bodybuilder’s diet usually consist of chicken, fish, lean red meat (all grilled of course), oatmeal, sweet potatoes, rice and vegetables. Throw in some walnuts and almonds and that’s basically it, plus lots of water, and that’s what eating clean is, not a lot of ingredients in any of those foods. We were doing that in the 70’s, so eating clean is nothing new, however with the way they market new diet systems, one would think it’s the newest craze.


But look how LEAN bodybuilders are. Now I realize bodybuilders and female figure athletes take it to the extreme and the closer to the show the unhealthier the sport becomes, but that’s just one example of what “eating clean” can be. Let me give you some bullet points about what it can be for YOU!!---and ME TOO!!


1. Choose whole, natural foods and seek to eliminate or minimize processed foods.
Processed foods are anything in a box, bag, can, or package, and although there are always a few exceptions to the rule (like a bag of fresh green beans), the majority of your foods should be fresh.


2. Choose unrefined over refined foods.
While it may not be possible all the times, you can up your intake of whole grains like brown
rice, millet, amaranth, and quinoa. Beans and legumes are also important. Clean sugars
include honey, maple syrup, and dehydrated sugar cane juice.


3. Include lots protein, some carbohydrate and fat at every meal.
Most of us typically do well with carbohydrates and fat, but we often lack protein, especially
in the early part of the day, like at breakfast and lunch. Protein is an important musclebuilder,
and it can also help curb your appetite. When eaten throughout the day, it keeps us
feeling full longer. Be aware of the kinds of meals you put together and space out your
protein.


4. Watch out for fat, salt, and sugar.
This is easier than you think, particularly if you’ve cut out processed foods, which are
responsible for most of our excess calories and high levels of fat, sugar, and salt. Clean foods
are usually naturally low in all of these ingredients.


5. Eat five to six small meals throughout the day. In other words, “Graze”.
This usually pans out into three main meals and two or three hefty snacks. Eating this way
prevents you from skipping meals and overeating. It also keeps your blood sugar levels steady
so energy doesn’t lag.


6. Don’t drink your calories.
High calorie drinks like specialty coffees and soft drinks, on average, tack on an extra 400 to
500 calories a day. Choose water first, or my personal favorite, unsweetened tea (any flavor)
and the all-powerful green tea. The brand that I like--- Bigelow is my favorite!!


7. And of Course, EXERCISE!!
What You Can and Can’t Eat:
Some more “Eating Clean” Principles”:
Eat breakfast every day, within an hour of getting up. A BIG breakfast!!
Eat lean protein and complex carbohydrates (rice, baked or sweet potatoes, quinoa, oatmeal,
buckwheat, and starchy vegetables at almost every meal.
Have two servings of healthy fats every day such as almonds and walnuts.
Get fiber, vitamins, nutrients, and enzymes from fresh fruits and vegetables. Take your supplements—mainly extra protein and fish oil plus Vitamin D (5,000 IU’s a day).
Control your portions.
Drink 2 to 3 liters of water (about 13 8-ounce cups) every day.


The foods to Avoid:
Over-processed foods, especially white flour and sugar
Artificial sweeteners
Sugary beverages, such as soda and fruit juices
Avoid or limit Alcohol
Foods with chemical additives like food dyes and sodium nitrite
Foods with preservatives
Artificial foods, such as cheese slices.
Trans- fats
Anti-foods -- calorie-dense foods with no nutritional value.
Chip Sigmon CSCS, USAW, CFMT
Wellness Coordinator, Europa Sports Products

EXCESS PROTEIN STORED AS BODY FAT?

Someone ask me the other day if one ate too much Protein, then what would the body do with the protein that wasn’t utilized,--Would the body store it as Fat? Now at Europa Sports Product we have a lot of active employees. The best people in the world I might add! Europa is the largest distributor of Nutritional supplements in the United States, so with all the active employees (75% of our employees use our 5,000 square foot weight training and fitness facility), you would think there would be a lot of big guys and muscular ladies walking around the halls of Europa. And with Europa selling tons of Protein each and every day most of those employees would be ingesting a lot of protein, and you would be right on all accounts! Most are big and muscular with very few over weight! To answer this question, I needed to give them more than what I just explained to you. I needed to give them some up to date, hard scientific, nutrition evidence to back up what I see at Europa and also what I believe to be true just with my many years of experience. So I turned to (as I most always do) Dr. Jose Antonio, the Co-Founder and CEO of the International Society of Sports Nutrition and Assistant Professor at Nova Southeastern University, plus more importantly a good friend. I knew that he had just done a study on the effects of a high protein diet and perhaps this study could shed some light on this very question.

Before I get to Dr. Antonio’s research I’ll also share some information from the book “Nutritional Timing for Peak Performance” by Heidi Skolnik and Andrea Chernus on how our bodies use protein and just how much protein we need during the day. They state that the body doesn’t have a large storage depot for protein, as it does for carbohydrate and fat. They go on to state that the amino acids in the pool are ready and waiting to be utilized when protein in whatever form we eat it enters the stomach. Either the amino acids are used within a limited time to build a body protein, or they are transformed into glucose for energy or stored in the body as fat. You’ll also read other articles stating how protein is stored as fat when not used. However, according to Dr. Jose Antonio’s latest research- that may not be the case!

 

One more point before we get into the study. Our bodies can only utilize around 8 to 10 grams of protein in one hour; however this may vary from person to person depending on many aspects of his or her body and body type, genetics and so on. According to the position stand by the ISSN, intakes of 1.4 to 2.0 g/kg/d are needed for physically active individuals. A high protein diet would be anything that exceeds 2.0 g/kg/d. However, little is known regarding the effects of protein intake exceeding 2.0 g/kg/d. The purpose of Dr. Antonio’s investigation was to determine the effects of a very high protein diet, (4.4 g/kg/d) on body composition in resistance-trained men and women. The formula for finding out just how much protein that is a day, let’s say that someone weighs 220 lbs., so 220 divided by 2.2 = 100; 100 X 4.4 = 440 Grams of protein a day! That my friend is a lot of protein!

Thirty healthy resistance-trained individuals participated in the study. The subjects were randomly assigned either the controlled group (CON) or the High Protein Group (HP). The controlled group were instructed to continue eating as they regularly do each day and the HP group were given and instructed to consume 4.4 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight and were given the protein to do so, compliments of Europa Sports Products. The subjects continued this diet for 8 weeks.

Conclusion: The study found that consuming 5.5 times the recommended daily allowance for protein had NO effect on body composition in resistance trained individuals who also maintain the same resistance training program. This is the first interventional study to demonstrate that consuming a hypercaloric diet does not result in an increase in body fat.

It should be noted that in other studies, subjects that consumed a hypocaloric diet that is higher in protein and lower in carbohydrate, experienced more favorable alterations in body composition. However, the effects of consuming extra calories above normal baseline intake coupled with changes in macronutrient content have not been fully elucidated. Dr. Antonio’s current investigation found no changes in body weight, fat mass or free fat mass in the high protein diet group. This amazingly occurred in spite of the fact that they consumed over 800 calories more per day for 8 weeks! The high protein diet group also consumed an extra 145 grams of protein daily. This is the highest recorded intake of dietary protein in the scientific literature that Dr. Antonio is aware of. A key point also to take in consideration is that Dr. Antonio’s study had his subjects performing resistant training during the entire study while other studies similar to this one did not.

So the next time someone comments and says “all that PROTEIN that you are taking is just being stored as FAT!!” Then just pull out or state this study to them, and watch their mouths drop wide open!

 

For the entire study, just go to www.jissn.com/content/11/1/19

Chip Sigmon CSCS*D, USAW, CFMTWellness Coordinator, Europa Sports Products

chipsigmon@europasports.com

 

 

EXCESS PROTEIN STORED AS BODY FAT?

Someone ask me the other day if one ate too much Protein, then what would the body do with the protein that wasn’t utilized,--Would the body store it as Fat? Now at Europa Sports Product we have a lot of active employees. The best people in the world I might add!  Europa is the largest distributor of Nutritional supplements in the United States, so with all the active employees (75% of our employees use our 5,000 square foot weight training and fitness facility), you would think there would be a lot of big guys and muscular ladies walking around the halls of Europa. And with Europa selling tons of Protein each and every day most of those employees would be ingesting a lot of protein, and you would be right on all accounts! Most are big and muscular with very few over weight! To answer this question, I needed to give them more than what I just explained to you. I needed to give them some up to date, hard scientific, nutrition evidence to back up what I see at Europa and also what I believe to be true just with my many years of experience. So I turned to (as I most always do) Dr. Jose Antonio, the Co-Founder and CEO of the International Society of Sports Nutrition and Assistant Professor at Nova Southeastern University, plus more importantly a good friend. I knew that he had just done a study on the effects of a high protein diet and perhaps this study could shed some light on this very question.

Before I get to Dr. Antonio’s research I’ll also share some information from the book “Nutritional Timing for Peak Performance” by Heidi Skolnik and Andrea Chernus on how our bodies use protein and just how much protein we need during the day. They state that the body doesn’t have a large storage depot for protein, as it does for carbohydrate and fat. They go on to state that the amino acids in the pool are ready and waiting to be utilized when protein in whatever form we eat it enters the stomach. Either the amino acids are used within a limited time to build a body protein, or they are transformed into glucose for energy or stored in the body as fat. 

You’ll also read other articles stating how protein is stored as fat

when not used. However, according to Dr. Jose Antonio’s latest research- that may not be the

case!

 

One more point before we get into the study. Our bodies can only utilize around 8 to

10 grams of protein in one hour; however this may vary from person to person depending on many aspects of his or her body and body type, genetics and so on. According to the position

stand by the ISSN, intakes of 1.4 to 2.0 g/kg/d are needed for physically active individuals. A

high protein diet would be anything that exceeds 2.0 g/kg/d. However, little is known

regarding the effects of protein intake exceeding 2.0 g/kg/d. The purpose of Dr. Antonio’s

investigation was to determine the effects of a very high protein diet, (4.4 g/kg/d) on body

composition in resistance-trained men and women. The formula for finding out just how

much protein that is a day, let’s say that someone weighs 220 lbs., so 220 divided by 2.2 =

100; 100 X 4.4 = 440 Grams of protein a day! That my friend is a lot of protein!

 

Thirty healthy resistance-trained individuals participated in the study. The subjects

were randomly assigned either the controlled group (CON) or the High Protein Group (HP).

The controlled group were instructed to continue eating as they regularly do each day and

the HP group were given and instructed to consume 4.4 grams of protein per kilogram of

body weight and were given the protein to do so, compliments of Europa Sports Products.

The subjects continued this diet for 8 weeks.

 

Conclusion: The study found that consuming 5.5 times the recommended daily

allowance for protein had NO effect on body composition in resistance trained individuals

who also maintain the same resistance training program. This is the first interventional study

to demonstrate that consuming a hypercaloric diet does not result in an increase in body fat.

 

It should be noted that in other studies, subjects that consumed a hypocaloric diet

that is higher in protein and lower in carbohydrate, experienced more favorable alterations in

body composition. However, the effects of consuming extra calories above normal baseline

intake coupled with changes in macronutrient content have not been fully elucidated. Dr.

Antonio’s current investigation found no changes in body weight, fat mass or free fat mass in

the high protein diet group. This amazingly occurred in spite of the fact that they consumed

over 800 calories more per day for 8 weeks! The high protein diet group also consumed an

extra 145 grams of protein daily. This is the highest recorded intake of dietary protein in the

scientific literature that Dr. Antonio is aware of. A key point also to take in consideration is

that Dr. Antonio’s study had his subjects performing resistant training during the entire study

while other studies similar to this one did not.

 

So the next time someone comments and says “all that PROTEIN that you are taking is

just being stored as FAT!!” Then just pull out or state this study to them, and watch their

mouths drop wide open!

 

For the entire study, just go to www.jissn.com/content/11/1/19

Chip Sigmon CSCS*D, USAW, CFMTWellness Coordinator, Europa Sports Products

chipsigmon@europasports.com

 

TO EAT OR NOT TO EAT THE WHOLE EGG

There has been so much information out in recent years about the dangers of eating the “whole egg”. My goodness, we’ve been eating them since the beginning of time and now the egg is most definitely getting a bad rap. Studies have been warning us for some time of elevated cholesterol levels, plus the ever present plaque build-up in the coronary arteries because of the yolk inside the egg. This information has driven people, even grown men to limit or halt all together the eating of the egg or now just consuming the egg white! Egg white omelets are an option at any heart-healthy restaurant and you can now go into any McDonalds and order an Egg White Delight McMuffin—now don’t even get me started!

More research to the rescue: There’s now new studies that may have many going back to the good old days of whole eggs with bacon in the mornings for breakfast. The latest studies have found that one whole egg a day has NO effect on cholesterol levels—and this also goes for people who have pre-existing elevated cholesterol numbers. A study published in the British Journal of Medicine examined the relationship between egg consumption and coronary disease from 17 studies over 30 years and came to the conclusion that “the higher consumption of eggs (up to one egg per day) is not associated with the increased risk of coronary heart disease or stroke!”

Now it’s important to remember that the egg yolk does contain quite a bit of cholesterol, 185mgs to be exact and that comes to around 60% of the American Heart Association daily recommended allowance. However Maria Bella, registered dietitian and the founder of “Top Balance Nutrition” in New York City states that there are many benefits of eating the whole egg or the egg Yolk. She says that very few foods have the same diverse nutrient makeup available as does the egg. Nutrients that are found in the egg include folic acid, choline, biotin and lutein.

Eggs also provide around 10% of the daily recommended vitamin D and almost all of these nutrients are found in the yolk of the egg!

Mitch Kanter, executive director of the Egg Nutrition Board says his organization is working to fund new studies about how eggs affect our diets. Mitch goes on to say that research done in the last 10 years show us that cholesterol is NOT the nutritional “boogeyman” that we once thought it was.

 The article (which I found very interesting) went on to say that even the way Hens are being raised is producing healthier eggs. In 2010, the USDA conducted a nationwide nutritional study and found that today’s eggs contain 12 percent less cholesterol and more vitamin D than they did just over 10 years ago, due to the way they breed birds and new diets.

Kanter admits that the egg industry is a far cry from the humble backyard chicken coops, the commercial factory farms that dominated the industry years ago. Many “egg producers” are under pressure from the consumer to replace cramped and overcrowded cages or even cage-free environments for its egg laying Hens.

Cholesterol shouldn’t have a bad rap anyway because of its importance in everyday body functions. For instance; Cholesterol is an important part in cell membrane health and an insulating sheath around the nerve fibers. It is also a major contributor to the production of testosterone. Now on a personal note; around a year ago I ate nothing but egg whites (at home and on the road). Then I read how important cholesterol is in the production of testosterone and went strictly to eating whole eggs, 3 at every breakfast whether I am at home or at a restaurant. Interesting enough my testosterone level last February 2013 at my yearly physical was 492. This year and just a couple of weeks ago it had actually gone up! The number was 513. The range of testosterone is between 193 and 740. My cholesterol was very good also. My HDL’s (the good guys) were 65 and the range should be 40 and 60mg/DL’s, and the LDL’s (the bad guys) were 86(mg/DL) with the range being anything under 100. Last year the HDL’s were the same but my bad cholesterol was right at 100 so it actually improved!

Now, I’m no doctor so I’m not telling anyone to start eating the whole egg especially if you have high preconditioned elevated cholesterol numbers. What I am trying to point out is: #1. Education about the egg; and #2. just how important it is to get a physical each year with blood work. Eggs are a very cheap source of protein and you can fix them in so many different ways, even to take with you on the run as an egg sandwich or even a whole grain Bagel. And it’s also important to know your numbers when it comes to your blood work including your: Blood sugar, liver enzyme count, cholesterol levels of both LDL and HDL’s and other areas of concern or importance for both men and women (Men PSA levels and Women Iron levels to name a few).

On a side note--There is one more thing that I would like to point out about the nutritional benefits of the egg and something that someone told me back in the late 1970’s. An owner of a health food store in Boone, NC told me that the egg was one of the world’s most perfect foods. Why, because of all the Lecithin in an egg and inside the Yolk itself. The deal with Lecithin is that it makes sure that it stays solvent in water so that when it enters the body the fat and cholesterol traveling through the blood stream helps the cholesterol to be dispersed and removed through the body. And that was known back in the 70’s! However we know now that there is no scientific research that shows that Lecithin aids in weight loss.

Well, I wish I had known that back then—that’s what I was taking it for—love wasting money!

Foot note: According to drugs.com there are no definite clinical studies to support claims that Lecithin may prevent atherosclerosis.

In my research however I have found much more favorable information on Lecithin than I have any negative research and studies. From the PR Newswire (a leading research paper) stated that the research suggests lecithin protects the heart because it favorably affects the way the body handles cholesterol. However the negative information that I did find was from the “New England Journal of Medicine” publish by the Cleveland Clinic which sited that Lecithin could possibly be a factor or indicator of heart disease but more studies would have to be done. WHAT?? Now that’s how back and forth the research can go. The choice is yours. My bet is –I’m going WITH the Lecithin.

When preparing the Egg: In the latest edition of Muscle & Fitness Magazine, I read something that I had no idea about. It’s the way you prepare an egg. It states that breaking the yolk when cooking the egg as you do when you scramble them---damages the fat and lessens the nutritional value. So when you do cook the egg, Fry or Poach! You learn something every day!! Tomorrow morning, I’m Frying!

Chip Sigmon CSCS, USAW, CMFT
Fitness & Wellness Coordinator
Europa Sports Products

References:

1. Fox News.com 2/26/14 The truth About Eggs and the Yolk

2. PR Newswire.com Research On Lecithin

3. “The New England Journal of Medicine” Published by the Cleveland Clinic; April 25, 2013

4. Muscle & Fitness magazine, April Edition 2014 page 154

THE TOP 8 REASONS WHY DIET SODAS ARE BAD FOR YOU

I see it all the time and as I have written about before; a guys goes up to the counter at the Mini-Mart and puts down a honey bun, a bag of chips and a diet Mountain Dew! Why the Diet Soda? I’m sure that he didn’t care a hoot about the diet part of the soda after buying the honey bun and chips. He bought the Diet Mountain Dew because of the taste! They do taste good and sweet and that leads us to the first reason that diets drinks can be bad for us:

#1: IT CONFUSES THE BODY: Diet Sodas have an intense flavor, even more than real sugar, so over time products like diet sodas dull our senses to the naturally sweet foods like fruit. According to Dr. Brooke Alpert, the author of “The Sugar Detox”, even more disturbing is the fact that these sugar stand-ins, have the same effect on your body as real sugar. Artificial sweeteners still trigger insulin, which can send your body into a fat storage mode which can of course lead to weight gain.

#2: IT CAN LEAD TO WEIGHT GAIN, NOT WEIGHT LOSS: yes these drinks are calorie free but don’t accept these drinks to help you with your weight loss reduction plan. Researchers from the University of Texas found that over the course of 10 years diet soda drinkers have a 70% greater increase of waist circumference compared with non-drinkers. Researchers also found that diet soda drinkers experienced a 500% greater increase!

#3: IT’S ASSOCIATED WITH AN INCREASE RISK OF TYPE 2 DIABETES: Drinking one diet soda a day was associated with a 36% increased risk of metabolic syndrome and diabetes in a University of Minnesota study. Metabolic Syndrome simply means that one may have a cluster of conditions ranging from high blood pressure, elevated glucose levels, raised cholesterol and a large waist circumference that put people at high risk.

#4: IT HAS NO NUTRITIONAL VALUE: When you drink a diet soda, one does not take in any calories----but rather you are swallowing something that has no nutritional value. The best no calorie drink is good old fashion “water”. Water is essential for many of our bodies’ processes, so replacing it with a diet soda is not doing the body a favor or any good at all.

#5: IT’S SWEETENER IS LINKED TO HEADACHES: Early studies on Aspartame anecdotal evidence suggest that this artificial sweetener may trigger headaches in some people. Dr. Bjork states that many of his clients who used to suffer from migraines pinpointed their cause for these headaches to diet soda.

#6: IT WILL RUIN YOUR SMILE OVER TIME: Excessive soda drinking, whether it’s regular or diet drinks could leave you looking like a “Breaking Bad extra”, according to a case study published in the journal of General Dentistry. The research compared the mouths of cocaine users, a methamphetamine-user, and a habitual diet soda drinker, and found that the same level of tooth erosion in each of them. The reason--- citric acid, which will weaken and destroys tooth enamel over a period of time. 

#7: IT MAY BE BAD FOR YOUR BONES: Women over 60 are already at greater risk for osteoporosis than men, and at Tufts University researchers found that drinking sodas, including diet sodas, compound the problem even more. They discovered that female cola drinkers had nearly 4% lower bone mineral density in their hips than who did not drink sodas. In a 2006 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that cola intake (all kinds of sodas, not just diet) was associated with low bone-mineral density in women.

#8: IT MAY HURT YOUR HEART: According to researchers at the University of Miami and at Columbia University, just one diet drink a day could boost one’s risk of having a vascular event such as a stroke, heart attack, or even vascular death. Their study found that diet soda drinkers were 43% more likely to have experienced a vascular event than those who drank none. Researchers did however say that much more studies need to be conducted before definite conclusions can be made about diet soda’s effects on health.

Chip Sigmon CSCS*D, USAW, CFMT

References:  
USA Today and Fox News

CROSSFIT AND NUTRITION SUPPLEMENTATION

 I’ve been very fortunate to have been in the strength & conditioning field for over 33 years. During that time I have been on every level of coaching, from High School and college athletics to strength and conditioning in the NBA for over 11 years. I have also worked with some very high level athletes that were the best at what they do night in and night out. The intensity that most of the athletes exhibited was nothing short of phenomenal both in their training and at their sport. In the time that I have been involved in strength and conditioning (over 3 decades) I thought that I had seen it all; then along came Crossfit.

 You would have to have been living in a cave if you haven’t heard of Crossfit and the popularity behind it. In my opinion Crossfit is the Bodybuilding of the 70’s and 80’s. How would I know? Because that’s when I was a bodybuilder and we trained as a community; meaning we ate together, worked out together, and even hung out together. Back in the “Golden” era of bodybuilding it was the 3 basic lifts; the back squat, bench press, and the dead-lift and not a lot of variation off of those lifts either. We choose those lifts because that’s what the Power Lifters performed in their training and sport to get bigger and stronger.

When bodybuilding came along, Olympic lifting (lifts consisting of the Snatch plus the Clean & Jerk) faded to some degree. Now because of Crossfit, Olympic lifting has made it’s way back almost to the forefront and it has made people realize just how special and important these lifts are when dealing with speed and explosiveness. 

It’s been my quest as a professional in strength & conditioning for over 33 years to seek as much wisdom as possible. As I’ve observed the Crossfit athletes for a while now, I’m amazed at what they do day in and day out and especially at the “blind entry” competitions with the Crossfit athletes having no idea what they will be doing the day of an event! I have even incorporated some of the Crossfit movements into my own training and with the athletes and clients that I work with. 

 The functional movements which Crossfit exemplifies are explosive and intense. The time in which to complete the task, or (WOD) Work-Out of the Day, is of the upmost importance, and training in a community setting makes it even more demanding and challenging. For those involved and live the Crossfit life-style, you know what I’m talking about. 

What I can’t figure out about Crossfit, however, is just why nutritional supplementation has not caught on the way it did and is with bodybuilding. I’ve been to speak to and visit Cross-Fit Gyms in my area on several occasions and there are no signs of supplements for sale anywhere, and if anyone needs supplementation as intense as these WOD’s are then the Crossfit athletes do! 

Now don’t get me wrong, Crossfit is concerned about good nutrition. Just look how popular the Paleo Diet is with its athletes. But we’re talking about nutritional supplementation, and that’s another area where performance can be improved. I believe that if you can do anything to improve yourself as a person, in your profession, or as an athlete, you should do it the right and ethical way without hesitation. 

So let me ask you this; 

Which of the following potential strategies produce significant gains in performance or body composition in the least amount of time? 

A. Changes in Training 

B. Changes in Diet 

C. Implementation of Supplements 

D. They all work equally well. 

The answer is C. Changes in your training may take weeks or months before you see a performance difference and changes in your diet the same amount of time.  However, the implementation of nutritional supplementation can be immediate in terms of results in performance. 

Not everyone can be a Rich Froning or Annie Thorisdottir (Champions of Crossfit) but your drive, hard work and determination to get you to that level can be aided by the right kind of supplementation.  I often ask, “If it can only help by 1% would you take nutritional supplements?” I know I would.  However, the right kind of supplementation is the key. Below are what I believe to be the Top 7 nutritional supplements to aid you in your training, competition and in your recovery. In other words, the supplements that will give you “the most bang for your buck.”

HOW I SELECTED THE TOP 7 SUPPLEMENTS

  • FOR INCREASE of STRENGTH (the ability to exert force)
  • FOR INCREASE of SPEED / POWER  (the amount of time it takes to do work)
  • FOR INCREASE of ENERGY  (the capacity for vigorous activity; the amount of available power)
  • FOR JOINT INTEGRITY (a healthy joint free of pain or pain that is manageable) 

Wouldn’t you say that all of the above are critical for all the elements of Crossfit? So let’s move on to the Supplements that will help provide these increases:

(These are not in order of importance so select what fits your needs)

  • BETA-ALANINE: Research shows that Beta-Alanine improves power out-put by buffering the accumulation of hydrogen-ions. What this simply means is that muscular acidosis (the accumulation of acids in the body, mainly lactic acid) is held at bay or helps reduce the time of build-up.

Dr. Jose Antonio of the ISSN states that sprint animals such as lions, tigers and cheetahs produce very high levels of lactic acid so to counter that build-up they also produce high levels of Carnosine, the body’s natural lactic acid buffer. If these sprint animals could take Beta Alanine by themselves, it would hold back the lactic acid build-up even more.  Humans can take Beta-Alanine and by doing so it builds up the body’s own Carnosine levels. 

Dosing Protocols: 1.6 grams per day and takes 2 weeks to feel the effects. Beta Alanine can also build lean body mass (LBM) because one is able to train longer and harder.

For Crossfit this means: training longer and harder at each WOD session and just who wouldn’t want that!

  • FISH OIL: So why would I put fish oil on my list? Dr. Hector Lopez, chief medical officer for Applied Health Sciences (speaking at the 10th annual ISSN conference in Colorado Springs) stated at that conference that there are “4 Core Mechanisms” for Fish Oil applications in athletes.

MULTI ORGAN SYSTEM SUPPORT

HELPS WITH CARDIO HEALTH / BRAIN MOOD / AND IS NEUROPROTECTIVE

HELPS CONTROL INFLAMATION

HELPS WITH TISSUE 

REPAIR AND RECOVERY 

PROMOTES METABOLIC WELLNESS

INSULIN SENSITIVITY

 PROMOTES HEALTHY BODY COMP

ANTI-CATABOLIC / PRO-ANABOLIC

*HELPS MAINTAIN  mTOR PATHWAYS

*mTor helps control cell growth in response to nutrients and also helps with cell energy and stress.

Dr. Lopez also stated that Fish Oils also:

  • Aids in improving Insulin Function
  • Lowers Triglyceride levels by 30%
  • Lowers Blood Pressure 
  • Ups the good cholesterol HDL’s
  • Helps improve blood flow
  • Promotes Fat Loss
  • Promotes Healthy Joints

For Crossfit this means: Joint support / a supplement that will help control inflammation after a long grueling WOD and will aid in keeping your body in an anabolic state throughout the day!

  • PROTEIN: Lem Taylor, PhD assistant Professor at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and President of the ISSN speaking at a ISSN Europa University conference in Hartford Conn. in June of this year, stated that the body is always on a “Roller-Coaster Ride” going between a Catabolic State which results in muscular breakdown and a Anabolic State where one is promoting muscular tissue building and repair.

Believe it or not, the body favors Catabolism. High volume training combined with high intense training = the need for more protein to help start the Anabolic process.

One reason why Protein is so very important to Crossfit is that new research indicates that taking in carbohydrate soon after resistance exercise may not be as necessary for stimulating added muscle protein synthesis (MPS) or improved protein balance if ample protein has already been ingested. So then, if you are one who is following a strict Paleo Diet where most of your carbohydrates are coming from fruits and vegetables, this revelation is very good news!

Whey or Casein? Whey simply has greater Amino Acid kinetics leading to Greater MPS so one would need this type of fuel right after a grueling WOD. Casein on the other hand has a slower Amino Acid response time. Because of this slower response time, Casein is a great protein to take right before bed. This can also lead to a better anabolic response time right after waking in the morning when catabolism can be high because of fasting through the night. Why do you think they call it breakfast? Yep - because you’re breaking a fast!

HOW MUCH PROTEIN PER MEAL? Some studies suggest:

  • Smaller athlete: 20 grams per meal
  • Moderate size athlete: 20-25 grams per meal
  • Larger athlete: 25 grams or even greater

          HOW MUCH PROTEIN EACH DAY? The ISSN Recommends 1.4 to 2.0 grams of protein per KG of body weight for both men and women.

For Crossfit this Means: As we have discussed, greater protein synthesis. Slows and blocks breakdown (catabolism) after your WOD. Enhances lean body mass, strength and speeds up recovery and repair.

  • BRANCH CHAIN AMINO ACIDS (BCAA’s): 

 Usually the National Strength & Conditioning Journal that I receive each month doesn’t have much information on supplementation of any kind. However when I received the August 2012 edition, I was surprised to see a 9 page spread on Amino Acids and their effects on muscle and how they can affect sport performance! So I thought that I would cut through all the detailed “big word” stuff and give you the highlights and a summary of what the science says about one of the most popular supplements on the market.

ESSENTIAL AMINO ACIDS / A REVIEW 

There are a total of 20 amino acids which are comprised of 9 essential amino acids (EAA) and 11 non-essential amino acids (NEAA’s). EAA’s cannot be produced in the body so they must be consumed in the diet. Foods that have the highest percentage of EAA’s are generally found in meats and dairy products by which results in greater hypertrophy and protein synthesis after resistance training than a vegetarian protein matched meal.

 BRANCHED CHAIN AMINO ACIDS / A REVIEW 

              The 3 Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA’s) are leucine, isoleucine, and valine. They are unique among the EAA’s for their roles in protein metabolism, blood glucose and insulin regulation. Their names are derived from their chemical structure due to their side chains being comprised of branching methyl groups. 

              Orally ingested, BCAA’s get into the blood stream quickly exposing muscle to high concentrations of these amino acids and making them very unique regulators of skeletal muscle protein synthesis. Research has found that BCAA’s were able to stimulate skeletal muscle protein synthesis to the very same degree as all 9 EAA’s. Research also found that of all the BCAA’s only leucine was able to independently stimulate protein synthesis. It is well known that intense exercise can induce a net negative protein balance in response to both endurance type training and resistance training. Research however has found that BCAA’s and mainly leucine could turn a negative balance into a positive protein balance after intense exercise. 

 It has also been found that EAA’s combined with once again leucine could do the very same thing! In accordance with all the data, BCAA supplementation combined with resistance training has been demonstrated to increase lean body mass, increase strength and decrease body fat.

BCAA’s FOR ENHANCED ENDURANCE PERFORMANCE: 

              Research has also shown that BCAA’s lowers rate of perceived exertion and enhances endurance performance. How does this work? (I’ll try to make this as simple as I can). During endurance exercise, plasma fatty acids increase in circulation and when this happens tryptophan is displaced from the albumin carrier protein. This leads to tryptophan conversion to serotonin in the brain which leads to central fatigue. BCAA supplementation simply decreases the tryptophan: BCAA ratio during endurance training or exercise. Although the data is not consistent, BCAA’s may increase time to exhaustion during prolong cycling. For elite endurance athletes who train up to or above 12 times per week, rapid glycogen replenishment is very important. BCAA’s combined with carbohydrates immediately after exercise been found to increase insulin response which causes a greater rate of glycogen replenishment.

Cross-Fit people listen up: It should be noted that studies have also shown that a combination of EAA’s and BCAA’s may help speed repair from high volume training and prevent against over-training!

Ball State University researchers found that when combining weight training with BCAA’s, cortisol levels were reduced. What happens when cortisol levels are high one may ask? 

  • Your appetite increases 
  • Body fat storage increases 
  • Protein in the muscle is broken down 
  • Insulin becomes more resistant 
  • The body uses glucose (sugar) less efficiently 

High cortisol levels also lead to leptin resistance and when this occurs the leptin resistance encourages higher cortisol levels. This becomes a vicious cycle with weight gain being the main result. 

There is some very powerful and promising research that has been done at the University of Illinois on “partitioning” which allows the body to burn fat and build muscle at the same time. The BCAA’s take energy from the stored fat and provide it to the muscle to be used for new growth! The University gives credit to the BCAA’s and mainly leucine as the reason for these results.

For Crossfit this means: Stimulate and aid Protein Synthesis, enhance endurance and aid  aerobic threshold, increase strength, increase lean body mass and decrease body fat, reduce cortisol levels and possibly take energy from stored fat and provide it to needed muscle!

  • CREATINE: There are simply just too many positive studies on Creatine for Crossfit athletes not to take it. The majority of these studies (about 70%) indicate that Creatine supplementation promotes a statistical significant improvement in exercise capacity. This means that 95 times out of 100 if you take Creatine, you will experience an improvement in exercise performance.

Short Term Supplementation has reported to improve maxes in speed & power by 5 to 15%.  Long Term Supplementation has reported to improve strength by as much as 5-15% also.  All studies indicate increases in body mass by 1-2 Kilograms in the very first week of loading and 2-4 pounds of Muscle Mass during 4-12 weeks of training.

Dr. Darren Candow, Associate professor at the University of Regina, speaking on the effects of Creatine application strategies muscle and bone biology during the 8th Annual ISSN Conference, also reinforced how Creatine improves strength, power, muscle mass, delays the onset of neuromuscular fatigue and there is new research that Creatine may even have some antinflamation properties. 

Side Effects: The only clinical side effects in the science and medical literature have been weight gain. However a number of anecdotally reported side effects reported in popular literature have been gastrointestinal distress, muscle cramping, dehydration and muscular strains/pulls and even reported cases of anterior compartment syndrome (pressure or reduced blood flow to the upper leg). In the ISSN “Essentials of Sports Nutrition and Supplements,” states that “furthermore, over the last few years a number of studies have attempted to assess the medical safety of Creatine. These studies have indicated that Creatine is not associated with any of these anecdotally reported problems and that Creatine does not increase the likelihood of developing anterior compartment syndrome.  In fact, there is recent evidence that Creatine may lessen heat stress and reduce the chances of musculoskeletal injuries among athletes in and during intense training.”

     I like what Dr. Jose Antonio states about Creatine. “So let’s see if I’ve got this right, children as young as infants take Creatine for muscular dystrophy and cancer.” “Kids with traumatic brain injuries are prescribed Creatine, but if a high school or college athlete wants to take Creatine---then all HELL breaks loose!”  Something to ponder.

For Crossfit this Means: Improved strength, power, endurance, protein synthesis and lessen heat stress.

  • Multi-Vitamin/Mineral Supplement: 

There are many more supplements that I could list, but unless you have a money tree growing in your backyard, like me you have to watch your wallet every single day. That’s why I like recommending a good Multi-Vitamin/Mineral supplement because one can get a lot of bang for your buck in one supplement and some basic nutritional needs at the same time. You can get:

Vitamin C: Because of Vitamin C’s antioxidant properties, many researchers have studied its effects on free radical damage and on delayed muscle soreness to which these studies have seen some benefit.

Vitamin D3: (the primary form used in the body) for immune support.

Calcium: The most abundant mineral in the body and very important for bone health and muscle contractions.

Iron: Low Iron levels or a negative Iron balance, especially in women because of exercise induced alterations can be taxing on exercise performance. It has been determine that an individual’s VO2 max is correlated to the blood’s oxygen carrying capacity and this process is very Iron dependent!

Magnesium: This mineral is involved in over 300 essential metabolic processes in the body and many of these processes are involved in the metabolism of carbohydrate, fats, proteins, and nucleic acids. Magnesium is also a component of the synthesis of ATP production. Also plays a key role in muscle contractions.

     Now I must be honest and say that the ISSN does not find in their research or the research of other studies an increase of exercise performance of these Vitamins and Minerals.  However, it is my belief that if one takes a synergistic approach to a good daily Multi-Vitamin supplementation program, the benefit would outweigh the risk or non-benefit by at least 1%. Remember what I said about the 1% rule at the beginning of this article?  That’s the reason I would recommend a good Multi-Vitamin/Mineral supplement.

  • Glutamine: With recovery from one WOD to the next so critical for the Crossfit athlete, then Glutamine is and would be an important supplement. Glutamine is one of the most abundant “conditional” amino acids found in the body and has been shown to be a vital metabolic fuel during intense exercise for variety of components involved with the immune system. Glutamine also has an important role of protein and glycogen synthesis and plays an important role in enhancing both. Below normal glutamine levels after exercise over long periods of time can easily contribute to immune suppression in over trained athletes. In other words continually low levels of Glutamine can make it more difficult for the body to respond to attacks on the body by its on immune system thereby hindering ones health and performance.

For Crossfit this means: Better recovery from one workout to the next and even helping with fighting off sickness.

    I believe in time that supplementation in Crossfit will be just as big or even bigger than bodybuilding or any other sport for that matter.  It will just take documented research and articles like this one to get the information out to the Crossfit community. 

SUPPLEMENT COMPANIES I WOULD RECOMMEND

  • Nutriforce Sports:  has a great Multi-Vitamin/Mineral which also contains fish oil. 
    • Protein (Chocolate contains dark chocolate curls for their anti oxidant properties)
    • Beta- Alanine
  • RSP Nutrition:  has a great amino acid ReGen, Fast Fuel is their BCAA
    • Create (blend of 5 different creatines)
  • Metabolic Nutrition:  has a peptide bonded BCAA plus
    • Pharmaceutical grade Creatine-Glycerol-Phosphate
    • Protizyme (protein)
  • Isatori: the makers of Bio-Grow which aids in protein synthesis
  • Nogii Paleo Bar: a great snack or between meal bar. No compromises to your Paleo Diet and is gluten and dairy free/no trans fat/all 100% natural; natural *No added sugars. The sugar in this bar is coming from the food itself. They make a great snack for kids as well.
  • C20 Coconut Water: for those that are focused on hydration with something besides water, C20 Coconut water may be what you are looking for. C20 has less sugar than other sport drinks and much more potassium. 

 Chip Sigmon CSCS*D

            Wellness Coordinator / Strength & Conditioning Coach

            Europa Sports Products

Resources:

  • Beta-Alanine: David Sandler MS. FISSN; speaking at the ISSN Europa University conference in Orlando, April 19th, 2013 on the “Top 5 Muscle Building Supplements” 
  • Fish Oil: Dr. Hector Lopez, chief medical for Applied Health Sciences (speaking at the 10th annual ISSN conference in Colorado Springs)
  • Protein: Lem Taylor, PhD assistant Professor at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor                                

And President of the ISSN at a ISSN Europa University conference in Hartford Conn. June 2013

  • Branch Chain Amino Acids: NSCA Journal, August 2012
  • Creatine:  Darren Candow, Associate professor at the University of Regina speaking on the effects of Creatine application strategies muscle and bone biology during the 8th

Annual ISSN Conference

“Essentials of Sports Nutrition and Supplements” by the International Society of Sports Nutrition Page 422-425

Dr. Jose Antonio, speaking at the ISSN Europa University Conference in Orlando, April 19th, 2013 on “Nutrition for Elite Youth”

  • Multi-Vitamin/Mineral Supplementation: “Essentials of Sports Nutrition and Supplements” (ISSN) Page 318-320
  • Glutamine: “The Essentials of Sports Nutrition and Supplements” Page 129

 

SUPPLEMENTS FOR THE MIDDLE AGE MAN AND WOMAN

I’m a firm believer of letting food be your medicine and that goes for nutritional supplements as well. A lot of people ask me what are the supplements I recommend for the middle-aged man and woman (and older), or what’s called the “baby-boomer” generation. There’s just too much positive research out there that points to the importance of nutritional supplements. Now I’ll be the first to admit, and as I always say that there are NO guarantees taking supplements. However, I also believe in being proactive toward your health. Sometimes however, you only need common sense to see the results that a combination of exercise and taking supplements can make. Just look at the people working out and taking supplements consistently compared to the people who don’t; they simply look better, meaning they have more muscle, are more lean, and seem to have a lot more energy no matter what the age.

Listed below I have put together my favorite, and what I feel are the most important, nutritional supplements for this age group. These supplements range from a wide variety of health and athletic performance benefits. First, I have listed my favorite “General Supplementation”, but don’t let the term “General” fool you. These supplements are taken because of their importance for being on the front and being proactive in trying to achieve optimal health. The second list is my “Advanced Supplementation-Phase I”. This Phase simply adds or goes a little beyond what you’re taking in your general supplementation, depending on what your needs are. The Third list that I have suggested, “Advanced Phase II”, is for the fitness enthusiast, no matter what types of workouts you may be performing, that can help keep muscle mass high and help keep your motor running during those intense workouts.

   Now I know that consuming nutritional supplements 2-3 times a day, 6-7 days a week can add up to a lot of cash. I have listed below 16 different supplements all for different purposes and needs. However, if you’re like me there is simply no way I can afford all 16 because I have to watch my budget as well. What I try to do is always take, for the most part (with a few exceptions), all the supplements from group One, the General Supplementation, year round. I will, however, rotate the supplements from the second and third group. For example:

  • In the General Supplementation: one of those exceptions is the multivitamin pack that I take has fish oil and vitamin D both so the cost benefit is very helpful.  
  • In the Advanced Phase I Group:  I’ll go on and of a joint supplement because I’m consistently taking Fish Oil in the General Supplementation Group. I’ll also go on and off the Probiotic as needed and if and when I can afford it. The same holds true with the Immuno Care by Himalaya. Since I take Juice Plus year round I only take Himalaya in the winter when colds and Flu are at their highest. On a side note however I’ve been taking juice Plus for almost 5 years and I can’t tell you when is the last time I’ve had a cold or the Flu! 
  • In the Advanced Group Phase II:  I’ll take Creatine for 4-6 weeks and rotate it with HMB or even the Bio-Grow from Isatori. I’ll also go on and off of the Beta-Alanine (also from Isatori) depending on my intensity of training and the affordability at the time. If I’m doing a lot of circuit training with some Cross-Fit mixed in, then 9 times out of 10 you had better believe I’m taking The Beta- Alanine.
nutrition_supplement_table.jpg

References: 

HMB: Journal of ISSN 2013, 10:6
Protein: ISSN Position Stand; On Protein and Exercise
Bio-Active Peptides: Top 5 Muscle Building Supplements by David Sandler; ISSN Europa University presentation Power Point Presentation, Orlando, 2013
Branch Chain Amino Acids: NSCA  Strength & Conditioning Journal, Vol. 34; August 2012