Fitness & Wellness

Portion Control - You Got This!

Portion Control – You Got This!

At BioFit Performance in Oviedo, FL, we not only help clients with developing a more active lifestyle, but also a personalized nutrition program. While what you eat is ultimately the most important part of that program, portion control also plays an important role. With most fruits and vegetables, it’s not a problem. They’re often so low in calories portion control makes no difference at all. You could eat an entire head of celery and not be anywhere near your daily calorie allotment. However, if you eat volumes of nuts, avocados, olive oil and sweet potatoes, all healthy foods, the results might be quite different. The same is especially true for snack food and sweets.

What is the single serving size.

In most cases, you’d be surprised at how small the single serving size is. Consider the lowly potato chip that has 160 calories per serving…it’s just 15 chips. Cheetos have a 150 calories with 20 per servings. Seriously, has anyone ever stopped at 15 or 20? Even the healthiest meal can throw you over your caloric intake. In fact, one study showed that using larger plates increased the average food intake by 45%!

If you’re eating in a restaurant, you can’t control portions.

Whether you’re eating in a restaurant at home, having a quick way to measure portions can help. Three ounces of chicken or meat is about the size of a deck of cards. A cup of rice, pasta or ice cream is the size of a tennis ball. Put four dice together and it’s the size of one ounce of cheese. A medium piece of fruit is the size of a baseball. Keep those dice with you to measure margarine or butter. It’s the size of one die. Compare the size of a golf ball with one serving on peanut butter, jam or salad dressing. These are all simple ways to identify a serving size when you don’t have a measuring cup or scale available.

Steer clear of supersizing and weigh or measure food at home.

It doesn’t take a nutritionist to figure out that supersized meals blow portion control out of the water. Sure, everyone wants more for their money, but if you’re eating out and the meal is big, eat half of everything and take the rest home. Learn portion control by weighing and measuring each item when you eat. Before long, you’ll be able to ball park the right portion size without measuring. Read package labels. Who eats only 3 Oreos or consumes just ¾ cup of Honey Nut Cheerios? Portions count. Learn to identify them through practice.

  • Compare the serving size of an apple and the calories with the serving size and calories of chips. One apple is just 90-95 calories, about half that of 18 chips and has more nutrition. It also is more filling.
  • Whether you’re counting calories, carbs or sodium, serving size is important. Before you buy, read the label and see if you’d be satisfied with the amount in one serving. Walk away quickly if you wouldn’t be.
  • Maintaining portion control not only helps with weight, but also digestion. It helps keep your blood sugar more level, too.
  • When you consider the serving size for fruit juice is ¼ cup, for cut up fruit ½ cup and one medium fruit when it’s whole, you can see how much more filling eating the fruit is, whether cut up or whole.

For more information, contact us today at BioFit Performance


What Is Primal Eating?

What Is Primal Eating?

What is primal eating? It’s about eating the way people did before industrialization occurred. While it’s similar to the Paleo or caveman diet, there are a few distinct differences. Both diets eliminate grains, since they’re based on what man might have eaten during caveman times. Both allow for rice a quinoa in the diet. However, the Paleo or caveman diet prohibits the use of dairy, while the primal diet encourages it, but only in the raw form. The Paleo diet doesn’t allow coffee or vegetables in the nightshade family like tomatoes, eggplant and bell peppers, but the primal diet does.

So what exactly do you eat when you opt for primal eating?

It’s simple. Avoid processed food. After all cavemen never went to the 7/11 for some beef jerky or grabbed a box of mac ‘n cheese off the shelf. Cut out those foods that came after farming, which includes almost all food that contains grain, especially those with wheat. Soy isn’t part of the primal diet, neither are peanuts, alcohol, granulated sugar (honey and maple syrup are allowed), and refined vegetable oils. If it sounds like most of the food on the dairy shelf aren’t listed, you’d be right, unless you’re in the fresh produce section.

The logic behind the primal diet is simple.

If you think about it, man lived for thousands of years and never once required a Twinkie, HoHo or Zinger to survive. In fact, many of the illnesses in today’s civilization, occur because of over consumption of sugar, processed foods and additives that lead to obesity, which is the leading cause of preventable deaths in the world today. Throughout hundreds of years of evolution has changed man, but processed foods were introduced recently. It makes sense that the body couldn’t evolve to ingest foods made in a lab and hope process them easily. The belief behind the primal and Paleo diet is that man was created to genetically consume the types of food found in these diets.

The primal diet is filled with healthy food and can improve overall health.

There’s no doubt about it, living on food with added sugar and other additives, simply isn’t healthy. One big benefit of the primal diet is that it’s good for people with diabetes, since it limits the sugar intake. It also can prove beneficial for those with food allergies and conditions like celiac disease. It is a far healthier diet than the average American diet and far more balanced. It’s good for weight loss, too.

  • One mistake that people often make on a primal diet is focus on meat. Cavemen didn’t. Early man ate both meat and vegetables, but heavily relied on more of a vegetarian diet with the occasional meaty treat.
  • Eating more plants, vegetables, seeds, nuts and oil increase the body’s anti-inflammatory benefits. Cutting out sugar and processed food also aids in reducing inflammation.
  • People on a primal diet often lose as much as those on traditional diets, but tend to lose more inches around the middle and that translates to losing more fat. That fat, visceral fat, is the most dangerous type of fat.
  • In short term studies, people on the primal diet showed improved blood pressure control, lower triglyceride levels, improved control of appetite and better weight loss than other diet types, even the Mediterranean diet.

For more information, contact us today at BioFit Performance


Is Dark Chocolate Good For You??

Is Dark Chocolate Good For You??

There’s often a lot of smiles when clients at BioFit Performance in Oviedo, FL, find out that dark chocolate is actually healthy. Of course, there is a limit on the amount you should eat to reap those benefits and the quality of chocolate you should consume. It has to be high quality with a higher cocoa content of at least 70%. The higher the better. Dark chocolate does contain sugar, but the more cocoa, the lower the sugar count. It also has calories, which means you have to eat it in small amounts. One small square or two provides benefits, that delicious flavor and is about all you should eat in a day.

You’ll get nutrition and antioxidants in chocolate.

One bar of high quality chocolate, which rates about 70 to 85% cocoa, has 67% of the body’s requirement for iron, 58% of the requirement for magnesium, 89% of copper and 98% of the body’s daily requirement for manganese. It also contains 11 grams of fiber, lots of phosphorus, potassium, zinc and selenium. Dark chocolate also has antioxidants that help protect the cells from free radicals. The antioxidants include catechins, flavanols, polphenols and more. In fact, it beats blueberries and acai, two super foods, when it comes to antioxidants.

You could lower your blood pressure with a little chocolate.

Dark chocolate contains flavanols and those stimulate the lining of the arteries, which increases the production of nitric oxide. Why is that important? Nitric oxide causes the arteries to relax and that lowers the resistance of blood flow, which ultimately lowers blood pressure. Controlled studies show that it offers the effect of lowered blood pressure by way of improving blood flow, but the effect is mild. If you’re overweight and sedentary, the best way to lower your blood pressure is to lose weight and get more exercise.

Protect your blood vessels with dark chocolate.

You can improve your good cholesterol—HDL— and reduce the oxidation of bad cholesterol—LDL—by consuming dark chocolate. That lowers the risk for heart disease. It helps lower LDL cholesterol, too. Oxidized LDL can cause damage to the lining of the arteries and the antioxidants in it provides that protection against oxidative damage.

  • Dark chocolate can also improve insulin sensitivity, which also helps prevent diabetes, as well as preventing heart damage.
  • Studies in elderly men found that over a period of 15-years, consumption of dark chocolate lowered the risk for heart disease by 50% to 57%. It also lowered the risk of calcified plaque build up in the arteries by another 32%.
  • Dark chocolate might also boost your brain power. It improves blood flow to the brain with the caffeine and theobromine it contains. It’s shown to improve cognitive functioning in mentally impaired elderly patients.
  • If you were surprised that chocolate is healthy for you, you’ll be amazed at how delicious many other healthy foods are. We’re ready at BioFit Performance to help you learn how to eat healthy and enjoy every minute of it.

For more information, contact us today at BioFit Performance


Are Sparkling Beverages Unhealthy?

Are Sparkling Beverages Unhealthy?

When you’re discussing sparkling beverages, you’re talking about a wide variety of different types of drinks. Some are immediately recognized as unhealthy, such as soft drinks, but there are other groups that are nothing more than water with a pressurized infusion of carbon dioxide. These are called everything from seltzer water to club soda, and of course, sparkling water. While seltzer water doesn’t contain sodium, other forms of carbonated waters do.

Even though Perrier contains sodium, it lowered the risk of heart disease in women.

If you’re drinking a natural sparkling water, such as Perrier or San Pellegrino, you’ll still get 2mg of sodium in an eight ounce serving, but also other nutrients. In fact, one study in the Journal of Nutrition noted that woman who drank mineral water often had a lower incidence of heart disease. A liter a day lowered bad cholesterol levels. These waters come from mineral springs, which is why they have other minerals in them. Tonic water also contains quinine, plus high fructose corn syrup or sugar.

No matter what type of carbonated water you drink, it’s acidic.

When you combine water with carbon dioxide, you get bubbles, but you also get a weak acid known as carbonic acid. Is it dangerous. It does stimulate the nerve receptors in the mouth, just like other foods do, such as mustard. That’s the pH of 3-4 that causes the slight burn. It might not make your body more acidic, but it can cause damage to the teeth. That damage is far less than a sugary drink and a little more than plain water. Unlike cola, it doesn’t affect bone density either.

There may be some benefits to drinking carbonated water.

If you drink the plain carbonated water with no additives, you may actually get a few health benefits, although the research is limited on that, as well. Besides the small study showing that it lowered bad cholesterol, another showed it could help improve swallowing. It was shown to stimulate the nerves for swallowing and if cold, improve it even more. Another test was on seniors showed it helped people who constantly had to clear their throat with improvements in over half the participants.

  • If you want to add some carbonated water to your diet, it could help you shed a few pounds by extending the feeling of fullness. Another study, however, showed that it increased the production of ghrelin, the hunger hormone.
  • Carbonated water may also help you get relief from constipation. A study with older individuals who had a stroke showed it improved the ability to have a bowel movement.
  • Don’t confuse carbonated water with soft drinks. It’s the added sugar in soft drinks that make it bad. Most people don’t find the actual taste of carbonated water enticing without the added sugar.
  • If you have IBS or problems with bloating and gas, carbonated water may add to those problems. If you use it and find it causes a flare up or makes the problem worse, eliminate it from your diet.

For more information, contact us today at BioFit Performance


Portion Control - You Got This!

Portion Control – You Got This!

At BioFit Performance in Oviedo, FL, we not only help clients with developing a more active lifestyle, but also a personalized nutrition program. While what you eat is ultimately the most important part of that program, portion control also plays an important role. With most fruits and vegetables, it’s not a problem. They’re often so low in calories portion control makes no difference at all. You could eat an entire head of celery and not be anywhere near your daily calorie allotment. However, if you eat volumes of nuts, avocados, olive oil and sweet potatoes, all healthy foods, the results might be quite different. The same is especially true for snack food and sweets.

What is the single serving size.

In most cases, you’d be surprised at how small the single serving size is. Consider the lowly potato chip that has 160 calories per serving…it’s just 15 chips. Cheetos have a 150 calories with 20 per servings. Seriously, has anyone ever stopped at 15 or 20? Even the healthiest meal can throw you over your caloric intake. In fact, one study showed that using larger plates increased the average food intake by 45%!

If you’re eating in a restaurant, you can’t control portions.

Whether you’re eating in a restaurant at home, having a quick way to measure portions can help. Three ounces of chicken or meat is about the size of a deck of cards. A cup of rice, pasta or ice cream is the size of a tennis ball. Put four dice together and it’s the size of one ounce of cheese. A medium piece of fruit is the size of a baseball. Keep those dice with you to measure margarine or butter. It’s the size of one die. Compare the size of a golf ball with one serving on peanut butter, jam or salad dressing. These are all simple ways to identify a serving size when you don’t have a measuring cup or scale available.

Steer clear of supersizing and weigh or measure food at home.

It doesn’t take a nutritionist to figure out that supersized meals blow portion control out of the water. Sure, everyone wants more for their money, but if you’re eating out and the meal is big, eat half of everything and take the rest home. Learn portion control by weighing and measuring each item when you eat. Before long, you’ll be able to ball park the right portion size without measuring. Read package labels. Who eats only 3 Oreos or consumes just ¾ cup of Honey Nut Cheerios? Portions count. Learn to identify them through practice.

  • Compare the serving size of an apple and the calories with the serving size and calories of chips. One apple is just 90-95 calories, about half that of 18 chips and has more nutrition. It also is more filling.
  • Whether you’re counting calories, carbs or sodium, serving size is important. Before you buy, read the label and see if you’d be satisfied with the amount in one serving. Walk away quickly if you wouldn’t be.
  • Maintaining portion control not only helps with weight, but also digestion. It helps keep your blood sugar more level, too.
  • When you consider the serving size for fruit juice is ¼ cup, for cut up fruit ½ cup and one medium fruit when it’s whole, you can see how much more filling eating the fruit is, whether cut up or whole.

For more information, contact us today at BioFit Performance


Are Sweet Potatoes Too Good To Be True?

Are Sweet Potatoes Too Good To Be True?

If you’ve read that sweet potatoes are a healthier option than white potatoes, the information isn’t true. While they both contain a variety of nutrients, the nutrient content is different in each. That’s why I tell clients in Oviedo, FL, they need to vary their diet to include as many different fruits and vegetables as possible. For instance, white potatoes contain more potassium than sweet potatoes. It racks up approximately 17% of the required daily amount compared to sweet potatoes 10%. White potatoes also contain glycoalkaloids that recent test-tube studies show have anti-cancer and other good benefits.

So what makes sweet potatoes so good for you?

First, sweet potatoes are packed with nutrients. Each sweet potato contains approximately 107% of the daily required amount of vitamin A. They also contain fewer calories than white potatoes but the same amount of protein, fat and carbs. If you want to add fiber to your diet, sweet potatoes have 3.3 grams, compared to the 2.1 grams in white potatoes. There’s 17% of the daily value—DV—of B6, 22% of the DV for vitamin C, 10% potassium, 3% calcium and 6% magnesium.

There are a variety of colors of sweet potatoes.

Many of the beneficial antioxidants come from phytochemicals in the plant. Color makes a difference, since the phytochemicals are what give the plants their color. It’s like an easy to follow health chart when consuming fruits and vegetables. The more different colors you have, the more well-rounded your diet will be. Orange sweet potatoes are loaded with beta-carotene that the body turns to vitamin A. Purple sweet potatoes have anthocyanins, like blueberries, which are considered super foods and fight a wide range of diseases. White sweet potatoes have many of the benefits as their orange and purple kin, making it another option that’s healthier than regular white potatoes.

There’s a lot of fiber in sweet potatoes, which affects its glycemic index.

Several studies show that even though sweet potatoes are low to high on the glycemic index, they can help prevent insulin resistance and both low and high blood sugar levels. If you boil sweet potatoes, the glycemic index is lower, but baked, it’s higher. Certain types of sweet potatoes are more effective in controlling blood sugar, too. The Beauregard is the most effective at regulating the blood sugar, with the Caiapo—a white sweet potato–also improving the glucose and cholesterol levels for those with type 2 diabetes. It’s even considered a dietary management tool of the disease. Scientists believe it’s the high fiber content and the type of fiber, which is 77% insoluble and the magnesium content.

  • Since sweet potatoes contain a higher amount of magnesium, which is essential to many functions of the body, it also helps reduce stress and depression. Studies show magnesium deficiency increases the potential for depression and stress.
  • Sweet potatoes contain both choline and anthocyanins, which provide anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation can cause a variety of chronic diseases.
  • Eating sweet potatoes can help people with ulcers. Studies show that sweet potato extracts contain chemicals that help heal ulcers and stomach wounds. It’s particularly effective for ulcers from ethanol and aspirin.
  • The high magnesium and potassium in sweet potatoes makes it a viable option for those fighting high blood pressure. Sweet potatoes regulate blood pressure and lower the risk of heart disease.

For more information, contact us today at Biofit Performance


The Benefits of Meditation and How to Start Applying it

The Benefits of Meditation and How to Start Applying it

The Benefits of Meditation and How to Start Applying it?

By Kevin Masson MS, CSCS, CPT, PPSC, USAW

When the word meditation comes to mind, the image that comes to mind is a bunch of Buddhist monks sitting cross-legged chanting Aum. However, meditation is one of the most widely practiced stress management techniques worldwide. There are many benefits that you can derive from meditating. So let’s look at some of the benefits that meditation has to offer.

Meditation helps you control your thoughts. Man has conquered space and Mount Everest. But the most challenging thing to overcome is your mind. Even the greatest minds on Earth are not able to control their thoughts. Look at Van Gogh. He succumbed to his thoughts and committed suicide. They are not able to reject their negative thoughts and focus on the positive. However, the art of meditation teaches that not only that you can control your thoughts but you can also reject your negative thoughts. Through meditation, you will be able to create peace of mind that you always wanted.

Meditation also teaches you, detachment. It is easy to get annoyed by all the little things in life. It may be the jam to work in the morning, the rude lady that cut you in line, people that don’t say hello back. Every little small thing may annoy you. No matter how you try and avoid these problems, they will also keep appearing, and we need to get used to doing that. Meditation will help you develop detachment and also keep your mind in perspective. Through meditation, you will be able to detach yourself from all these irritating little nuisances.

Meditation also allows you the time that you need to examine yourself inwardly and enables you to gain a greater understanding of life. You will start to relax, and you will be able to view your life from a whole different perspective. Being grateful for what you already have instead of things you wish you had. Gratefulness is a powerful tool that many top leaders and billionaires use daily.

Lastly, meditation leads to happiness and peace of mind. As we have pointed out before, it helps you control your thoughts. So it is out with the negative thoughts and in with the positive energy. It detaches you from little petty problems and also helps you discover the purpose of life. So try meditating today to live a better life tomorrow.

 

Meditation involves silencing our minds. It is not an intellectual activity. Think of it as a tool to relax your whole self, and also for better health. It also can be a valuable tool to discover one’s self. The core of meditation is to focus and eventually quiet your mind. As you get better at it, you will find that you can meditate anywhere, anytime.

So, it’s actually easier said than done, with the crazy life we live in meditation can be challenging for a lot of people. Here are 5 quick steps to help you kick start a meditation habit. Remember, the key here is to create a habit even if you start with 5 mins every day, but you have to make it a priority in order for it to work.

Make time

When you are starting to learn how to meditate, you need to set aside enough time in your daily routine for meditation. It can be at any time of the day. You may set time for meditation at the start of the day, or you can put it at the end of the day as a means of relaxing. However, it is recommended that the easiest time to meditate is in the morning because your body is not tired, and your mind is still fresh.

Find a quiet space.

Once you find the time to meditate, you need to choose a suitable space to meditate. Create an environment that doesn’t have any noise or distractions. Turn off the television set or your handphone. You can put some music on, but make sure it’s calm, repetitive, and gentle so as not to distract you.

Relax

Sit on a leveled ground. Remember to keep your back straight. This will help with your breathing. Remember to relax your arms and legs. They don’t need to be in a particular position. The most important part is that you are relaxed. Now start searching for parts of your body that are not relaxed. It could be face muscles or certain parts of your body. Try loosening all of them.

Concentrate on something

It may be hard to control our thoughts through the power of the mind. So to silence your mind, try to focus your mind on something. It may be as simple as counting your breath or listening to your surroundings.

Silence your mind.

Once you are focused, now you can clear up your mind.  This requires discipline, and it is alright if you are not able to master it immediately.

Most importantly, meditation is something done with intensity and focus, once you achieved that, you have reached the pinnacle of meditation. So try it at home today, and you’ll find yourself feeling better than you have ever been before. Look for apps like headspace or youtube videos if you are still struggling with it.


5 Ways to Boost Your Immunity

5 Ways to Boost Your Immunity

5 Ways to Boost Your Immunity

By Josh Dennis MS, CSCS, CISSN, CPT

The recent COVID-19 pandemic has thrown the world into panic mode. Nothing is more disempowering than focusing on things outside of one’s control. Instead of focusing on the doom and gloom, try to remain productive. With many of us forced to stay at home, there has never been a better time to build healthy habits. This article will highlight 5 simple ways to enhance your immune system function.

 

1)Moderate Exercise

Back in my university days, I remember sitting in an exercise physiology class to talk about the immune system’s response to training. Generally speaking, exercise will strengthen your immune system as long as it’s not overdone. Exercise within the body’s adaption abilities is the name of the game. Research has shown that working out is beneficial for the immune system provided it’s not excessive (Nieman & Wentz, 2019). If you’re new to exercise, start out slowly. For more seasoned veterans, just be careful to not overreach. To really enhance your health and immune system, take your training outdoors!

2) Get Some Sun

With summertime around the corner, there’s no better excuse to catch some rays. While nobody is recommending excessive scorching or sunburn, you should not be afraid to spend some time outside. Building up sun tolerance gradually is the best way to go. Multiple lines of research have reported lower vitamin D to be associated with higher rates of infection (Aranow, 2011). While naturally producing vitamin D is best, it might be impractical or impossible for some individuals. For those forced to resort to supplementation, do yourself a favor and test your baseline levels first if possible. This will allow you to fine-tune your dosage to get to optimal levels.

3) Make use of Mushrooms

The medical power of mushrooms has been around for centuries. However, compared to their plant and animal counterparts, fungi tend to be the forgotten food group. Now that quarantine life has forced you to prepare more home-cooked meals, there’s ample time to experiment. Researchers on Shiitake mushrooms found that their consumption over the course of 4 weeks was enough to boost immunity (Dai, et al., 2015). My personal favorite way to serve up shiitake is to sauté some up along with fresh onions in ghee. These pairs are great with many meat dishes or even eggs.

4) Channel Your Inner Wim Hof

If you don’t know who Wim Hof is by now, do yourself a favor and google him. Put your stay at home mandate to good use and watch a video or two on the man who is rewriting physiology books. This guy is doing things that scientists did not think was possible. His magic mix centers around breath work, meditation, and cold-water immersion. This potent combination has since been found to modulate both the sympathetic nervous system and the immune system to fight off toxins (Kox, et al., 2014).

5) Sleep like a Bear

Less time spent commuting means more time for sleep. Even though it’s one of the lowest hanging fruits on the health tree, sleep often gets neglected. Sleep is the ultimate recovery tool and it should be relatively effortless. Piles of research add up every year backing sleeps importance. Studies such as the one from Besedovsky, Lange, & Born (2012) found sleep to enhance the body’s immune defense. A good start is aiming to get between 7 and 9 hours per night. For more information on how to get the most out of sleep, be sure to check out our sleep article here.

References

Aranow, C. (2011). Vitamin D and the Immune System. Journal of Investigative Medicine, 59(6), 881–886. doi: 10.2310/jim.0b013e31821b8755

Besedovsky, L., Lange, T., & Born, J. (2011). Sleep and immune function. Pflügers Archiv – European Journal of Physiology, 463(1), 121–137. doi: 10.1007/s00424-011-1044-0

Dai, X., Stanilka, J. M., Rowe, C. A., Esteves, E. A., Nieves, C., Spaiser, S. J., … Percival, S. S. (2015). ConsumingLentinula edodes(Shiitake) Mushrooms Daily Improves Human Immunity: A Randomized Dietary Intervention in Healthy Young Adults. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 34(6), 478–487. doi: 10.1080/07315724.2014.950391

Kox, M., Eijk, L. T. V., Zwaag, J., Wildenberg, J. V. D., Sweep, F. C. G. J., Hoeven, J. G. V. D., & Pickkers, P. (2014). Voluntary activation of the sympathetic nervous system and attenuation of the innate immune response in humans. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(20), 7379–7384. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1322174111

Nieman, D. C., & Wentz, L. M. (2019). The compelling link between physical activity and the bodys defense system. Journal of Sport and Health Science, 8(3), 201–217. doi: 10.1016/j.jshs.2018.09.009

 


Are Protein Bars Better Than Meal Replacement Bars?

Are Protein Bars Better Than Meal Replacement Bars?

Protein bars have been on the market for quite a while. Originally, those bars were the ultimate for people who wanted to do tough workouts and build big muscles, but they became a quick go-to for people who weren’t working out and just assuming that they were the healthiest option when there was no time to sit down to a meal. There’s a new kid on the block of bars called meal replacement bars. Which one is better? First, most people don’t require the boost of protein that the protein bar provides, but let’s look at other factors.

What is a protein bar?

That’s a tough question. There are a wide variety of protein bats on the market. Some are fortified with extra vitamins and nutrition, plus a substantial amount of protein. If you put it side by side to a full meal containing 3/4 cup cooked vegetables, a medium fruit, 3 ounces of chicken and a glass of low fat milk, the meal would have about 415 calories or 85 more calories than a protein bar. However, the protein bar would have only half the protein of the full meal and more fat. It would also have fewer nutrients than the meal, including phytochemicals found only in plants or minerals like phosphorus and potassium.

What is a meal replacement bar?

Here’s where marketing muddies the water. Most protein bars are now being touted as meal replacement bars. First, not all protein bars contain over 200 calories to qualify as a meal, so they’re considered snacks. Some contain high amounts of sugar and are like eating candy bars that are packet with protein. While the protein might entice you, think again when it comes to the sugar. There are bars that tout the nutritional needs of the average person who is not an athlete called meal bars. They contain more nutrients and are more balanced for those not seeking to build muscle. They’re plant based, so contain many phytonutrients.

Here’s the answer.

Be careful whether choosing a protein bar to supplement a meal or one of the very few true meal replacement bars. If you’re the average person or an athlete with a day off from the gym, you don’t need all the extra protein. However, they can be useful if stopping for a complete meal is impossible. Just check out the ingredients, some are far better than others are.

  • Always read the label and check for sugar content and nutrients. Some bars in both categories, provide more hype than nutrition.
  • Avoid the extra cost and find ways to create your own. Remember, peanut butter is a good source of protein and you can add protein powder, nuts and dried fruit. Adding whey powder to homemade veggie snack bars is one option.
  • If you’re using any type of bar to replace a meal, make sure it meets certain standards. For those not trying to lose weight, it should contain high quality protein from whey or casein. For weight loss, limit the calories to about 200 and make sure there’s about 10-15 grams protein and 3 grams fiber.
  • Using a meal replacement bar or a protein bar to substitute as a meal is okay occasionally, but don’t make a habit of it. You need more than just the macro and micronutrients, you need phytonutrients, too.

For more information, contact us today at Biofit Performance


How To Get Your Daily Omega-3s

How To Get Your Daily Omega-3s

I have people at my gym in Oviedo, FL ask about the benefits of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. Both of them are important for good health. The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 should be a four to one ratio, with one part omega-3 for every four parts omega-6. It’s not that way in the present Western diet. Instead, the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 is anywhere between 10 parts omega-6 to one part omega-3 to a huge 50 parts omega-6 to one part omega-3. Depending on your present diet, you need to either lower the amount of omega-6, increase your amounts of omega-3 or both. Finding out how to do that means learning how to get your daily omega-3s.

What’s the benefit of omega-3?

You’ll keep your heart pumping in regular rhythms and ease inflammation when you have adequate omega-3 fatty acid in your diet. Omega-3 can also slow the formation of blood clots in the blood stream. Triglycerides are fat-carrying particles that are in the blood and omega-3 lowers them. Just because omega-3 fatty acids provide benefits, it doesn’t mean omega-6 fatty acids are villains. Quite the contrary. They lower the risk of heart disease by lowering bad cholesterol levels and increasing good cholesterol. They also aid in lowering the risk for cancer. Both omega-6 and omega-3 are essential fatty acids. The body needs them, but can’t produce them. They have to come from food.

What foods contain omega-6 and which ones contain omega-3?

Seeds and nuts tend to be high in omega-6, such as hemp and sunflower seeds, walnuts, avocado oil and peanut butter. Eggs are high in omega-6, too. To get omega-3 fatty acids, fatty fish, such as mackerel, salmon, herring and sardines provide a great deal of omega-3. Oysters, flaxseed, walnuts and soybeans are also high in omega-3. Whether eaten raw in salads or cooked, Brussels sprouts are also a good source of Omega-3. Each half cup contains 12% of the daily recommended amount.

While having adequate Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids is important, getting a good balance is also.

Don’t get upset that omega-6 is classified as pro-inflammatory and think that Omega-3, which is anti-inflammatory is far more important. You need both types of fat and you do need some inflammation. Inflammation helps protect the body from disease. You just don’t want it to be chronic and excessive. If it is, it can cause other types of damage, including heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, metabolic syndrome, Alzheimer’s and several types of cancer.

  • Increasing the amount of omega-3 and reducing the amount of omega-6 can be done by switching choices of oil. Switching out flaxseed oil for cottonseed or soybean oil can significantly change the ratio.
  • Besides being heart healthy, adequate omega-3 has a positive effect on schizophrenia, depression and bipolar disorder, helping to improve mental health.
  • Keeping both omega-3 and omega-6 low is healthiest. It’s best to balance out the intake by cutting back on food higher in omega-6 and substituting it with food higher in omega-3. One way is by consuming fatty fish three times a week.
  • Eating a healthy diet is the best way to ensure you get adequate nutrients. Green leafy vegetables should be part of every day. Other veggies that boost omega-3 include Brussels sprouts, kale, broccoli, spinach and cauliflower.

For more information, contact us today at BioFit Performance