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General Nutrition FAQ’s

General Nutrition FAQ’s

  • Would I have to starve to great extremes to lose weight?

    Technically speaking yes starving would definitely help you lose weight but doing so would only convert you from a fat unfit person to a thin unfit person and an individual who would be even further away from his dream body than when he started his diet of doom. Whenever an individual says he wants to lose weight he unconsciously implies that he wants to lose body fat, and to lose body fat and more importantly keep it off we need to have an elevated BMR (basal metabolic rate i.e. the number of calories that the human body burns at rest). The one thing that increases BMR in the long term is an increase in the metabolically active tissue that is muscle. This is achieved by causing microtrauma to muscle cells by subjecting it to high intensity weight training & then supplying the body with adequate high quality protein to provide the raw material that the body requires to repair the micro trauma & super compensate to create hypertrophy in muscle cells. The protein also requires support from complex carbohydrates & mono-unsaturated fats plus essential fatty acids like Omega-3 to optimize metabolism. Thus starving is a surefire way of decreasing metabolism by creating a loss of muscle.

  • Will eating a lot of protein make me fat?

    No. A big mistake many dieters make is to skimp on protein foods in an attempt to reduce fat in their diets. Sure, most tissue proteins like chicken, turkey, fish and red meat have some amount of fat, but protein is absolutely essential to maintaining a lean, hard body. When calories are reduced, the body tends to use more Glutamine, Alanine and branched-chain amino acids found naturally in most protein foods. If you don’t eat enough protein, your body will get these important amino acids from muscle tissue by breaking down muscle cells to scavenge the amino acids they contain to be used as fuel. This can obviously lead to a loss of muscle, which might even slow the metabolic rate and make burning fat harder.As a rough rule of thumb, eat about 1.5 – 2 grams of protein for each kilogram of bodyweight every day. This will ensure that you have enough protein to build or maintain muscle.

  • Should I cut back on the number of meals I eat each day?

    Not if you’re eating the ‘traditional’ three meals a day. In fact, the smart way to go about it is to divide your total number of calories per day or the total amount of food you’re currently eating into smaller, more frequent meals, say 4 to 5 a day. This adjustment alone — without even cutting calories — can often lead to fat loss without a loss in muscle.Eating smaller meals more often forces you to eat fewer calories at each sitting, which essentially results in more complete nutrient absorption and less storage of excess nutrients as fat. Keep track of what you eat at each meal so you can see if you’re creating healthy eating habits.

  • Is it really important to eat breakfast every day?

    Yes. Calories eaten earlier in the day have less of a tendency to be stored as bodyfat because you’ll end up burning a lot of those calories through your daily activities. Look at it this way: if you eat 300 calories of carbohydrates at 7.00a.m., less of that amount has the potential to be stored as fat than if you consumed 300 calories of carbohydrates at 7.00p.m.Getting your fill in the morning may ward off hunger pangs typically felt in the afternoon and evening. Consuming sufficient calories in the morning could be a way to accelerate your metabolic rate somewhat. A faster and more efficient metabolism is a key factor in fat loss.

  • Should I trade in my junk food and fizzy drinks for low-fat snacks and fruit juice?

    Fat-free baked goods are frequently loaded with sugar, so be sure to check the labels when buying prepared snacks. Sugar is the chief nutrient that causes an overproduction of insulin, the body’s main fat-storing hormone. Just because something says fat-free on the package doesn’t make it a good food for getting lean.Fruit juices are also bad choices for dieters. Juices are easy for the body to absorb, due to the lack of fibre, they can break down extremely fast and rush into the bloodstream, causing an overproduction of insulin. This in turn can cause those sugars to be stored as fat and inhibits existing fat from being broken down to be used as fuel.
    As these high insulin levels clear most of the sugar from the bloodstream, an additional pitfall is the resulting low blood- sugar level that can signal the brain to crave more sugar to bring blood-sugar levels back up to normal. This spiral effect can cause the dieter to overeat carbohydrate foods to stabilize continually erratic blood-sugar levels. When you’ve reached a point where your cells are basically saturated with nutrients, eating more — particularly in the form of simple sugar — would of course ask your pancreas to excrete insulin to transport the nutrients to the cells. But if the muscle cells and liver glycogen are full, the insulin will simply take the sugars to be converted and stored as fat.

  • Once I lose weight, can I eat the way I used to?

    Always remember that once an Endomorph always an endomorph. You can never let yourself lose sight of the fact that your body has a tendency of gaining weight. So certain foods that gets easily stored as fat (Such as simple sugars) will always be out of bounds for you. As long as you are working out hard, the increase in protein will have to be maintained.Of course if you are disciplined enough to stay clean in your diet most of the time then you could eat whatever you like maybe once in 15 days. No matter how bad the food…at that frequency can do you no harm.

  • Can I eat after my exercise?

    The post workout meal is a very important aspect of leading the fitness lifestyle. This meal should be taken within 45 minutes of finishing your workout. It should consist of at least 50 Gms of simple carbs such as fruit juice or glucose (Start this only at the intermediate level of training.) and 20-40 Gms of protein preferably from protein powders. This is to replenish your muscle cells with glycogen & amino acids, to prevent catabolism due to glycogen depletion & start the repair process.

  • Does eating fat cause weight gain?

    The only reason to curtail fat would be the fact that Fat has a higher caloric value (more than twice as much, 9 calories/gm) as compared to carbohydrates and proteins (4 calories/gm). Hence your chances of exceeding your caloric limit are higher with a higher fat intake. But some amount of Mono unsaturated fat such as olive oil is necessary from the standpoint of optimum health. Essential fatty acids such as Omega-3 (Found in fish oils, Flaxseed oil) actually help in lowering cholesterol and even help in sugar metabolism by increasing insulin sensitivity & preventing obesity related diseases such as type 2 diabetes. The one Fat that needs to be eliminated from a healthy diet is Saturated fat (The kind that stays solid at room temperature) examples are Butter, Cheese, Ghee, Animal fat (Except Fish), coconut oil (The only exception to the solid at room temp factor.) the reason for eliminating it is the fact that it leads to clogging of arteries and increases risk of cardiac problem.

  • Will carbohydrates make me fat?

    There are 2 kinds of Carbohydrates; Simple and Complex. The simple carbohydrates get absorbed into the blood stream immediately, thus spiking insulin. Raised insulin levels promote fat build up. Examples of simple carbs are – Table Sugar, Fructose (Sugar found in fruits.), all sweets and desserts, polished white basmati rice, white bread, all refined flour items such as commercially available Naans, roomali rotis, Pizzas, pastas made from refined flour, Potatoes. These foods will make you fat. Complex carbs on the other hand get released into the blood stream at a much slower rate, thus not allowing spikes in insulin levels and thus will not make you fat. Examples of complex carbs are – All fibrous green vegetables, yams, unpolished brown rice, whole wheat chapattis, whole wheat pasta, multi grain brown breads, Oats, etc. By all means include these in your diet but in moderation as these foods may not make you fat but they hinder the fat burning process. This is due to the fact that in the presence of abundant carbohydrates (The body’s preferred source of fuel) the body doesn’t see a need to use its secondary source of fuel which is BODY FAT.

  • If I eat a heavy dinner will I put on weight?

    No. It is generally a healthy practice to have a light dinner. But again what counts is what you eat and not when you eat. So although eating high-calorie foods like cookies, ice cream and cakes in front of the TV late at night can lead to weight gain, this is because of the high-calorie, nature of the foods, not because it’s late in the evening. As a standard practice keep the night meal the lowest in terms of carbohydrates. It is sugar laden foods at night that will cause a problem. Actually eating a high protein dinner is essential.

  • Will some foods help me burn fat?

    This is actually true. Here we are dealing with the Thermogenic value of foods. Thermo genesis is the generation of heat. Every time we eat the body increases temperature and increased temperature forces the body to burn fat through an increase in BMR. Certain foods increase body temperature a lot more than other foods. In a nutshell the harder it is for the body to digest a particular food the more increase in temperature it will bring. The foods with a high Thermogenic value are fibrous carbs which are vegetables of all kinds and animal sources of protein such as chicken, Fish, Eggs. These foods can actually raise your body’s BMR. Also as previously mentioned Omega-3 essential fatty acids actually help in burning body fat stores by increasing insulin sensitivity & improving sugar metabolism. They also increase HDL levels and reduce LDL levels.

  • If I need to loose weight do I need to eat small portions through out the day?

    Yes. Remember that every time you eat you increase your BMR as you are giving your body work to do (Digestion). Hence if you eat 5 meals as opposed to 3…the spiking of metabolism occurs much more. This automatically will reduce the quantity of food you eat per meal. Remember that long periods of starvation will lead to hogging at the dinner table. Long gaps between meals also put the body on a storage mode and less resistant to losing body fat. Hence the statement is correct, as 5 meals instead of 3 are better. This does not mean eating more. For instance if you are to consume 150gms of protein per day…then you would have to consume 50gms per meal if you were eating 3 meals a day…But if you were eating 5 meals then it would be 30gms of protein per meal and similarly for carbs and fat.

  • How many calories do I need?

    The correct approach is to not count calories but count grams of protein and carbohydrates that you require through the day distributed over 5 meals. If you want to lose fat then you must take 2gms/kg of bodyweight Protein and no more than 1.5gms/Kg of bodyweight of carbohydrates (All from complex sources). No need to count grams of fat. Just use a healthy cooking medium such as olive oil and see to it that your food is not swimming in it. For weight gain you need 1.5gms/Kg bodyweight of Protein and 3-4gms/Kg body weight of carbs. The fat remains the same. These quantities are assuming that the person is working out intensely.

  • Will eating fat free foods help me lose weight?

    No. If you simply eliminate fat from your diet but do nothing to restrict carbohydrates then the body will simply not let go off fat. Apart from this fact eliminating fat completely is unhealthy. Certain essential fatty acids actually help you in losing fat. People have always confused dietary fat with Body fat. Simple sugars get converted to body fat more readily than dietary fat. Simple sugars spike insulin in the body and this hormone is among other things also responsible for fat storage. Carbohydrates are your preferred source of fuel for the body and your stored Body fat is your body’s secondary source of fuel. In the presence of adequate carbohydrates the body sees no need to rely on Body fat for energy and hence no fat loss.

  • If I go on a strict diet, will I lose weight faster?

    Again please stop using the words, “Lose weight” and replace them with “Lose Fat”. Apart from that this statement is accurate if you put it in the right perspective. A diet program that is not strict will never work. A strict diet unfortunately is always confused by people to mean a highly restricted calorie diet and starvation. This is totally untrue and starvation can only lead to a slowing down of metabolism. The Key is to be strict about eliminating the culprit foods (Simple sugars) including the good carbohydrates (Fibrous carbs) in moderation, minimizing starchy carbs, eliminating saturated fats but including a healthy dose of Essential fatty acids (especially Omega-3) from fish or flaxseed, mono-unsaturated fats such as olive and groundnut oil and eating adequate protein (At least 1.5grams/Kg of lean weight) to sustain and build lean tissue. You must do the above consistently and with complete discipline in order to achieve results. Remember losing weight is easy but losing fat is very difficult and requires strictness.

  • Aren’t fruits the healthiest foods to eat?

    Fruits are healthy from the aspect of being loaded with vitamins and minerals. But apart from vitamins, minerals & a little of fiber, they are only a source of simple sugars such as fructose & glucose. Hence it is important to time them correctly otherwise they could really mess up a fat loss plan. The time to consume simple sugars like fruits would be immediately following a workout or first thing in the morning. These are the times when fruits will be the most beneficial & the sugar from them will have the least chance of getting converted to fat. Fruits are a complete NO post a meal as once a meal fills up glycogen stores in the body, and then the conversion of the sugar in fruits to body fat is almost certain except probably in the case of a classic Ectomorph.

  • If I want to lose weight drastically, should I just skip meals?

    Skipping meals is the worst thing you can do to reduce weight as long gaps between meals suggests to the body a condition of starvation and puts the body in a storage mode by reducing the BMR. The best way to go is to consume 4 to 6 small meals a day every 3 to 4 hours.

  • If I train really hard, is it necessary for me to get on a diet plan?

    Training really hard puts a lot of demands on your body’s reserves. You can get away with not having a proper diet plan if you are not working out hard, but if you are putting the body through the rigors of intense exercise then you better see to it that the body gets the necessary nutrients it needs to perform at optimal levels. A diet plan is very often mistaken to be only restriction of calories. A diet plan is necessary for you to eat right while you exercise, otherwise exercise will be counter productive.

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