Article: Effects of a low carbohydrate diet on energy expenditure during weight loss maintenance: randomized trial

Research continues to prove positive metabolic effects of a low carbohydrate diet. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recently shared a study showing the results of a low carbohydrate diet and how it relates to energy expenditure and potential lasting weight loss. This randomized trial divided participants into three groups: a high carbohydrate diet consisting of 60% carbs, a moderate carbohydrate diet consisting of 40% carbs, and a low carbohydrate diet consisting of 20% carbs. The results showed the group on a low carbohydrate diet had greater total energy expenditure than those on a moderate or high carbohydrate diet. Those on a low carbohydrate diet also showed a significant decrease in ghrelin and leptin (hunger hormones).

Here at Trinity, we believe that understanding proper nutrition is key to making lifelong lifestyle changes. It’s not about the quantity of calories consumed but rather the quality of calories. The body breaks down different foods differently, undergoing different metabolic processes, secreting different hormones. In other words, the calories in an avocado are not the same as those in a small order of French fries!

Call and make an appointment today to learn more about how the quality of our foods affect our health outcomes.

Check out full research article: https://www.bmj.com/content/363/bmj.k4583

Running on Low-Carb

Martahon pic1This past year I trained for The Boston Marathon. To train for any marathon, you have to train mentally and physically, but training for The Boston Marathon-that’s another level of training mentally. It’s not something you just say you are going to do and do it. It takes determination, motivation, and commitment before any kind of physical training. The level of these things truly determines if you are going to wake up at 5 am to get a run in before work, wake up at 6 am on weekends to get a (very) long run in, while also committing to being present with your family and friends, loving and serving others well, no matter how tired or sore you may feel. In order to keep this mindset fueled, you HAVE to be fueled with the right foods.

As an avid runner and marathoner, previous training season diets did not give me the energy to do these things well. I would come home from long runs, eat (mostly carbs), sleep for a few hours, lay low for the rest of the day, and then eat again (mostly carbs). My thought process was, “I just ran 18 miles. I’m going to eat whatever I want” OR “I’m starving and could eat the first thing I see.”

Throughout this year, I have spent much of my time at Trinity- as a dietetic student and now as their Registered Dietitian. I quickly learned the science, research and truth behind a low carbohydrate high healthy fat diet and hopped right on board. I have seen disease reversal after disease reversal. I have seen weight loss that patients have never experienced before. I have seen energy levels higher than any other diet can give. I realized the same must be true for athletes. If people are exercising for the first time in their life after eating this way, then surely it is effective in those at higher levels of exercise.

Training. I decided I was going to take this lifestyle into my training regimen for the first time and stick to a strict low-carb high healthy fat diet, keeping my net carbs around 40 net carbs/day. I found myself waking up at 5am on weekdays ready to conquer a run. I was sleeping better, which also contributed to my increased energy. And not just energy before my runs, but during. I had more endurance and actually increased my training speed. My normal pace for marathon training is an average of 8-8.5 minutes per mile. My pace increased to an average pace of 7min. 15 seconds per mile, for almost every training run. Of course, I had days that I just didn’t feel like running, and those days I would attribute to my attitude. Yet, even on those days, I had the energy it took.

I anticipated my normal feeling of fogginess and extreme hunger around mile 16 and mile 20, based on previous experiences- but I never once felt it. I ended every long run feeling fueled and ready to spend the rest of my day being present. Sore and maybe in need of an ice bath, sure- but never exhausted and depleted.

My diet consisted of eggs, bacon, avocado, or almond flour waffles with mashed avocado for breakfast. For lunch, I stuck to turkey and cheese rolls ups or almond flour wraps with vegetables or leftover low-carb dinner from the night before. Snacks included vegetables, nuts, or a cheese stick. For dinner, I had low carb meals packed full of vegetables and healthy fats. Anything from zucchini noodles with chicken to bun-less grass-fed burgers to salmon and roasted vegetables to grass-fed steak with cauliflower mashed potatoes.

Race Weekend. Pre-race I did NOT have the traditional pasta dinner with breadsticks. Instead, I had wild-caught salmon with broccoli and a side salad. I slept better than I had ever slept before a race day. For race day morning, I had an almond butter packet, despite my race morning nerves. For the race. I stayed well hydrated throughout, enjoying every hydration station to ensure that I would not get dehydrated. Throughout the race, I felt bursts of energy, instead of dips. My mind was clear instead of foggy. I was in touch with my body’s functions and had awareness to take in the last half-mile, even speeding up when we turned onto Boylston Street to cross the finish line. When I reached my family after, their first comments were, “why do you not look or act like you just ran a marathon?” They had been there for the previous races and seen the fogginess and depletion my body had undergone. They were honestly just as taken back as I had been all training season. Post-race, I still felt fueled and like I had enough energy to enjoy the rest of the day. No nap for me. That night, we went to an after-party at Fenway Park, with concession stand food for dinner. Sauerkraut with Italian sausage was about the only option (it would have looked more like steak and vegetables had we gone to a restaurant). I didn’t feel those spikes of hunger after dinner, like I normally would with a high-carb post-race meal.

This race season was a season of growth in all aspects of my life. Eating healthy has always been a part of my lifestyle. However, I came to a stronger realization that food truly was created to fuel the body; so that we can use our gifts and abilities to the best of our ability, to better our health, to love and serve others, while giving glory in all things to the One who created us. It’s a way of living life well, for life.

 

 

Mindful Eating

healthy foodsDo you ever find yourself sitting on the couch, snacking on chips or popcorn and before you know it, you’ve eaten the entire bag without realizing it? Do you ever find yourself so hungry that you eat not one portion, but two or even three portions of a meal until you feel overly full? Do you ever walk into the break room at work, see a plate of cookies and immediately grab one and eat it? Lastly, do you ever find yourself eating because you are stressed or bored? This is called mindless eating, a type of eating that can easily become one of habit and one of health concern. Many of us have (mindlessly) trained our bodies over several years to mindlessly eat. We see, we eat.

Eating mindfully is being aware of what you are eating. You are present and conscious of how food tastes, how much you are eating, and how full you feel as you eat. Food is meant to fuel our body so we can live life well, with energy to work hard and love others. Constant overindulging and eating without thinking leaves us feeling empty, sick, and lifeless. However, in a culture that considers portion size and then triples it, we are continuously challenged with the choice: to eat mindlessly or to eat mindfully?

As you practice mindful eating, incorporate the following techniques:

Control portion size. Believe it or not, you can control portion size, even in restaurants!

Tips to control portion size in restaurants:

  • Split a meal with someone
  • Ditch the appetizers and dessert
  • Ask for a to-go box when your meal is served, and pack up half of it before you eat

Tips to control portion size at home:

  • Measure portions into containers for later use
  • Prepare meals with exact portions
  • Don’t eat while multi-tasking
  • Use a smaller plate

Consider the nutrients. Ask yourself, “Is what I’m eating beneficial to my body?” or “How is my body using the nutrients I am eating?”

Savor flavor and taste. Appreciate delicious and nutritious foods!

Slow down. Chew your food slowly. Assess how long your meal times are during the day. Do you need to allow yourself more time to eat at a slower pace?

Don’t go back for seconds, immediately. Allow time for digestion and satiety to take place and assess if you are truly still hungry or not.

Eat in a positive atmosphere. Make this is a time to sit down around the table with the people you love and the people that encourage you. Invest in each other’s lives. Think of this time as a double whammy for your mind- Not only are you savoring the food you are eating but also savoring the memories you’re making with those around the table.

Weekly Meal Planning

Vegetables mix on wooden tableBusy schedules are often the main reason for not eating healthy. We find ourselves in the middle of the week with no food in the refrigerator and no motivation to cook after a full day at work. That’s why meal preparation is vital to our success in eating nutritious foods on a daily basis. Planning, prepping, and packing each meal, not only saves you time throughout the week, but also allows you to enjoy healthy foods, stress free.

PLAN. Behind every good meal prep, is a good meal plan. Planning meals prevents any “we have nothing at home, so drive thru” scenarios. Designate time once a week for planning out your meals for the entire week-breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Some tips to consider while planning:

  • Include healthy food choices you know the whole family will eat.
  • Batch cook plan for breakfast- this makes mornings much less chaotic.
  • Plan for leftovers- for lunch or another night of the week. This is always a good option in saving time, money and minimizing plate waste.

After you’ve decided each of your meals, write down the ingredients and amount needed in each meal, and head to the grocery store!

PREP. Once you’ve gone to the grocery store, it’s time to prepare your meals.

  • Cook all of your proteins or marinade the ones you don’t want to cook just yet, so you can easily cook them the night of. Freeze any meats you will not be using within the first few days of the week for best quality.
  • Wash and chop all fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Batch cook breakfasts- scramble eggs, cook bacon and sausage, make breakfast casseroles or low carb muffins
  • Put together all lunches for the week.
  • Prep healthy snack options- hard-boil eggs, portion out nuts into baggies, divide hummus and vegetables in containers

PACK. Pack your refrigerator and freezer, based on when you will be eating each meal. Included below are recommended safest lengths of time to store certain foods, according to FDA guidelines.

  • Cooked ground meats: 1-2 days
  • Cooked whole meats: 3-4 days
  • Cooked fish: 3-4 days
  • Fresh eggs: 4-5 weeks
  • Lunch meats: 1 week
  • Hard-boiled eggs: 1 week

Freezer

  • Meats or meals that you are not going to use within 3-4 days. Move to refrigerator the morning of to thaw.
  • Fruits: 3-4 months
  • Vegetables: 8-12 months

 

For easy, nutritious meal ideas, visit https://www.vitalsignswellness.com/vitalmeals/ and sign up for Vital Meals.