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Nutrition and Calorie Tips

Protein cookies for protein….. erm… or not?

Protein cookies for protein….. erm… or not? 🍪

I’ve talked before about the marketing power of “protein” and how snacks (and other products) are often promoted as “healthy” or better because they contain X amount of protein. The reasoning behind this is the fact that increased protein can help with improved satiety (feelings of fullness) so CAN help to prevent overeating. Also those working out may want to focus on protein to help with muscle building. Unless you’re a bodybuilder or athlete you probably don’t need to go out of your way to take in extra protein as most balanced diets contain far more protein than the average person needs. However you may still wish to focus on higher protein foods and snacks to help keep you feeling full.

So you may well see this protein cookie and think it would be a good snack option – it’s something that feels like a treat (a cookie) and it’s high in protein – win win! However it’s 420 calories (and as an aside it lists the calories as 210 cals per serving… with a serving being half a cookie… which no one is ever going to actually have so they must realise they’re high cal!). It contains 16g of protein which is pretty good I guess.

Oh but this is awkward… you could instead have a 170g pot of greek yoghurt with 100g raspberries, a curly wurly AND a single slimline gin and tonic…for a mere 306 cals, and it will actually provide you with MORE protein – 19g in fact! And aside from the fact it’s a lower calorie combo, and has more protein, it’s also far greater volume – which also helps to keep you full. And it will probably help keep you on track as it allows you to have some chocolate or a drink etc without detailing you from your goals.

Cheers!

🤗

Xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday tip: Insulin causes fat gain?

Tuesday tip: Insulin causes fat gain? 🤔

You often hear people talk about insulin being “spiked” by carbs and that insulin is putting your body into fat storage mode and therefore causing fat gain. Insulin helps to move nutrients out of the bloodstream into cells, where they are either used for energy or stored. The argument is that because insulin causes an increase in lipogenesis (fat storage) and a decrease in lipolysis (fat breakdown) that it must be responsible for putting on fat. The argument then continues that as carbs cause insulin to be released, they will cause fat gain, and therefore high carb diet will result in fat gain. The reasoning then follows that a low carb diet is necessary for fat loss because then insulin levels will be kept low.

Fat gain can only occur if the rate of lipogenesis is greater than lipolysis. In healthy individuals insulin only increases in response to food. So after you eat lipogenesis will increase and lipolysis (fat breakdown/burning) will be reduced, and fat storage may take place. However when those levels of insulin drop fat burning will resume. If you’re in a calorie deficit and expend more calories than you consume, then when insulin levels drop (between meals and overnight) fat burning will be greater than fat storage and you will lose fat. This happens no matter WHAT you eat – even if you ONLY ate carbs.

Equally if you’re not losing fat then that means you’re in calorie surplus. Total calories consumed are what determines fat loss or gain, not insulin levels. Even when insulin levels are low you can still enter lipogenesis (fat storage) due to an enzyme called acylation stimulating protein. This is why there are no studies showing significant differences in fat loss of low carb compared to other diets when calorie levels are controlled. In fact studies have shown that even with high carb diets, when insulin levels are therefore greater, there is still fat loss if there is a calorie deficit.

Going low carb isn’t a sustainable or healthy way to lose weight; healthy balanced meals are the way to go. You don’t need low carb diets, if you’re truly in a calorie deficit you will lose fat.

Happy Tuesday 🤗

xx

Nutrition and Calorie Tips

Cooked vs uncooked weight..

Cooked vs uncooked weight… 🍝

Just a short tip today. This is a simple thing that can make a big difference. If you’re tracking calories then do be careful when tracking things like pasta, rice and other dry grains. Depending on the brand and type you may find the calorie info relates to cooked rather than uncooked weight.

The difference is very significant! If you’re logging the calories as 151 but you’re actually eating 351 cals that could have a significant impact on your progress. So be sure to look carefully at the label – usually they will state uncooked weight or cooked/ ‘as prepared’ weight – so be sure to track accordingly!

🤗

Xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday tip: Adaptogens – Myth or Miracle Stress Reliever?

Tuesday tip: Adaptogens – Myth or Miracle Stress Reliever? 🍄

You may have noticed a trend for “adaptogen” ingredients such as ginseng, mushrooms, turmeric, maca root, matcha etc being marketed as “stress reducing” and cropping up in smoothies. coffees, bars, supplements etc.

Adaptogens have their roots in traditional medicine and are defined it as any plant compound that helps increase our ability to adapt and avoid damage from stressful environmental conditions.

When under stress, adaptogenic compounds increase the release of hormones like dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine and elevate vascular relaxants like nitric oxide. They have also been shown to increase mental capacity and short-term memory. When taken regularly they can balance stress-related hormones like adrenaline and cortisol.

In today’s stressful environment it’s easy to see why adaptogens have become popular, but do any actually work? Well I’m afraid only 3 have any scientific evidence behind them (and that evidence is limited) – ginseng, golden root, and bacopa. Experimental trials found that Indian ginseng reduced feelings of stress, depression, and anxiety in patients with chronic stress, and significantly reduced cortisol levels. Others studies have shown lowered cortisol levels in patients with burnout syndrome when taking golden root (Rhodiola) for 28 consecutive days. Another sample of high-stress students reported lower mental fatigue, greater physical fitness, and better well-being after taking it.

Finally a study showed that people who consistently took Bacopa supplements had lower anxiety rates, higher learning rates, and greater memory consolidation after 12 weeks.

These studies are very small but indicate some benefits to these specific compounds. So before you switch to turmeric lattes and mushroom coffee you might want to consider that their hefty promises don’t live up to their price tag. If you do want to try adaptogens stick to Indian ginseng, golden root or bacopa (and always check with your Dr before you start taking any new supplements)

Happy Tuesday 🤗

xx

Recipes

Poached Cinnamon Plums

This makes a delicious autumn dessert or brekkie option – with a big dollop of greek yoghurt!

Before we sold my late Nannie’s Bungalow we harvested the last of her Damsons and so I decided to put them to good use and stew them up into a tasty pud! I used half at the time and the other half I froze to make another batch later and this works perfectly with either option.

You will need:

Plums – as many as you want!

Sugar to taste

Cinnamon to taste

If you have a glut of plums when you may prefer to freeze some for later use. Cut them in halves, remove the stone and lay on a baking tray and pop in the freezer for a couple of hours. Once they’ve firmed up you can transfer to a ziplock bag or Tupperware and store in the freezer until needed!

If using fresh then cut into halves (or quarters if you prefer), remove the stones (these can also be removed after cooking if the plums are a little on the hard size). Place in a wide pan (I used a frying pan).

Add a little water to stop them burning (couple of tbsps) and a little sugar initially – especially if using damsons (you can add more later if necessary).

Using a very low heat allow the plums to start to soften. Then add cinnamon – start with a small amount and then add more to taste later.

Then pop a lid on and allow to gentlY cook through. Keep an eye on them as they will go soft and mushy very quickly.

Allow to cook gently, checking regularly until at the desired softness (this may only take mins) and then remove the lid. Taste and add more sugar and cinnamon if you feel you need it. Then allow it to cool down a little further – you can decide how you want it. The liquid will form a slightly sticky syrup and the plums will continue to break down – so keep gently cooking until your desired consistency. As it cools the syrup will thicken a little.

Transfer to a bowl or Tupperware and store in the fridge. Or you can freeze it too. It makes a perfect base for a crumble, or is delicious served with Greek yoghurt!

Enjoy 🙂 xx