Nutrition and Calorie Tips

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

Protein smoothie 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 smoothie and think it would be a good option as a post workout drink or snack. However for 350ml it’s around 207 cals (which is fine for a snack) and contains 7.7 G protein which is pretty good I guess for a fruit drink.

Oh but this is awkward… you could instead have a 350ml of skimmed milk for a mere 123 cals, and it will actually provide you with MORE protein – 12.6g in fact! And aside from the fact it’s lower calorie, and has more protein, it’s also far cheaper – costing around £0.24 for that amount (vs £1.86 for the same quantity of smoothie). The lacto-free skimmed milk also has similar calories and protein (though it is a bit pricier at £0.48) but also a great option – and there are flavoured options out there too if you want a fruity drink that also have similar protein and calorie levels! So plenty of options!




Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Artificial Sweeteners

Are artificial sweeteners bad? There is a lot of concern out there over artificial sweeteners/sugar substitutes. The 4 most common sweeteners are saccharine, sucralose, aspartame and stevia (this is a natural sweetener but is used in the same way and subject to similar claims).

Proponents of the “sweeteners are bad” message often claim that they cause are toxic, cause cancer, and cause insulin spikes and weight gain. In fact there is no scientific evidence that any of them cause cancer (or any disease). The studies used to support this view are on rats, and with excessively high doses. In one study rats were given up to 5,000 mg/kg bodyweight of asparatame. A Diet Coke has 187 mg (which equates to approx 2-3 mg/ kg bodyweight for a human adult). If you scale that up to humans (irrespective of the fact there’s no evidence humans respond the same way) then that’s the equivalent of over 2000 cans a day of Diet Coke. Only one study showed a possible link to blood cancer in rats (not humans) and even then it was a correlation (not the same as causation).

The most recent claim is that the sweeteners “trick” your brain into thinking you’ve had sugar and cause an insulin response (which then causes you to eat more sugar). This simply isn’t true – insulin isn’t released unless sugar is present, no calories, no sugar = no insulin response. Others claim that diet drinks cause obesity. Obesity is caused by consuming excess calories, but sweeteners contain no calories so they can’t possibly cause obesity. They can’t work against the laws of thermodynamics!

Some argue that it negatively affects gut health but as the gut doesn’t have much involvement (there is nothing to be absorbed) this isn’t the case. Studies have only shown an impact with extreme consumption (we’re talking over 8 litres of diet drinks per day every day).

Some people are sensitive to some sweeteners (just as some people are sensitive to a range of foods) and obviously if it doesn’t agree with you then clearly don’t have them . But sweeteners can be a really helpful way to replace a calorie dense sugar with something of similar taste but no calories, so can really help aid fat loss.

So consuming them in moderation is perfectly ok!

Happy Tuesday 🤗


Nutrition and Calorie Tips

“I’ve put on 3kg overnight.. it must be fat!…..”

“I’ve put on 3kg overnight.. it must be fat!…..” 😳

You hop on the scales in the morning and to your horror you’ve put on several kg seemingly overnight! Like most of us the first reaction is probably to feel demoralised and demotivated, think all your weight loss efforts have been wasted and assume you’ve put however many kg of fat on overnight.

I do say this a lot, but that’s because it’s true – the scales are not a very accurate measure when it comes to changes in bodyfat levels. Short term, significant, fluctuations in scale weight are normal and natural – especially large ones that seem to happen overnight. These do not mean changes in body composition – so you haven’t suddenly put on 3 kg of fat or muscle. Rather they tend to be related to water levels – intra and extracellular hydration.

Even if you did manage to eat an extra 20000 calories in one day (an impressive feat anyway!) then you STILL couldn’t store that all as 3kg of fat. Some would be expended in physical activity and metabolic processes, including the cost of digestion itself etc. The extra weight you see on the scales in short term fluctuations is water retention and food volume.

The reasons for it may include – a really big meal the night before, especially one that might be high in fibre, or red meat (which takes longer to digest). It could be due to your workout routine recently which can lead to short term fluid retention in the muscles. General hydration levels and salt levels will also impact it – especially if you had high levels of salt in your diet the day before. Hormones play a massive role – particularly for women and can cause fluctuations of up to 5kg doe to water retention. Lack of sleep or high levels of stress will also cause you to retain fluids. Carb heavy meals and alcohol do exactly the same thing too – you retain fluid – short term. Now that is NOT to say you need to avoid any of these things – you should be working out, you should be eating carbs etc but it may help to explain any fluctuations you see.

So if your scale weight is up today, then before you let it get you down, just stop and think about all the reasons it is probably fluctuating. Focus on being consistent with your calories instead, and use things like the way your clothes fit, or longer term trends in weight gauge progress (i.e. if you want to weigh yourself daily then take an average each week and use the trend of that average to gauge if you’re making progress).

Enjoy 🤗


Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Feel Fuller

Tuesday Tip: Feel Fuller 🥗

When you’re trying to lose fat/weight and therefore eating at a calorie deficit it can be hard to feel satisfied. You will naturally be eating less food and whilst it’s normal, and ok to be a little hungry it makes it very hard to stick to the calories if you’re starving all the time.

Now whilst I’m very much a fan of people eating whatever they want within their calories, there are also some smart ways to help you feel more satisfied with the calories you’re on.

One good way to do this is to increase the volume of food you consume. How can you do this when you’re trying to reduce calories? By increasing the amount of things like vegetable and some fruits (berries particularly) primarily. These high fibre, high volume but low calorie foods are brilliant at helping to keep you fuller for longer, without impacting your calories to any great extent. Swapping a proportion of the more calorie dense foods for veggies and fruits will help to do this. You can also use other low calorie foods that are high in protein to help as well – things like 0% greek yoghurt, lean meat/meat substitutes. In addition reducing liquid calories in for form of high calorie coffees, juices, sugary drinks and alcohol will also help.

Swapping snacks for those that are low cal and high volume is also another handy option – so swapping crisps for skinny popcorn or pop chips, or swapping a sweet treat for something like meringue or marshmallow. If you combine these latter options with some berries and a little greek yoghurt you have the perfect hunger busting snack!

Physiologically eating greater food volume will have a positive affect on your digestive system and associated hormones – you will feel fuller and more satisfied. The extra time it takes to both eat and digest the meal will help with this. Psychologically it feels much better to see a large plate of food in front of you so you don’t feel deprived.

And the other added bonus is you will be probably increasing your intake of other micronutrients in the process which can only be a good thing for general health and well being.

So remember eating fewer calories doesn’t mean you have to eat less food per se – the goal is to eat as much as you can volume-wise within those calories.

Happy Tuesday 🤗


Nutrition and Calorie Tips

“Meat” Swaps

“Meat” Swaps 🥩

If you are trying to lose weight or fat then sometimes it’s handy to make some swaps for some of your meat based protein sources . Usually if you swap the higher fat protein options for leaner options then you can save calories, without sacrificing taste. It also means you can add more volume which helps with sticking to your caloire targets.

So here are a few examples of some easy swaps. I’ve included the plant-based options as well. There are a multitude of reasons you may choose not to eat meat (the ethics of which are beyond this article) but they can also be a handy way to reduce calories in some cases. However, as you can see, there are also lean meat options that reduce calories too (sometimes they’re even lower). It’s worth noting that I’ve chosen one example of plant based protein options and different brands have different caloric values so do check the labels.

You’ll also see that by choosing the leaner options you also end up with a greater amount of protein per 100g which is helpful for keeping your fuller for longer.

Chicken thigh 205 cals (16.9g protein) – chicken breast 112 cals (23g protein) – veggie ‘chicken’ 126 cals (16g protein)

Beef Mince (5% fat) 132 cals (22g protein) – turkey breast mince 119 cals (27g protein) – veggie mince 105 cals (14g protein)

Bacon 203 cals (17.6g protein) – bacon medallions 122 cals (21g protein) – veggie bacon 152 cals (24.5g protein)

Pork sausages 287 cals (12.7g protein) – chicken sausages 161 cals (15.1g protein) – veggie sausages 163 cals (14g protein)

These swaps are also handy if you struggle to track your calories. If you just made some of these swaps a few times a week you’d make significant savings over the week , facilitating a calorie deficit, and you’d probably barely even notice the difference!

Enjoy 🤗