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

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

Nutrition and Calorie Tips

Plant-based doesn’t always equal the best option for fat loss…..

Plant-based doesn’t always equal the best option for fat loss….. 🍕

There is a perception that certain foods are better for you than others due to their perceived health benefits. Usually terms like “plant based” or Vegan / Vegetarian are promoted as is they are a healthier option and there’s an assumption that this means they’re the best choice.

Now this is not about whether or not a plant-based diet is more healthy or less healthy than a diet including meat (there’s a variety of studies about this and it’s not clear cut and it’s beyond the scope of this comparison). I’m not suggesting that either of these options is actually a “healthy” option, nor am I suggesting you will get more health benefits from one option versus the other. At the end of the day they are both Pizza’s and they both contain a large amount of fat and calories. But for many people trying to lose fat or weight they might naturally assume that instead of having a “normal” pepperoni Pizza for dinner, that they’d be better off having the plant-based option with a jackfruit alternative. However in actual fact that “healthy” pizza has more calories and fat than the Pepperoni one.

So if you are out for a Pizza and wanting to go for a lower calorie option then don’t automatically assume plant-based equals lower calorie. I’m certainly not suggesting your whole diet be made up of “junk food”, but it’s important to be wary of these marketing ploys which make you perceive things as being “healthy” and therefore lower calorie and helpful for weight loss. At the end of the day, as always, it comes down to calories. If you want to lose fat or weight, then you need to be at a calorie deficit. And it’s important to still have foods you enjoy as part of an overall balanced diet. I love Jackfruit so for me I’d chose that every time but I’d do so in the knowledge it wasn’t a lower calorie option.

Be curious about what you’re putting in your body, and check out the nutritional info (most restaurants have the info online nowadays) on food and don’t always assume the current trendy “plant-based” food is automatically lower calorie.

🤗

Xx