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Post 87: The Worst Meal in America

I can't believe I had that for lunch!

I can’t believe I had that for lunch!

This blog post may make you ill: The Worst Meal in America

How bad could it possibly be? Oh, it is pretty bad. Holy crap, I had no idea this was still going on!

I know I seem to be telling people to avoid certain foods all the time but trans fats have to rank as one of worst offenders. Trans fats really are something to avoid.
Trans fats were created by adding a hydrogen molecule to an unsaturated fat molecule. This adds stability to the fat and increases shelf life. Innocent enough but the body doesn’t know what to do with it. When the body doesn’t recognize it, bad things usually happen.
That is the layman version of trans fats. Here is a good scientific article I found on www.labrat.com.
First off here is the disclaimer that this is not meant to represent medical advice of any kind and please talk to your doctor and/or a registered dietician regarding your dietary needs
Definition of trans fat
Trans fat is a specific type of fat formed when liquid fats are made into solid fats by the addition of hydrogen atoms, in a process strangely enough known as hydrogenation. That being said, small amounts of trans fats are found naturally in certain animal based foods. Trans fat was originally added to foods to increase the shelf life. Trans fat does not stand for “Transformed fat” (except maybe in the mind of someone trying to market this), but comes from the fact that the hydrogen atoms in the double bond are actually across from each other (see below). This comes from the Latin meaning of trans, which is across.

The FDA has estimated that the average American consumes 5.8 grams of trans fat per day!
What are the health effects of trans fat?
An Institute of Medicine/National Acadamies of Science report recently recommended that “trans fatty acid consumption be as low as possible while consuming a nutritionally adequate diet.” Trans fat gives a double dose of bad news, as it increases so-called bad cholesterol, which is actually Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) and decreases so-called good cholesterol, which is actually high density lipoprotein (HDL). Most experts agree that it is the ratio of LDL to HDL which determines your risk factor for heart disease, so it is good for anyone interested in a healthful diet to reduce the intake of trans fat. Other types of fat have not been shown to decrease HDL, but saturated fats have been shown to increase LDL. It is advisable to decrease the daily intake of saturated fat AND trans fat and not give up by increasing the other.
One thing to remember is that there is no daily recomended value for trans fat. It potentially is required in small amounts in our diet, but certainly not at 5.8 grams per day!
Truth in Advertising?
In the current FDA rule trans fat does not have to be listed if the total fat in a food is less that 0.5 grams per serving and no claims are made about the fat, fatty acids or cholesterol content. The result of this rule is that you could consume up to 0.49 grams per serving and think you are being good to yourself. I picked up some chips at the supermarket, and they actually had a label on the front advertising “0 grams trans fat” and I bought them only to get home and realize that partially hydrogenated soybean oil was on the ingredients list! What to do? Read the ingredients and look for the word “shortening” or the words “hydrogenated” or “partially-hydrogenated.”
If below the threshold of 0.5 grams, a footnote will be on the label stating that the food is not a significant source of trans fat. If the daily value and the extent of health risk due to trans fat consumption is not defined then how can it be defined as “not a significant source”? What is the context for that statement?
Steps to minimize the amount of trans fat in your diet
Here are some simple steps you can take to minimize the amount of trans-fat in your diet:

  • Read the label and compare foods – This is not always as easy as you think as the current rules may allow a manufacturer to label as 0g transfat on the label, when there are actually up to 0.49g per serving (see below).
  • Switch to monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat. These fats are found in oils (olive, canola, and others) and nuts. These fats not only do not raise LDL, but have health benifits when consumed in moderation. A related suggestion is to switch to vegtabale oils. I use olive oil when cooking and usually corn or sunflower oil for everything else.
  • Many processed and ready to prepare foods contain trans fat, such as microwave popcorn. If you use corn oil and a large pan on the stove, it tastes better anyway…

Links for more information:
Trans Fatty Acids in Nutrition Labeling, Nutrient Content Claims, and Health Claims – FDA final rule
Ban Trans Fats – The Campaign to Ban Partially Hydrogenated Oils

Now you have a better idea of this, here is the original article.
LOS ANGELES — The Center for Science in the Public Interest rarely makes friends in the nation’s chain restaurants. The advocacy group frequently calls out foods it finds nutritionally objectionable.
And this week, it put Long John Silver’s Big Catch meal, with hush puppies and onion rings, in its spotlight, calling it the worst restaurant meal in America — even though plenty of other choices have more calories.
The CSPI said laboratory tests show the Big Catch has 33 grams of trans fat, “the most powerful promoter of heart disease in the food supply,” and an additional 19 grams of saturated fat and nearly 3,700 milligrams of sodium — more salt than is recommended for a day. The Big Catch has 1,320 calories. The dish, the Louisville-based company said, is a temporary menu addition it will offer through July, “or while supplies last.”
Visit me at http://www.mfactorfitness.com Michael Medvig is a personal trainer and owner of M Factor Fitness Inc., an in home personal training company in Parker Colorado. This blog represents opinions on fitness. Do your own research and draw your own conclusions. All information and materials on this site are provided as is and without warranty of any kind. These materials (including all text, images, logos, compilation, and design, unless otherwise noted) are copyright 2001-2010 M Factor Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Copyright 2001-2010 M Factor Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. |

Post 86: Who Wants to Burn Fat All Morning Without Exercising?

Who wants to burn fat all morning without exercising?

This is a simple way to have more energy, burn fat and keep your focus.

 

To Do list: Burn fat, increase focus and feel great!

To Do list: Burn fat, increase focus and feel great!

I am absolutely convinced that the first two meals of the day are your important ones. I have been experimenting with this for years. Believe me on this one, if you can set up your first two meals of the day right, you have a much better chance of eating right all day.

Who has ever started the day with doughnuts and felt great the rest of the day? No One.

Here is a complex mathematical equation for you.

Crappy breakfast leads to either skipping lunch or crappy lunch leads to crappy dinner.

Just one more doughnut....

Just one more doughnut….

Skipping breakfast leads to overeating and poor lunch choices.

I think it is the same logic alcoholics use for drinking in the morning. Stay drunk and it takes away the hangover. Instead of you being drunk, you are ” drunk” with food chemicals your body doesn’t know what to do with.

If you are having trouble understanding this, look at the food labels as you eat breakfast. What is the natural food to chemical ratio? Don’t expect your body to know what to do with man-made food because it doesn’t. Shove a bunch of sugar down your throat along with a healthy dose of preservatives and you can see why most people have stomach issues, indigestion, strange bowel movements and a general mental haze.

My advice to you is to keep the first couple meals simple. Give your body stuff it recognizes and   knows how to digest and you will be on the right track.

  • Cereal seems to be the most unnatural food regardless of how happy the model eating it in the commercial seems.
  • Orange juice will send your insulin levels into orbit.
  • Fancy Coffee with creamer will taste good but what is in there your body can use?
I like the idea of eggs, oatmeal and fruit for breakfast if you need to eat.
But what about drinking your breakfast?
1. Protein shakes are a great way to start the day. Look for whey protein and opposed to soy based products. Excessive consumption of soy leads to increased estrogen and has been linked to a number of cancers. The more estrogen, the rounder you will be and the harder to lose weight.
Protein shakes are also one of the best post-workout drinks. So get a good quality protein powder and don’t forget to get one that tastes good. The guys at prograde are offering a free full-size sample you can try by clicking here.
2. BulletProof coffee- This has been my breakfast of choice for the last few months followed by a protein bar a few hours later. There is a ridiclous amount of science behind this. You may remember that bulletproof coffee is:
  • Organic coffee
  • Pasture-based organic butter
  • Organic extra virgin coconut oil.
( notice there is no mention of sugar, splenda, nutrasweet, creamers…. )
Benefits
  • All natural. Your body knows what to do with everything so digestion will be smooth.
  • Caffeine will give you focus and energy.
  • MCT fats ( medium chain triglycerides ) are a easy source of energy for the body.
  • You get a healthy dose of Omega 3’s which are a natural anti-immflatory.
  • It is easy to make and easy to transport.
  • It will fill you up.
  • Your blood sugar will remain stable.
Meal #2 protein bar.
You can make the argument that I am violating my all natural rule here and you would be right. At least I am honest about it. So if I have the coffee at 5 am, I will have the protein bar around 6:30 or 7.  You could also substitute a protein shake but at this point I like to have something for my stomach to chew on.
So the protein bar is not all natural, it does have a number of benefits.
  • 14 to 20 grams of protein. This equal a chicken breast.
  • A bunch of vitamins and minerals
  • Low on fat ( Omega 6 ) You are already getting a good dose of Omega 3 with your coffee.
  • Low in calories, low in glycemic index.
So the bottom line is simply this: By 8 am you can either fill your body with junky, sugary carbs and fats or give your body the fuel it needs to run at a high level.
Break it down by cost, bulletproof coffee and a protein bar has the best cost to value ration I can think of.

Visit me at http://www.mfactorfitness.com Michael Medvig is a personal trainer and owner of M Factor Fitness Inc., an in home personal training company in Parker Colorado. This blog represents opinions on fitness. Do your own research and draw your own conclusions. All information and materials on this site are provided as is and without warranty of any kind. These materials (including all text, images, logos, compilation, and design, unless otherwise noted) are copyright 2001-2010 M Factor Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Copyright 2001-2010 M Factor Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. |

Post 85: Fat is Your Friend

There I said it and  I stand by it. Fat is indeed your friend. We owe our existence to the fact that our bodies have learned to convert excess calories to fat.

It all starts back here.
caveman diet
caveman diet
How often do you think this guy ate? How many calories did he expend in search of food?
You see we take for granted the luxuries of modern life. One of the greatest luxuries we have is plentiful food. We didn’t always have this. In fact, up until a 100 years ago or so, people ate as much as they could because they never knew when or where their next meal was coming from. 

Commercial farming, refrigeration, or the ability to transport food was primitive at best.
Yet we survived. Why? Because the body is very adept at taking excess calories ( energy ) and storing them for use later on. Fat is nothing more than stored energy. If you have fat, you are carrying around a bunch of batteries strapped around your stomach or butt. ( I couldn’t find a picture of that or a model who would pose, so just use your imagination).

Fat is your plan B, nature’s attempt at preventing death by starvation. So give fat some credit.
In the last century, being fat was a sign of wealth. In many cultures today, the more fat you carry, the more prestige you have. People couldn’t afford to expand their waistline. Think about that. Now everyone obsesses about how to shrink it.
So what are you going to take away from this? I say get to know your fat levels. They can really give you a ton of information about how your body is functioning.
  • If you are working out hard and doing your cardio and you still can’t lose fat, your nutrition is off. Most likely you are not eating enough. When the body doesn’t get enough calories it holds onto fat. This is called “Starvation Mode”.
  • Or your levels of Omega 3 to Omega 6 fatty acids are off. Chances are you are taking in way more Omega 6 ( corn oil etc… ) than you need to and you are suffering from the inflammatory effects of this. ( Google the research on fat ratios )
  • If you perform bodyfat measurements ( which you should be doing ) you will be able to see your fat vs. muscle ratio. Remember, nature doesn’t care how chiseled your abs are, nature’s only concern is survival.
  • Eat enough protein and take in enough quality calories and you body will naturally start dropping fat. All diets do is regulate the amount of calories you take in and how they are distributed. Some diets do this better than others. Diets higher in protein will help you keep muscle and lose fat although this is a basic generalization. Don’t get too crazy with this, aka Atkins, but use common sense. Starvation diets will achieve their scale weight loss by losing a combination of muscle and fat. This is bad because as your scale weight shrinks, your body fat percentage can actually stay the same. Protein calories should be 25% to 40% of your total calories.

We have a friend of the family who is in her 40’s. Weighs around 130 and is tall. She wears a small dress size. I know what you are thinking, ” Ooooooh I would love to look like her!”. Are you sure? She had a body fat percentage of over 30%! 

In other words 39 pounds of fat on a small frame. In other, other words, not enough muscle to support the skeleton. I tried explaining this to her but like most people, she went on eating salads and starving herself to fit into her dresses. Eventually her metabolism was run into the ground, immunity shot and her weight ballooned up. Why? Preservation. If the body is not getting enough calories, it went into freak out mode. The one way to fix it is the one way she will not accept and that is to eat.


The lesson here: Don’t freak out about fat. When you body accumulatates it, your body is sending you a message. You have the diagnostic tools to control it.
Now go workout and burn some fat!
Michael Medvig
M Factor Fitness

Post 73: 8 Foods We Eat In The U.S. That Are Banned In Other Countries

A friend emailed me this article last week and it really caught my eye. Here is why.

Foods that are not banned in the USA

Foods that are not banned in the USA

if you are reading this blog, I am assuming you are interested in fitness and improving your health. In terms of nutrition, we are always yammering on about eating natural foods over processed foods. I know it gets old but we do it for a reason. We give all the usual arguments:
1. The body doesn’t know how to process these foreign chemicals.
2. Processed foods are stuffed with extra calories.
3. The amount of vitamins and minerals are pitiful.
4. Processed foods are loaded with salt and preservatives.
I am not telling you anything you haven’t heard before. Really what does it matter because we have been told for years that the United States has the safest food supply in the world. The FDA wouldn’t let us eat anything that was bad for us…..or would they?
Take a look at the following list of foods that are banned in other countries. If Europe and Japan ban a food I am certainly going to sit up and take notice. If China bans a food then I am freaking out.
P.S. Most of these foods are from American companies. Thanks to Ashley Perez for this great article.

8 Foods We Eat In The U.S. That Are Banned In Other Countries

This brings a whole new meaning to the phrase “food poisoning.” Original list found in Dr. Jayson Calton and Certified Nutritionist Mira Calton’s new book, Rich Food, Poor Food.

1. Artificial food dye: Makes your food pretty and inhibits nerve-cell development.

Artificial food dye: Makes your food pretty and inhibits nerve-cell development.

Found in: Practically everything we eat: cake mixes, sports drinks, cheese, candy, and even MACARONI AND CHEESE.
Why it’s dangerous: Artificial dyes are made from chemicals derived from PETROLEUM, which is also used to make crude oil, gasoline, diesel fuel, asphalt and TAR! Artificial dyes have been linked to brain cancer, nerve-cell deterioration, and hyperactivity, just to name a few things.
Where it’s banned: Norway, Finland, Austria, France, and the U.K.
For more information on artificial dyes, visit 100 Days of Real Food.

2. Olestra (or Olean): Lowers calorie counts while causing vitamin depletion and anal leakage.

Olestra (or Olean): Lowers calorie counts while causing vitamin depletion and anal leakage.

Found in: Fat-free potato chips, corn chips, and French fries.
Why it’s dangerous: Created by Proctor & Gamble as a substitue for cooking oil, Olestra robs your body of its ability to absorb vitamins. Fun side effects include cramps and leaky bowels.
Where it’s banned: The U.K. and Canada.
For more information on Olestra, visit Time magazine’s “50 Worst Inventions.”

3. Brominated vegetable oil: Makes food dye stick to liquid, but also may cause birth defects and major organ damage.

Brominated vegetable oil: Makes food dye stick to liquid, but also may cause birth defects and major organ damage.

Found in: Sports drinks and citrus-flavored sodas.
Why it’s dangerous: Bromine is a chemical used to stop CARPETS FROM CATCHING ON FIRE, so you can see why drinking it may not be the best idea. BVO is linked to major organ system damage, birth defects, growth problems, schizophrenia, and hearing loss.
Where it’s banned: In over 100 countries.
For more info on BVO, visit Web MD’s “Brominated Vegetable Oil Q&A.”

4. Potassium bromate (or bromated flour): Great for impatient bakers, bad for your kidneys and nervous system.

Potassium bromate (or bromated flour): Great for impatient bakers, bad for your kidneys and nervous system.

Found in: Wraps, rolls, bread crumbs, bagel chips, flat breads.
Why it’s dangerous: Derived from the same harmful chemical as brominated vegetable oil, brominated flour is used to decrease baking time and reduce costs. Only problem is, it’s linked to kidney damage, cancer, and nervous system damage.
Where it’s banned: Europe, Canada, and China.
For more information on potassium bromate, visit Live Science’s “The Truth About Potassium Bromate.”

5. Azodicarbonamide: Bleaches flour, plastic, and induces asthma as an added bonus.

Azodicarbonamide: Bleaches flour, plastic, and induces asthma as an added bonus.

Found in: Breads, frozen dinners, boxed pasta mixes, and packaged baked goods.
Why it’s dangerous: Used to bleach both flour and FOAMED PLASTIC (yoga mats and sneakers soles), azodicarbonamide has been known to induce asthma.
Where it’s banned: Australia, the U.K., and most European countries.
For more information on azodicarbonamide, visit Food-u-cate.

6. BHA & BHT: Waxy preservatives linked to cancer and tumors.

BHA & BHT: Waxy preservatives linked to cancer and tumors.

Found in: Cereal, nut mixes, gum, butter, meat, dehydrated potatoes.
Why it’s dangerous: Used to keep food from becoming rancid, BHA and BHT are known to cause cancer in rats. And we’re next!
Where it’s banned: England, Japan, and many other European countries.
For more information on BHT and BHA, visit Berkley Wellness’ “Two Preservatives To Avoid?”
Source: amazon.com

7. Synthetic growth hormones rBGH and rBST: Harm cows and can give humans breast, colon, and prostate cancer.

Synthetic growth hormones rBGH and rBST: Harm cows and can give humans breast, colon, and prostate cancer.

Found in: Milk and dairy products.
Why it’s dangerous: Growth hormones are bad for cows and people, causing infertility, weakened muscle growth, and a whole array of cancers.
Where it’s banned: Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan, and the EU.
For more information on rBGH and rBST, visit the American Cancer Society’s info page.

8. Arsenic: Basically this ish will slowly kill you.

Arsenic: Basically this ish will slowly kill you.

Found in: Poultry.
Why it’s dangerous: Used as chicken feed to make their meat appear pinker and fresher, arsenic is POISON, which will kill you if you ingest enough.
Where it’s banned: The EU.
For more information on arsenic, visit NPR’s “How Trace Amounts Of Arsenic End Up In Grocery Store Meat.”
Visit me at http://www.mfactorfitness.com Michael Medvig is a personal trainer and owner of M Factor Fitness Inc., an in home personal training company in Parker Colorado. This blog represents opinions on fitness. Do your own research and draw your own conclusions. All information and materials on this site are provided as is and without warranty of any kind. These materials (including all text, images, logos, compilation, and design, unless otherwise noted) are copyright 2001-2010 M Factor Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Copyright 2001-2010 M Factor Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. |