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Archives for October 2017

What is the Healthiest Food We Can Eat?

What is the Healthiest Food we Can Eat?

It is a question I have been asked countless times, a question that many dieters and athletes have considered at one time or another: What is the healthiest food we can eat?

The answer might surprise you.

It seems like we’re being bombarded with new superfoods every day. Every food has had its day, its moment in the sun, a period of time in which it gets added to every smoothie menu, every supermarket shelf, and pretty much everything else.

But as far as I am concerned, the healthiest food you can eat is not kale, chia, goji berries or wheatgrass; it has nothing to do with green tea or matcha and it’s not the sort of food that will leave you reeling just at the thought of consuming it. In fact, the healthiest food is already in countless fridges and on countless breakfast tables across the US.

That food is: eggs.

Eggs: The Healthiest Food?

Benefits of Eating Eggs

Eggs are one of the most stereotypical bodybuilding foods, an old-school protein source popularized by Rocky Balboa following an excessive and gag-worthy pre-workout routine (1) in the classic 1976 sports drama.

Rocky managed to convince kids of the 70s and 80s that the only thing they needed to get fit and strong was to drink a glass of raw eggs and climb some stairs, but in the decade that followed eggs acquired an entirely different reputation. They were linked with heart disease and demonized by the anti-fat culture that swamped the 90s and noughties.

Only now are nutritionists and athletes waking up to the fact that eggs might be healthy after all, and I definitely consider myself to be on the “eggs are healthy” side of the field. If you are not convinced then read on and I’ll show you why I feel so strongly about eggs, while clarifying a few—potentially dangerous—misconceptions in the process.

We get protein from many places, including whole foods and Organic Vegan Protein Superfood, but the egg is one of the healthiest sources you can consume!

Why Eggs are so Good for You

  • How Many Calories in an Egg?: There are around 70 calories in the average chicken egg.
  • How Much Protein in an Egg?: There are 6 grams of protein in an egg. These means that they have 2x to 3x more protein per calorie than nuts (2), as well as more than cheese (3) and milk (4).
  • Amino Acids in Eggs: As any bodybuilder knows, the amino acid profile is just as important, if not more so, than the amount of protein. This is another area in which eggs excel because they have all 9 essential amino acids.
  • Vitamins and Minerals: Eggs are rich in iron, phosphorus, vitamin A and B vitamins.
  • Eggs and Choline: Eggs are one of the best sources of choline. It has been estimated that 9 out of 10 Americans don’t get enough of this in their diet (5), so eggs are a great way to change that. This nutrient can also help with fetal development, making them essential for pregnant women.

Are Eggs Good for You?

Are Eggs Good For You?

Not only do eggs taste great, but they are immensely nutritious. What’s more, they are low in carbs and can help to fill you up much more than a carb-heavy breakfast can. A previous study has proved this, comparing a breakfast of bagels with a breakfast of eggs to determine which produced feelings of “fullness” for longer. The participants were given the same amount of calories, but those who had consumed eggs reported feeling fuller and much more satisfied (6).

There are many more studies that prove just how incredible eggs are. One such study tested how effective they were when taken as part of a calorie controlled diet. Participants were either given a breakfast of two eggs, or an equal amount of calories in bagels. At the end of the study, the group that had been given eggs reported a significant reduction in their BMI and body fat, showing that they could be very effective at helping you to improve lean muscle mass. (7).

This superfood can also help to

  • Improve the condition of your skin, hair and nails (B vitamins, zinc, sulfur)
  • Improve brain health (choline, betanine, HDL cholesterol)
  • Help to prevent osteoporosis (vitamin D and calcium)
  • Improve eye health (luetin, zeazanthine)
  • Fight free radicals (antioxidants)

Good and Bad Cholesterol: How Much Fat is in an Egg?

Eggs are high in cholesterol and that’s the main reason they have acquired such a bad reputation over the years. We all know that high cholesterol can lead to heart attacks and strokes and I’m not going to dispute that. But just like not all fat is bad, not all cholesterol is bad either.

Cholesterol is produced by the liver and it is used to produce essential hormones. There are two types of cholesterol, LDL and HDL. The former is what can lead to heart attacks and strokes as it sticks to the artery walls and slows blood flow. HDL, on the other hand, can actually remove this LDL from the arteries and therefore aid with blood flow and heart health.

So, not all cholesterol is bad, but all cholesterol is needed to some extent. Therefore, a complete diet is one that contains a balance of both of these cholesterols. That’s where eggs come in, because they can help to roast the good cholesterol while maintaining healthy levels of the bad one (8).

Protein in Egg Whites

How Many Calories in Eggs?

The bulk of the egg’s protein is found in the white, while the fat is in the yolk. This is why many bodybuilders have taken to separating the white from the yolk and only consuming the former. The problem with this is that the white has very little nutrient value and most of what makes the egg such a fantastic food is found in the yolk.

If you need a big protein hit and want to keep the calories and fat to a minimum, you should consider mixing 2 or 3 egg whites for every whole egg. This will still make for a great omelet and you’ll get the heavy protein fix while also benefiting from some of that nutritious, delicious yolk. If you’re struggling to make tasty dishes from those egg whites, check out this page on cooking with egg whites here on MorelliFit.

And don’t throw those egg yolks out! They can be used to make mayonnaise, cakes, ice cream and all kind of sweet desserts, so see if a friend, family member or neighbor can put them to good use.

⚡️You can also get additional protein through an Organic Vegan Protein Superfood.

Liquid, Powdered, Quail and Duck Eggs

Hen’s eggs are cheap, nutritious and perfectly balanced in all areas. That’s what makes them my choice for “healthiest food”. But what about quail’s eggs, duck eggs and mass-produced forms of egg protein?

  • Quail Eggs: These eggs are more expensive and much smaller. They are fattier, with more cholesterol (9) and more of the things that make eggs scary for some. On the plus side, they are rich in iron and selenium and they are also a source of vitamin A and choline. Calorie and protein wise, they are similar to chicken eggs, with around 5 quail eggs equating to 1 chicken egg.
  • Duck Eggs: These are much richer in taste than chicken eggs, which is because they contain more cholesterol and more fat (10) overall. There is more protein and more omega-3 fatty acids and the selenium, choline and B vitamin content is also much higher. But that fat/cholesterol difference is enough to make chicken eggs the better choice.
  • Powdered Eggs: They don’t rank well for taste, but powdered eggs are fat and cholesterol free and they contain a lot of protein. As good as that sounds, their nutrient value is low and they are processed, which is never a good thing.
  • Liquid Eggs: Commonly used in processed foods in place of fresh eggs, liquid eggs are also finding their way into many US homes. Again, the fat is minimal, but so are the nutrients and fresh eggs are by far the better choice overall. Also, why cut down on the fat when that’s part of what makes this food so fantastic?

Finally: Avoid Raw Eggs

How Much Fat in an Egg?

Rocky may have taken his eggs raw, but you shouldn’t. There is a risk of bacterial contamination and one that can leave you in a pretty bad state. Raw eggs can contain salmonella, which lingers on the shell of the egg but can also be found inside. This bacteria can lead to all kinds of unpleasant side effects, including diarrhea and sickness.

There is a good chance you already knew this as it’s one of the reasons so many athletes have been warned away from raw eggs. What you might not know is that the actual risk of bacterial contamination is very low when the eggs have been pasteurized. In fact, one of the biggest studies into the frequency of salmonella contamination in raw eggs determined that just 1 in 30,000 (11) were likely to be affected.

So what’s the problem? Well, “some risk” is not “no risk” and it’s always better to be on the safe side. What’s more, while raw eggs contain many of the same nutrients as cooked eggs, the protein in raw eggs is not absorbed as easily. The absorption rate varies, but one study (12) found that 90% of the protein in cooked eggs was absorbed on average, while protein absorption from raw eggs was around 50%.

Raw eggs may be quicker and easier, but if you take the time to cook them then you’re getting more protein, eliminating your risk of salmonella poisoning, and, just as importantly, enjoying a tasty meal in the process! Protein and contamination risk aside, eggs taste great when cooked, but no one looks forward to the feeling of a dozen slimy raw eggs sliding down their throat.

References

  1. Youtube. “Scene from Rocky”. 1976. URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NhkdLHSKo9s
  2. Health.com. “Nuts for your Health.” URL: http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20585485,00.html#best-nuts-for-your-heart-0
  3. HealthAliciousNess. “Cheeses High in Protein”. URL: https://www.healthaliciousness.com/articles/36-cheeses-highest-in-protein.php
  4. My Fitness Pal. “Full Fat Milk”. URL: http://www.myfitnesspal.com/food/calories/generic-200ml-full-fat-milk-554041003
  5. Helen H Jensen, S Patricia Batres-Marquez, Alicia Carriquiry and Kevin L Schalinske.“Choline in the diets of the US population: NHANES, 2003–2004”. The FASEB Journal. 2007.
  6. Vander Wal, Marth JM, Khosla P, Jen KL, Dhurandhar NV. “Short-term effect of eggs on satiety in overweight and obese subjects.”. Department of Psychology, Saint Louis University, Missouri. 2005.
  7. Vander Wal, Marth JM, Khosla P, Jen KL, Dhurandhar NV. “Egg breakfast enhances weight loss”. International Journal of Obesity. 2008.
  8. British Heart Foundation. “Eggs and Cholesterol”. 2015, URL: https://www.bhf.org.uk/news-from-the-bhf/news-archive/2015/may/eggs-and-cholesterol
  9. Self Nutrition Data. “Quail Egg.” URL: http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/dairy-and-egg-products/128/2
  10. Self Nutrition Data. “Duck Egg.” URL: http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/dairy-and-egg-products/126/2
  11. Various. “An Overview of the Salmonella Enteritidis Risk Assessment for Shell Eggs and Egg Products”. U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2002.
  12. Evenepoel P, Geypens B, Luypaerts A, Hiele M, Ghoos Y, Rutgeerts P. “Digestibility of cooked and raw egg protein in humans as assessed by stable isotope techniques”.Department of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology and Gastrointestinal Research Centre, University Hospital Leuven. 1998.

How to Beat the Flab and Lose Weight Properly

How to Beat the Flab

The world of bodybuilding and nutrition is built on fallacies, false beliefs that get passed around from forum to forum and gym to gym like a game of Chinese Whispers. At worst this information is damaging, leading to injuries and illnesses, at best it can throw a regime off balance and make it near impossible for someone to achieve their goals.

Many of these beliefs are tied into weight loss or more specifically fat loss. I have addressed several of these on Quora in the past and it is a key concern for many people who come to me for advice. So, here are my top tips for getting rid of that belly fat: 

1. Build More Muscle

The more muscle you have, the higher your resting metabolic rate will be and the more calories you will burn over the course of the day.

So, what’s the problem?

Well, many people looking to lose weight just want to be slim and toned. This is especially true for women. They hear “build muscle” and they immediately picture hulking bodybuilders, which is a look they often don’t want.

But you don’t have to have bulging biceps in order to enjoy the benefits that increased muscle mass can bring. You don’t need to lift heavy weights or knock-back protein shakes. It’s all about putting your muscles under greater strain than they are used to and making them denser, stronger and more capable of handling higher intensity workouts.

If you have no experience of lifting weights, it might simply mean doing some aerobic exercises— push-ups, crunches, air squats and other basics. Do this for 15 minutes a day and you’ll build enough muscle mass to aid with fat loss, without crossing the threshold into “bulging bodybuilder”.

Your resting rate is still largely dependent on regular exercise and don’t for a minute think that you can add a few pounds of muscle, give-up training and then reap the benefits of a fast metabolism by henceforth subsisting on a diet of chips.

That’s not quite how it works. In fact, a pound of muscle may only burn between 30 and 50 calories a day (1) and some estimates put it much lower.

But there is a certain domino effect here. The workout itself will help to burn calories. The more you workout, the stronger you become and the more you can do in the future, which leads to more calories being burned.

2. Exercise at the Right Times

How to Beat the Flab and Lose Weight Properly

In the morning your body is starved of nutrients. It’s essentially in fasting mode, which is why we call the first meal of the day breakfast. (2)

You probably know that athletes are told to eat a big breakfast in order to supply them with the energy they need to perform later on. This is as true of football players as it is bodybuilders.

But what if you want to lose weight? (Assuming you don’t want to take a clean, quick shortcut with BOOST).

If you workout before you consume that big meal, then the only source of energy that your body has is the excess fat. This “rainy day” energy will help you get through a workout and push towards a thinner, healthier body, with studies showing (3) that it can help to burn 20% more fat than exercising after a big breakfast.

To make sure you optimize this key workout, try the following:

  1. Warm-up for 5 minutes before you do any intense exercise.
  2. Perform between 10 and 15 minutes of HIIT as outlined here. This will increase your body temperature and ensure you are primed for the next stage. In the long-term, HIIT may even reduce your chances of getting Type II Diabetes, which is a concern for many overweight individuals (4).
  3. Follow this with a further 10 to 15 minutes of cardio whereby your goal is to keep your heart-rate above 135 beats per minute. You can use the built-in heart-rate sensors on gym machines, as well as fitness trackers and even your smartphone to keep a check on your heart rate.

For the best HIIT program (lose 7 POUNDS A WEEK!), checkout HIITMAX, which has already helped hundreds of thousands of people lose weight.

3. Create a Calorie Deficit

Your body needs energy to maintain basic functions. You need it to think, to move, to talk, to drive to work and even to sleep. The more muscle you have and the more active you are, the more energy your body will need.

It gets that energy from the food you eat. If you’re putting more in than you are using, then it will begin to store that energy as body fat (5). If you’re using more energy than you are consuming, then it will begin to use that stored fat.

Get STAMINA for a natural, clean energy boost.

If you are overweight then it means your body has a plethora of stored energy to use. It’s there, on standby, just waiting to be used up. So, the next tip in losing weight is to make sure you are in a calorie deficit, which is to say that you are burning more calories than you are using.

You can use this BMR Calculator to help you calculate this.

4. Eat Clean

How to Beat the Flab and Lose Weight

Don’t get stuck in the mindset that a calorie is a calorie and that you can eat anything as long as you’re burning it off. This may be true to an extent, but a fire fueled with gas will always burn the brightest. In other words, you’ll look better, feel better and reach your goals quicker if you give your body the best fuel.

The average American diet is loaded with processed food, from heart-clogging fats to insulin-spiking sugars.

They add preservatives for shelf-life and saturated fats for taste; they color with chemicals and protect with carcinogens. None of this stuff should be going in our bodies and if you want to live a long and healthy life, and you want to keep the belly fat to a minimum, you need to cut back.

  1. Avoid excessive drinking on the weekend. Alcohol is empty calories, often much more than we realize. A six-pack of beer (6) is equivalent to a Big Mac and Small Fries (7).
  2. Cheat, but don’t go overboard. Your cheat meals should be small and infrequent, so put the super-size pizza down and have a few slices. Say no to the double half-pound burger and have a single quarter pounder instead.
  3. Keep the dairy to a minimum. It will bloat you and if recent research is to be believed then it could even increase your chances of digestive distress, osteoporosis (8) and more.

Avoid any processed foods and refined carbs, anything loaded with added sugar and anything where the ingredient label reads like a chemical experiment. It’s daunting, but it’s not impossible and it’s certainly not as expensive as many detractors would have you believe.

Healthy food is often labeled as being considerably more expensive and there are many studies that seem to back this up, but only because they miss the point. Such was the case with an often-cited study by a leading UK university, which found that junk food was considerably cheaper (9) but only on a calorie to calorie basis. Let’s be honest, we didn’t need a leading university to tell us that.

According to a study published by the Harvard School of Public Health, healthy food is more expensive, but only by $1.50 a day. These are difficult times for many of us, but $1.50 for the sake of better health and a longer life?

That’s a price we should all be happy to pay.

References

  1. National Council on Strength and Fitness. “A Pound of Muscle Burns 30-50 Kcal/Day Really…”
  2. Heather Arndt Anderson. “Breakfast: A History”. Roman & Littlefield, 2013.
  3. Javier T. Gonzalez, Rachel C. Veasey, Penny L. S. Rumbold, Emma J. Stevenson. “Breakfast and exercise contingently affect postprandial metabolism and energy balance in physically active males”. Vol 110, Issue 4, 2013.
  4. Jelleyman, T. Yates, G. O’Donovan, L. J. Gray, J. A. King, K. Khunti, M. J. Davies. “The effects of high-intensity interval training on glucose regulation and insulin resistance: a meta-analysis”. Obesity Reviews, 2015.
  5. Jane M Vanderkooi, Ph.D. ”Your Inner Engine. An Introductory Course on Human Metabolism.”. Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania.
  6. MyFitnessPal, “Heineken Beer, 6 Pack”. (http://www.myfitnesspal.com/food/calories/heineken-beer-6-pack-340355278)
  7. MyFitnessPal, “Big Mac and Fries” (http://www.myfitnesspal.com/food/calories/169360207)
  8. Lanou AJ, Berkow SE, Barnard ND. “Calcium, dairy products, and bone health in children and young adults: a reevaluation of the evidence.” 2005.
  9. Nicholas R. V. Jones, Annalijn I. Conklin, Marc Suhrcke, Pablo Monsivais. “The Growing Price Gap between More and Less Healthy Foods: Analysis of a Novel Longitudinal UK Dataset”. University of Cambridge, 2014.
  10. Mayuree Rao, Ashkan Afshin, Gitanjali Singh, Dariush Mozaffarian. “Do healthier foods and diet patterns cost more than less healthy options? A systematic review and meta-analysis”. Harvard School of Public Health. 2013.

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