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All posts in “Nutrition”

Defining Food Label Claims

Defining Food Label Claims

Author: Joe Sage, NASM-CPT, FNS, WLS, CES
Have you ever looked at a package of food that has all these labels stating a food to be free of this, or high in that? Have you ever wondered what exactly these phases mean, or what it takes for these claims to be a on a food’s packaging? Let’s dissect some of these and get to their true meaning.

Keep in mind all of these definitions are per serving of a food:

* Calorie-free: Less than 5 calories
* Fat-free:
Less than .5 grams
* Cholesterol-free:
Less than 2 milligrams and 2 grams or less of saturated fat
* Sodium-fee:
Less than 5 milligrams
* Sugar-free:
Less than .5 grams
* Low-calorie:
40 calories or less
* Low-cholesterol:
20 milligrams or less and 2 grams or less of saturated fat
* Low-fat:
3 grams or less
* Low saturated-fat:
1 gram or less; no more than 15% of calories from saturated fat
* Low-sodium:
140 milligrams or less
* Very low-sodium:
35 milligrams or less
* Lean:
Less than 10 grams fat, 4.5 grams saturated fat, and less than 95 milligrams cholesterol
* Extra lean:
Less than 5 grams fat, less than 2 grams saturated fat, and less than 95 milligrams cholesterol
* High:
20% or more of the Daily Value for a particular nutrient (fiber, vitamins, and minerals).

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Benefits of Creatine

Benefits of Creatine

Author: Joe Sage, NASM-CPT, FNS, WLS, CES

Of all the sports performance supplements out there, creatine is probably one of the most talked about. Some of the claims for creatine include increased performance, lean body mass, muscle size and strength. How much of this is true and who can benefit from creatine?

Creatine is a substance that occurs naturally in the body, is also found in meat and fish, and is used to supply energy to cells. Muscles store creatine as creatine phosphate, which functions with the ATP-CP energy pathway. ATP (adenosine triphosphate) is the immediate energy source for cells, primarily muscle contractions, and is used up within seconds. Our bodies have a reservoir of creatine phosphate (phosphocreatine) that can quickly be converted to ATP. This ATP-CP energy system can power an all-out effort that can only capable of lasting up to 15 seconds. Creatine supplements are used to increase the body’s store of creatine in the muscle. This helps increase phosphocreatine resynthesis during the resting time between bouts of exercise. Since energy stores are able to return faster, this will allow you to train harder and longer. Improvements can be seen in strength training programs and explosive power exercises, such as sprints. Simply taking creatine will not increase muscle size, strength, or performance.

Creatine also has the ability to increase cell volume by keeping muscles hydrated. It does this by pulling more water into the cell when it is absorbed. Because of this, it is very important to stay well hydrated when taking creatine. It should be noted that you might see an increase in weight caused by the higher amounts of water in cells.

So, how much is enough? On training days, up to 5 grams can be taken, and on non-training days, 2-3 grams should be taken to maintain muscle stores.

More studies are still needed to be done, but currently creatine does not appear to have any long term negative side effects. While creatine can be effective with anaerobic training, it does not show much improvement with aerobic training.

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5 Tips for Reducing Your Risks of Heart Disease

5 Tips for Reducing Risks Heart Disease

Author: Sarah Dalton, BS, NASM-CPT

We would like to help you lower your risk of developing heart disease with 5 simple tips. It is important to stay on top of your health. If you neglect just one area it can negatively affect many other facets of your life and your health.

1. Eat a balanced DIET – Practice balancing your meals to help your body become healthier and happier. Cutting down on saturated fats, lowering sodium intake, cutting back on foods with added sugar, and increasing foods with healthy fats, high fiber and high nutrient content will help lower your risk of heart disease and diabetes. Consult a professional for personalized guidance, as individual needs will vary. Engaging in healthy eating habits can lower your chance of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease.

2. Engage in daily PHYSICAL ACTIVITY – Start making small and large changes in your daily habits. For easy changes: try parking further and further away in the parking lot, get up from your desk regularly throughout the day, or go for a nice walk after dinner. For larger changes: try joining a gym, a group fitness class, and make it a priority in your life to do something active every day.

3. Stay HYDRATED – When you are dehydrated, your heart has to work much harder to pump blood throughout your body. The time of day that most people become most dehydrated, year-round, is when they are sleeping. Our bodies lose water throughout the night due to our breathing. The dryer the air around you, the more water you will lose with each breath. In order to help keep yourself from becoming a statistic, stay hydrated to help avoid having a heart attack in your sleep.

4. Watch your SODIUM intake – If you don’t make all of your food from scratch, there’s a good chance that what you are eating has a high amount of added salt. Restaurant food, frozen dinners, prepackaged foods, and even beverages contain higher sodium levels in order to improve flavor and to help preserve the freshness. If you don’t keep an eye on this added sodium your intake levels can affect your blood pressure and hydration in negative ways. Excess sodium will starve your tissues of water, vital to health and recovery, and also raise your blood pressure.

5. Reduce your STRESS – Many of us have multiple stressors in our lives. While some stress is not bad, and can even help us to grow and improve both mind and body. It is important to have tools and exercises to help minimize the negative impact that excess stress can have on our health and well-being. Stress can cause us to overeat, make poor nutrition choices, raise blood pressure, and effect normal sleeping patterns. Activities like walking, yoga, massage therapy, meditation and even a hug from a loved one can help reduce stress. Make sure you make time for yourself. If you don’t take care of YOU first and foremost, then you won’t be as effective when trying to help others. Lastly, If there is something in your life that is causing a large amount of stress, try to find ways to remedy the situation, sometimes the simplest solution is the best solution.

Make sure to strive for balance in all aspects of your life. If one aspect of your health becomes imbalanced, other systems in your body will compensate and, over time, lead to drastic health consequences.

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