Supplement Testing for Banned Substances

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Banned substance testing

You can’t guarantee your supplement is completely free from banned substances. However, choosing a supplement that has been 3rd party tested (tested for banned substances by an outside company) provides added safety. Just because a supplement passes 3rd party testing this

doesn’t mean the supplement is safe for you. A sports dietitian with experience can determine if a supplement is safe for you. They will take your medical history, medications, health status, diet, training and other factors into account. It is also a good idea to double check supplement ingredient and drug interactions with your pharmacist.

  1. No testing company tests for all substances banned by MLB or WADA (World Anti-doping agency). Check out the WADA list by clicking here.

No certification program covers all banned substances for any sporting group. Why not? None of these lists are finite – they are always changing. Almost all sporting bodies (MLB, WADA, NFL etc.) include language that drugs with ‘similar biological effect or similar chemical structure’ or ‘including but not limited to the examples below’ are banned. These means drugs not listed may be banned. MLB says the list is a ‘non-exhaustive list’.

At this time, testing companies such as NSF, BSCG, Informed Choice and Aegis Shield fall short on testing for peptide hormones on the MLB list. The digestive track breaks down these drugs (such as HGH or IGF-1) when taken orally,  rendering them useless. So they will not likely have an effect if added to a supplement and taken orally (though they will if injected). MLB would like 3rd party testing companies to add peptide hormones to their tests. NSF and BSCG test for some though not all SARMs (selectiveandrogen receptor modulators). SARMs are tissue-selective (designed to decrease the progression of sarcopenia, the slow progressive decline in muscle mass and strength that occurs with age starting when a person is in their 40s or 50s).

    1. No testing company ensures a product meets 100% of its label claim (this isn’t a FDA requirement). For instance, a supplement may say it contains 20 grams of protein. However, it may actually contain 16 grams (or less because no testing company takes amino spiking / nitrogen spiking into account).

Click on the link below for a thorough snapshot of the most popular 3rd party testing programs:

Supplement Testing Programs

How do banned substances get in supplements?

Spiking supplements with banned substances can make the product “work.” Banned substances may also contaminate a supplement during processing. As an example, let’s say a production line (bottling line) bottles pharmaceutical weight loss drugs. A dietary supplement uses the same line to bottle their products. It is important to clean the machinery thoroughly after the weight loss drug is bottled and before the supplement is bottled.

You can’t be 100% sure your supplement contains no banned substances. However, you can go the extra mile by choosing a 3rd party tested supplement.

Are you in the NFL, NHL or MLB? You must use supplements that are NSF Certified for Sport only.

References:
1 FDA Guidance on Labeling. 
2 NSF for Sport. 
3 Informed Choice.
4 https://www.aegisshield.com/file/4839211-certification/GQ-6.Flooid.Green-Apple.216152.pdf
5 NSF 306 Guide 2016. NSF International Certification Guideline for Certified for Sport Program.
6 They spike compounds into formulas and run the formulas through analytical tests to ensure their tests will pick up banned substances within a supplement or food matrix.
7 The Aegis Shield app reviews products for banned ingredients listed on the product label. The app is not an assurance of safety as products listed on the app have not been through 3rd party testing.
8 This includes drugs on the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List and other banned substance lists like the MLB, NFL, NHL, NBA, NCAA, PGA, LPGA, CrossFit, UFC and other related programs.
9 This includes drugs that are on the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List and other banned substance lists like the MLB, NFL, NHL, NBA, NCAA, PGA, LPGA, CrossFit, UFC and other related programs.

 

 

Summertime Entertaining Recipes that will Delight Your Guests

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What should you serve when it’s close to 100 degrees outside and you have guests coming over? Though it may be tempting to run to the store and buy prepared dips and potato salad, I have a few fresh ideas that will impress your guests.

Cool down with seasonal beverages

Individual sun teas with fruit come in beautiful colors and flavors to quench your guest’s thirst for something unique. Tea (black, green and oolong) is calorie free yet packed with health benefits. Regular tea drinkers have a low risk of developing heart disease. Adding fruit – orange slices, blueberries, and sliced peaches lends flavor and a healthy touch.

POM Princess is one of my new all time favorite drinks. Find the recipe here. The color pops and it’s refreshing + pure pomegranate juice also boasts polyphenol antioxidants, which are plant compounds being studied in the areas of athletic performance, memory and cognition, gut health, and more.

Pack Plant Foods into Mini Dishes

Plant-based mini dishes add eye appeal, flavor and great nutrition. Cucumber egg salad mini sandwiches are a good source of protein thanks to the eggs. Plus, using cucumbers as the bread helps you get more vegetables in your diet and lends a crunchy and pleasing texture on the outside of the creamy egg salad.

Who doesn’t love cheese Tortellini? Well this version, tortellini with pistachio basil pesto, is even better thanks to pistachio basil pesto. This pesto is easy to make and packed with good nutrition. Pistachios contain good for you fats. In fact, nearly 90% of the fats found in pistachios are the better-for-you mono and polyunsaturated type. Plus, they provide a good source of protein and fiber, for a trio that can help keep you fuller longer.

Baked cauliflower bites are super easy to make and so tasty even those who claim they don’t love vegetables will fall for this dish.

Give them a Sweet Treat

No party is complete without dessert and I love summertime desserts because they’re typically lighter and refreshing. Plus you can provide small portions that are inviting and satisfying. For mini portions – I love individual key lime cheesecakes.

 

Tortellini with Pistachio Basil Pesto

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* adapted from Wonderful Pistachios Basil Pesto by Christy Wilson, RD

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Tortellini with Pistachio Basil Pesto
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 0
Servings
Ingredients
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 0
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Cook cheese tortellini according to package directions
  2. Place Wonderful pistachios, basil, garlic, lemon juice, and parmesan cheese in a food processor. Pulse until nuts are finely chopped.
  3. Drizzle olive oil through the food chute until the pesto is smooth throughout and reaches the desired texture (more liquidly pesto mixes easier with tortellini)
  4. Mix pesto into cheese tortellini and serve immediately
  5. Pesto can be stored for up to 3 days in the refrigerator
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SpringTime Entertaining Ideas that will Delight Your Guests

What should you serve when it’s close to 100 degrees outside and you have guests coming over? Though it may be tempting to run to the store and buy prepared dips and potato salad, you can wow your guests in no time with these ideas from registered dietitian Marie Spano.

 

Me: If you are thirsty for new ideas, I’m sharing a few new twists on Summertime entertaining.

 

Cool down with seasonal beverages
I have a few drinks that your guests will love! Individual sun teas with fruit are full of beautiful colors and flavors to quench your guest thirst for something different. Tea drinkers have lower risk of heart disease and the addition of fruit lends an added healthy touch.

 

Pom Princess is a flavor-packed drink made with POM wonderful 100% pomegranate juice, lemon juice and sparkling water. The color pops and it’s refreshing + pure pomegranate juice also boasts polyphenol antioxidants, which are plant compounds being studied in the areas of athletic performance, memory and cognition, gut health, and more. Each 8 oz bottle contains the juice of two whole pomegranates– no added sugar, fillers or preservatives.

 

Watercress, Pear, Fig and Goat Cheese Salad

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Watercress Salad tempts your Taste buds and Sharpens your Mind

Salads have come a long way since the days of iceberg lettuce with tomatoes and carrots sprinkled on top. Today’s salad combines a unique blend of tastes and textures along with ingredients to support your brain and body. I’m teaming up this year with B&W Quality Growers to share nutrition information and recipes on watercress.

As a dietitian I grew up with limited exposure to a wide variety of foods and a love for potato chips and baking anything sweet (from fudge to cinnamon swirl bread from scratch). My interest in nutrition led me to read many books on nutrition and athletic performance as well as overall health. When I opened my mind to trying a wide array of foods and learning about quality ingredients I realized healthy eating could give me the energy I needed and help me feel really good. This was an ah-ha moment: I didn’t have to compromise good taste to fuel my body well.

With a healthy dose of skepticism I tried different dark green leafy vegetables. Watercress quickly became one of my favorites. It has a sweet yet slightly bitter taste and works well with a wide array of vegetables and fruits. Plus, it packs a serious nutrition punch. Watercress is a good source of vitamins A and C. Vitamin A is essential for normal vision, skin health and maintaining immune functioning. Vitamin C is another powerhouse. It protects the body from harm due to free radicals. Free radicals are essential for health but they can run around and cause damage too. Vitamin C also supports blood vessel functioning, wound healing, iron absorption and nerve functioning.

Watercress is also an excellent source of vitamin K. Vitamin K forms and strengthens bones and limits nerve damage in the brain. As a green leafy vegetable it also protects against cognitive decline. A study published in the journal neurology found higher intake of green leafy vegetables, 1.3 servings each day, helped slow brain decline associated with aging compared to those who ate little green leafy vegetables getting only about 0.1 servings, on average, per day. Leafy greens, like watercress, are part of the MIND diet, a diet that is associated with a 53% lower risk in cognitive decline!

One of my new favorites combines the tantalizing tastes of watercress, pear, fig and goat cheese with balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil.

Choosing Quality Ingredients

Ingredients matter. I choose soft dried Turkish figs since they are tender and moist. I opted for good aged balsamic vinegar, from Modena, Italy (with an IGP stamp). Balsamic vinegar has a strong sweet taste that intensifies the flavor foods you drizzle it over.

Olive oil comes in a wide variety of flavors and quality. I used one from Masseria Brancati in Ostuni, Italy. In a region known for olive farming, this is arguably the oldest olive farm in the world with trees dating back over 3,000 years. Though I recommend going to this region at some point, you don’t have to travel to Italy to get a good quality olive oil. Your local grocery store should have a few good options for you to choose from. Click here for a guide to oils, including olive oil. I used Bartlett pears because they are super sweet and blend well with the sweet taste of balsamic vinegar and figs and complex flavors in watercress.

You don’t need to sacrifice health, taste and convenience. Watercress is the next hot green leafy veggie. Try it in this mouthwatering salad today!

References:

Morris MC, Tangney CC, Wang Y, Sacks FM, Bennett DA, Aggarwal NT. MIND diet associated with reduced incidence of Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimers Dement 2015;11(9):1007-14.

watercress, pear, fig and goat cheese salad

Print Recipe
Watercress Pear, Fig & Goat Cheese Salad
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl combine rest of the ingredients. Drizzle with dressing and serve immediately.
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Just Beet It for Improved Performance

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In the back of the produce section, hidden behind sections of beautiful bright, shiny vegetables, in an array of eye-popping Crayola-crayon colors, there’s an unassuming, misshapen dusty-looking vegetable that can catapult your training and support heart and artery health at the same time. Consider beets nature’s perfect sports and heart-friendly food wrapped up in one sweet, though unusual looking, package.

Beets are special because they contain more nitrates than their neighbors in the produce isle, green leafy vegetables including spinach, kale, celery and Swiss crest. When you eat nitrate-rich foods, thebacteria on your tongue convert about 20% of dietary nitrate cto nitrite, which enters the bloodstream where it is converted to a small signaling molecule called nitric oxide. Nitric oxide controls blood flow and many metabolic processes. Increased nitric oxide production causes blood vessels to expand, increasing blood flow to working muscles. Think of your blood vessels like a garden hose. If you can open that hose even wider, more water will flow through it. In terms of blood vessel expansion, “the increase in blood flow improves the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to active muscles, and the removal of metabolic by-products that can interfere with muscle contraction and have an adverse effect on performance. In addition to improving the delivery of glucose to the muscles through better blood flow, nitric oxide also increases glucose (sugar) uptake by the muscle cell,” states John Ivy, PhD, Professor Emeritus, Department of Kinesiology and Health Education, College of Education. Bloodglucose is a major source of fuel for working muscles.

But, the benefits of nitric oxide don’t stop there. It also expands airways, making breathing easier. In addition, our cells become more efficient at producing ATP, the fastest source of energy for muscle contraction. Greater ATP production translates to improved speed and explosive power. “Nutrients that we take in through our diet such as carbohydrates and fats are broken down and the energy released from the breakdown of these fuels is used to make ATP in the presences of oxygen. As nitric oxide levels increase, less oxygen is required to produce ATP reducing the oxygen cost of exercise,” says Ivy. And therefore, along with greater ATP production less energy is required to sustain the same level of effort while you are working out. And finally, nitric oxide may improve recovery between training sessions and allow you to exercise at a higher intensity before fatigue sets in.

Go Red for Heart Health

Dietary nitrates from beetroot juice and green leafy vegetables haveother, more profound, benefits for your body aside from affecting your training and sports performance. Consistent intake can help lower blood pressure andimprove blood vessel functioning. Research also shows dietary nitrates may improve artery health by decreasing inflammation, platelets clumping together (a step in the formation of blood clots) and artery stiffness (stiff arteries do not easily expand to accommodate increases in blood flow, which may occur when blood pressure increases). With aging we aren’t able to produce as much nitric oxide, which may make regular consumption of nitrate-rich foods even more important to support nitric oxide levels in the body.

Don’t Confuse Beets with Similar Sounding Compounds

Though beets and therefore beetroot juice, are nitric oxide boosters, you won’t want to confuse them with another nitric oxide booster – l-arginine. Beets and other nitrate-rich vegetables work through the nitrate-nitrite-NO pathway – one that functions when oxygen isn’t as readily available and therefore when you are sucking wind during a spin class. L-arginine works through a very different nitric oxide boosting pathway, one that requires the presence of enzymes and oxygen and therefore isn’t effective when you are exercising at a very high intensity.

Beets and other vegetables rich in dietary inorganic nitrate are also not the same as nitrite salts (typically sold over the internet), which can be harmful, even deadly in low doses. Also, organic nitrates and nitrites are totally different than the inorganic nitrates found in beets and green leafy vegetables. Organic nitrates and nitrites are potent vasodilators (substances that open blood vessels) found in the drugs nitroglycerine and amyl nitrite and should only be prescribed and used under the care of a medical doctor.

How Much is Enough?

Research studies show 16 oz. of beetroot juice (equivalent to approximately 300 – 500 mg nitrate) consumed daily, 3 hours before exercise, for a period of several days will effectively increase your body’s production of nitric oxide so you notice a benefit while training. According to a few research studies, single doses of beetroot juice won’t make a dent in your training.

If you are loading up on beets, keep in mind that you need the bacteria in your mouth to convert nitrates to nitrites, the very first step in nitric oxide production. If you use anti-bacterial mouthwash or antibiotics, you’ll kill both bad bacteria and good bacteria and therefore make significantly less nitrite. Of course you shouldn’t stop using a prescribed antibiotic without your physician’s consent but anti-bacterial mouthwash might be optional, talk to your dentist.

Keep in mind that the amount of dietary nitrateintake varies in beets (as well as other vegetables) based on growing conditions including the nitrate content of fertilizer used, the level of nitrate in the water supply, soil conditions, time of year and how the vegetables are stored. “There are commercial products on the market that are made from different vegetables that claim to have high nitrate, but they aren’t. Consumers need to do their homework if they are looking for a commercial source of dietary nitrate,” says Ivy.

Though vegetables rich in nitrates are considered safe for healthy individuals, they may turn your urine and stools red (don’t worry, this is harmless). However, anyone with pre-existing cardiovascular disease should of course tell their cardiologist about any dietary changes they plan to make since certain foods can interact with specific prescription drugs. For instance, while green leafy vegetables are rich in good nutrition and contain nitrates that are important for cardiovascular health, they contain a good amount of vitamin K, a nutrient that can interfere with some blood thinningmedications.

You can’t go wrong by picking up those oddly shaped red, yellow and orange bulb-looking veggies tucked away in back of your produce isle. Beets are a good source of the B vitamin folate and contain more dietary nitrates than any other vegetable. When consumed regularly they may improveyour training and also support cardiovascular health.

References
L-arginine. MedlinePlus.
Sports Medicine 2012;42(2): 99-117.
JISSN 2004;1(2):35-38.
FEBS Letters 1998;427;225-228.
Am J Clin Nutr 2009;1-10.
Nat Rev Drug Discov 2008;7(2):156-67.
Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology. 2005; 25: 915-922
Br J Clin Pharmacol 2013;75(3):677-96.
J Appl Physiol 2011;111(2):616-7.
IJESAB Conference Proceedings 2013;11(1)20.
Int J Sports Physiol Perform 2014;9(5):845-50.

Coffee – a Cup of Cancer?

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Brace yourself. Thanks to a court in California, your cup of coffee may soon come with a cancer warning. The potentially cancer-causing culprit in coffee is acrylamide. Though the court decision is not final yet, the news articles are both confusing and misleading. Acrylamide is far from unique to coffee. Plus, there are no convincing research studies that clearly show acrylamide causes cancer in humans.

Acrylamide and Cancer

The Food and Drug Administration considers acrylamide a health concern. The World Health Organization says acrylamide has the potential to cause cancer to humans. This does not mean it will cause cancer. Cancer is complex. Plus, in research studies, animals were given 1,000 to 10,000 times more acrylamide than the average person consumes each day! No studies to date show a clear increased risk of cancer in humans due to acrylamide. However, these studies have many limits including self-reported food intake (relying on people to remember how often they eat certain foods). According to the American Cancer Society, more studies are needed to evaluate how this compound is formed, how to decrease it and determine potential health risks.

Making matters more confusing, every person metabolizes acrylamide differently. Plus, animals and humans differ as well.

Sources of Acrylamide in Our Diet

Acrylamide forms during high heat cooking including frying, roasting and baking. Boiling and steaming do not typically form acrylamide. Grains and coffee are the foods & beverages that contain higher amounts of this compound. Dairy, meat and fish aren’t a concern. French fries and potato chips are the foods with the highest levels of acrylamide. From chip to chip or French fry to French fry the amount varies depending on how the food is cooked.

Blue Mesa Grill Sweet potato chips contain 16 times the amount of acrylamide as a single cup of Maxwell House original signature blend. Enjoy Rippin’ Good Ginger snap cookies and you’ll consume almost 4 times the amount of acrylamide compared to that cup of coffee from Maxwell House. Though cold brewing sounds like a solution, roasting coffee beans leads to acrylamide, not brewing at home. Smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke are also routes to acrylamide intake. People who work in certain industries including construction, oil drilling, textiles, cosmetics food processing, mining, plastics and more may also be exposed to this compound.

For a list of acrylamide levels is in various foods click here.

Decreasing Your Exposure

Though there are a lot of unknowns and no studies to date that clearly indicate acrylamide contributes to or causes cancer, it makes sense to decrease exposure when possible and when it doing so doesn’t interfere with your enjoyment of food. Here’s how:

  • Eat a diet that emphasizes vegetables, fruits, lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, nuts and dairy.
  • Quit smoking and avoid secondhand smoke.
    Limit fried foods.
  • Boil or steam instead of baking and frying when possible.
  • Soak potato slices in water for 15 to 30 minutes (drain, blot dry with a paper towel) before baking them.
  • Cook your baked goods for a shorter period of time. Don’t burn your bread in the toaster, pull it out when it is light brown. Also, don’t char foods on the grill.

Learn more about other compounds formed during high heat cooking by clicking here.

References:
href=”http://monographs.iarc.fr/ENG/Classification/”>http://monographs.iarc.fr/ENG/Classification/
FDA CFSAN
American Cancer Society
Curr Drug Metab. 2016;17(4):317-26.

Peanut Butter Whey Protein Bites

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Protein Bites are easy to make and packed with good nutrition – including fiber and protein. Plus you can alter this recipe based on the flavor or texture you are looking for (see below for ideas). Here are two basic recipes:

Protein Bites

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 cup Old Fashioned Oats (use quick oats for a smoother texture)
  • 1/2 cup whey protein (vanilla, chocolate or plain)

Change the flavor by adding any of the following:

  • Vanilla powder or sugar
  • 100% maple syrup instead of honey
  • Any nut or seed butter instead of peanut butter
  • coconut flakes
  • chocolate chips or cacao nibs
  • orange peel (use honey and walnut butter instead of peanut butter)
  • caramel

Decrease the sugar and calories by using part VitaFiber and part honey.

Directions
Add all ingredients to a KitchenAid mixer or other high powered mixer and blend until smooth. Shape into bars.

Almond Protein Bites

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cup almond butter
  • 3/4 cup whey
  • 3 Tbsp agave syrup

Directions:
Bake at 320°F for 30 minutes.

Here is a recipe I’ve been meaning to try (and add protein powder too) because it looks amazing: Margarita Energy Bites

Should You Try the Whole30 Diet?

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The Whole30 diet is like a weed wacker. Instead of pinpointing foods that could be causing skin issues, allergies, bloating, fatigue or other issues, Whole30 removes almost everything. It’s a classic elimination diet. Get rid of fried wings, potato chips and sweet tea and chances are you will lose weight and probably feel better. This isn’t rocket science. But, Whole30 won’t get rid of your nagging symptoms if they are due to food allergies or food sensitivities.

This blog post will cover:

  • What is the Whole30 diet?
  • Whole30 Nutrition Rules that Make no Sense
  • Who is this diet good for?
  • Who should avoid it?

What is the Whole30 Diet?

On the Whole30 diet you can eat meat, seafood, eggs, vegetables, natural fats, herbs spices and seasonings. They tell you not to eat anything you can’t pronounce (this rule defies nutrition logic). Also, you can’t eat the following for 30 days:

Sugar of any kind. Honey, maple syrup, table sugar etc. 

Artificial sweeteners. If you don’t have an adverse food reaction to these, there’s no reason to avoid them.

Alcohol. Okay, I’ve got nothing here. Alcohol isn’t good for you and it raises risk of hormone dependent cancers (like breast cancer) and stroke. 

Grains. Grains are an important source of fiber and vitamins and minerals.

Legumes. By the way, the healthiest people on earth eat lots of legumes! Legumes are full of fiber, protein, magnesium and other nutrients as well as plant compounds important for good health.

Dairy. There goes most of my protein in addition to calcium, vitamin D, magnesium and other nutrients.

This includes most of your grocery store.

Whole30 Nutrition Rules that Make No Sense

Stupid nutrition rules that have no scientific basis or purpose bother me. They really really bother me. Here are foods you can eat from Whole30 in blue and my feedback in black:

Ghee or clarified butter. Though clarified butter has less saturated fat than butter, it still has saturated fat. Liquid oils are a better option.

Fruit juice. This should say 100% fruit juice. Otherwise it may be flavored sugar water with no helpful plant compounds or vitamins.

Certain legumes. WT*. So they are randomly deciding which legumes are good for you? My eyes are rolling.

Coconut aminos. This is a substitute for soy sauce? I’d rather use GF soy sauce.

Iodized salt because it has sugar. I’m not sure what iodized salt they’re talking about because I’ve never seen one with sugar in it.

Who is this Diet Good for?

Someone who wants a challenge and a diet that is simple but not easy. Your choices are yes or no (mainly no). You won’t have to count points or log your food intake. It’s simple to grasp. However, it isn’t easy. You’ll end up cooking or assembling your own meals and avoiding many restaurants. Plus you might miss some of your favorite foods and dishes.

If you want a challenge and think you can stick to Whole30 for 30 days you may  notice you feel better. In fact, when people go on an elimination diet, or simply cut out certain foods for a while, and then they reintroduce these foods, they discover something that can change behavior moving forward. Fried foods make their bodies feel bad. A diet full of typical fast food makes them tired. Who wants to go back to feeling that way? It isn’t worth it.

If you have any symptoms related to food sensitivities or allergies these probably won’t go away. My top 2 food sensitivities are broccoli and carrots – 2 foods allowed on Whole30. Plus there are a number of ingredients that may be causing issues (some are in the coatings on medications or supplements). You need to get tested if you have potential symptoms related to food allergies or sensitivities and LEAP is the only food sensitivity test I recommend (more on this in an upcoming post).

What do you do after the 30 days? Whole30 is not a sustainable way of eating. They have a website devoted to reintroducing foods and maintaining healthy habits after you finish Whole30. Yet, every single person I know who has gone on this diet resumed their old eating habits as soon as the 30-day period was over. Whole30 doesn’t teach you how to live with donuts, sugar and fried foods. Their post diet guidelines tell you “no guilt, no shame” but their approach to food is full of guilt by labeling foods dirty and clean and talking about food as something one should control. When controlling one’s weight and food becomes obsessive, disordered eating or an eating disorder may result.

Who Should Avoid this Diet?

  • Yo-yo dieters
  • Those with a history of disordered eating or an eating disorder (including chronic overeating and bingeing)
  • Anyone interested in finding out the true cause of their migranes, IBS, hives, or inflammatory issues
  • Someone who loves food and often eats out with others

Bottom Line

You’ll probably feel better on this diet if your current diet isn’t full of healthy foods. In addition, if you are overweight, you will likely lose weight if you can follow this program for 30 days. That’s a big if after talking to more people today who “fell off” the diet after 5-10 days. Whole30 is an elimination diet. Elimination diets followed by reintroducing foods one-by-one may help determine foods that are causing certain issues. However, if you suspect you are having an adverse food reaction, quit looking for a needle in a haystack and get tested for allergies or sensitivities.

Whole30 cuts out  a number of healthy, nutrient-packed foods including legumes, grains and dairy. There is no reason to cut these out unless you have an allergy or sensitivity to one of them. Also, it is not a sustainable way to eat over a long period of time and lacks a sound transition plan back to a more normal way of eating.

Ketogenic Diets: Eating Fat Won’t Make You Thin

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Following a ketogenic diet will not guarantee weight loss. Producing a lot of ketones does not mean you are shredding body fat. Gulping down shots of olive oil or putting butter in your coffee won’t make you thin.

You must consume fewer calories than you need, over time, to lose body fat.

This blog post will cover:

  •  What is Ketosis?
  •  Eating fat Makes You Burn More Fat for Energy but…
  •  Who is this Diet Good For?
  •  Who Should Avoid the Ketogenic Diet

What is Ketosis?

Ketosis is a metabolic state that occurs when the body does not have enough carbohydrate or total calories for energy. As a result, more fat is burned to fuel the body’s energy demands. As fat (dietary fat from the food you eat or body fat) is used, ketones are formed. When a person is in ketosis, ketones can be used as a source of energy (1).  Being in ketosis or producing ketones is not the cause of weight loss. Instead it is the decrease in calories that leads to weight loss.

An in depth review of the ketogenic diet can be found here.

Eating Fat Makes You Burn More Fat for Energy but…

You use the macronutrients you eat for energy. Eat a high carbohydrate diet and you’ll use more carbohydrates for energy. Eat more fat and you’ll burn more fat (from your high fat diet) for energy. Using fat, from the coconut oil or butter you put your coffee, for energy is totally different than burning the fat on your body for energy. You must be in a caloric deficit for your body to use stored body fat for energy. Let’s say it’s 4 pm and you have eaten 1,000 calories so far today. But your daily needs, without exercise, are 2,300 calories per day. You are now using stored body fat for energy because you are in a calorie deficit (you haven’t eaten enough calories to cover your energy needs).

Can you lose weight on a ketogenic diet? Yes absolutely (2). However, from a purely scientific perspective, this is not the best diet for losing fat and maintaining or gaining muscle.

Research studies in humans show weight loss from a ketogenic diet is due to water, fat mass and muscle. Additionally, weight loss is likely due, in part, to limited food choices. After all, a stick of butter with drops of flavor and artificial sweeteners mixed in isn’t exactly something most people overeat at dessert time. No bread, rice, pasta, Oreos, Doritos, doughnuts, pizza… the list goes on and on. Another factor contributing to weight loss when on a ketogenic diet, at least for obese people, is a decrease in hunger over the short term. Research also shows on-going professional support is associated with greater weight loss when on a ketogenic diet (or any other diet) (3). Additionally, ramping up the protein in your diet and cutting calories alone (even if you aren’t following a ketogenic diet or you aren’t producing a ton of ketones) can improve body fat loss and help you maintain muscle.

Some studies report the ketogenic diet can have beneficial effects on cardiovascular disease risk factors while others show cholesterol and blood pressure increase. Why?  It depends what you were eating and what you are eating now. If your diet consisted of fried foods, French fries and alcohol and  you changed it to olive oil and salmon, I’m willing to bet your triglycerides, cholesterol and blood pressure will go down. If you were eating whole grains, legumes and salmon and started eating fatty red meat, butter and coconut oil, expect your cholesterol to shoot through the roof.

Aside from what you’re eating, weight loss has a huge effect on  cardiovascular disease risk factors. If you are over fat and you lose a lot of weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and other cardiovascular disease risk factors will likely improve. Regardless of what you eat. A diet full of Twinkies can be beneficial for heart health risk factors as long as you lose weight.  

Who is this Diet Good For?

The ketogenic diet effectively reduces the incidence and severity of seizures in epileptic patients resistant to medication. Ketogenic diets are being studied as potential therapeutic remedies for those with dementia and mental disorders. However, it s too soon to recommend these diets in patients with dementia or a mental disorder (4, 5).

As mentioned above, you can lose weight on this diet. If you love dietary fat, don’t like carbohydrate-rich foods and you are determined to try this diet, work with a MD and registered dietitian who are experts on ketogenic diets and have experience implementing these diets with their patients. There are many potential immediate and longer-term health consequences that may result following a ketogenic diet. These can be decreased or avoided when you follow the expert advice of a MD and RD.

Who Should Avoid the Ketogenic Diet?

This is not an easy diet to stick with. Anyone who is not going to take the time to plan it according to the directions of a RD (again, one who has worked with this diet; likely an outpatient RD who works with epileptic patients) should avoid trying a ketogenic diet. Also, anyone with a disease state or on medication should avoid it unless they talk to their MD first. Those with eating disorders or disordered eating, strength and power athletes as well as athletes engaged in high intensity sports should skip over ketogenic diets. There are better ways to lose fat and fuel your activity.

 

References

1 Wheless JW. History of the ketogenic diet. Epilepsia 2008;49 Suppl 8:3-5.

2 Bueno NB, de Melo IS, de Oliveira SL, da Rocha Ataide T. Very-low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet v. low-fat diet for long-term weight loss: a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Br J Nutr 2013;110(7):1178-87.

3 Kosinski C, Jornayvaz FR. Effects of Ketogenic Diets on Cardiovascular Risk Factors: Evidence from Animal and Human Studies. Nutrients 2017; 9(5): 517.

4 Bostock ECS, Kirkby KC, Taylor BVM. The Current Status of the Ketogenic Diet in Psychiatry. Front Psychiatry 2017; 8: 43.

5 Gasior M, Rogawski MA, Hartmana AL. Neuroprotective and disease-modifying effects of the ketogenic diet. Behav Pharmacol 2006; 17(5-6): 431–439.