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Energy Yielding Nutrients

Posted on June 1, 2019 at 5:55 PM

Here is some basic 101 on nutrition about energy-yielding nutrients.

In the body, three organic nutrients can provide energy: carbohydrates, fat, and protein. The best fuels for workouts are carbohydrates. Although protein can be used as fuel, it is not a direct source. As a dietary source, it will be used to build muscle. Once in the body, if no carbs are available, your body must break down muscle to be used as a fuel source. This is where protein is stored, in the muscles. That is why you should use carbs to fuel your workouts and protein to repair your muscles. Eggs and greek yogurt are great recovery foods because of the protein they contain. Add a little whole fruit to replenish the loss of carbs. Your body uses fat as energy during exercise that lasts for a long time, like during a long-distance run. However, most of the time your body can use the fat it has already stored and, therefore, you don't need to eat a high amount of fat unless you’re at your ideal weight or underweight, in which case fat is more important. Good fats (e.g., avocados) are also vital to helping your body use the nutrients you eat. Energy-yielding nutrients provide the following calories:

Carbohydrates: 4 calories per gram

Fat: 9 calories per gram

Protein: 4 calories per gram

*NOTE: Alcohol contributes 7 calories per gram that can be used for energy, but is not considered a nutrient because it interferes with the body's growth, maintenance, and repair. See the article here:


In contrast to these energy-yielding nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and water do not yield energy in the human body. Of course, this doesn't mean you don't need vitamins, minerals, and water every day! Quite the opposite! These are vital to your life force. Vitamins and minerals are even more important while dieting and exercising because these are what keep your physical energy levels high and help your body maintain and repair your muscles after your workout. Although vitamins and minerals are not a direct energy source, they assist the enzymes that release energy from carbs, fats, and proteins. This is a major reason why they are vital to life. Therefore, you should strive to make the calories you eat as nutritionally dense as possible!

Eat a little bit of good carbs, protein, vitamins, and minerals with each meal. For breakfast and preworkout, eat 100% juices, whole fruits, and whole grains. For lunch, eat whole proteins, like boiled eggs or tuna with spinach salad. For a snack, eat a handful of nuts with a little dried fruit to get your carbs, fat, and a little protein. Note that green, leafy vegetables will give you the highest yielding nutrients and thereby help sustain your body for workouts and high energy levels. They have small amounts of carbs and are packed full of those vitamins and minerals that will assist you in utilizing the energy-yielding nutrients.

To lose weight, be careful with the carbs. Eat small amounts of whole fruits, such as oranges and apples. Avoid white pasta. Eat carbs 1 to 2 hours before your workout for optimal performance. Then, immediately replace the carbs you burned with perhaps an orange or apple and some nuts, and protein such as greek yogurt or a boiled egg. If you are working out for longer than 1 hour a day, then you may need to increase the carbs, protein, and fat ratio, depending on your weight-loss goals. For thinner, leaner bodies, eat a little less protein. For a more muscular physique, eat a little more protein. (If you want more specific amounts, let me know and we can figure out requirements based on your own personal body specifications. The bottom line is all the nutrients work together, and we can customize a plan to suit your needs)

Many of my clients will attest to my having them pay close attention to what is happening in their body as opposed to giving them some general menu plan that applies to everyone. Balancing the calories in, calories out, and overall weight loss is a difficult task. When you are working out every day, you must become familiar with your body’s needs by paying close attention to the scale, and even more, your waist size. This can take some careful planning in the beginning, but once you develop the habit, this will become second nature! Keep your "eye on the ball" and stay focused to achieve your goal!

Alcohol in the Body

Posted on November 14, 2014 at 7:00 PM

This article provides information on how drinking alcohol affects the body and dieting. The book Understanding Nutrition, eleventh edition, was used as a source for this information.



When alcohol enters the body, unlike food, the body does not require time to digest it. Alcohol is quickly absorbed across the wall of an empty stomach, reaching the brain within a few minutes. This explains why we all know we should consume food before drinking!



The stomach begins to break down alcohol using the alcohol dehydrogenase enzyme. The enzyme varies by person and by race depending on the genes each person has inherited. Women produce less of this stomach enzyme than men. Consequently, more alcohol reaches a woman’s intestine for absorption into the bloodstream, and thus women have a lower tolerance for alcohol than men.



Alcohol is metabolized primarily in the liver. If more alcohol arrives at the liver than the enzymes can handle, the extra alcohol travels to all parts of the body, circulating again and again until the liver enzymes are finally available to process it. If you are going to drink, a good tip to control your intake is to limit the number of drinks before you start and drink no more than one drink per hour. This gives the enzymes in your liver time to process the alcohol. Keep an eye on your watch!!



Alcohol alters both how the body synthesizes amino acid and protein. Synthesis of proteins important in the immune system slows down, weakening the body's defenses against infection. Eating well does not protect the drinker from protein depletion; a person must stop drinking alcohol before the body will resume its natural rate of protein synthesis.



Alcohol is rich in energy (7 calories per gram) (we are talking "calorie energy" here). As with pure sugar or fat, the calories are empty of nutrients. Alcohol's contribution to body fat is most evident in the central obesity that commonly accompanies alcohol consumption. In other words, it is a large contributor to belly fat! It displaces nutrients from the diet and interferes with the body's metabolism of nutrients.

"In general, alcohol intake is associated with bigger waists, because when you drink alcohol, the liver burns alcohol instead of fat," says Michael Jensen, MD, an endocrine expert and obesity researcher with the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.


Those are a few of the facts. So how do we handle this sticky situation while trying to diet? Unfortunately, the best thing would be to stop drinking while dieting. Then, once the desired weight has been reached, slowly introduce it back into your diet on a moderate level and pay close attention to how it affects your weight and appetite.



The next best thing would be to limit drinking to no more than once or twice a week, or, even better, only on special occasions. Keep in mind that tip above about deciding how much you will drink during a certain occasion and limit drinks to no more than one per hour until you have reached that maximum number of drinks. Also, try not to drink sugary mixed drinks like the liqueurs used in, for example, restaurant Margaritas (try my Healthy Margarita recipe under the Vitamix blender tab), Lemon Drop and Apple Martinis, and Long Island Ice Teas. These just compound the dietary problem.



Other Tips:


Intersperse your wine, beer, or low-calorie drink with water or sparkling water between each drink.

Tell your friends and family you are trying to diet and seek their support of your limited drinking while trying to reach your desired weight.

Add water, ice, or club soda to reduce the amount of alcohol consumed.



Posted on October 7, 2010 at 4:32 PM

Blueberries are rich in Vitamins A, C, E and beta-carotene as well as rich in the minerals potassium, manganese, magnesium. They are very high in fiber and low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. But this is just the tip of the nutritional iceberg, for recent studies tell us that of all fresh fruits and vegetables, blueberries provide the most health-protecting antioxidants, those valuable elements which prevent cancer-causing cell damage and may limit the changes wrought by age related diseases.


The properties of blueberries cross the blood brain barrier to effect these benefits. Antioxidants help to stop the production of free radicals. Free radicals are groups of atoms that impair the cells and the immune system which leads to disease. Anti-oxidants bind the the free electrons in free radicals.

Anthocyanins create the blue color in blueberries. They are water-soluble and will bleed into water (or on mouths and clothes). Anthocyanins are antioxidants, known to reduce heart disease and cancer in humans. They are found throughout the plant world, but blueberries are the highest of any fruit or vegetable. This substance is believed to combat E. Coli.



Oxalates are the one possible negative aspect of blueberries. Oxalates should not be eaten in high concentration as they can crystallize and cause kidney or gallbladder problems. Oxalates also slow the absorption of calcium into the system. Eat blueberries separately from calcium-rich foods. A two to three hour wait is sufficient.


The nutritional value of blueberries makes them one of the best foods we can eat. And if you live near a blueberry patch and have any ordinary bucket, gathering this humble berry is one of life's joys. Anyone who has gone blueberry picking as a child will carry the memory for life.

Most current studies have been limited to animals, but the findings would appear to be significant. Animals fed a diet of blueberry extract showed fewer changes in age related brain function which may mean better cognitive and motor skills. Yes, this means that blueberries may help the brain ward off dementia. There are current studies world-wide to determine further effects on health and many believe that blueberries help the eyes, prevent urinary tract infections, lower cholesterol, protect against macular degeneration, and aid the cardiovascular system. These are significant health benefits and rank blueberries as one of the top foods to eat. Many of these studies have not arrived at a conclusion, and no single food is a cure-all, but looking at the list of phytochemicals in the blueberry, we are eager to eat them for health as well as pleasure.


Eat Walnuts!

Posted on October 7, 2010 at 4:25 PM

Walnuts...one more reason to eat them!


(From AOLHealth.com)


Incorporating walnuts into your diet may help you handle stress better, new research suggests.

Walnuts and walnut oil help reduce blood pressure during stressful situations because of the omega-3 fatty acids and anti-inflammatory compounds they contain, according to a study by a team of scientists at Penn State University.

Researchers looked at 22 healthy adult participants who had high levels of "bad" cholesterol -- known as LDL, or low density lipoproteins. They provided them with all their meals and snacks over the course of three different diet periods lasting six weeks each.

Some of the subjects were put on diets that included walnuts and walnut oil, and others were not. The study authors found that eating the nuts lowered both their resting blood pressure and their blood pressure responses to stressors they were exposed to in the lab -- giving a speech and soaking their feet in a tub of ice-cold water.

"This is the first study to show that walnuts and walnut oil reduce blood pressure during stress," author Sheila G. West, an associate professor of biobehavioral health, said in a statement. "This is important because we can't avoid all of the stressors in our daily lives. This study shows that a dietary change could help our bodies better respond to stress."

Walnuts contain a type of omega-3 fatty acid called alpha linolenic acid, which is also found in flax seeds. Prior research has shown that those omega-3s can reduce LDL cholesterol and inflammation markers including C-reactive proteins.

Strong reactions to stress can trigger a host of health problems including cardiovascular disease, according to the study, published in the current issue of the Journal of the American College of Nutrition.

"People who show an exaggerated biological response to stress are at higher risk of heart disease," West said. "We wanted to find out if omega 3-fatty acids from plant sources would blunt cardiovascular responses to stress."

The blood pressure of participants on the walnut diet did not drop lower when flax seed oil was added, the authors found. But flax seed extract did seem to improve their vascular health -- gauged using a vascular ultrasound that measured the dilation of the arteries -- and reduce their C-reactive protein levels, causing a greater anti-inflammatory effect.

"Inflammation is a known factor in cardiovascular disease, stroke, et cetera," nutritionist Douglas Husbands told AOL Health. "To have a beneficial effect on inflammation, which those substances in walnuts and other nuts have, can be very powerful."

Each of the study participants followed each of the three diets in random order, taking a one-week break in between. They were tested at the end of every six-week interval.

One of the diets mimicked an "average" American diet without nuts. A second incorporated 1.3 ounces of walnuts -- which amounts to about nine of the nuts -- and a tablespoon of walnut oil in place of some of the fat and protein sources in the typical diet. The third included the walnuts and walnut oil with the addition of 1.5 tablespoons of flax seed oil. All three had an equal number of calories and didn't cause any weight changes in the subjects.

Once they'd completed each diet, the participants were given two different stress tests. For one, they were given a topic and two minutes to prepare a three-minute speech on it, which was videotaped. For the other, they had to immerse one foot in frigid water. Researchers took their blood pressure during the stress tests.

The subjects' average diastolic blood pressure was substantially lower when they were on the walnut-rich diets, according to the findings.

"These results are in agreement with several recent studies showing that walnuts can reduce cholesterol and blood pressure," said West. "This work suggests that blood pressure is also reduced when a person is exposed to stress in their daily life."

Husbands said the fat in walnuts helps ensure a beneficial proportion of hormones, which are derived from cholesterol, and the nuts' pH balance contributes to their anti-inflammatory effects.

"You don't want a low-fat diet -- you want a healthy-fat diet," he said.

The research was supported by The California Walnut Commission, the National Institutes of Health, and the Heart and Stroke Foundation in Canada.

What's your DIET DNA?

Posted on September 13, 2010 at 10:45 PM

Here is a little info about Diet DNA.  There are some recent studies that show some people may benefit from more of a low-fat diet, some from a low-carb diet while others may benefit from a mixture of the two.  Without actually getting tested with a saliva test, you can look at yourself physically, and give it an educated guess!

If you would actually like to be tested, go to the "more" tab on this website and find the tab that reads, "Eat Right for your Gene Type"

Here are some suggestions to consider to make that educated guess!


1. Where do you carry your weight?

2. How do you feel? i.e. how do you feel after you eat certain foods...do you have gastric distress? Are you tired? It is simple, avoid the foods that make you feel bad later.


Here are the questions to see if you need to be on more of a lowfat diet..if answering yes to most or all 3;

1. Does heart disease run in your family?

2. Do you have low energy levels often?

3. Do you have high amounts of the LDL cholesterol?



Here are the questions to see if you need to be on more of a low carb diet;

1. Carry weight around the mid section

2. High blood pressure?

3. Tryglyceride levels high?


Here are the questions to see if you need to be on more of a balanced diet...i.e. even out the carbs and fat;

1. Have a history of both heart disease and diabetes

2. Mediterranean ethinicity?

3. Prone to indigestion or constipation?


Example lowfat diet;

no bad fats, and no refined sugars, but good grains and complex carbs (on average about 70% carbs, 15% fat, 15% protein)

i.e veggie burger, lots of vegetables, sweet potatoes, broccoli...whole fruits are okay too, peaches, bananas etc...

 Eat good fats; olive oil, avocado, nuts


Example low carb diet; you may carry a risk for type 2 diabetes and be insulin resistant. So a low carb diet may be better for you.

Avoid sugars both refined, and even grains to a certain extent. Avoid rices, breads, and sweet fruits...bananas etc..

i.e. good foods: vegetables and salads, fish, lean meats, green beans, basalmic vinegar (to help lower the glycemic rich foods)

30%protein, %30% carbs, and 40%fat (good fat)


Example balance diet;  Mediterranean diet...olive oil, nuts, feta cheese, whole vegetables, fish, and whole fruits.


50%carbs, 20%protein, 30%fat....good fat, good carbs combination