Nutrition

What you do in the kitchen is just as important as what you do in the gym. To effectively achieve your fitness goals, proper nutrition is an absolute must!

Is Cooking Protein Powder Bad?

cookingwithproteinLet’s face it: Protein powder doesn’t taste great. In fact, it’s pretty awful.

It’s no wonder that people try to disguise the taste of protein powder by hiding it inside other, more delicious foods like smoothies, yogurt and so on. But what about baked foods like protein powder muffins, pancakes, cookies or cakes? Does cooking protein powder change the chemistry and render it useless?

Believe it or not, this is actually a widely-held protein powder misconception. It’s true that cooking protein powder does change the structure of the protein powder’s amino acids through a process called denaturing. But this same process happens in all the other protein-containing foods we eat including cooked eggs, beef or chicken. Cooked or not, our bodies absorb the same amino acids – and can put them to work.

In short, cooking protein powder doesn’t impact its effectiveness.

As such, try incorporating protein powder into some of your favorite foods. For example, I add protein to a healthy blueberry muffin recipe that I love for an extra nutritional boost. Explore and have fun.

In the comments below, share some ways that you’ve incorporated protein powder into your favorite recipes.

Are Sports Drinks Unhealthy?

Dear Davey,

I was wondering if sports drinks are actually unhealthy? They seem to have lots of sugar and I’m trying to lose weight.

From,
Ben

sports-drinks-shutterstock_29236237The answer is both yes and no.

Much like soda, sports drinks are loaded in added sugar. As such, they are high in calories. If you’re not engaged in rigorous exercise, then they’re not the healthiest choice. Water, perhaps with a splash of lemon for flavor, makes a lot more sense – especially if you’re counting calories.

But if you are actually engaged in rigorous exercise, like a game of soccer or a class of crossfit, sports drinks could be a smart choice. The answer is two-fold.

First things first, studies have found that consuming carbohydrates (which is what these sports drinks contain) during a workout means eating fewer calories after the workout and throughout the day. According to a study by Colorado State University, people who consumed 45 grams of carbohydrates during exercise consumed total fewer calories during the day compared to individuals who consumed no carbohydrates during a workout.

Second, carbohydrates are fuel for our body. And when you’re exercising, your body needs lots of fuel to power through a given workout. By consuming sports drinks or other beverages with simple carbohydrates, you may boost the intensity of your workout – and thus, burn even more calories and get a better overall workout.

Of course, you can also get those carbohydrates from other, more natural sources. Personally, I prefer eating a banana or some other high-sugar fruit. But sports drinks can certainly work!

The bottom line is that there can be a time and a place for sports drinks. And that time and place is when you’re exercising intensely… and not sitting on the couch watching Orange is the New Black.

Love,
Davey

Are Vegan Desserts Healthier?

I have a sweet tooth and love dessert. When I go out with my friends, I’ve noticed that a lot of cafes and some restaurants offer vegan desserts. I’m not vegan, but I was wondering if these desserts are healthy?

From,
Liz

tart_1857Hey Liz,

If any food is vegan, it simply means that it’s made without any animal products including dairy like milk or butter. The term vegan isn’t synonymous with healthy. Just like non-vegan foods, some vegan options are healthy and some are not.

As such, not all vegan desserts are created equal.

Case in point, vegan cupcakes, cookies, cakes and pies. Just like traditional baked goods, these vegan desserts are loaded with unhealthy ingredients like corn syrup, sugar, white flour, unhealthy oils and so on. As such, these vegan baked goods aren’t a healthy choice. Instead, just like traditional baked goods, they can be a special treat – or something of which you might only eat a few bites.

On the other hand, a bowl of fresh cut fruit is both vegan and nutritious. My three ingredient cookies are also a healthy and vegan dessert choice.

The bottom line, the list of ingredients is the determining factor in whether or not a dessert is healthy – and not simply the label of vegan.

Love,Davey

 

Is Eating Only Bananas Healthy?

Dear Davey,

I watched a YouTube video about a woman who eats only bananas. She said that the diet has improved her life and that she’s lost a lot of fat. Is this diet really something that I should try?

From,
Shane

banana-man-eat-400x400Hey Shane,

Eating only bananas isn’t a great idea. Why? Because bananas lack important nutrients that your body needs. Bananas have almost no vitamin A, no calcium, no vitamin d, no vitamin b-12, almost no iron and just a gram of protein. They also lack significant quantities of the essential fats that your body needs.

The banana diet is actually an offshoot of a more popular diet that was designed by Dr. Douglas Graham. It’s called the 80/10/10 diet. In a nutshell, this diet says that at least 80% of your calories should come from carbohydrates. Another 10% can come from each protein and fats. The diet is raw and vegan, meaning that all food sources are plant-based and uncooked. As such, the diet is big on fruits and vegetables. There’s no meat or even grains as part of this diet.

As with any diet, there are pros and cons.

In terms of cons, it is very difficult to keep vast quantities of ripe fruits and vegetables in your home. When we buy produce from the grocery store, it usually isn’t ripe – so the timing can be a challenge. Also, because the diet is very strict, it’s difficult to maintain at social gatherings and restaurants. Like any raw diet, sustainability and proper education can be a challenge.

In terms of pros, look no further than the many 80/10/10 enthusiasts. For fans, this diet is life-changing. Practitioners note having tremendous amounts of energy, body fat loss, improved sleep and better productivity.

My recommendation is this: Diets are very personal.

You know who you are and what you’re able to do. The right diet for me might not be the right diet for you. Eating entirely fruits and vegetables isn’t something that floats my boat, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that this diet isn’t a possibility for the next person. And just because a diet is difficult to maintain doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s impossible for you. For most people, I recommend a very realistic diet of lean meats, nuts, beans, whole grains, fruits and generous amounts of vegetables. In fact, you can read all about it in my Insanely Easy Guide to Eating Smarter.

But none of that means that the 80/10/10 diet is necessarily a bad choice for you. Diets are personal.

Love,
Davey

Study: Product Packaging Misleads Consumers.

Cherry 7upLast week, I shared 5 misleading nutrition marketing words that you should ignore on product packaging. Of course, the reason that marketers use those words in the first place is that they’re effective in generating sales. And now, a new study by researchers from the University of Houston is showing how effective those words really are.

For the study, researchers recruited 318 undergraduate students and asked them to rate the nutrition of various products. Students were able to examine the packaging and nutrition information for products including Chocolate Cheerios (labeled whole grain), Cherry 7-Up (labeled antioxidant), Annie’s Bunny Fruit Snacks (labeled organic) and more. All the marketing terms actually appear on the product packaging.

Researchers digitally removed the buzzwords from some of the packaging, and randomly presented students with the products. For every single product, students rated foods with the marketing words to be significantly healthier than if the word wasn’t included. In other words, including the word “antioxidant” made participants view Cherry 7-Up as healthier.

According to the researchers:

It is perhaps time that the food industry take responsibility for how they market their foods and acknowledge the role they play in keeping consumers in the United States misinformed about what is healthy to eat. Healthy foods exist, many of which are organic, whole grain, natural and all of those other things that many foods today are being labeled. However, using those labels on foods such as soda only serve to sell a drink rather than inform consumers about the actual health content of the product.

While it’s unlikely that the food industry will take responsibility for their role in consumer misinformation, perhaps we have more hope in getting the FDA to regulate such buzzwords – or even take the basic step of defining what “natural” really means.

Clearly, consumers need better education when it comes to nutrition. And by reading this article, you’ve already demonstrated that you’re one step ahead.