Archive for the tag - nutrition

Myth: Healthy Outside = Healthy Inside?

Hey Davey,

I’m an 18 year old guy and I eat pretty much whatever I want. My diet consists mostly of chips, pizza, soda and other crappy food. Even though I have such a bad diet, my body looks great. I have a six pack and look really athletic. Do I really need to change my diet if I already look good?

From,
Ben

sixpackHey Ben,

Congratulations! You are one of those people who is blessed with a high metabolism and good genetics.

But keep in mind, what’s happening on the outside is really only part of the equation. While many people eat smart and work out to look a certain way, the best benefits of a healthy lifestyle happen on the inside. And just because someone looks healthy on the outside doesn’t mean they are healthy on the inside.

Decades ago, autopsies for U.S. military personal killed in the Korean and Vietnam wars revealed that many of these bootcamp graduates had plaque and fatty deposits in their arteries. Despite looking healthy and fit on the outside, many of these young people were severely unhealthy on the inside. On the outside, you might see an athletic 20 year-old man. But on the inside, his arteries looked like those of an overweight, 50 year-old heart attack victim.

Yes, a healthy lifestyle of eating smarter and moving more will transform your body. But transforming your body is about more than just your outward appearance. It’s like the difference between getting a car wash or a tune-up. If you want your car to be in good working condition, you need to maintain what’s under the hood! The same goes for your body.

But fear not: Having a healthy lifestyle and improving your diet isn’t difficult. And though it might not include a whole lot of chips or soda, it will include plenty of delicious foods that will energize and invigorate your body! If you need help or guidance, download Davey Wavey’s Insanely Easy Guide to Eating Smarter. It will give you all the tools you need for a complete transformation.

I hope that helps!

Love,
Davey

What’s Your Fitness IQ?

I was reading a recent poll that suggested most Americans are vastly ignorant about health and fitness. The truth is, it really comes as no surprise as marketers are often louder than science. But how does your fitness IQ measure up? Do you have more fitness smarts than the average American?

  1. Questionpietro-boselli-sexy-teacher: About how many calories are in one pound of fat?
    a.) 1,500
    b.) 2,500
    c.) 3,500

    Answer: Though estimates range from 2,800 to 3,800, you’ll commonly that one pound of fat contains about 3,500 calories.

  2. Question: Eggs are a good source of
    a.) vitamin c
    b.) protein
    c.) fiber

    Answer: Eggs contain no fiber and no vitamin c, but do contain about 6 grams of protein each. Depending on your protein needs, that’s probably about 12% of your daily requirement.

  3. What makes you overweight?
    a.) Eating too many calories
    b.) Not exercising

    Answer: Both or either. Weight gain occurs when we consume more calories than we burn, so increasing calorie consumption and/or decreasing calorie expenditure can results in a calorie surplus.

  4. Question: How many grams of sugar are in one teaspoon?
    a.) 4
    b.) 8
    c.) 12

    Answer: Disgusting as it is, one teaspoon of sugar is equivalent to 4 grams. Since a tablespoon of ketchup has 4 grams of sugar, we know that ketchup is approximately 33% sugar. Gross.

  5. Question: What is the daily salt recommendation?
    a.) one teaspoon
    b.) two teaspoons
    c.) three teaspoons

    Answer: Most organizations recommend that we limit daily sodium intake to 1500 – 2300 mg. But those numbers are abstract and hard for most people to understand. These recommendations translate to about a single teaspoon of salt. Considering the processed foods that most people eat, a teaspoon of salt doesn’t go far.

  6. Question: Which food has the most calories?
    a.) One medium baked potato with a teaspoon of butter
    b.) One 16-ounce cup of soda
    c.) 32 pieces of candy corn
    d.) Four ounces of roasted skinless chicken breast

    Answer: With 207 calories, the answer is candy corn.

  7. Question: What is the primary fuel for sport or workout activity?
    a.) Dietary carbohydrates
    b.) Dietary fats
    c.) Protein supplementation
    d.) Dietary vitamins and minerals

    Answer: Your workouts and sports activities are powered by carbohydrates. If you go on a low carb diet, expect to get less bang for your workout buck; you’ll sell your gym results short because you’ll like the energy needed to push yourself. Your body needs carbohydrates. But instead of consuming simple carbohydrates, opt for complex carbs.

So… how did you score? If you answered any of these questions correctly, you know more than the average American. And I’m not making that up… 75% of Americans didn’t know how many calories were in a pound of fat and 65% didn’t know that eggs are a good source of protein. Let me know your score in the comments below.

P.S. And if you’re interested in taking your workout to the next level, download Davey Wavey’s Bootcamp Workout for an exercise and nutrition plan that’s designed to give you real results.

5 Nutriton Mistakes “Healthy” People Make.

a-shirtless-friday-5A healthy diet can improve the quality of your life. And it can help you achieve your fitness goals. But with so much marketing hype and misinformation, making smarter decisions isn’t always easy – even for people who consider themselves healthy.

In fact, here are a few nutrition mistakes that “healthy” people commonly make.

  1. You salads are covered in shit. There’s no doubt that a salad full of lettuce and vegetables is a great start. Unfortunately, many of us cover all the goodness in things like cheese, creamy dressings and bacon bits. Make a salad that tastes like salad – and not a 1,500 calorie gut bomb.
  2. You’re juicing. Fruit juices have become increasingly popular; in Los Angeles, there’s a cold pressed juice stand on almost every corner. And while eating fruits is a smart decision, most fruit juicing processes remove the fiber that helps give fruit its nutritional punch. You’re left with a sugary beverage that is marginally healthier than soda. If you want a healthier and cheaper choice, opt for water, water and more water.
  3. You fall for misleading labels. Marketers are geniuses when it comes to misleading consumers. Words like detox, low-fat, fat-free, reduced-fat, low calorie, low carb, all natural, organic and gluten free all seem to convey a nutritional benefit. Unfortunately, they don’t. These are misleading buzz words; instead, determine whether or not a food is healthy by reading the nutrition label and ingredients.
  4. You eat energy bars and consume sports drinks. Except for grueling physical activity like an intense workout or hike, there’s really no place for energy bars or sports drinks. The former is often a glorified candy bar with just as much sugar and the later is a mixture of water and sugar. Only consume these products to power through intense physical activity.
  5. You avoid all carbs. Obviously, simple carbohydrates like those found in candy, energy bars, sugary drinks and refined grain products like white bread aren’t a smart choice in most situations. But, carbohydrates aren’t entirely bad. In fact, complex carbohydrates like those found in quinoa, whole grains and beans are absolutely part of a healthy diet – and something that your body needs to function properly and power through a workout. Workouts are powered by carbohydrates, not by protein; don’t get it twisted.

What are some other nutrition mistakes that healthy people make? Share them in the comments below!

P.S. If you want a clear, simple and science-based approach to eating smarter, download Davey Wavey’s Insanely Easy Guide to Eating Smarter and get started TODAY!

Having These 5 Things On Your Counter Makes You Fat (or Skinny).

Tomek-Batko-FastFood-Adam-Cekiera-Dailymalemodels-03As it turns out, our environment plays an important role in supporting (or not supporting) our health and fitness goals.

Keeping an exercise ball by the television, for example, can be a great reminder to exercise during commercial breaks. And having the exercise ball nearby makes things easier; you don’t have to get up, dig around the closet and find it.

Food can work in a similar way, according to a book by Brian Wansink, the director of the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University. In particular, Wansink focuses on food left out on the counter for storage. Even though it’s easy to resist foods once or twice, we eventually cave to the constant reminders and easy access.

Here are five examples:

  1. Cookies. When individuals leave cookies out on the counter, they tend to weigh 10 pounds more than their cookie-less counterparts.
  2. Chips. Much like cookies, leaving chips on the counter is associated with an extra 10 pounds of weight.
  3. Cereal. While many people perceive cereal to be a healthy choice, most of us buy cereals that are packed with added sugar. As such, keeping cereal on the counter is associated with an additional 20 pounds of weight.
  4. Fruit. Good news here. Keeping fruit on the counter can be a reminder to snack healthy. If you have a fruit bowl on your counter, you likely weigh 8 pounds less.
  5. Candy. Surprisingly, candy is only associated with a 3 pound increase in weight versus people who don’t store candy on their counter.

Of course, it’s hard to prove causation. Does having a fruit bowl cause you to eat healthier and weigh less, or are healthy eaters more likely to have a fruit bowl. It’s probably a little of both. But in either case, hiding unhealthy foods away (or, better yet, not buying them in the first place) and stocking your kitchen with readily available healthy options is a smart decision.

P.S. If you’d like to transform your body and health through an improved nutritional plan, download Davey Wavey’s Insanely Easy Guide to Eating Smarter.

5 Tips For Healthier Burgers.

vertigoburgerelevation

Nope.

Mmmm. Burgers.

According to The Economist, the average American eats 3 burgers per week. That adds up to 40 billion burgers annually. The problem is, most burgers start with fatty cuts of meat and then go from bad to worse with unhealthy toppings.

By upgrading the nutritional value of our burgers, we can take a huge step in the direction of a healthier diet. Here are a few simple and delicious tips for getting more out of your burgers.

  1. Start with lean meat. While turkey can be leaner than beef, it really depends on the cut. The USDA defines ‘lean’ as meat containing less than 10 grams of total fat, 4.5 grams or less of saturated fat and less than 95 milligrams of cholesterol per 100 grams cooked serving. You can also opt for extra lean for further reductions. If beef is your choice, grass-fed provides nutritional benefits over conventional beef. To cut down on calories per serving, I like to sneak lots of veggies into my burgers. I’ll chop up an onion and a few cloves of garlic to add into the meat mixture. Alternatively, a marinated Portobello mushroom burger can also be perfection.
  2. Select a whole grain bun. A wheat bun isn’t the same thing as a whole wheat bun. Whole grains contain all parts of the grain kernel; they contain more protein, fiber and nutrients. Read the ingredients to ensure that the first item listed has the word ‘whole’ before it. You can even ditch the bun and sandwich your burger between to lettuce leafs.
  3. Opt for healthier condiments. Mayo, BBQ sauce and ketchup are tempting. But the first is loaded in unhealthy fats and the second and third contain huge amounts of sugar. In fact, ketchup is 25% sugar. The good news is that all of these condiments are replaceable. Use a thick slice of tomato instead of ketchup. Avocado is another great condiment upgrade.
  4. Load up on the good stuff. Don’t stop with tomato and avocado. I love adding microgreens to my burgers. Sun-dried tomatoes and olives are also nice. You could use salsa and cilantro. Or red onions and spinach. Sometimes, I even top my burgers with an egg. Yum!
  5. Grate the cheese. Cheese has some health benefits, but it’s calorie dense and often loaded with unhealthy fats. If you absolutely must include cheese on your burger, opt for grated cheese. By grating your cheese, you reduce the portion.

The good news is that burgers can be a part of any healthy diet. It’s just important to be mindful of the ingredients you select. And if you have any tips for building a better burger, share them in the comments below!

P.S. To look and feel great by changing the foods you eat, download Davey Wavey’s Insanely Easy Guide to Eating Smarter. You’ll even get my five video ab workout series (A $59 value) as a free gift!

High CO2 Makes Produce Less Nutritious.

wheat-cropFor decades, scientists have noticed a disturbing trend in much of the produce we eat. Over time, the nutritional value of produce has been decreasing. There are fewer vitamins and minerals in the fruits and vegetables we eat. Much of this trend has been explained by soil depletion; modern farming methods are stripping soil of nutrients.

However, soil depletion isn’t the only variable changing the nutritional quality of produce; scientists have discovered that the rising CO2 levels associated with climate change are going to have a large impact.

On one hand, higher levels of CO2 are likely to have a positive impact on the quantity of crops produced. Plants will find it easier to extract CO2 from the air to make carbohydrates. Scientists also believe that less water will be needed for crops grown in a high CO2 environment.

But it’s not all good news.

For this latest study, researchers compared crops grown in normal and enriched CO2 environments over the course of six growth years in Japan, Australia and the United States. Though the current CO2 levels are 400 parts per million, studied crops were grown at the 546 – 586 parts per million level expected within four to six decades. The impact of these levels was examined on wheat, rice, peas, soybeans, corn and sorghum.

With the exception of corn and sorghum, significant drops in zinc, iron and protein were found. The largest of these drops was a 9.3% decrease in the zinc and iron levels in wheat. With certainty, scientists were able to conclude that crops are losing nutrients as CO2 levels go up.

What’s the big deal?

According to researchers, some two billion people live in countries where more than 60 percent of their zinc and iron come from crops likely to be impacted by rising CO2 levels. Already in 2014, deficiencies of these nutrients cause an annual loss of 63 million life years. With nutrient levels dropping in crops due to CO2, that number is likely to increase.

While much of the focus around climate change has been on drought, increasing temperatures and rising sea levels, the impact of CO2 on crops is not to be ignored.

Here’s The New Nutrition Label: 5 Things That Are Different.

FDAProposed-Label-Whats-the-Difference-380The food packaging labels are about to get their first face lift in 20 years, thanks to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The changes, announced in a press conference with Michelle Obama, reflect that latest data and scientific findings on nutrition and the links between diet and various diseases.

At first glance, the new labels look quite familiar. But there are a few changes worth noting.

  1. Serving sizes updated to reflect the amount of food people actually eat. Previously, clever marketers could make foods appear healthier by decreasing the serving size. A big of chips, for example, could list the serving as only 11 chips. In reality, most people eat much more. By law, serving sizes will now be based on what people actually eat.
  2. Added sugars listed. Most of us eat way too much sugar, so it’s important to know if sugar has been added to the foods we eat. Though some sugars occur naturally in our foods (for example, the raisins in your cereal), you’ll now know if a manufacturer has added additional sugar. Previously, concerned consumers would need to decipher the ingredients to know if sugar had been added. And with more than 45 names for sugar, this could prove difficult.
  3. Emphasis on calories. Because extra calories turn into extra fat, it’s an important number to track. As such, the FDA has increased the type size for the calories per serving. When you pick up a package of food, it’ll be a difficult number to ignore.
  4. Updated daily values come first. First, the daily values have been updated to reflect the latest nutrition data. Second, those daily values have moved from the left hand column to the right for added emphasis and easier reading.
  5. Changes to nutrients. At the bottom of the nutrition information, the required listings of nutrients has changed to reflect deficiencies in the population. Vitamins A and C are no longer required, but potassium and Vitamin D are mandatory. In addition to the daily value for these nutrients, manufacturers must also list the actual amounts of those nutrients in the food.

Do you welcome these changes? Anything you’d like to see done differently? Let me know in the comments below.

Is Honey Healthier Than Sugar?

honey-41I get a lot of emails asking about honey and whether or not it’s nutritionally superior to table sugar. So, let’s take a look.

First things first, honey is natural. Table sugar, on the other hand, is heavily refined. But just because something is natural doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s good for you. Lard is natural. Dog poop is natural. Snake venom is natural. I wouldn’t recommend eating any of them. Natural isn’t a synonym for healthy.

Honey is sweeter than table sugar, so less is needed to achieve the same level of sweetness. However, honey also contains more calories – so when it comes to sweetness per calorie, honey and table sugar are pretty similar. It is worth noting that, unlike table sugar, honey does contain some nutrients like vitamin B2, vitamin c, calcium, zinc, potassium, etc. But these vitamins and minerals occur at just trace levels and won’t do much to help meet government guidelines.

There’s also some science on the subject. One study found that honey may be beneficial in reducing glucose intolerance. In a separate study, researchers found that honey can help lower the body’s glucose levels when compared to dextrose and sucrose. On the flip side, honey is 40% fructose – and there are numerous studies linking fructose to various ailments and diseases.

Before your head starts to spin, let’s keep things simple. Table sugar isn’t good for you. And even though honey might be slightly better, it’s still a very unhealthy food choice. It’s like asking which is better: A head-on collision at 55 mph or 50 mph? While 50 mph is slightly better, neither collisions is advisable. And so is the case with sugar and honey.

If you really want to eat something healthy, go munch on some broccoli.

P.S. Keeping in mind that honey is calorie dense and packed with carbohydrates, it can be a good source of energy if you’re engaged in some sort of endurance activity – like a long kayak ride or hike. In that case, go for it! But in everyday life, most of us are getting way too much sugar and far too many calories.

You Are What You Eat, So…

you-are-what-you-eat-so-dont-be-fast-cheap-easy-or-fakeYou’ve probably heard the expression, “You are what you eat.” And quite literally, it’s true. The food that we consume is used to build our bodies; each of the 75 trillion cells in your body is made from stuff that you once ate. It’s pretty crazy if you think about it.

Today, I heard a great variation on that old quote:

You are what you eat, so don’t be fast, cheap or fake.

It’s funny. But it’s also true.

I’ve mentioned that I exercise because I’m passionate about life. If you’re passionate about life, you want to keep the vehicle through which you experience life (i.e., your body) tuned up in good working condition. I want to have the best, most amazing experience possible on this planet – and working out helps ensure that goal by minimizing disease risk, extending longevity and giving me the strength and energy to do everything that I want to do.

I feel the same way about food; nutrition is really the other side of the equation. And truly, nutrition is just as important as exercise. Some might argue it’s even more important. Any benefits from exercise can be quickly undone with a diet of ice cream, cookies and fried foods.

When I spend time preparing dinner for myself – even when I’m eating alone – it never feels like a chore. In some ways, it feels like an expression of gratitude. It’s a way to thank and reward my body for all that it does, and it’s a way to thank the universe by honoring the life it has given me. I feel more connected with the source or the universe or God (or whatever label you might use) while cooking than I have ever felt in any church or at any shrine.

There is no one in the world more deserving of your time and attention than yourself. This isn’t selfish, because as you invest in yourself, you’ll have so much more to give to others. When you’re the best version of yourself, you’ll light up the world with your greatness and lift up everyone around you.

P.S. I will add that cooking healthy is probably faster and cheaper than most people think. Sure, it might not be as efficient as a drive-thru at McDonald’s, but there are plenty of ways to cook healthy on a budget and with a tight schedule.

 

 

7 Surprisingly Unhealthy Foods!

14251284-trail-mixThere are tons of healthy and delicious foods. And then there tons of delicious foods that sound healthy – but aren’t.

Here are seven of those surprisingly unhealthy foods:

  1. Apple juice. It has the word apple in it – so it must be healthy… right? Wrong. In fact, fruit juice is only slightly healthier than soda and extremely calorie dense. A half cup of apple juice, for example, has as many calories as an entire apple – but it’s totally devoid of the fiber that makes the apple healthy and filling.
  2. Multigrain bread. Multigrain bread simply means that it’s made with multiple types of grains – some or all of which may be refined. What you want to look for is bread made from whole grains. If the word “whole” isn’t listed before the grains, don’t buy it.
  3. Vegetable chips. You’ve probably seen veggie chips in the supermarket. Though they sound healthy, they’re really just the same as potato chips. If you want something healthy with a snap, opt for carrot sticks.
  4. Trail mix. Most trail mixes are made with salted nuts, dried fruit and candies. Unsalted nuts are totally healthy. Salted nuts, on the other hand, are not so great. And dried fruits should be eaten sparingly; they tend to be very calorie dense. Because dried fruits are so small, we eat a lot of them – but they have just as many calories as their fresh counterparts. Moreover, sugar is often added to dried fruit. The chocolates and candies added to trail mix make things go from bad to worse.
  5. Energy bars. Unless you’re on a hike or engaged in a high endurance activity, most energy bars aren’t a smart choice. Just take a look at the ingredients; the first ingredient is almost always some form of sugar (or sugar disguised as “brown rice syrup” or “agave”).
  6. Smoothies. Just because a drink is called a smoothie doesn’t mean it’s healthy. On a recent trip to Melbourne, Australia, I drank a so-called “smoothie” made with whole milk and ice cream. For a healthy smoothie, only order real fruit smoothies made with a base of unsweetened almond milk. It will minimize sugar and calories and maximize the good stuff.
  7. Muffins. Yup, even bran muffins. Most muffins are made with tons of sugar and butter, though there are healthier options available if you’re willing to look. The other problem with muffins is that many of them are HUGE – and can pack upwards of 800 calories.

The bottom line is that it’s important to look before you eat. Read the nutrition information. Scan the ingredients. It’s really the only way to get the full story on the foods you eat.

Were you surprised by any of the foods listed above? Let me know in the comments below. And if you know of any other surprisingly unhealthy foods, share them with us!