If there’s one thing that doesn’t come and go like fad dieting it’s how the body functions and metabolizes nutrients. Everyone is different but ultimately preparation, timing, and taking actions are a few variables that shouldn’t vary too much. How would you like to separate fad from tradition, myth from truth and begin implementing the best dieting and nutritional strategies today?

Fad from Tradition: Fire Up Your Diet

Dieting refers to your daily eating habits. These habits consist of when you eat, what types of foods you eat and how you eat them. This principle applies to everyone whether you are looking to build muscle, lose weight or become more athletic overall. These simple yet effective tips could be holding you back from reaching your full potential. 

What and When to Eat

Let’s go ahead and establish a solid nutrition foundation. This combines tips for fueling your body throughout the day, refueling from your workouts and optimizing the full functionality of your body. This is only as simple or as complicated as we make it. In this part 1 of 3 articles, we’ll cover protein and carbohydrate consumption and implement the nutrient timing technique for an even greater effect. 

…But before we talk protein, read: Protein Tips for Building & Shredding Your Body to get a better understanding of how protein works. This will help you better understand how to benefit from the tips below.

Protein is Prime

When I think of Greece, I think of the well-chiseled greek gods and goddesses prominent in modern mythology. The term protein derives from the Greek word “protos” meaning first. In short, proteins are essential elements for growth, functionality and repair. 

Coincidentally, protein for breakfast is the ideal solution for building lean muscle while burning body fat. Every time you consume protein your metabolism increases by about 20%, which is ideal because this increase works in harmony with your natural metabolic rates in the morning. 

Density is counterproductive when it comes to protein consumption. Ideally, you want your body to absorb and utilize virtually every macro-molecule of protein right? Instead of consuming large amounts of protein throughout your day, whether in the morning, before, during or after workouts the ideal number is at least 20 grams of protein every 3 hours. This starts from the time you wake up to the time your head hits the pillow.

The higher your metabolic rate, the more calories you should eat. These calories are a ratio and combination of protein, carbs, fiber, healthy fats and fatty acids.

Catapulting Carbohydrates

Uniquely enough, researchers from the National Center for Biotechnology Information have been studying an enzyme in the pancreas and liver known as glucokinase and its impacts on the appetite. When glucokinase is activated it assembles carbohydrate cravings or more commonly known as the “sweet tooth syndrome.” Carb cravings are more than psychological because the brain can become reliant on glucose so much so that it will make you crave it. 

Fasting, fad dieting and similar activities have been shown to increase the activity of glucokinase. Even for those of you who are on no-sugar or low carb diets, your body will generate its own glucose through a process called gluconeogenesis. 

When your brain needs glucose it will virtually drop the importance of everything until this need is fulfilled. People with low blood sugar feel heightened impacts of this symptom. Justifiably, sugar is known for settling into the blood stream much faster, occasionally piggy-backing preferential nutrients along with it.

Although taking protein in the morning is essential for experiencing the best benefits it’s better to find foods that are rich in both protein and carbohydrates. However, when it comes to carbohydrates, consuming complex carbohydrates are crucial, according to Harvard Health;

The healthiest sources of carbohydrates – unprocessed or minimally processed whole grains, vegetables, fruits and beans – promote good health by delivering vitamins, minerals, fiber, and a host of important phytonutrients.

Unhealthier sources of carbohydrates include white bread, pastries, sodas, and other highly processed or refined foods. These items contain easily digested carbohydrates that may contribute to weight gain, interfere with weight loss, and promote diabetes and heart disease.

How to Eat Them

As a teenaged athlete with a high metabolism and raging hormones I would often overlook this method while stuffing my face with anything consumable. Not only does good food taste better when you eat slower and “savor the flavor,” as my father always told me, but eating slower actually increases the thermic effects of food or TEF. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition defines TEF as the increase in metabolic rates after eating. Their studies are strong in recording energy expenditure while eating but lack evidence for including the rate we eat at.

Nevertheless, energy expenditure and eating pace share a common interest, meaning the longer your meals are and the slower you chew the more calories you will burn. This energy expenditure is related to increased blood flow to the digestive system and all the organs responsible for proper digestion. Your eating pace does not affect your energy intake but researchers, from the National Institute of Health, have found a trend among inadequate chewing linked with obesity.

If losing fat is one of your goals then consider the outcomes of eating when you’re bored, tired, stressed, angry or depressed. Make sure you thoroughly chew your food before loading more into your mouth as this will help you burn more calories.

The Overall Daily Nutrition Plan

Break the fast because breakfast is important. Although your mind and body are dormant during sleep you will still wake up hungry. As I stated earlier, fasting increases unnecessary sugar cravings and the best way to combat these cravings are to consume protein, furthermore combine protein and carbs for the ultimate breakfast. Our genetic code realizes that sugar is quickly absorbed into the blood stream and when our body goes into starvation mode; our brain sends signals throughout the body and the sugar crave takes over. 

Tip #1 – Breakfast Secrets:

This is a Protein and Carbohydrate Compound. Half protein shake blended with ice, and all or one of the following 3 – spinach, kelp and/ or kale. These cabbage and seaweed family superfoods are great complex carbs and provide an excellent source of plant based protein. Complex carbs are easily digestible and keep you feeling energized for longer periods of time. Protein shakes are not the best method for consuming protein but certainly the quickest. If you have time to cook, then go ahead and make a few egg whites and include the same veggies. To further combat the carb cravings add a fresh fruit of your choice.

Building muscle and burning fat work in harmony with each other. Don’t aim for one without the other. Apply these tips today, take a few notes then acknowledge how you feel tomorrow.

10 Nutrition F.A.Q.S Answered: 

When should I eat protein to build muscle? How often should I eat protein to gain muscle?
Should I eat carbs or protein first? What to eat for more energy in the morning?
Why am I so hungry in the morning? What are some secrets to burning more calories and fat?
What’s the best breakfast to eat and why? What are the best dieting habits to adopt?
How to not feel hungry all the time? What are the best sources of complex carbohydrates?