Vegan Meal Planning Answered | Q+A

Vegan Meal Planning Answered | Q+A

Question:

Do you have any advice on vegan meal planning for someone trying to gain weight by working out and lifting, and no cardio?

– Dalila M.

Answer:

Vegan guidelines for athletes work for building mass, too. Be sure to keep your calories up and pay attention to your pre-workout snack and recovery nutrition. See our articles Fuel your Workouts to Maximize Your Results and  Eat Like This to Help Maximize your Recovery and Results for tips on eating to support your workouts.

You can consume 1.4-2.0 gm protein per kilogram body weight (recommended by the International Society of Sports Nutrition) from a diet rich in soy, beans, lentils, grains, nuts, vegetables and complemented by vegan protein powders.

While hundreds of vegan meal planning websites exist, look for those with .edu or .org extensions for advice without product sales. I like the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine’s “21-Day Vegan Kickstart” with complete recipes and the Vegetarian Resource Group’s articles for athletes and teens on topics like vegan weightlifting and gaining weight.

For more personalized meal planning, consider seeking assistance from a registered dietitian nutritionist. You can find one at http://www.eatright.org/find-an-expert.

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

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Testosterone & Diet: How Do They Relate? | Q+A

Testosterone & Diet: How Do They Relate? | Q+A

Question:

I just turned 65, no health issues at all. I read and hear a lot about ways to produce testosterone. What is truly the best way for a man my age to eat or drink the right stuff to produce testosterone so I can once again regain my physique?

– Butch

Answer:

You’re on the right track when you suggest that diet can affect declining testosterone levels as men age, but other factors have more effect. These factors include weight, activity, sleep, stress, and medications. If your doctor finds you to have low testosterone levels, he/she may prescribe drugs or prohormones (like DHEA).

For diet, the components to focus on are:

Limit added sugar from your diet. (High insulin levels are linked to low testosterone.) Eliminate obvious sources (desserts, syrup, sodas) and replace refined sugars with whole fruit for sweetening, such as raisins on oatmeal instead of brown sugar.

Eat healthy fats. Include olives and olive oil, avocados, nuts, seeds, coconut and coconut oil, palm oil, salmon and grass-fed beef in your diet.

Supplement with Vitamin D if you are deficient.* Good food sources include tuna, salmon, Vitamin D-fortified milk, whole eggs, beef liver, and beans.

Supplement with Zinc if you are deficient.* Good food sources include oysters, crab, lobster, lean beef, beans, and yogurt or kefir made from raw milk.

* Your physician can test your Vitamin D (25-hydroxyvitamin D) and zinc levels.

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

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Energy Drinks: Are They Really That Bad For You? | Q+A

Energy Drinks: Are They Really That Bad For You? | Q+A

Question:

I feel like I should probably ignore the calories in energy drinks and focus on all the chemicals in them that I can’t pronounce on the can. Are these drinks okay or should I avoid them? I feel like you’re going to say I should stick to water.

– Andrew G.

Answer:

The calories from energy drinks almost always are from sugar, so you should be aware of that. The size of the drink matters greatly, as a 2 fl oz shot may have under 50 calories while a big 20 fl oz can may have 280 calories total (even though it says 120 calories per serving).

So on to the ingredients… The main stimulants are caffeine, guarana, and taurine. These serve to excite the central nervous system and have side effects including agitation, irritability, nervousness, restlessness, hyperactivity, insomnia, anxiety, increased blood pressure, increased heart rate and possible dehydration. Of course one’s response to these compounds depends on the dose and the person’s unique biochemistry. Another common ingredient is glucuronolactone which may have minimal effect on energy but is thought to fight fatigue and promote a sense of well-being. The typical dose of glucuronolactone in energy drinks is generally considered safe. Ginseng is often found in energy drinks and is also generally considered safe.

Nothing hydrates like water! But a cup or two of coffee is fine. If you feel that you need more “lift” from an energy drink – reader beware. Your tolerance of any particular energy drink can only be predicted by your body mass, previous experience and trial-and-error. Not the best way to go about it. Here are some guidelines to look for on energy drink labels.

 

  • Caffeine – limit daily consumption to 400 mg for healthy adults to avoid side effects, per U.S. FDA. For adolescents over 13 years, Health Canada advises that daily caffeine intake be no more than 2.5 mg per kg of body weight. The NCAA limits caffeine intake and tests caffeine levels in urine for collegiate athletes.
  • Guarana (contains caffeine & other stimulants) – up to 200 mg probably tolerated
  • Taurine – limit daily intake to 3000 mg to avoid cardiovascular effects

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

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What Are Macronutrients? | Q+A

What Are Macronutrients? | Q+A

Question:

I am confused about macro nutrients.  Can you clarify what this means and how I can use this to help lean out? Please help me understand what macro nutrients are and how it can help me lean down.

– Marlyn L.

Answer:

Macronutrients are simply the classes of nutrients needed in large amounts, which includes carbohydrate, fat and protein. These provide energy in the form of calories (carb and protein 4 cals/gm, fat 9 cals/gm). Alcohol – not a nutrient – is the other food molecule that has calories (7 cals/gm). While the remaining 3 essential nutrients – water, vitamins and minerals – have zero calories.

Your current diet includes all 3 macronutrients. To say “use macronutrients” to help you lean out, seems to imply a structured ratio of the three. I will speak to this below, but first let me say that the overwhelming body of evidence regarding weight loss diets show that it’s a moderate restriction of calories, regardless of method, that achieves long-term weight loss.

What should your MACRONUTRIENTS intake be?

Each person’s effective macronutrient distribution for leaning out may be different. Are the changes required to meet a desired ratio sustainable for your lifestyle? How different is the proportion of macronutrients from what you’re currently eating? The US Dietary Guidelines recommend 10-30% calories from protein, 25-35% calories from fat and 45-65% calories from carbohydrate for healthy adults. You could reach your goals with 10% protein, 35% fat and 55% carbohydrate as easily as you might with 30% protein, 25% fat and 45% carbohydrate, assuming your activity level and energy intake are appropriate.

If you do decide to adhere to set percentages from each macronutrient, the act of tracking and analyzing your intake to determine your balance may be a major promotor of dietary change, thus caloric intake and weight loss. See our previous article: Keep a Food Diary, Log or Journal and Lose Weight Faster.

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

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Meal Planning for Adolescents | Q+A

Meal Planning for Adolescents | Q+A

Question:

Hi. I’m a teacher in the city and for an upcoming “project” I want my 7th grade students to create a healthy eating plan. I’m into fitness and eating healthy and want my students to learn about it. Seeing a kid eat a bag of Doritos for breakfast drives me nuts haha. I follow my own eating plan based on my weight and lifting 6 days a week. Mine focuses on the amount of protein, carbs, calories, and fat I consume based on my weight. I consume .5 g of fat per lb. of my body fat, 17 calories per lb., .5 g of carbs per lb., and 1.5 g protein per lb. I want something similar to use with my 7th grade students based on what they should do per lb. if they are not active, moderately active, and very active. I want them to be able to do math based on this so don’t want to use one of the calculators they have online. Would you have any ideas or recommendations for this?

– Drew

Answer:

Hello Drew, the recommendation is to use a range of nutrient values, especially for adolescents, as there is not one “ideal.” Here are the nutrients you identified and the general goals for youth in the age range of 7th grade for sustaining a healthy body weight*.

Calories for 11-14 y.o. – sedentary 1600-2000 calories, moderately active 1800-2400 calories, active 2000-2800 calories. Girls at lower end of ranges, boys at upper end.

Fat – 25-35% of calories

Carbohydrate grams – 130 grams minimum, 1.4-2.3 gm/lb very light intensity training, 2.5-3.6 gm/lb moderate or heavy training. (45-65% calories)

Protein grams – base need 0.5 gm/lb, 0.5-0.7 gm/lb early training, [DJ3] 0.6-0.7 gm/lb endurance sports or restricting calories. (10-30% calories)

Target nutrient values are only meaningful if there is a way to measure intake against them.  Otherwise, “X  grams” is meaningless. A nutrition analysis program or tables (e.g. USDA Food Composition Database https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/) to determine each and every food can be cumbersome.  It would be more practical to have students create a plan using known food group serving values. Standardized exchanges for meal planning have the following basic nutrient values:

·         Vegetables – 25 calories, 0 gm Fat, 5 gm carbohydrate, 2-3 gm protein

·         Fruit – 60 calories, 0 gm Fat, 15 gm carbohydrate, 1 gm protein

·         Non-Fat or Low Fat Cow’s Milk/Yogurt – 90-110 calories, 0-3 gm fat, 12 gm carbohydrate, 8 gm protein

·         Reduced Fat or Regular Cow’s Milk/Yogurt – 120-150 calories, 5-8 gm fat, 12 gm carbohydrate, 8 gm protein

·         Very Lean or Lean Protein – 35-55 calories, 1-3 gm fat, 0 carbohydrate, 7 gm protein

·         Regular Protein – 75 calories, 5 gm fat, 0 carbohydrate, 7 gm protein

·         Starches – 80 calories, 0 gm Fat, 15 gm carbohydrate, 2 gm protein

·         Beans (1/2 cup) – 100 calories, 0 gm fat, 20 gm carbohydrate, 8 gm protein

·         Nuts/Seeds (1 oz) – 150 calories, 10-15 gm fat, 4 gm carbohydrate, 3-6 gm protein

·         Fat – 45 calories, 5 gm fat, 0 gm carbohydrate, 0-1 gm protein

Serving sizes and descriptions can be found at https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/eat/fd_exch.htm.

For example, the target of 2200 calories, 50 gm fat, 275 gm carbohydrate and 100 gm protein,  could be met with 5 vegetables, 3 fruit, 2 low fat milk/yogurt, 1 regular milk/yogurt, 3 lean protein, 3 regular protein, 8 starches, 2 beans, 2 nuts/seeds, and 3 fat, with calorie distribution of 25% fat, 52% carbohydrate and 23% protein. For an extra credit exercise, you can have students check my work!

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Sources:

*from the 2003 Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommendations for young athletes; Dietary Reference Intakes: The Essential Guide to Nutrient Requirements (2006); 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans

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