Should You Count the Caloric Value of Fiber?

Should You Count the Caloric Value of Fiber?

Question:

I’ve had my body fat tested via Dexascan and my metabolism calculated via a breathing test. The determination was that I should be consuming no more than 2,103 calories and no fewer than 1,700 calories daily.

I prefer to eat only 1,700 calories whenever possible — and work out (weights & cardio) a few days each week in order to create an even greater deficit. It’s my understanding that, for me, eating fewer than 1,700 calories daily can result in a “starvation response” whereby I’ll actually retain fat instead of burning it.

My Question: Since fiber isn’t used for energy or stored — but is counted as a carb worth 4 calories/gram on nutritional labels and calorie-tracking apps — should I deduct from my daily totals the caloric value of the fiber I eat in order to stay out of “starvation mode”?

For example, say I’ve eaten 1,700 calories today, but that included 35g of fiber, which equals 140 calories. That dips my actual daily calories roughly 10% — to 1,560 — and into the starvation-mode territory. Should I compensate for those “missing” fiber calories with more food, or is my logic flawed and fiber actually DOES count toward my macros/calories?

– Darin S.

Answer:

Great question, Darin! Fibers are non-digestible carbohydrates from plant sources that may be fermented in the large intestine. Considered a subset of the total carbohydrate, dietary fiber is listed under carbohydrates on a Nutrition Facts panel. It includes both soluble and insoluble fiber, as well as lignin, whether naturally occurring or added.

Yes, since fiber is not digested (thus not used for energy or stored), it’s known to have less than the 4 calories per gram than other carbohydrates do. In fact, certain fibers offer almost 0 calories, while others provide only a smidge of energy after their fermentation by colonic bacteria. The Food and Drug Administration estimates that fermentable fibers provide about 2 calories per gram. Manufacturers may subtract the insoluble fibers when calculating energy, but not soluble fiber grams. Half of your stated 140 calories calculated from the fiber may already have been considered on food labels, leaving only 70 calories or 4% of your daily target of 1,700.

My recommendation would be to not compensate for any “missing” fiber calories, as people, in general, tend to under-report food intake when tracking and diet analysis calculations are already inaccurate by 10%. Maintain your protein intake when restricting calories and I’d suggest bumping your pre- or post-exercise nutrition up by 100 calories on your workout days.

Rather than focus on fiber in calorie-counting accuracy, readers should instead focus on getting the recommended amount of fiber each day, which has recently increased. As of 2016, the FDA the daily reference value of fiber was raised from 25 grams to 28 grams.

Resource

  1. Carbohydrate Issues: Type and Amount. ML Wheeler and FX Pi-Sunyer. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, April 2008; Suppl 1, 108(4): s34-39.

– 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.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

Ask our Dietitian

Have a nutrition question? Our registered dietitian is ready to help!

Email nutrition@lafitness.com or submit your question below and it may be featured in an upcoming article!

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What to Do When You Feel Like Quitting – Podcast Ep. 9

What to Do When You Feel Like Quitting – Podcast Ep. 9


Welcome to the ninth episode of the Living Healthy podcast, presented by LA Fitness.

On this episode of Living Healthy, we speak with Master Trainer Geoff Fox and get his advice on persevering through difficult times. 

Do you have an LA Fitness member in mind that you would like to recommend for a Member Spotlight episode of our podcast? Share them with us in the comments below!

Let us know how we’re doing by tweeting us @LAFitness or send us an email at blog@fitnessintl.com.

This podcast 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.

Timecard Markers – What to Do When You Feel Like Quitting – Podcast Ep. 9

Introduction 

0:01 

Show Begins 

0:20 

Master Trainer, Geoff Fox Joins the Show 

Begins at 1:38 

Why Do We Quit? 

Begins at 1:51 

Biggest Culprit Leading People to Quit 

Begins at 2:39 

Plateaus  

Begins at 3:26 

Learning to Move Forward 

Begins at 6:54 

Working Out with Others 

Begins at 11:07 

Changing Your Thinking  

Begins at 13:05 

Embrace the Struggle  

Begins at 16:38 

Ask a Trainer Throwback Break 

Begins at 19:39 

Actionable Advice  

Begins at 21:28 


Recommended Podcast Episodes 

AAT: Ep. 29 – What Exercises Do You Recommend for Weight Loss with Knee Issues?

AAT: Ep. 29 – What Exercises Do You Recommend for Weight Loss with Knee Issues?

Ask A Trainer: Featured Question of the Week

LA Fitness Pro Results® Master Trainer, Stone T., gives his expert advice on which exercises are best recommended for those with knee issues.


Do you have a fitness question? Ask one of our certified Pro Results® trainers here! Your question may be featured in an upcoming Ask Our Trainer video.**

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**Selected submissions will be featured on the LA Fitness blog and possibly other LA Fitness digital media entities & websites. By making a submission, you hereby grant LA Fitness a non-exclusive, perpetual, worldwide, irrevocable license to use and make copies of the contents of such submission for any purpose and in any medium whatsoever, and you hereby waive and relinquish any copyright or other intellectual property right you may have in the contents of such submission and your right to pursue any claim for LA Fitness’s violation of those intellectual property rights.


Recommended 'Ask A Trainer' Videos

Sweet Potatoes as Good Sources of Energy? Fact or Fiction

Sweet Potatoes as Good Sources of Energy? Fact or Fiction

Question:

I have a question on sweet potatoes. Someone told me that eating one sweet potato before a workout is a great source of energy and it does not contain any bad cholesterol. What is your take on this?

– Nick C.

Answer:

Sweet potatoes are a great source of energy! They are full of complex carbohydrates (25 grams = 100 calories) for lasting fuel with a little protein (approx. 2 grams per cup). Sweet potatoes do not contain any cholesterol or saturated fat. They have a good fiber content, providing 4 grams per medium potato, which is beneficial for watching your cholesterol.

They are so easy to microwave and eat with a spoon right from the peel when sliced length-wise. No condiments needed! Kept cold, chunks of cooked sweet potato can be dressed up to make savory or sweet. Avoid fried sweet potato pre-workout as you don’t need the added fat slogging you down and hampering performance.

Resource:

  1. What’s to Know About Sweet Potatoes? Megan Ware. Medical News Today, Sept 2017. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/281438.php

– 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.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

Ask our Dietitian

Have a nutrition question? Our registered dietitian is ready to help!

Email nutrition@lafitness.com or submit your question below and it may be featured in an upcoming article!

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Recommended Reading - Q+A

The 5 Types of Yoga You Have to Try: Let’s Take a Mindful Minute

The 5 Types of Yoga You Have to Try: Let’s Take a Mindful Minute

“Yoga takes you into the present moment, the only place where life exists.” – Anonymous

For a complete body, mind, and soul transformation, Yoga is all-inclusive. This healthy lifestyle workout both strengthens and brings relaxation to your overall body. Having originated approximately 5,000 years ago in India, this age-old practice continues strong today.

Some describe Yoga as a science, while others praise it as a way to combine the physical realm with the spiritual realm. Whichever way you choose to see it, one thing is certain: Yoga is here to stay.

But, what is Yoga exactly?

According to the Art of Living, Yoga is all about “harmonizing the body with the mind and breath through the means of various breathing exercises, yoga poses (asanas) and meditation.”1

If you’re new to this form of fitness, don’t be intimidated – the necessities needed for Yoga are pretty basic.

Here are a few tips for the new Yogis out there:
  1. When it comes to clothing, body-fitting, comfortable clothing works well.
  2. Yoga requires a lot of fluid body movements, so try to wear clothing that doesn’t constrict you in any way. Women typically opt for leggings and a somewhat form-fitting top, while men usually wear shorts, however loose pants work just as well.
  3. No shoes or socks are required for classes.
  4. As for a Yoga mat, LA Fitness offers complimentary mats for members to use during yoga. If you prefer to bring in your own, that is perfectly fine too!

The Health Benefits of Yoga

The health benefits of Yoga are astounding. Research has proven that Yoga can help reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety, aid in improvement of chronic back pain, help lower blood sugar and speed nerve impulses in those suffering from diabetes, boost energy, mood, have positive effects on those battling obesity, heart disease and cancer – amongst many others.2 It’s amazing how such a gentle workout approach can be so beneficial to our bodies.

Below is a list of five different styles of Yoga that are an absolute must-try for Yoga enthusiasts.

1. Bikram Yoga For Healing

Bikram Yoga is a form of Yoga that involves repeating the same set of 26 poses in set cycles over a 90-minute time frame. As taken from the official Bikram Yoga site, this style is meant to “work every part of the body, to give all the internal organs, all the veins, all the ligaments, and all the muscles everything they need to maintain optimum health and maximum function.”3 Bikram style yoga is often grouped together with hot yoga, due to the fact that these classes take place in a hot room, either at or above body temperature.

2. Yin Yoga For Relaxation

Imagine Yin Yoga as a slower-paced version of basic yoga. Now before you think this sounds boring, it’s actually quite challenging, while still bringing relaxation to your body. Yin Yoga requires its students to hold postures, or asanas, for longer periods of time. This is supposed to target the deeper tissues of the body rather than the superficial tissues alone. It’s not uncommon for poses to be held 3 to 5 minutes at a time, sometimes even as long as 20 minutes. The poses for this style yoga are similar in form to one meditating.

3. Iyengar Yoga For Strength and Stamina

Iyengar Yoga is a form of Hatha yoga that was developed by Yoga Master B.K.S. Iyengar. It corrects alignment of all parts of the body and establishes a sense of well-being. The precision of each pose assists in building strength, stamina, balance, and flexibility. If you’re a fan of varied exercise, this style may be for you, given that no routine is ever exactly the same. This method is all about developing better attention to detail.

4. Bhakti Yoga For Love

This yoga practice may be for love, but not in the traditional romantic way we may first come to think of. Bhakti is one of the major six branches of yoga, which focuses on cultivating a love and devotion toward a personal god. Bhakti Yoga is also known as the path to self-realization. It’s a form of yoga that is recommended for those who feel they are in touch with their emotions. It’s the path of the heart and devotion. The ultimate goal of practicing Bhakti Yoga is to reach a state of pure bliss.

5. Ashtanga or Power Yoga For Weight Loss

Astanga Yoga is a type of yoga is based on eight principles: Yama (moral codes), Niyama (self-purification and study), Asana (posture), Pranayama (breath control), Pratyahara (sense control), Dharana (concentration), Dhyana (meditation), and Samadhi (absorption into the Universal). Power Yoga is an offshoot of Astanga Yoga, which uses the same poses, just sped up! If you’re looking for an intense workout that will leave you feeling good and full of sweat, you may want to give this style a try.

LA Fitness + Yoga

Feeling inspired to get your Yoga fitness on? LA Fitness has you covered. Find a Yoga class at a location near you by clicking, here. And for those of you seeking a different take on traditional yoga, consider trying out Yogabeat® and watch yourself dance gracefully throughout a series of varying poses while burning off those pesky calories.

In honor of National Yoga Month, invite a friend to join you to try out an LA Fitness Yoga class by sending them a guest pass here!

Sources: 

  1. “Yoga.” Art of Living (Global), www.artofliving.org/us-en/yoga.
  2. Link, Rachael. “13 Benefits of Yoga That Are Supported by Science.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 2017, www.healthline.com/nutrition/13-benefits-of-yoga.
  3. “Home.” Bikram Yoga®, www.bikramyoga.com/.

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