10 Good and Random Reasons to Watch The Hobbit Part 3

  1. Battles
  2. Caribou (No not the coffee)
  3. Hobbits
  4. Comedy
  5. Peter Jackson
  6. Understanding Mathematical Ratios
  7. Elves
  8. Evangeline
  10. A good drink or smoke goes a long way


Why these random 10 things?

  1. Battles
    • Every LOTR, sci-fi, or action seeking person enjoys good battle scenes.  There are plenty of awesome battle scenes and some with higher powers (Wizards, Elven Lords, and the Nazgul oh my!!!)   
  2. Caribou (No not the coffee)
    • After watching the original LOTR trilogy I really wanted a horse, in particular Shadowfax.  Now I want an upgrade to perhaps a Caribou (not the coffee, although I do have a free reward right now), or Id settle for a Ram or Eagle
  3. Hobbits 
    • Hobbits are great because they demonstrate many high quality characteristics like courage, friendship, etc. and represent the metaphor that you don’t have to be the biggest, smartest, strongest, or best in your areas in life (work, sports, family, etc.) to be a big contributor despite your weaknesses
  4. Comedy 
    • As always there are a handful of well placed comical scenes that loosen up a serious movie making it enjoyable even for those of you who aren’t #LOTRNerds
  5. Peter Jackson 
    • Peter Jackson the director doesn’t a brilliant job of wrapping up the Hobbit leading into the LOTR trilogy and utilizes parts of the histories of LOTR that only those who have read the Silmarillion would understand (making the great differences from the book acceptable to some hardcore LOTR fanatics).  The music, cinematography, acting, and writing was all brilliant (but that’s not new to these movies)
  6. Understanding Mathematical Ratios 
    • whether its 2 dwarfs vs. 100 orcs, or 3 vs. 9 in the all-star battle the good guy always wins.  In Vegas pick the good guys despite the spread
  7. Elves (Many sports references beware) 
    • If you know me, I love the elves, and Legolas is a “Bad Man” to quote Stephen A. Smith from ESPN.  Legolas continues to display agility that I never was able to obtain from my countless hours during off-season training for football.  And yes, gear, the elves looked sick.  Despite very cool battle gear the elves win my #OregonDuck award for best uniforms in the movie with their gold plated amour.
  8. Evanagaline 
    • Ok I have a confession to make I have a crush on Evangaline Lilly (Oh wait so does every other guy (and some girls) on planet earth.  Not only is she beautiful, she is a great actress, and she is well-beautiful (ok so I can’t really critique her acting because I’m bias).  Id become a castaway #Lost, an elf, a hobbit, or even a dwarf to become her lofty wedded husband….
    • Part of every good movie is having quotes that can, well, be quoted by others.  As always there were funny quotes and meaningful quotes during this movie with my favorite being “Why does it hurt so much?.  Because it was real”
  10. A good drink or smoke goes a long way
    • Gandalf always seems to have time for a smoke.  With everything in life you need to take time to relax which is why I wrote this post instead of an exercise or healthy food post because stress is in everyone’s life.  I really wanted a sip of that Elvin wine too being a foodie and beverage conqueror (Warning I do not advocate smoking or drinking, you can choose other stress releases like exercise) but in all seriousness don’t be Type A all the time and enjoy life with those around you  

Why I am qualified to write on The Hobbit Part 3

I have an unofficial degree in Lord of the Rings literature.  As a middle-school aged kid I went through the fantasy phase including reading (some multiple times) many books including the Lord of the Rings series (3x) all along with the history behind #LOTR in the Silmarillion Book of Lost Tales Part 1 and Part 2.  Therefore with watching the movies many times, I have almost as much, if not more, expertise in the LOTR than everyone I know.  As my High School friends will let you know, I was obsessed with Legolas and my “thing” in High School during sporting events was doing the fake Pull and Release of the arrow (Yeah before Usain Bolt did it).  I am on Christmas break from my exercise science masters classes so I thought it’d be fun to blog on something else.  As some of you know I love eating and working out to promote a healthy lifestyle.  That said there are a few guilty pleasures in life that I have that promote mental enjoyment which is also linked to holistic health including: cooking/eating great food, mixing/drinking fine drinks (coffee and alcohol), watching/playing sports and I enjoy reading.  So I hope you enjoyed this little Christ

Six Nutrition and Metabolism Questions on: Diet and Cancer, Supplements, Childhood Obesity Electrolytes and Hypertension

Do you agree with athletes using supplements and if so which type(s) of supplements and why? If your against athletes taking supplements, why?

I do agree that athletes can use supplementation to enhance performance in and out of sport.  However I feel the term “supplement” needs to be taken literally; taken when unable to obtain from real whole foods.  The (National Institutes of Health (NIH), 2014) summarizes and well defines a “dietary supplement as a product that:

  • is intended to supplement the diet;
  • contains one or more dietary ingredients (including vitamins; minerals; herbs or other botanicals; amino acids; and other substances) or their constituents;
  • is intended to be taken by mouth as a pill, capsule, tablet, or liquid; and
  • is labeled on the front panel as being a dietary supplement

I think that supplements can make recovery, training, and nutrition easier when eating real whole foods isn’t an option.  Similar to foods, the source and make-up of the supplement is very important.  So many supplements have excess amounts of the nutrient needed, added ingredients, and aren’t bioavailable.  It is important to read the label on these supplements and make sure that they have been tested by independent companies that don’t have direct connections to these supplement companies.  I still think eating real whole foods when able (like on days off of work) is better due to the natural nutritional benefits that are hard to obtain without taking numerous supplements.  However I understand how busy work and life can be and it may be necessary to “supplement” for real food; for example having a protein shake or bar that has quality make-up with minimized added ingredients.  Unlike food and drugs, the FDA doesn’t regulate all of these supplements the same as other food and drugs; creating room for error in the supplement regulation standards (NIH, 2014).  I am all for a better testing process of these supplements through legislation similar to what the FDA uses on food.  In the mean time I recommend minimizing supplemental use; using them as a supplement and eating real whole foods when able.

A couple types of supplements that I think can be utilized and personally use for physical performance are: Creatine, Caffeine, Glucosamine, and Amino acids protein.  It is important to note that all these can be obtained from real food like creatine and protein from meat; and caffeine from cocoa or coffee.  Creatine can be supplemented in order to provide energy to the muscles by donating a phosphate to an ADP, making it an ATP or the energy source of the muscle.  Creatine is controversial because of potential risk with muscle cramps and kidney function (McGuire & Beerman, 2013, p. 398).  Amino acids or protein supplementation can help with growth and repair of muscles, but according to research-based evidence has no beneficial effects over whole food protein sources (McGuire & Beerman, 2013, p. 403).  Glucosamine/chondroitin can help repair damaged joints and caffeine can “increase mental alertness, improve athletic performance, enhance fatty acid metabolism, and delay fatigue” (McGuire & Beerman, 2013, p. 403).  Dependence and quantified use of caffeine does have lots of supporting research for and against use of caffeine.  Personally I don’t supplement with caffeine anymore, although I did when I played college football; I get it from drinking black coffee without any added sugars or cream.  I chose just a few supplements to talk about, it is important to note that other supplements can be used to enhance performance and may be medically necessary for certain people like insulin for a diabetic as an example.

Here is a website and podcast about that site that I utilize.  The podcast is an interesting talk about the supplement industry and would love to hear what my classmates think of if you have time to listen to the podcast (while cooking a healthy meal) or look at the website.



Should everyone be taking a daily multivitamin? Why or why not? Support your answer.

I don’t think that it is necessary that “everyone” take a daily multivitamin.  Everyone’s diet needs to individualized through: nutrient needs, availability and convenience of whole food sources, and ongoing health-care issues.  When a person is unable to get vitamins through whole food sources a supplemental form or multivitamin may be necessary.  Some cases where this may be necessary include: vegetarians (Vit. B12 from meats), cancer patients (Vitamin D3 and other vitamins linked to improvement), busy everyday people (various vitamin deficiencies), and more pronounced vitamin deficiencies like scurvy (Vitamin C).  In these cases, “Multivitamins may help supply these nutrients, but more often they don’t contain enough” or may have too much; making it important to understand the needed amount and read the label carefully (Tufts University, 2014, p. 5).  Vitamins are a supplement and therefore are regulated differently; they don’t have to be “preapproved” by the FDA for effectiveness for effectiveness (McGuire & Beerman, 2013, p. 452).  It is necessary to have a trustworthy source of your vitamin in order to prevent toxicity or deficiencies when relying on the supplement for your vitamin intake.  It is important to keep in mind that “supplements should never replace prescribed medications or the variety of foods important to a healthful diet” (McGuire & Beerman, 2013, p. 453).

More generally speaking a healthy diet should provide most of the vitamins that a person needs, but according to The Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) “many people don’t eat the healthiest of diets” (HSPH, 2014).  According to (Saleeby), with  America’s use of fast food, use of processed foods in boxes and cans, and overall diet devoid of important nutrients; makes the need of multivitamin supplementation more important than ever before (2014, p. 58).  In this case I do feel that it is necessary that people take a multivitamin; keeping in mind that healthier diet and lifestyles need to still be promoted.

What role if any do you believe nutrition plays in regard to the risk of getting cancer? What foods possibly promote cancer? Prevent? Support your answer.

I think and many studies support that nutrition plays a vital and important role in regard to the risks of getting cancer and quality of life after getting it.  Nutrition plays a direct role in the risk of cancer because food choices can feed cancer growth (sugar for example) or fight cancer growth (plant based anticarcinogenic phytochemicals)  Food that possibly and do promote cancer are foods: high in added sugars and high-glycemic carbohydrates, moldy foods, red meat (controversial), excessive alcohol, diets low in plant-based foods (Miles, 2008, p.29-31).  These food choices are even worse especially in the absence of proper amounts of fiber and an active lifestyle.  “Numerous studies have found that the risk for cancer increases with high blood sugar, which makes sense, since cancer cells feed primarily on glucose” (Greenfield, 2014, p. 294).  It is important to remember that “there are also “internal” factors such as hormones, immune conditions, and mutations that occur spontaneously and initiate cancer” (McGuire & Beerman, 2013, p. 490).  Genetics, hormones, and other things do contribute to cancer risk and cause; but as recent epigenetic research has shown, what we eat can even affect our genetic make-up, therefore helping promote or prevent cancer.

From personal experience working on an inpatient oncology unit at the Mayo Clinic, I can see how lifestyle choices have a direct link to patient outcomes.  The great majority of my patients don’t just have cancer; they typically have multifactorial diseases or outcomes from lifestyle choices.  I commonly see people who are obese, have type 2 diabetes, have smoked or done drugs, eat high-sugar diets, don’t exercise, have high-stress jobs, and many other things linked to causation of cancer.  I also have had patients who have started eating cleaner, in particular diets low in added sugar and/or processed grains, and have seen better results in their prognosis.  On top of that, my patients that do eat healthier and exercise have better outcomes, even at the end-of-life.  Even those with chronic disease can benefit from positive lifestyle choices; I’ve seen it and heard it from my patients firsthand.

What are some things being done to address the fact that the percentage of overweight children is on the rise? Support your answer. What other ideas do you have that you think might help curb this epidemic?

In, 2008 the House of Representatives passed an act known as the “National Obesity Act of 2008” in an effort to “prevent and reduce obesity and to promote sound health and nutrition among Americans, and for other purposes” (110th Congress, 2008).  The National Obesity Act established a number of important initiatives to combat the ongoing and growing problem of obesity including an office of the national coordinator of obesity initiatives and a federal task force on obesity.  The duties of these groups included coordinating a national strategy to “eliminate the occurrence of obesity in the United States” through: the establishment of multiple government agencies working together, implementing goals, and evaluating goals by holding these agencies responsible for prevention and reduction in obesity rates (110th Congress, 2008).  Many programs like the myplate initiative, new food labels, and changing the way we educate our youth are all important to address the percentage of overweight children.  Obesity rates have tripled over the last three decades to an estimated 16.9 of our youth aged 2 to 19 years old (NCSL, 2013).

I believe false and/or misguided perceptions in nutrition and exercise have helped contribute to the ongoing problems in obesity in our country.  By educating our youth and their stakeholders, we can properly educate our youth on a variety of exercise options and healthy nutritional habits.  In youth and adolescence, habits that can last a lifetime are established with great evidence showing that it is easier to influence youth than adults.

Two things that I think can help curb this epidemic include: encouragement of exercise and educating the stakeholders of our youth on nutrition, amongst other things.  Education of Youth on Exercise and Diet, can be done by introducing our youth to a variety of different forms of exercise during physical education classes in order to find a form of exercise and cooking/eating healthy foods that are perceived as fun.  Students who enjoy exercise are more likely to do it habitually (Smith & Bird, 2004).  This can be promoted through enhanced promotion of higher education in the health fields through more exercise science programs, modern dietary programs, and health care professional programs; utilizing a better educated media.  Better and higher educated health professionals can in turn help educate our future youth and stakeholders.  Which leads into my second point, importance of educating the stakeholders on proper nutrition.  Education of: Teachers, Media, Public Health Programs, Parents, and other stakeholders who influence our Youth is important within the expanding media.  With better educated stakeholders in exercise and health, we can positively influence diet and exercise decisions in our youth; in turn reducing future obesity rates.  Need of new and better policies needs to be ongoing to better promote positive lifestyle choices.

In relation to reducing blood pressure which appears to be more helpful- reducing sodium or increasing potassium? Support your answer.

In relation to reducing blood pressure it appears that both sodium and potassium and important in regulation of blood pressure, however sodium intake appears to be more important.  Increasing sodium intake increases fluid retention and therefore raises volume within the body and increases blood pressure due to shear volume.  Like sodium, increased potassium in the body causes a reaction from the renin-angiotensin aldosterone system; however increased potassium is linked to lower blood pressure (McGuire & Beerman, 2013, p. 524).  However, there is some controversy with how much salt intake is linked to blood pressure because some people are more “salt sensitive than others” (McGuire & Beerman, 2013, p. 522).  Many things including: genetics, kidney function, physical activity, obesity, diabetes, and other factors are important in managing blood pressure as well as fluid/electrolyte balance.

According to (Mente et al., 2014), sodium intake caused greater impact on blood pressure across a variety of populations in a study more than potassium.  These populations included people on low and high sodium diets, different age groups, and people with different starting blood pressure baselines.  The positive link of sodium and blood pressure being more important in the relation to hypertension is important to consider.  The study also highlights the importance of kidney function and the human body’s ability to excrete fluid and electrolyte; not just limiting or increasing different foods.

(Adrogue & Madias, 2014) examined the blood pressure effects of: multiple high-sodium diets,  diets low in potassium, and then a diets in conjunction with both a high-sodium and low-potassium diet.  The studies with both “lend considerable fresh support to the thesis that the interaction of the sodium surfeit and potassium deficiency in the body, rather than either disturbance by itself, is the critical environmental factor in the pathogenesis of hypertension” (Adrogue & Madias, 2014, p. 257-258).

In summary, of the many studies that compared sodium and potassium effect on hypertension; sodium appeared to have a greater impact on hypertension.  However as the (Adrogue & Madias, 2014) study stated that both have great impact on hypertension in electrolyte imbalances.  Other factors, such as kidney function, are important in hypertension in relation to electrolytes.

Choose a vitamin or mineral and explain its role in the body. Also explain if other foods or drugs can affect absorption, increase or decrease, and if you there is a deficiency the best way to achieve the recommended intake.

Magnesium (Mg) is important in the body taking place in “more than three hundred reactions, including nerve and cardiac function, muscle contraction and relaxation, protein formation, and, perhaps most important for exercisers, synthesis of ATP-based energy (Greenfield, 2014, p. 201).  Mg is important in nerve and cardiac function making it an important mineral in everyone.  It is closely monitored in a clinical or hospital setting due to the cardiac dysfunctions a deficiency or excessive amount can cause.  A lack of Mg is also linked to muscle cramping and dysfunction of muscles during exercise; therefore Mg is utilized to relax muscles preventing spasms.  Linked to relaxation and Mg is its use with sleep and relaxation; people commonly supplement or increase dietary Mg to relax the body.  Relaxation of the body occurs when the body is using the parasympathetic nervous system; which is when our body best rests and digests foods.  Mg is also used to enhance digestion (like sleep) and is commonly used to treat constipation.  Finally it is utilized to neutralize negatively charged ions helping stabilize ATP and ADP which are important components in energy metabolism (McGuire & Beerman, 2013, p. 518).

There is a lot physiologically that goes into the proper levels of various vitamins and minerals in the body; Mg is no different.  Intestine function, kidney function, and other dietary choices can affect the bioavailability of of Mg.  The small intestine and kidney function regulate the amount of magnesium in the blood.  Dysfunction of the small intestine and kidney can result in Mg levels too high or too low; that can result in muscle, nerve, and even life-threatening issues like cardiac dysrhythmias.

According to (McGuire & Beerman, 2013) “some studies suggest that diets high in calcium or phosphorus decrease the bioavailability of magnesium.  In addition, protein deficiency may decrease magnesium absorption, and high levels of dietary fiber can decrease its bioavailability (p. 517).

If there is a deficiency you can naturally find Mg in a variety of food sources including: green leafy vegetables, seafood, legumes, nuts, and chocolate.  Athletes utilize a higher amount of Mg than the average person therefore supplementation may be necessary.  When using supplementation of Mg somes signs that Mg isn’t being absorbed properly or is in too high amounts include: diarrhea, GI dysfunction, and even cardiac issues (Greenfield, 2014, p. 201).

Magnesium is important for everyone and in particular athletes.  Mg can help our heart and muscles work properly, help us relax and sleep during our busy lives, and important in the ATP synthesis of energy.  It is important even vital to have the right amount and in most cases can be obtained from real whole foods.  Personally I get a blood panel once a year which I know may increase as I age because of the common problem the elderly have with kidney function.


Adrogue, H. & Madias, N.E. (2014). The impact of sodium and potassium on hypertension risk. Seminars in nephrology 34(3), 257-272. doi:10.1016/j.semnephrol.2014.04.003

Burne, J. (2012, November 26). Could this elixir hold the key to weight loss? experts hope it’ll also treat diabetes, epilepsy and alzheimer’s. Retrieved from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2238842/Could-elixir-hold-key-weight-loss-Experts-hope-itll-treat-diabetes-epilepsy-Alzheimers.html

Food Research and Action Center. (2014). Overweight and obesity in the U.S. Retrieved from http://frac.org/initiatives/hunger-and-obesity/obesity-in-the-us/

Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH). (2014). Vitamins. Retrieved from http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/vitamins/

Hedayati, S. S., Minhajuddin, A. T., Ijaz, A., Moe, O. W., Elsayed, E. F., Reilly, R. F., & Huang, C.-L. (2012). Association of Urinary Sodium/Potassium Ratio with Blood Pressure: Sex and Racial Differences. Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology : CJASN, 7(2), 315–322. doi:10.2215/CJN.02060311

McGuire, M. & Beerman, K.A. (2013). Nutritional sciences: From fundamentals to food. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Mente, A., O’Donnell, M. J., Rangarajan, S., McQueen, M. J., Poirier, P., Wielgosz, A., & … Yusuf, S. (2014). Association of urinary sodium and potassium excretion with blood pressure. New England Journal Of Medicine, 371(7), 601-611. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1311

Miles, L. (2008). The new WCRF/AICR report — Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity and the Prevention of Cancer: A Global Perspective.Nutrition Bulletin, 33(1), 26-32.

National Institute of Health. (2011, June 24). Dietary supplements: Background information. Retrieved from http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/DietarySupplements-HealthProfessional/

Saleeby, Y.M. (2014). Are multivitamins safe and necessary?. American Fitness, 32(4); 58-61.

Tufts University. (2014). Are you really benefiting from your multivitamins? Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter, 32(1), 4-5.

National Conference of State Legislators. (2013). Childhood obesity- 2011 update of legislative policy options. Retrieved from  http://www.ncsl.org/research/health/childhood-obesity-2011.aspx

Smith, A. & Bird, S. (2004). From evidence to policy: Reflections on emerging themes in health-enhancing physical activity.  Journal of Sports Sciences, 22(8),791-799.

110th Congress. (2008). Text of the national obesity prevention act of 2008. Retrieved from https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/110/hr7179/text


Do Calories Really Matter?

Energy Balance Background 

It is important to remember that the basis of weight control is energy in compared to energy out. Metabolism is “all the chemical reactions that occur in the body” and energy metabolism are all these chemical reactions involved in the “breakdown, synthesis, and transformation of the energy-yielding nutrients-glucose, amino acids, and fatty acids-that enable the body to store and use energy” (McGuire & Beerman, 2013, p. 271). The energy source of the cell is not the calorie, but ATP; therefore not all calories are created equal. A calorie from a nutrient dense source is able to “fuel” a body at a higher, denser level than empty calories. Metabolism involves a variety of pathways and enzymes that work together to create energy from a variety of components (glucose, glycogen, fatty acids, amino acids, and more) from a variety of tissues . The body can get energy (ATP) from a variety of pathways, some of which are more optimal than others. So how does this affect weight loss?

To maintain weight one must be in a state of energy balance where energy in equals energy out. Weight loss comes negative energy balance where energy intake is less than energy out. As stated previously, the energy source of the cell is ATP, not calories. Energy balance is extremely individualized with metabolic rate being affected by: genetics, gender, age, weight, height, body fat percentage, diet, body temperature, external temperature, endocrine function, and exercise (Greenfield, 2014, p. 279). Diet is only part of the metabolic process, but is so important because it is the main source of energy in. The rest of energy balance components are more involved with energy utilization, storage, and use. In order to maintain weight loss and control body weight a diet or hopefully lifestyle needs to be sustainable. A negative energy diet with too much energy out can result in amino acid breakdown (lean body tissue), tiredness, hormonal changes, and overall a state of starvation which is not healthy or sustainable. Finding nutrient dense foods that minimize hunger by giving people many nutrients and a feeling of satiety can help optimize healthy eating.

There are ways to increase metabolism or the energy utilized in the body including: diet, exercise, external temperature, hormonal changes, and genetics. Eating foods can affect metabolism, like good protein dense sources or fiber rich foods, which have a higher thermic effect of food (TEF) and utilize more energy of the body during the digestion process (McGuire & Beerman, 2013, p. 334). Eating nutrient dense sources will help optimize functioning during periods of negative energy balance as well. Exercise increases metabolism by increasing internal temperature which increases basal metabolic rate (BMR) during exercise and increases lean muscle mass which burns more calories than body fat, even when you aren’t exercising (Greenfield, 2014, p. 279). External temperature can increase metabolism because in cold or hot conditions the body has to utilize energy to maintain the body temperature, seen when a person sweats or shivers in extreme conditions.

Hormonal Effects

There are a number of important hormones that affect energy intake through promotion or reduction in the feelings of hunger and satiety. The brain controls these feeling by receiving signals from hormonal response and nutrient response in the body. Levels of circulating lipids, proteins, and carbohydrates promote feelings of fullness through release of neurotransmitters to the brain’s hunger and satiety center, the hypothalamus. Ghrelin is an important hormone because its release in response to an empty stomach stimulate a feeling of hunger (McGuire & Beerman, 2013, p. 325). Ghrelin is a GI hormone, meaning that its release is controlled by the direct effect of food on the part of the GI tract. Leptin is another important hormone in body weight regulation, its release decreases the feeling of hunger. Impaired leptin signals are directly correlated with weight gain (Orr & Daly, 2005). Foods that are high-volume can help decrease release of ghrelin and increase feeling of satiety through release of leptin.

Fluctuations in the hormones of insulin and glucagon are directly related to obesity. Eating a diet high in sugar is linked to obesity because high sugar consumption results in periods of hyperglycemia and then hypoglycemia stimulating release of insulin and glucagon. Prolonged diets high in sugar can result in pancreatic dysfunction or inability to release the appropriate amounts of insulin, known as diabetes. Eating a lower or controlled carbohydrate diet is also linked to better hormonal control of insulin as well as ghrelin and leptin (Orr & Davy, 2005). Sugar is also linked to hormonal release of serotonin, which makes us feel good, therefore making sugar addicting and directly related to stressful eating described in lifestyle factors on energy balance (Shullman, 2011).

Lifestyle and Genetic Factors

There are many lifestyle and genetic factors that contribute to weight loss and obesity including: stress, food choices, gender, and inherited make-up. People tend to have food cravings during certain times in the day and in response to stressful situations; with women tending to experience food cravings more frequently than men in part due to hormonal fluctuations in the relation to the menstrual cycle and pregnancy (McGuire & Beerman, 2013, p. 330). Prevention and management of stressful situations through diet, exercise. and proper sleep can help with “stressful eating” and hormonal control. Exercise is important in weight loss through benefits including: increasing energy used, increasing metabolism, helps manage stress, addition of lean body tissue, and better sleep (also linked to reduction in stressful eating). Eating high-volume, low-energy, and nutrient dense foods, like fruits and vegetables, are optimal for weight loss because they are high in water and/or fiber while providing nutrients at high levels (McGuire & Beerman, 2013, p. 328). This results in feelings of satiety, good energy levels during energy restricted periods, and helps prevent use of body amino-acids for energy.

Genetic factors do influence obesity risk factors and until recently it was thought that we can’t change our genetic make-up; however new research is coming out supporting change in genetic makeup that can be positively promoted through proper diet, exercise, and other lifestyle choices. Researchers have seen that conditions in the womb “can prompt epigenetic chances that later influence a person’s body weight” and scientists “estimate that at least 50% of our risk for becoming overweight or obese is determined by genetics or epigenetics” (McGuire & Beerman, 2013, p. 345). There are genetic codes that increase risk of obesity and diabetes as well as genetic links to deficiencies or resistance to hormones, like leptin. Genetics do play a role in weight regulation, but as the science of epigenetics suggests the lifestyle choices we make every day can change our genetic makeup.

There is a lot more that goes into weight loss than counting calories. In order to lose body fat, energy out needs to be greater energy in. There are many ways to enhance energy used like: exercise, increasing metabolism, and even eating certain nutrients. If a diet is not filling and sustainable the lifestyle won’t be optimal. Hormonal response to hunger, satiety, and other environmental variables like stress also affect optimizing energy balance. Proper food choices, exercise, and other lifestyle choices along with genetics are all involved with metabolism. A good way to promote positive energy choices is by eating high volume, low energy, and highly nutritious foods. Our lifestyle choices affect not only our holistic health, but the genetic makeup of our children.


Greenfield, Ben. (2014). Beyond training: Mastering endurance, health, & life. Las Vegas: Victory Belt Publishing, Inc.

Inui, A., Asakawa, A., Bowers, C.Y., Mantovani, G., Laviano, A., Meguid M.M., & Fujimiya, M. (2004). Ghrelin, appetite, and gastric motility: The emerging role of the stomach as an endocrine organ. Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology Journal 18, 439-456. Retrieved from http://elib.fk.uwks.ac.id/asset/archieve/matkul/Biokimia/Ghrelin,%20appetite,%20and%20gastric%20motility.pdf

McGuire, M. & Beerman, K.A. (2013). Nutritional sciences: From fundamentals to food. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Orr, J., & Davy, B. (2005). Dietary influences on peripheral hormones regulating energy intake: Potential applications for weight management. Journal of the American Dietetic Association 105, 1115-1124. doi: 10.1016/j.jada.2005.04.005

Shulman, J. (2011). Cast out those cravings: manage your blood sugar levels. Alive: Canada’s Natural Health & Wellness Magazine 339, 37

Four Q&A’s in Nutrition and Metabolism: Ketogenic Diets, Obesity in the U.S., GMOs, & Insulin in Weight Gain

Research a ketogenic diet. Explain the basis of the diet. What is this diet good for and why? Do you think this diet has other applications? Provide research to support your comments.

The ketogenic diet is a diet that uses ketones for energy after glucose diminishes during periods of starvation and when carbohydrate intake is minimal (McGuire & Beerman, 2013, p. 292).  This process can help spare lean body tissue and spare use of amino acids for energy when glucose from carbohydrates is minimized.  Muscles and the brain can utilize ketones for energy, however high levels of ketones can lead to a dangerous condition called ketoacidosis.  Ketoacidosis is a condition that can cause a “variety of complications, lowering blood pH, nausea, coma, and in extreme circumstances, death” (McGuire & Beerman, 2013, p. 293).

The ketogenic diet has been linked to helping sedentary people lose weight, reduced rates of cancer and control of high blood sugar from reduced carbohydrate intake, control of epilepsy, use in endurance exercise, and mental enhancement.  Sugar has been linked to higher cancer rates, by avoiding carbohydrates and using fat for energy, naturally blood glucose will be reduced and therefore cancer expansion or rates as well.  Likewise controlling blood sugar reduces and/or limits diabetes rates, making a  ketogenic diet an option for a diet-controlled method.  It has been linked to epilepsy control, which is not fully understood, but believed to be in relation to the fact the brain uses ketones for energy (McGuire & Beerman, 2013, p. 293).  Dr. Peter Attia, an expert in ketosis and exercise, believes that being in a ketogenic state creates a mental enhancement because ketones are a potent fuel for your brain creating higher levels of “brain regeneration, focus and mental acuity” (Greenfield, 2014, p. .326-327).  The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency are researching the ketogenic diet utilizing it as “a weapon in mental and physical performance in battlefield conditions” (Burne, 2012).  All this said it is important to not go into a ketoacidosis state which is very dangerous; even more so for an athlete.  (Greenfield, 2014, p. 328) states a ketogenic diet can be useful for a sedentary person to lose weight, but can be very stressful on an athlete’s body where nutrient stores are utilized at higher and faster rates.

I definitely think the diet can be useful and has other applications, like intermittent fasting.  I personally attempted to utilize an all out ketogenic diet as an athlete and person who is active as an RN at work.  I suffered from adrenal fatigue and muscle wasting after trying this diet because I went into a state where my body was having to utilize amino acids for glucose as described in (McGuire & Beerman, 2013, p. 293).  I think this diet does have many advantages, especially for more sedentary people.  The problem with this diet is that it can be very difficult to follow because of how many carbohydrates are in our staple foods and monitoring ketone production is very important to prevent acidosis.  Intermittent fasting, without going to in depth, minimics ketogenic diets or fasted states, but in smaller doses.  I personally do a 12-16 hour fast 5-6 days a week because of the advantages seen with using fats for energy as well as giving the body time to digest and utilize all the nutrients from the previous day.  I truthfully believe in a diet that can be utilized for a long period of time as a lifestyle.  If you are able to closely monitor your ketone levels this diet can be a great tool.  Personally monitoring the timing and types of my carbohydrates, utilizing intermittent fasting to mimic ketogenic diets in small amounts, and for lack of a better term “listening to my body” has helped me feel better as an athlete and mentally in daily life.  I find it fascinating that diets too high fats, too high in protein, and diets too high carbohydrates are all dangerous.  Moderation and good nutrient sources are so important to understand along with timing of nutrients in daily life.

What do you think has been one of the biggest factors when researching the continuing upward trend of weight gain in the U.S.? Support your answer.

I think one of the biggest factors when researching the continuing upward trend of weight gain in the United States is the continued overuse of processed sugar, grains, and a diet too high in poor carbohydrates from years of emphasis on the old food pyramid.  For years the food pyramid was emphasized with the bulk of the diet coming from breads as the main stay on the food pyramid.  Lots of processed breads are high in sugars and on the glycemic index leading to problems of diabetes, which is linked to many chronic problems associated with it including: obesity, cardiovascular disease, immobility, higher cancer risks, and other chronic problems (Greenfield, 2014, p. 294).  These secondary problems can lead to tertiary problems for example diabetes can lead to obesity and pain with ambulation, which results in a person walking less and then developing a blood clot.  I can’t tell you how many times I have seen clots form in the hospital and the majority that I see are a result of an inability or choice to not ambulate in the hospital.  Over the past 30 years obesity rates have soared with the use of many empty calories consumed from things like soft drinks.  Not all carbs are bad, but many of the processed ones that our society has used are.  It is important to look at the energy density and nutritional value of the food you eat.  “Studies show that people feel more satisfied and tend to consume fewer calories when they eat low-energy dense foods” (McGuire & Beerman, 2013, p. 354).  When people consume soft drinks these are pure sugar and empty carbohydrate sources; meaning they contain calories from the sugar without added benefits of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other nutrient that we get from nutrient dense sources like vegetables.  “The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that we maintain a healthy body weight balancing caloric intake with energy expenditure” (McGuire & Beerman, 203, p. 352).  Despite whether you believe in a lower carbohydrate approach to diet or not; there is a direct link to increased obesity and use of processed sugars and carbohydrates since the 1970’s (Food Research and Action Center, 2014).  I believe we must reverse this trend by teaching our youth to not do what we were taught in schools with the old food pyramid.  Things like the new 2010 Dietary guidelines, using the plate instead of the pyramid, and understanding that there is more to food than just calories will help our society if we educate them properly and change our society’s nutritional culture.

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are currently a nutrition hot topic. After reading the relevant research, what is your stance on GMO’s in the food supply? Support your answer.

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are relatively new in terms of nutrition and can be a great tool or a dangerous weapon in the nutritional health of people.  Genetically modified proteins and foods can enhance the nutritional value of plants, proteins, and other nutritional parts of food.  However modification can denature proteins and other components which can lead to higher risks of gastrointestinal issues, cancer risks, food allergies, and other issues.  I believe like any food source, you must trust the source of the food.  For example, even an apple can have hundreds of preservatives, fertilizers to enhance growth, and be genetically very different from an organic (non-GMO) apple.    So my stance is proceed at your own risk.  My golden rule of eating is “Eat Real Whole Foods”; so right now I wouldn’t trust GMO foods because I try to eat whole fruits and vegetables, fermented grains and dairies, carefully picked protein sources (including protein powder that is carefully selected), minimal supplements, and nothing boxed or mixed in a bottle for the most part.  According to (Tufts University, 2013), as of right now, adding GMO to the new nutrition labels is not part of the plan and is of a great deal of controversy.  The goal of the FDA’s new nutritional facts label is “providing information that people can use to make their own choices” (United States Food and Drug Administration, 2014).  I feel that it is important that the FDA require foods that are genetically modified to be labeled so.  GMOs can be a great tool and in the future as more research and good GMO sources are confirmed, then I may use and even recommend.

Understanding that insulin stimulates lipogenesis do you believe that by simply controlling insulin (reducing spikes) weight loss can occur? Support your answer.  

Insulin stimulates lipogenesis so preventing excess release of insulin (spiking) can help with weight loss, however energy in compared to energy out still needs to be less.  Insulin promotes the uptake of excess glucose by adipose tissue where the glucose is stored as what we know as body fat (McGuire & Beerman, 2013, p. 290).  So by minimizing spikes we can lower glucose uptake by adipose tissue.  It is important to remember that we can use other nutrients for energy other than carbohydrates because the energy source of the cell is ATP; therefore we can use ketogenesis (fat-burning) as an alternative source.  To lose body fat ketogenesis has to occur, otherwise weight loss is either lean tissue and/or fluid weight.  Understanding what and when carbohydrates stimulate insulin response is key to controlling preventing the insulin spike response.  Carbohydrates with a higher glycemic index and load need to be eaten minimally or only at certain times, as discussed in (McGuire & Beerman) chapter discussing carbohydrates (2013, p.133-135).  So eating foods with a lower glycemic index and load can help promote weight loss from controlled blood glucose.  During and shortly after exercise skeletal muscles can take up glucose without insulin and help prevent loss of muscle tissue (McGuire & Beerman, 2013, p. 138).   Personally, I use intermittent fasting to enhance fat-burning and eat a diet with low sugar and low grains, with the majority of my higher glycemic index and glycemic response carbohydrates coming after exercise.  It is also important to keep in mind that excess protein and poor fat choice intake can stimulate weight gain .  So hypothetically speaking, simply controlling insulin spikes can make weight loss occur, if the person is understands how to control the spikes.  Other things that can help control insulin response outside of exercise and diet control include: fiber intake, vinegar use, and ability to release glucagon which can cause rebound hyperglycemia.  Properly timing carbohydrates, eating the right low glycemic carbohydrates, understanding insulin response, and knowing that energy used still has to be greater than energy in, all factor into losing weight.

Burne, J. (2012, November 26). Could this elixir hold the key to weight loss? experts hope it’ll also treat diabetes, epilepsy and alzheimer’s. Retrieved from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2238842/Could-elixir-hold-key-weight-loss-Experts-hope-itll-treat-diabetes-epilepsy-Alzheimers.html

Food Research and Action Center. (2014). Overweight and obesity in the U.S. Retrieved from http://frac.org/initiatives/hunger-and-obesity/obesity-in-the-us/

Greenfield, Ben. (2014). Beyond training: Mastering endurance, health, & life. Las Vegas: Victory Belt Publishing, Inc.

McGuire, M. & Beerman, K.A. (2013). Nutritional sciences: From fundamentals to food. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Tufts University. (2013). Should You Worry About GMOs?. Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter, 31(9), 4-5.

United States Food and Drug Administration. (2014, August 1).  Proposed changes to the nutritional facts label. Retrieved from http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/LabelingNutrition/ucm385663.htm#Summary

Velasquez,-Mieyer, P.A., Cowan, P.A., Arheart, K.L., Buffington, C.K., Spencer, K.A., Connelly, G.W., & RH Lustig. (2003, February).  Suppression of insulin secretion is associated with weight loss and alternated macronutrient intake and preference in a subset of obese adults. International Journal of Obesity Related Metabolic Disorders 27 (2): 219-226.. doi: 10.1038/sj.ijo.802227


Background on Proteins

Proteins have many functions in the body, but many athletes and people think of protein only in the process of the make-up of tissues.  When building muscle it is commonly assumed that the more protein the more muscle, but there is more to proteins and their functions than just loading the body with protein.  Not all protein sources are created equal; some provide more protein per gram than others, some provide more complete forms of amino acid chains, some provide additional nutritional benefits, and some are more easily digestible than others.  Proteins are made up of a combination of different amino acids, of which 9 are essential, 11 non-essential, and then some can conditionally-essentially amino acids  “In general meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products are complete protein sources, whereas plant products are incomplete protein sources” (McGuire & Beerman, 2013, p. 165).  That said combining two plant-based sources can complete the essential amino acid profile (Elkaim, 2014, p. 87).

It is important to keep in mind that just because it is a complete protein source doesn’t mean that it is easily absorbed; it also needs to be easily absorbed to be a high-quality protein source.  Another issue with proteins is the disruption of a protein’s shape, called denaturation.  Denaturation of a protein can result in poor absorption, loss of essential amino acids, loss of function and can even have serious chemical issues like acid/base and heavy metal reactions in the body (McGuire & Beerman, 2013, p. 173).   So many protein powders have high amounts of protein in them, but aren’t high quality, easily absorbed and can be denatured in the production process; which results in excretion or storage of proteins as body fat.

Protein turnover, the ability to break down and use protein, is what is important in protein utilization and is regulated mainly by hormones (McGuire & Beerman, 2013, p. 185).  Eating high glycemic carbohydrate diets, resulting in high insulin, inhibits protein utilization because the body is trying to utilize carbohydrates.  However, the release of cortisol during various types of stress, including exercise, stimulates protein use.  After exercise your body secretes cortisol and utilizes sugars directly into muscle, which is why you can utilize carbohydrates and protein at higher levels post-exercise.

Protein status in the end needs to be examined in nitrogen balance which is the amount of protein intake compared with the amount of nitrogen lost in the body (McGuire & Beerman, 2013, p. 187).  To prevent illness and muscle breakdown we need our body to have nitrogen balance which is when protein or nitrogen loss is equal to intake.  In order to build muscle or recover from illness or a workout we need our bodies intake to exceed loss and be in positive nitrogen balance.  Human bodies use protein for enzyme formation, movement, transportation and communication, immune system protection, fluid and electrolyte balance, and many other important functions in the human body; therefore the quality and quantity of proteins is important for health in general.  So how much protein does everyone need?


Athletes are causing more stress on the body from exercise than a non-athlete and need protein to rebuild muscle and prevent breakdown of the body seen with negative nitrogen balance.  The goal of sport and exercise needs to be determined in the amount of protein consumed.   Low and moderate-intensity endurance exercise does not affect dietary protein requirements, because low to moderate amounts of exercise are factored into the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) of nutrients.  Athletes trying to put on muscle mass or endurance athletes that have strenuous training on the majority of days need a higher percentage of calories from protein.  There is some disagreement in recommendation levels of protein needed by athletes and (Philips, Moore, & Tang, 2007) did a review of different studies concluding that protein “timing and composition (quality) as well as consumption in combination with macronutrients such as carbohydrate; attention to these details, we contend, will enable athletes to perform to the best of their potential” (p. 71).  So it is important to keep in mind that even though there are recommended percentages and ranges for proteins within the athlete population, a number of factors need to go into recommended protein use.


In order to build muscle mass a person needs to be in positive nitrogen balance.  According to (Greenfield, 2014, p. 307) “there really isn’t much additional benefit to be gained by exceeding 0.55 grams per pound of body weight to maintain nitrogen balance.  That said when trying to exceed nitrogen balance and go into a state of positive nitrogen balance; studies suggest that you don’t need to go more than 25 percent above the .55 grams per pound of body weight, which ends up being .68 grams per pound of body weight (Wilson, 2006).  While being in a state of nitrogen balance it is important to remember that ammonia is a byproduct of the use protein and can be toxic to the body.  This means that having too much protein can result in toxic levels and can cause great strain on the body’s organs, in particular the kidneys.  Maintaining adequate water intake helps with the process of excreting the ammonia byproducts and therefore prevention of dehydration is very important in people with high protein intake (Greenfield, 2014, p. 308).  In summary, strength athletes need greater amounts of protein for a positive nitrogen balance, and is unnecessary to exceed 0.7 grams per pound of body weight on most days of the week because of the dangers ammonia can have on the body.


Aerobic and low to moderate endurance exercise is recommended and factored into the Institute of Medicine’s recommended macronutrient ratios.  Therefore, low and moderate-intensity endurance exercise does not affect dietary protein requirements in terms of the recommended macronutrient ratio of 10-20% of energy coming from proteins (Phillips, Moore & Tang, 2007, p. S59).  According to Mark Tarnopolsky (2004), the only time that endurance athletes need to exceed the recommended 12-15% of energy from protein intake is when an athlete is training 4 to 5 days a week for longer than 60 minutes; at that point Tarnopolsky recommends a diet of 20-25% of energy intake to be from protein (p. 666).  Another recommendation, outside of using percentages, to maintain nitrogen balance is 0.55 grams per pound of body weight for an athlete (Meredith, 1989).  That said, it is recommended and more common that endurance athletes train using cross-training techniques, including lifting and strength exercises which demand a higher percentage of energy intake from protein.  Protein recommendations for endurance athletes is slightly increased over the amount recommended for the average person if the athlete trains for greater than 60 minutes at least 4 to 5 day a week.


Weight Loss

Protein has been linked to weight loss and improved body composition, when combined with a reduction in total energy intake and/or combined with greater total energy used with exercise.  Research also suggests that protein is more satiating than ingestion of carbohydrate or fat, helping with reduced energy consumption due to an increased feeling of fullness.  Weight loss can be enhanced by minimally increasing protein intake, partaking in an energy-controlled diet, and maintained by making feasible, not radical, lifestyle adaptations  (Paddon-Jones, Westman, Mattes, Wolfe, Astrup, and Westerterp-Plantenga, 2008, p. 1561S).  Protein is a great tool to use with weight loss, but once again total energy in needs to be less than total energy used when losing weight.

Across the Lifespan

The US Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA is 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight, which was designed for most people to be in nitrogen balance (Greenfield, 2014, p. 306-307).  As discussed in the athlete sections, this number doesn’t need to be excessively greater in strength and endurance athletes.  Across the lifespan, groups that need more protein per body weight include infants, breastfeeding women, and the aging population.  Infants need more protein per pound of bodyweight because of the rapid rate of growth.  Lactating women need more protein due to the fact that they are the primary nutritional source for themselves and their child.  Finally, the aging population needs additional protein because of the natural effects of muscle-mass loss, but kidney function also decreases with age.  Protein requirements are typically met by increasing the rates of protein from the previously recommended 10-20 percent of dietary percentage to 20-30 percent in the elderly in particular (Greenfield, 2013, p. 316).  In conclusion, a slight increase in protein intake as well as strength and weight-bearing exercise can help maintain appropriate muscle mass across the lifespan, while monitoring kidney function closely in the elderly.


Protein requirements aren’t as simple as just giving an exact amount for every athlete or every person in general.  It is important to understand your exercise or fitness goals, energy in still needs to equal to energy out if trying to maintain body mass and is adjusted per fitness goals.  Protein needs to be of high-quality because the protein can be denatured or not easily utilized for energy.  Understand that too much protein can cause added fat or strain on excretion process, including kidney failure, which is why for the average person only 10-20% of calories should be from protein.  In conclusion, it gets down to individualizing goals, understanding proper timing, and understanding an individual’s ability to synthesize and excrete nitrogen.     


Here is a bonus link to a website that looks into the bioavailability and quality of protein powder: https://labdoor.com/

  • Don’t get all your protein from Protein Bars and Powders because even good sources don’t contain some of the nutritional benefits of “Real, Whole Foods”.  The 2010 Dietary Guidelines recommend getting “significant amounts of protein from at least 3 different food groups daily (McGuire & Beerman, 2013, p. 191)


Elkaim, Yuri. (2014). The all-day energy diet. Carlsbad, California: Hay House, Inc.

Greenfield, Ben. (2014). Beyond training: Mastering endurance, health, & life. Las Vegas: Victory Belt Publishing, Inc.

Meredith, C. (1989). Dietary protein requirements and body protein metabolism in endurance-trained men. Journal of Applied Physiology, 66(6), p. 2850-2856.

McGuire, M. & Beerman, K.A. (2013). Nutritional sciences: From fundamentals to food. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Paddon-Jones, D., Westman, E., Mattes, R.D., Wolfe, R.R.,  Astrup, A., and Westerterp-Plantenga, M. (2008). Protein, weight management, and satiety. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 87(5) p. 1558S-1561S.  Retrieved from http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/87/5/1558S.full.pdf+html

Phillips, S. M., Moore, D. R., & Tang, J. E. (2007). A critical examination of dietary protein requirements, benefits, and excesses in athletes. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism 20(7), S58-S76. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18577776

Tarnopolsky, M. (2004). Protein requirements for endurance athletes. Journal of Nutrition (20)7, 662-668. doi:10.1016/j.nut.2004.04.008

Wilson, J. (2006). Contemporary issues in protein requirements and consumption for resistance trained athletes. Journal of International Social Sports Nutrition, 3(1), p. 7-27.

My paper on “Using Fat as Energy”

Using Fat as Energy During Exercise


Athletes for years have been using carbohydrates as their primary energy source for exercise and performance.  Recently an alternative use of energy, fat-burning, has begun to be utilized by athletes as their primary source of energy during sport.  Low-carb diets and using fat for energy during exercise can be the same diet, but not necessarily.  Using fat for energy is called ketogenesis and can be confused with (ketosis), which is a dangerous and potentially life-threatening state.  According to (McGuire & Beerman, 2013, p. 142) the minimum amount of carbohydrates needed for the body, in particular the brain, to function properly is 130 grams.  There is some disagreement on this minimum amount of carbohydrates needed for the body to function.  Due to the infancy of fat-burning use with modern exercise, research on fat-burning in sport is not as comprehensive at this point to the research on use of carbohydrates.  However, there are many proven benefits to utilizing fat for energy and the science on the use of fat for energy is definitive.

Athletic Benefits of “Fat-Burning”

Carbohydrates have been the traditional approach to energy utilization in exercise, but due to the importance of timing and troubles with blood sugar an alternative approach is the use of fat for energy.  Athletes, in particular endurance athletes, who want to perform for hours want a sustained energy throughout a long exercise or race session.  Your body can utilize its fat stores for energy instead or carbohydrates through the release of ketones into the blood after the process of ketogenesis.  “Ketones are organic compounds used as an energy source during starvation, fasting, consumption of a low-carbohydrate diet, or uncontrolled diabetes” (McGuire & Beerman, 2013, p. 292).  Three benefits of Ketosis as an athlete include: “metabolic superiority of using fats as fuel, mental enhancement, and health and longevity of controlling high blood sugar” (Greenfield, 2014, p. 327).  Use of body fat during sport throughout the process of ketogenesis is metabolically superior because it minimizes nutrient timing that can be a problem during use of carbohydrates for energy.  Ketones can be utilized for mental enhancement because ketones have been shown to be a source of energy by the brain.  Finally fat-burning can be a great way to control diabetes because blood glucose is not elevating and dipping as can result from use of improper carbohydrates and timing.  Blood glucose control and reducing diabetes has been linked to reduction in obesity, cancer, and cardiovascular disease; therefore can be utilized outside of sport for health.

The Traditional Carbohydrate Approach With Performance

From a performance standpoint there is some question over proper timing of carbohydrates prior to exercise, when choosing to utilize a more traditional “carb-loading” way to elevate performance.  Ingesting carbohydrates 15-75 minutes prior to exercise, can result in a “rebound hypoglycemia” resulting in a tired feeling, low energy, and ultimately poor athletic performance (Jeukendrup & Killer, 2010, p. 19-21).  However, having carbohydrates less than 15 minutes or during warm-ups before exercise are linked to better performance, when utilizing the carbohydrate load way to performance, (Jeukendrup & Killer, 2010)  For the non-athlete, the previously mentioned rebound hypoglycemia would be the low-energy feeling or tiredness one feels after a big meal.  As a result of the (Jenkendrup & Killer, 2010) article, it is recommended that when choosing to utilize carbohydrates for athletic performance to choose low glycemic index carbohydrates preventing hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia incidents for the non-diabetic athlete, “ingesting carbohydrates just before exercise or during the warm-up” and “avoiding carbohydrate in the 90 minutes of exercise altogether.  Due to the issues related to carbohydrate ingestion, hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia, and importance of timing; many endurance athletes have transitioned into a fat-burning approach.  However, there is no proven “performance enhancement” benefit of fat-burning over carbohydrate burning; if carbohydrate timing is done correctly according to (Ormsbee, Bach, & Baur, 2014, p. 1782).



When fasting the body uses fat for energy and when done properly can be a great way to lose weight for the obese.  Ketogenesis utilizes body fat and spares uses of amino acids which results in weight loss without loss of muscle tissue.  However, when a fast lasts too long or the exercise during a fat burning state is too prolonged muscle wasting and ketone levels resulting in high blood acidity can occur, which can be very dangerous (McGuire & Beerman, 2013, p. 293).  You can get mental enhancement from ketogenesis, but it typically takes the body 10-14 days for the body to adapt to fat-burning according to (Greenfield, 2014, p. 327).  FInally, there is no proven performance advantage of fat-burning compared to properly timed carbohydrate use (Ormsbee, Bach, & Baur, 2014, p. 1782).  When done properly fat-burning can be: convenient, a good weight loss strategy, utilized for blood glucose control, and utilized for endurance exercise.


Greenfield, Ben. (2014). Beyond training: Mastering endurance, health, & life. Las Vegas: Victory Belt Publishing, Inc.

Jenkendrup, A.E. & Killer, S.C. (2010) The myths surrounding pre-exercise carbohydrate feeding. Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism 57(2). 18-25 doi:10.1159/000322698

McGuire, M. & Beerman, K.A. (2013) Nutritional sciences: From fundamentals to food. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Ormsbee, M.J., Bach, C.W., & Baur, D.A. Pre-exercise nutrition: The role of macronutrients, modified starches and supplements on metabolism and endurance performance. Nutrients 6(5), 1782-1808. doi:10.3390/nu6051782

Volek, J. & Westman., E.C. (2002). Very-low-carbohydrate weight-loss diets revisited. Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine, 69(11), 849-862.  doi:10.3949/ccjm.69.11.849



Low-Carb Diets

After learning more about carbohydrates, do you agree with using a low carb diet as a means for weight loss? Why or why not? Include relevant research to support your answer.


After learning more about carbohydrates I still believe that using a low-carb diet as a means for weight loss can be a good idea.  It can also be beneficial as a way to control early problems with diabetes type 2 that many people don’t realize can be diet controlled through proper nutrition and nutrient timing. (Volek & Westman, 2002) analyzed a collection of studies talking about some of the benefits of a low-carbohydrate data from the study collection including: body fat loss, appetite suppression,

Negatives that can result from too low of a carbohydrate diet can include: decreased metabolic rate and efficiency through diet deficient in nutrients that can lead to issues such as immunosuppression and adrenal fatigue.  Therefore it is important to remember that a diet has to be sustainable to maintain performance in and out of sport.

A major aspect to consider includes the quality of foods and carbohydrates; some carbohydrates have a lower glycemic index, lower sugar content, and easier on digestion (Ormsbee, Bach, & Baur, 2014, p. 1787-1788).  The quality of food also applies to fats and proteins, which we we discuss in upcoming weeks through class discussions.  Finally, obesity is “Obesity is multifactorial; its causes include both excess energy intake and inadequate energy expenditure” (Volek & Westman, 2002, p. 857).  Exercise can contribute to more energy expenditure and increase metabolic rate, as can proper diet.   Proper nutrition, like a low-carbohydrate balanced with good fats, proteins, and nutrient dense carbohydrate sources can lead to proper weight loss.  It is still important to remember that a lot more goes into a proper diet than just one aspect like low-carbohydrate intake.

As a side discussion board note I really enjoyed our (McGuire & Beerman, 2013) carbohydrate chapter and the focus on reducing added sugars and gives excellent tips at the end of the chapter in “Working Toward the Goal: Focus on Reducing Added Sugars” (p. 144).  I personally try to avoid added sugars and processed grains.  The only grains I have are fermented to make them easier to digest and I pay very close attention to added sugars utilizing stevia and honey in small doses as needed.  I personally eat relatively low carb, but don’t scold the “traditional athlete” that fuels with carbohydrates if they understand how important carbohydrate timing is in the process.


From personal experience I think that low carbohydrate diets can and do work for weight loss.  I have even experimented with a ketogenic diet for performance as an endurance athlete.  In order to burn body fat it makes sense to utilize fat as an energy source.  I found I can burn fat for energy on a daily basis utilizing a daily intermittent fast giving my body time to fully digest and utilize the nutrients from the previous 12 to 16 hours.  I feel a sense of mental clarity during my fasts utilizing MCT oil during the fast and of course natural fat stores that everyone has.  I feel this enhances my work because I don’t get the typical “rebound hypoglycemia” that some people get after breakfast and the MCT oil is easily utilized as a source of energy for the brain (Jeukendrup & Killer, 2010).   However on a strict fat-burning diet, I was unable to thrive on only a fat-burning diet which resulted in muscle wasting and adrenal fatigue from what I believe was not getting enough nutrients from other sources.  I have since added back in a few more good carbohydrate sources; like small doses of fermented grains, fruits, and a few starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes.  I believe that a very low carbohydrate diet can help the everyday person lose weight, a moderately low carbohydrate diet can enhance performance in athletes by teaching the body to burn fat as energy; but needs to be individualized because of the dangers of going too far.  As a metaphor, we talked about how alcohol and dark chocolate in moderation are good, but not too much.  I personally believe a low carbohydrate diet is good, with proper carbohydrate choices; however going too far or too low-carbohydrate is potentially dangerous.



McGuire, M. & Beerman, K.A. (2013) Nutritional sciences: From fundamentals to food. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Ormsbee, M.J., Bach, C.W., & Baur, D.A. Pre-exercise nutrition: The role of macronutrients, modified starches and supplements on metabolism and endurance performance. Nutrients 6(5), 1782-1808. doi:10.3390/nu6051782

Volek, J. & Westman., E.C. (2002). Very-low-carbohydrate weight-loss diets revisited. Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine, 69(11), 849-862.  doi:10.3949/ccjm.69.11.849