An In-Depth Look At Weight Loss Stacks

Weight loss stacks are supplements taken orally, hence increasing body temperature to burn off excess fats. In addition to adopting these pills, working out is mandatory. Weight loss stacks may sometimes contain ingredients that may hinder nutrient intake, decrease appetite or increase metabolic rate. Before delving into weight loss stacks, it is imperative to understand that these stacks should not be taken as substitutes.

Fat-burning supplements contain ingredients that facilitate weight loss. It is important to know what each ingredient does, how much should be taken and when to take it. Some of these ingredients are yohimbine, caffeine, capsaicin, raspberry ketone, green tea extract, synephrine, and Pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ).

Yohimbine is a stimulant compound derived from plants. When taken before a workout session, it fastens fat-burning activity (lipolysis). It works best in the absence of insulin. To avoid overdose, yohimbine should be carefully monitored. Yohimbine dosage varies by body size. The sufficient dose for fat loss is approximately .1-.3mg/kg of body weight. It should be taken 20-30 minutes before working out, preferably on an empty stomach.

Caffeine is an alkaline organic substance found abundantly in tealeaves, cocoa, coffee beans and other plants. Caffeine acts as an inhibitor hence slowing down the breakdown of some enzymes. Additionally, caffeine intake before a workout session increases athletic performance capacity. Being a drug, caffeine intake should be minimized to avoid overdose because high intake of caffeine can be lethal. To assess caffeine tolerance, it is advisable to take it an hour before work out session.

Capsaicin is the compound found in peppers. According to research, capsaicin increases metabolic rate, hence positively affecting fat oxidation. Capsaicin dosage ranges between 2-3mg each time and can be taken three times per day. It is advisable to take capsaicin during mealtime since it may cause gastric irritation when taken on an empty stomach.

Raspberry ketone is an aromatic compound found in red raspberries. Its chemical structure is similar to that of capsaicin. Raspberry ketone inhibits absorption of dietary fats in the small intestines by suppressing pancreatic lipase. Raspberry ketone dose ranges from 200-400mg per day with at least two doses, preferably 30-60 minutes before a work out session.

Green tea extract is a popular ingredient in many fat-burning products. This is because of its ability to raise caloric disbursement. Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is an antioxidant present in green tea extract responsible for this metabolic effect. EGCG acts as an inhibitor of catechol-O-methyl transferase enzyme. It also enhances the activity of neurotransmitters, which positively affect the fat-burning process. For efficacy, EGCG dosage is about 150-250mg per day and should be taken 30-60 minutes before a workout session.

Synephrine is a stimulant compound found in Citrus aurantium tree leaves. It stimulates beta-adrenergic receptors hence activating lipolysis. Synephrine dosage is similar to that of yohimbine and should be taken 30-30 minutes prior workout.

PQQ is a natural compound extracted from fermented soybeans. PQQ increases production of irisin, a hormone released due to physical activities. Consumption of PQQ should be 20-60mg per day.

It is important to understand that losing weight requires commitment and discipline. Weight loss stacks are designed to help one achieve the desired body size. Therefore, weight loss stacks should be taken in conjunction with proper diet and exercise, and not in replacement of poor dietary habits and lack of proper training. For efficiency, it is also advisable to get a training and nutrition regime on track before using fat-burning supplements.

Beef Protein Supplements – Breakthrough or Fad?

beef proteinEveryone with a keen interest in fitness and exercise knows the importance of protein in the diet. We also know it’s important to eat adequate protein before and after a workout to prevent muscle tissue breakdown and encourage growth. But sometimes this may be inconvenient. For example, some people bring meals to the gym with them and carry their food containers everywhere religiously. Perhaps you’re not willing to make that kind of sacrifice or you simply cannot stomach another chicken breast. That’s ok. This is why protein supplements were invented and over time they have gained great popularity in the fitness world. The most popular kind is whey protein – made from milk. But recently a new contestant appeared on the market – beef protein supplements.

High Quality Protein

Not all protein is equally easily digested and absorbed. The most efficient protein is found in eggs – as much as 94% of the protein is used by the body. Research shows the beef protein, given the right conditions can be as well absorbed as egg. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition has found:

“In cases where the protein value amounted to 15% of the diet, the protein derived from beef showed no cysteine deficiency, and the value used for growth was the same as of egg protein.”

To compare, cow milk protein’s biological value is, on average, 60%. Even though some whey formulas are fully absorbable they often contain sugar which slows down the protein digestion. Beef protein powders such as Muscle Meds Carnivor do not contain sugar. Moreover whey is digested in the intestine which often causes bloating and gastric issues. Beef protein’s digestion takes place in the stomach which should alleviate the swelling and gastrointestinal issues associated with drinking whey.

So you think you’re drinking a beautiful lean steak? Think again. What many people find unsettling is that beef protein powder is sourced from gelatin. Gelatin is made from cattle bones, hooves, ligaments, hides, ears, and other byproducts from the beef and leather industries.

Muscle Meds Carnivor Review

As an example, let’s look at the Muscle Meds product Carnivor. It contains 63% protein which compared to other brands is a bit disappointing. Also, compared to other beef protein products it is high in carbs (21/100g). On the plus side it does not contain any sugars and it is vitamin and mineral enriched. It truly is a great supplement for putting on lean muscle mass. The major downside is the truly horrible flavor – I found Vanilla Caramel revolting. On the plus side it’s quite easy on the stomach and efficient.

 Trial and Error

Hopefully in the coming years the beef supplements will develop even further and evolve into something with a less repulsive flavor. For now, I recommend you try and find a supplement that works for you personally. Remember, shakes should not be used as meal substitution. They can be an occasional addition to a healthy balanced diet but shouldn’t replace your real food protein sources.

 

 

 

 

Sugar Addiction – Fact or Myth

 

Sugar

Can sugar consumption really be called an addiction? Even though you may think this is a bit of an exaggeration, think about the withdrawal symptoms. They really can be compared to those of a quitting alcoholic. Both mental and physical symptoms are tough and quite intense. Experiments conducted on rats show that the animals deprived of sugar had lower levels of pleasure – stimulating dopamine, and they suffered from anxiety and the shakes. Except for headaches, the usual withdrawal symptoms include: low mood, anxiety, fatigue — and daydreams of binging on sugary treats. It all sounds too real when you consider the research that proves you can actually get hooked on sugar. Scientists have found that it’s addictive and stimulates the same pleasure centers of the brain as cocaine or heroin. So similarly to a drug addict, if you want to free yourself once and for all you have to go through the painful process of detoxing.sugar

How it affects your taste

In a California study, researchers found that most subjects stop feeling cravings after 2-3 days and 87 per cent were feeling ‘clean’ and free from cravings after 6 days. On top of that, after such detox, you require less sugar, your palate changes and food seem ‘sweeter’.

Further benefits of detoxing

Not only will you feel better and experience less sugar crashes and cravings. Most of all, it will benefit your health and decrease risk of diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Lots of sugar can have terrible consequences such as a premature death
connected to a cardiovascular disease or cancer.

 How to fight the sweet tooth

1.    Substitute sweets with fruit.

Choose the low GI low sugar fruit such as berries and eat them in moderation. The will help you resist eating refined sugar found in sweets. 

2.    Beware of artificial sweeteners.
Even though small amounts of diet soda or sugar free sweets can help you in times of crisis, be careful as artificial sweeteners are known to increase appetite.

3.    Clear your house of temptation.
It will be much easier to fight cravings if you don’t see any sweets around you – simple as that.

4.    Look for constructive distractions
If you find yourself struggling, take your mind off it – go out for a walk, watch a movie, go work out. Be proactive and avoid dwelling on your cravings.

Although some experts recommend reducing your sugar intake over time, dietician Carole sugar affectsBartolotto believes that cutting it out altogether is the best way to get through a detox. According to her going ‘cold turkey’, as hard as it may be is the quickest and most effective way to fight the addiction.

Why Carbohydrates are important in your diet

carbohydrates

Carbs as the enemy – fact or myth?

Carbohydrates have acquired a very bad reputation recently and many blame the obesity epidemic on the high consumption of carbs and sugar.  They are one of the basic food groups and can be divided into sugar, starches and fiber.  Carbohydrates are broken down in our bodies into glucose and then used for energy.  Unused glucose is stored in the body mainly in the liver and as fat tissue.

Types of Carbs

There are two types of carbs  – simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates refer to sugars, with a simple molecular construction of one or two parts.  Due to such a simple build the body quickly generating an energy spike followed by a low can process these. We all know this as the ‘sugar crash’. Most processed foods contain sugar which has little nutritional value (with a few exceptions we will talk about later). Unfortunately, this combined with huge amounts of saturated fat is the main ingredient of the modern western diet – hence the obesity and heart issues. Sugar can be found in sodas, fruit and fruit juices, candy, white bread and pasta etc. Not all simple carbs are bad, for example fruit and dairy should be an integral part of a balanced diet and they provide fiber and protein as well as vitamins. For people who train regularly, carbohydrates and carbohydrate supplements can be an excellent source of energy and matched with good timing they help burn fat and build muscle.carb type

Complex carbohydrates refer to sugars with a complex molecular structure of three or more parts; due to the complex structure of these molecules it takes the body longer to break them down to glucose and because of it the glucose levels in the bloodstream steady. The energy lasts for a longer period of time which means we don’t ‘crash’ and it can be used up throughout the day rather than stored as fat. Complex carb sources include whole grains, whole meal bread,cereals, oats, pasta, brown rice ,etc.

Glycemic Index

You may have heard the term ‘Glycemic Index’ before. This is simply a measure that tells you how quickly the glucose is released into the bloodstream. High GI foods are the simple carbs – released quickly and spiking blood sugar levels and low GI are the complex, slow processed ones. For fit, active individuals, both are important and if used correctly they can benefit the health, performance and physique.

Consume carbs wisely

Of course, unnecessary amounts of carbohydrates just like any other type of food in excess will make you fat.  But there are multiple reasons why carbs actually help with weight loss and fat burning as well as promoting muscle gain.

Reason 1.

Researchers followed the eating habits of middle-aged women for nearly two years and found that those who increased their fiber intake generally lost weight. Women who decreased the fiber in their diets gained. Many complex carbohydrates contain dietary fiber which we can’t digest but it helps us feel full and keep the digestive system in check.

Reason 2.

During exercise, carbohydrates stored in the muscles as glycogen are broken down into glucose and released to the muscle for energy. If your workouts are intense you will need carbs for energy. If you prefer to eat a few hours before your workout – choose complex carbs and if you choose a pre-workout meal (around 1 hr before) opt for simple carbs that will hit your bloodstream quick. This is a scenario where the sugar will not be stored as fat but used to build muscle. Choose a fruit or a carb drink to avoid stuffing yourself before training. After a strenuous bodybuilding style workout you will have depleted around 30 percent glycogen from your muscles. You may want to replenish that with another small serving of high GI carbs post workout.

Reason 3.

When you decrease your carbohydrate intake for too long on a low-calorie diet, your thyroid and the hormones it controls can be impacted. Since certain thyroid hormones regulate your rate of metabolism – the amount of daily energy you spend at rest – your results will slow or stall completely. Carbohydrates store water, so don’t be fooled by the fact that you ‘lose’ a lot of weight without them, you simply lose water.

Whether you choose a low- or high  – carb diet keep in mind two main principles: to lose fat you need to count calories and choose healthy, unprocessed foods – carbs or no carbs!

How Much Protein Can I Take at Once

how much protein

As you probably already know – protein – the ‘building blocks’ of all of our cells is crucial for all bodily functions. It regulates processes such as tissue growth and regeneration as well as managing and producing hormones.  You may also know that it’s very important to have a high protein diet especially if you are an athlete or you have a hard training routine. After a workout our muscle fibers are ‘torn’ and have to be regenerated and repaired as soon as possible. Protein has such anti-catabolic properties and helps our cells (including muscle) grow and recover. It has also been established that 30 minutes before and after workout are the optimal times to consume protein (or extra protein) in order to reduce catabolism and maximize muscle growth. But how much is too much? Can an unlimited amount of protein be consumed at any given time?

Basically, when we ingest protein, the stomach breaks it down to amino acids by means of stomach acid and enzymes. Amino acids are then transported into the small intestine and further into the bloodstream. They are then distributed into all the various cells in your body. But the small intestine can only shoot a limited number of amino acids into our bloodstreams per hour. This is why only a limited amount of protein can be absorbed at any given time. According to estimates whey protein can be absorbed at a rate of 8 to 10 grams/hr casein at ~6.1 g/hr, soy at ~3.9 g/hr, and cooked egg at ~2.9 g/hr. Also, according to another study, our muscles won’t use more than 30 grams of protein consumed at one meal. Unfortunately this matter can’t be simplified as it all depends on numerous factors. Some of those include:

-Type of protein eaten- whether its Whey Protein Gold Standard or a steak?
-What are you eating it with? On its own or with fat and carbs?
-The fiber content of the whole meal – more fiber equals slower absorption
-When you last ate – are you full or hungry?

These factors can affect the protein absorption. For example a steak will take longer to be broken down and move through your digestive system and therefore you will benefit more from a steak than chugging 3 whey shakes at a time.  Also, as much as the protein will be used in your body, it may not be used for muscle building in excess of the said 30-40 grams.

This information is crucial, not only in order to maximize muscle growth and anti-catabolism but also to avoid over – consuming protein and storing the excess as fat. Keep in mind that it is still important to stick to the recommended daily intake. Spreading it out through the day and increasing your pre- and post -workout intake will maximize your muscle and strength gains. Try to have a balanced diet and alternate between supplements and whole foods rather than drinking shake after shake. Many sources agree that you should be getting most of your protein from food and limit your supplementation to 2 shakes a day, such as Rule One Protein, to maintain balance and health.