Listen to the founder of Black Belt Nutrition, Patrik Dahlin, at Super Human Radio Show to find out. The information is based on novel research with the use of multi-factor analysis of both nutritional components (protein, carbs, creatine) and training protocol (frequency, reps, sets, progression) to assess how these on both individual levels as well as in combination influence strength development.
The theory behind calories
First, what is a calorie? It’s a measure of energy. The principles of energy are just as well established within physics as Newton’s laws of motion. One of the laws of thermodynamics states that energy cannot be destroyed, only transformed into different shapes. This is the basis of the concept that energy in/out dictates if an organism increases or decreases in weight. Excess energy will be stored as chemical energy (like fat).
Sceptics claims the human body is too complex and the laws of physics does not apply to us. The energy in food are burned in a bomb calorimeter to assess the energy content and the body process the food in an entirely different way. However, just as we cannot escape gravity because we are more complex than a stone we cannot violate the laws of thermodynamic either. It’s the starting point (carbs, protein, fat) and the end point (carbon dioxide, water) that sets the energy released. How we go from A to B does not matter, the energy is constant regardless of the path. Our complex biology does not come to play here.
Clinical trials on isocaloric diets
The laws of thermodynamic are often interpreted as if an organism are fed two different diets with the same amount of calories (isocaloric) the weigh change will be identical. However, this is not always the case in clinical trials. So we can break the laws of thermodynamics?
No, we cannot. We also need to consider the energy consumption (energy out). The diet can influence the energy consumption which means that even though the diets are supposed to contain the same amount of energy the organism energy expenditure are influenced by the diet and therefor the calories in/out are not identical in the trials.
On top of that food science does not measure energy content on specific molecules, rather the average. Let’s look at fat. Often the energy value is given as 9 kcal/g. However, saturated fats contain more energy than unsaturated fats and short chained fats contains less energy than long chained fats. The range goes from 5 to 10 kcal/g which means that one form of fat can contain double as much energy as another form. This is not accounted for in nutritional trials. On top of that we have a microbiota in the gut that eat part of our food and this factor can also influence how much of the food energy that actually are absorbed by the body.
Even though we cannot escape the laws of thermodynamics, the energy in and out principle, clinical trials on isocaloric diets does not always yield the same weight change. Since the energy in and out are not constant the trials are in reality not identical once it comes to energy in and out. This means that all diet are not equal once it comes to weigh loss.
Want to know which diet is the best? Get the answer by watching this tutorial
In a recent (June 2015) study from Eastern Michigan University the Paleo diet came out on top once again. This was not against a junk food eating control group, which is normally used to test new diets, rather the control group were using a heart-healthy diet based on the recommendations of the American Heart Association.
Non diabetic volunteers with high cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia).
– Grain-free Paleolithic diet
– Grain-based “heart-healthy” diet based on American Heart Association
Four months of the Paleo diet significantly lowered total cholesterol, LDL (“bad” cholesterol), and triglycerides and increased HDL (“good” cholesterol) relative to both baseline and the traditional grain based heart-healthy diet.
Paleolithic nutrition improves plasma lipid concentrations of hypercholesterolemic adults to a greater extent than traditional heart-healthy dietary recommendations. Nutr Res. 2015 Jun.
In this post we will have a look at Omega-3. This is a fatty acids that we hypothesize can enhance reaction time and speed for athletes. We will start from the beginning and go through the basics of this fat and function in the body.
Poly unsaturated fats contains several (poly) double bonds. These bonds makes the fatty acid bent instead of straight as a saturated fat. You can compare it with matches that you use to make a fire. Straight once are saturated acids with a polar “head”. If you break it, but it is still connected as one piece, you have a bent stick that looks like a fatty acid with a double bond. It bends the fatty acid. Also it is a weak point for attack from radicals and other reactive compounds. Therefor unsaturated fats need more protection of antioxidants to not be attacked and broken into pieces. This is true both inside and outside the body. The laws of physics and chemistry are universal (at least as long as we don’t approach the speed of light).
Function of omega-3
All cells in the body (and bacteria also for that matter) have a cell membrane that surrounds the cell. Water can pass in and out of the cell membrane but most other molecules cannot. They need to be transported through a door that is open. If you think of the matches and put several of them next to each other with the head pointing in the same direction (they are parallel) you have the structure of a cell wall. They are tightly stacked together just as penguins in the arctic stands next to each other. If we introduce the bent match that was partly broken it cannot be put in as tight as a straight fatty acid. There will be some space between the matches (fatty acids) if some of them are bend. It is this space that the cell uses to build doors (transporter protein) that lets in and out molecules. Different doors are used for different molecules even though some share the same gate. These transporters (doors) in and out of the cell are essential. Long chain Omega 3 are used for this (DHA/EPA). They are called long chain because they are longer than a “regular” fatty acids (regular = 18 carbons). Since they are bend they need to be longer to reach to the other side of the cell membrane. Shorter bent fatty acids like ALA (alpha linolenic acid, an omega-3 found in plants) cannot be used in the same way as long chain omega-3.
Omega-3 are especially important for
– Reaction time / Cognitive
– Muscle mass and Strength