Header image

Nutritional tips, tricks and general information


Tips and tricks
So far we have covered About calories, the macros (Protein, Carbohydrates and Fats), and food and hormones in detail. Now we are going to have a look at some nutritional tips and tricks and general information that will help you to plan your own nutrition plan.

Unlike many conventional diets, you should aim to make your nutrition plan as simple and natural as possible. It shouldn’t be a difficult regime to stick to, otherwise you will not be able to stick to it. It should however be made up of good natural foods and for many that will take some effort to get used to if you are used to eating junk foods, sugary foods and general man made empty calorie foods. Most of the bad foods unfortunately taste good and your brain tends to crave them, hence why it is so difficult to give them up. You will need to be strong and it will take some willpower. But stick with it and you will reap the benefits.

The following article is full of useful information to help you understand food in a much broader deeper follower up to the previous articles, but is also full of tips and trick to help you get the most out of formulating a good nutrition plan – let’s get to it!

Be realistic with your expectations for weight lose

A good approach to changes in nutrition shouldn’t have you fearing and hating the food you eat and shouldn’t be extreme. Therefore don’t expect to be losing a stone of body fat in a month or so, but expect it to be a gradual process. Aim for a around 1 lb per week. Looking to lose anymore than this could leave you disappointed and make you give in.

First let’s look at some foods that you should consider adding to your plan:

I’m not keen on the use of the word ‘super foods’, so instead I’ll call these good food choices, foods to include where needed. A healthy nutrition plan should be made up of healthy foods, that replace the bad foods in your diet. This isn’t a definitive list either, but a list of some of the one’s most common that I feel deserve a mention, yes there are others so don’t feel I’m suggesting for you to just eat these. But the ones listed here can and do in my case give me enough variety and all the nutrients to cover all my needs and requirements.

It’s also important to know that while these may be labelled by many as ‘super foods’ the fact remains, they are just foods, so don’t believe the hype, as none of them are suddenly going to work some sort of miracle. However as part of a balanced nutrition plan, they are much better than a diet of junk and empty calories. Combined as a total they can improve your health, energy and life for the long term.

Try to eat a variety of good foods that provides a good balanced diet with complex carbohydrates, more fibre and protein.

Now remember the list isn’t definitive and if you have a health reason to eat or not eat something then do so. The list includes some of the nutrients they provide, research for more info if you have a specific goal to achieve.

  • 100% whole wheat/grain – bran fibre, various vits/mins
  • Almonds – monounsaturated fat, fibre, protein, antioxidants and various vits/mins
  • Apples – fibre, antioxidants, many vitamins
  • Asparagus – antioxidants
  • Avocado – monounsaturated fat, fibre, antioxidant
  • Banana – various vits/mins and fibre
  • Beef – yes, it has saturated fats (you still need some and eaten in small amounts provide good protein and creatine
  • Beetroot – nitric oxide, iron and folate
  • Blueberries, Raspberries – oxidants and various vits/mins
  • Broccoli – vit K, vit C and many more vits and minerals, fibre, Anti-Inflammatory, antioxidants, omega 3
  • Cherries – antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, vitamin C
  • Chia seeds – omega, fibre
  • Chicken/turkey – protein
  • Cottage cheese – protein
  • Dark chocolate – various minerals and antioxidants
  • Eggs – protein, choline, vitamins
  • Extra-virgin olive oil – monounsaturated fat
  • Fish oily / white– protein, omega 3, vitamin D
  • Flaxseed – omega, fibre
  • Goji berries – antioxidants and various vits/mins
  • Grapefruit – vitamin A, vitamin C, electrolytes
  • Greek yogurt – protein, and various vits/mins
  • Green tea – various antioxidants
  • Kale – fibre, iron, calcium, many vitamins, antioxidants, omega 3
  • Kiwi – various vits/mins especially vitamin C
  • Lean meats – protein
  • Legumes – protein and vitamin and mins, antioxidant, fibre
  • Lentils – fibre, magnesium, protein
  • Natural yogurt – calcium, B vitamins, zinc and potassium
  • Oats – steel cut – fibre, complex carbohydrates
  • Olives – Vitamin E, monounsaturated fat, fibre, vitamin and minerals, antioxidant
  • Oysters – protein, good source of zinc and iron and many more vits/mins, omega 3
  • Pineapple – various vits/mins, fibre and bromelain (anti-inflammatory and aids protein digestion)
  • Pomegranates – antioxidants , fibre and various vits/mins
  • Popcorn – plain air popped
  • Pumpkin -fibre, vitamin A
  • Quark – protein, calcium
  • Quinoa – numerous minerals, fibre, antioxidant
  • Spinach – iron, potassium, fibre
  • Strawberries – various antioxidants, vitamin c
  • Sweet potato and Yams  – fibrous complex carbohydrates
  • Tomatoes – antioxidants, potassium, many vitamins
  • Tuna – Omega 3, protein, and various vits/mins
  • Watermelon – antioxidants and various vits/mins, amino acids (citrulline and arginine)

Also consider:

  • 1 cal coconut or olive oil sprays if you want to fry anything
  • Various beans/peas – antioxidants, omega 3, omega 6
  • Various nuts and seeds, mono and ploy fats, fibre and protein
  • Various other fruit – pick wisely, some may contain too much fructose for your diet, eat just 1-2 pieces per day
  • Whey and casein drinks – protein
  • Whole-grain, high-fibre foods

Now for the foods and drinks to avoid

Some of the foods I listed to avoid in the individual macros sections were more specific to that macro, however I’ve created a more general list here of some of the worst foods with excess fat and sugar, junk foods and empty calorie foods (I’m not saying there aren’t any healthy versions of these, but in general they are to be avoided):

  • Bagels
  • Baked desserts
  • Biscuits
  • Buttered popcorn
  • Cakes
  • Canned food (preserved with salt and sugar)
  • Cereal bars
  • Chips
  • Chocolate (except dark chocolate)
  • Creams
  • Crisps (potato chips)
  • Doughnuts
  • Fast foods/takeaways
  • Flavoured yoghurt
  • Fried foods
  • Frozen made up meals
  • High fat meats (sausages etc)
  • Ice cream
  • Jams
  • Microwave meals
  • Milk shakes
  • Most fruit juices (a glass of even natural fruit juice contains way too much sugar).
  • Most packaged food
  • Muffins
  • Pancakes
  • Pasta
  • Pastries
  • Pies
  • Pizza
  • Processed meats, cold cuts, luncheon meat – ham, deli meats etc
  • Regular butter/margarine
  • Shop bought smoothies
  • So called healthy crackers
  • Sodas, Fizzy drinks (loaded with sugar)
  • Sports drinks
  • Sugar
  • Sugar laden  cereals and so called healthy cereals (also loaded with hidden sugar and salt)
  • Sugar laden fruit drinks
  • Sweetened stuff (go natural)
  • Sweets
  • Syrups
  • Vegetable oil, most oiled food
  • Waffles
  • White bread
  • White rice
  • Table salt
  • Dressings
  • Fat laden sauces
  • High glycemic foods
  • Battered anything
  • Instant anything
  • Anything made from white flour
  • Coffee from those coffee franchise places
  • Basically any man made concoction or combination of mixed up food (how do you know what you are eating, how can you work out what you need to change at those weekly assessment stages).
  • Alcohol – dehydrates you, lots of empty calories, bad for liver, high blood pressure, body can’t metabolise other nutrients when it has alcohol to detoxify?

Limit these foods

You can include these, but don’t go overboard with them, no eating a bar a day of dark chocolate, a large container of plain popcorn or a bottle of red wine for instance! Read labels as you’d be surprised how much sugar and salt there are in some foods. These foods can catch you out, especially if you eat/drink too much of them.

  • Cheese – in fact most dairy
  • Dark chocolate
  • Grains
  • Honey
  • Nuts
  • Peanut butter
  • Plain popcorn
  • Red meat
  • Red wine
  • Regular coffee and tea

Tricks to feel fuller and eat less

Eating vegetables and fibre can be nutritionally loaded and low calorie, making them great for those looking to lose weight. Some foods have the ability to burn more calories than others that have the same initial calorie value, others like fibrous food can make you feel fuller, encouraging you to eat less.

Some foods that make you feel full:

  • Beans/peas/lentils (various)
  • Fibrous foods (various) –  watch for bloating if eating too much
  • Good fats (avocado, oily fish)
  • Protein rich foods
  • Soup
  • Water
  • Whole grains (brown rice, oatmeal)

Some calorie efficient food:

  • Apricots
  • Apples
  • Berries (various)
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Cucumber
  • Green beans
  • Grapefruit
  • Honeydew
  • Kale
  • Leeks
  • Lemons/Limes
  • Lettuce
  • Papaya
  • Peaches
  • Pineapple
  • Spinach
  • Squash
  • Tomatoes
  • Watermelon
  • Whole Orange/Tangerine
  • Zucchini

One last thing, if you still feel hungry after eating your dinner, try this trick. Eat between half to two thirds of your dinner and stop. Stop eating for 5-10 minutes, and then carry on. I use this sometimes, as it allows time for your brain to register you have eaten and works well for stopping me still feeling hungry post dinner and looking for more food.

The thermic effect

Abbreviated to TEF, these are foods that have a thermic affect that take more energy than others to digest and store and give a boost in the metabolic process of them. However, you wont suddenly be able to eat lots of these foods and lose weight, but they do simply burn more energy to digest and possibly have a very small hand in helping with weight loss, as they have less chance to be stored as fat (please see summary at the end of this article).

Foods that have the biggest thermic effect are, lean protein sources, followed by fibrous complex carbohydrates. Foods that have a low thermic affect are, processed foods, sugary foods, refined sugar and fat.

Fat burning and glycogen depletion

The body uses glycogen created by the consumption of carbohydrates as its primary ‘active‘ energy source, especially when it needs a fast energy source. They are stored in the muscles and liver and when these are depleted will turn to fat for its energy source, hence the creation of the low carbohydrate diet (however I’ll come back to that in a moment). It’s important to note that you are actually burning both carbohydrates and fat when resting or going about your general day to day business. Your body has a very large amount of energy stored as body fat and likes to use this when it does not need a quick energy source, so will allow the body to use it when doing less intense active activities. Carbohydrates (Glycogen) is mostly used for more intense activities, such as a hard workout. How much glycogen you can use before it is depleted depends on the intensity and how much you have stored, but most people are capable of having between 400-500 grams, that’s 2000 calories stored in their muscles and liver. Now depending how full up your glycogen stores are, you may not be able to deplete it all doing even the most intense activity for an hour (please see the bit about HIIT a few paragraphs down). However carbohydrates aren’t the baddie here, excess carbohydrates are, especially simple carbohydrates, as simple carbohydrates are easy to eat lots of. Once those stores are full, then those extra carbohydrates if not used up will be converted to triglycerides (fat) and slow down the bodies burning of body fat at the same time. You need to get a balance. The human body doesn’t need lots of carbohydrates, it needs enough to carry out certain functions, such as brain and nervous system function and to fill its storage for muscle energy for physical activity. Once that is satisfied, you don’t want any more than that, as the rest will become fat (triglycerides) and stored as body fat.

However, be aware that following a low-carbohydrate diet affects the amount of circulating blood glucose available for energy, as well as limits your capacity to store glycogen. Your body then begins to metabolise a higher percentage of fat, but also diverts protein from its role in muscle building and maintenance. Instead, your body begins to break protein down in order to produce glucose as well. Low-carbs diets also tend to slow the metabolism down, which in-turn, will sooner or later make it more difficult to keep the weight off.

Why I like weight training and HIIT – The more muscle you have the more fat is burned on those day to day activities – this is because the glycogen that is stored in muscle is utilised by that muscle. So why do HIIT if you are burning just glycogen?, well you are not just burning glycogen, as you increase the intensity of your workout, your body will start to use more and more fat to help with the energy expenditure. HIIT training will burn many more calories than low intensity, think of it as driving a fast car using much more fuel the quicker it goes, while a slow paced cruiser is sipping its fuel. Exercising with weights or doing HIIT (or both) helps take full advantage of creating excess post-oxygen consumption ( EPOC) which increases the metabolic rate for 24 hours after exercise and in so doing HIIT for a short workout session will burn more total fat calories than a long session of steady state cardio.

A few more tips for losing body fat

Avoid drinking your calories, as it doesn’t fill you up, avoid snacking (more on these below). Eat when hungry, it really doesn’t matter how you split your meals down, just get the right amount of each macro and eat as close to the right type of foods as possible. Remember cheating adds up and is often over looked, so note everything that goes in your mouth and remember to adjust for it!

Don’t make an enemy of fat

Fat has so many uses in the human body and eating the right amount of the right type can actually help you lose body fat. When your body eats either carbohydrates or fat it produces different enzymes to digest either one of them. However if you feed it too much of one on a regular basis it learns to produce more of those enzymes for that macro. So if you are consuming lots of carbohydrates and little fat, it will produce enzymes to digest the carbohydrates, but reduce the production of the enzymes for the fat and so become less efficient at utilising fat. So consuming too many carbs ends up being a double ended sword, with increased insulin and reduced fat utilising enzymes. So eat low glycemic carbohydrates and more good fats.

A note on fatty meat

When fatty meat is cooked at a high temperature for long periods of time, it can create harmful compounds and chemicals that may increase disease risk, including cancer, heart disease, kidney disease. It is best to stick to lean meats and cut it thin, in stripes or cubes to shorten their cooking time.

Smaller frequent meals

For some it may be better to eat smaller meals spread throughout the day. Eating every 2-3 hours. This can help keep your blood sugar levels in control, stop you going hungry and not interfere with hormonal imbalances. Keep to lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, moderate healthy fats as much as possible. If you time this right, your energy levels will stand a chance of being more constant and manageable.

Meal timing

How you split your meals up is up to you, however try to split them up so that you don’t have too much in one meal and create an insulin spike. Try to get a mix of protein, carbohydrates and fat at each meal. Ultimately you just need to know what you are eating daily (no need to calorie count in my opinion). If you want you can have three medium sized meals and maybe 2 smaller snack size meals, just spread it out as evenly as you can, whatever is most convenient for you and don’t worry if you miss a deadline or even eat a little too early. Eating at night shouldn’t be an issue either, although I tend to eat more protein in the evening than carbohydrates. You have 16 hours to eat, so fitting your plan in shouldn’t be too difficult. Once you get into it, you will learn how and what works best.

Snaking

You shouldn’t need to snack per se, if you work out what foods you are going to eat daily, you should be able to split your meals up, so you have some to snack on (see my plan), assuming you want to split it that way, what’s more important is you know how much you are consuming each day, so you can make the necessary adjustments.

Eating out

Do you like eating out? It can be a nightmare if you are trying to control your calorie intake and diet. Luckily enough many restaurants do have a healthy option or two, just don’t overdo it adding the wrong type of foods or condiments to your more healthy choice. Avoid fatty additions and stick to lean meats or fish dishes, but watch the sauce and if you can have them grilled, poached or baked. Add vegetables that have been steamed if possible and stay away from fried foods. If you want a sweet go for the fruit or yogurt choice.

Really craving something sweet?

Why not try :

Dark chocolate. It has a host of great benefits. Made with cocoa, it’s a great source of antioxidants, fibre, iron, magnesium, manganese, copper, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, selenium, a good mix of fats and a small amount of caffeine.

Plain natural popcorn. With a drizzling of natural raw honey, tastes nice. You can also add sesame seeds. Popcorn provides good oils, vitamin E, vitamin B, minerals, antioxidants and fibre. Honey is a natural sweetener with vits/mins, antioxidants, immune boosting/allergy reliving abilities and may even help reduce appetite. Sesame seeds have good oils, copper, manganese, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, selenium, Vitamin B1 and fibre.

Or some fruit. Which is full of vitamins and minerals and fibre.

Building muscle and losing fat at the same time

Building muscle and losing fat at the same time is extremely difficult. There will be a compromise to how much muscle you can build and how much fat you can lose. It is the most difficult compromise to nutrition there is, but you can still make progress doing both if you work at it.

Calorie restrictive diets create a problem in that you’re fighting a conflicting battle with regards building muscle. A reduced calorie intake decreases anabolic hormones and energy for recovery and creates stress to the body. This isn’t ideal by a long way for building muscle. On the other hand trying to lose body fat often requires a deficit in calories intake. Basically you end up in a catch 22 situation. You have to therefore create a plan that gives you just enough calories to repair and build muscle from exercise and eat the correct foods and do the right type exercise to encourage both the burning of fat cells and building of muscle.

Eating vs drinking food

Many diets insist on their dieters drinking their foods, however when you drink your calories, the body and the brain for that matter don’t register them anywhere near as much as if you where to eat your food. This causes a few problems, firstly it doesn’t fill you up as much as solid food given the same calorie count and as such you will still feel hungry and therefore likely to eat more in the long run. Also drinks tend to have less fibre, such as the pulp in fruit and fibre in vegetables. Most drinks also contain too much sugar and salt for taste in comparison to their food counterparts. The action of chewing also sends a message to your brain that food is on the way and will signal it to get the digestive juices going and will also help suppress hunger by making you more full. So if you are looking to lean up, solid food is king – get chewing.

When would it be best to drink nutrients?

Although I will always recommend you eat your food rather than drink it, it may not always be possible if you simply are under weight, so how about a smoothie to help get those extra nutritious calories. Why not try this: 1 x avocado, 1 x banana, 1-2 scoops of whey, 200-300 ml milk and maple syrup, put in a blender. Can be used as a great weight gain drink with protein, carbohydrates and fat.

Other times to drink your nutrients may include, 1/2 hr before working out, directly after working out or just before going to bed. Depending on your goals, having a protein and or protein plus carbohydrate drink pre workout may benefit those under weight and having a post workout with varying protein/carbohydrates depending on your goals may also help. Some people can’t eat late at night or don’t want to prep a meal before bedtime, so maybe a drink consisting of a casein powder and/or a cheese or yogurt mix can be beneficial. Add in some nuts or mix in smooth natural peanut butter can create a slow slow digesting pre-bedtime meal.

Smoothie warning – be very careful with smoothies. It is very easy to put lots of fruit and vegetables into a blender and drink many more times the amount you can eat. With some fruits that can add up to a lot of sugar content.

Nut allergies

If you have a nut allergy and want to increase your intake of omega, consider eating fatty fish, whole eggs, flaxseeds and chia seeds (if your allergy doesn’t extent to seeds) or even omega supplements.

Phytic Acid (phytate)

There’s been quite a bit of talk about this compound substance, which cannot be broken down by the human digestive system. It is found in plant seeds/nuts, grains and legumes. It is considered to interfere with the absorption of minerals, mostly the minerals iron, zinc, manganese and even small amounts of calcium and is therefore also known as an anti-nutrient. Despite this, foods that contain phytic acid have other benefits and even phytic acid itself is considered an antioxidant. It is said to also help fight against cardiovascular disease, cancer, kidney stones and diabetes and reduce cholesterol and triglycerides and slow down a potential blood sugar spike.

Knowing the above it may be worth looking at your diet, while it shouldn’t be a problem if you are following a well put together nutrition plan, it may be worth noting the above, especially if you are aware that you are deficient in any of the minerals.

If you do want to reduce phytic acid in your food, you can soak seeds, grains and nuts containing it overnight, which is said to reduce the quantity of the substance somewhat. Heating foods can also reduce it and foods that are milled, fermented, germinating can have reduced phytic acid concentrations. Incidentally taking vitamin C with foods can increase the absorption of iron.

Does diary block the uptake of nutrients?

The short answer is yes! both the calcium and the casein found in dairy block certain nutrient uptake. Calcium can block the absorption of iron and zinc, although not to a large degree, so if you are getting enough of both of these it shouldn’t be a problem. However casein (the protein in milk) has been shown to also blocks various nutrients and anti-oxidants/polyphenols in fruits and teas. For this reason I only have dairy on its own before bedtime. So dairy or not? I don’t think you should remove it from your diet unless you have a medical reason or are lactose intolerant, which will cause wind, bloating or diarrhoea. I also would stick to unflavoured and unsweetened dairy. Also contrary to popular belief, full fat is best, as the fat helps keep any insulin levels down created by the milk sugars. Most cheese and yogurts however are fermented and much of the lactose has been removed, along with some nutrients, but is still a good nutritious food. Probiotic for instance can be a good choice for those looking for a boost in intestinal health, although it does take a lot of the good bacteria to allow some to make it through to your digestive system. For people who are looking to lose a noticeable amount of fat, they should look to limit high sugar and high fat dairy.

Is eating raw eggs OK?

So we all know eggs are nutritious and even though it has high fat content in the yolk, it provides high quality protein, fatty acids and good vitamins and minerals (mostly in the yolk) and yes cholesterol, but you can benefit from a small amount of this in your diet anyway so why not get it along with the other nutrients contained in the yolk. But is it better to eat raw eggs or cooked, what is the difference? well if you didn’t know it eggs contain all nine essential amino acids, however when you eat raw eggs they cannot be anywhere as easily absorbed as well as cooked eggs. Cooked eggs will decrease some vitamin/mineral percentage, but if the rest of your diet is good, who cares. Raw eggs can also contain salmonella, albeit quite rare nowadays, it’s also mostly in the shell (note: always wash your hands after handing egg shells). So it really boils down (sorry no pun intended) whether you are eating eggs for protein or not and my guess is you are, so cook your eggs for better amino acid absorption.

Anti-oxidants

These are molecules that can help to slowdown or stop oxidation of other molecules that we consume. The oxidised molecules create free radicals that can cause cell damage. We live in a much more polluted environment nowadays and by consuming foods with antioxidants you may be able to counter many of these free radicals, although it must be said it is uncertain how much of these and which type has the most benefit and high doses of some antioxidants may in fact have a negative health effect. You also do not need heaps of anti-oxidants in your diet, as your body already produces its own.

Some examples of anti-oxidants include:

  • Beta-carotene
  • Coenzyme Q10
  • Lutein
  • Lycopene
  • Selenium
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Carotenoids
  • Flavonoids
  • Allyl sulfides
  • Polyphenols
  • Alpha Lipoic Acid
  • Resveratrol
  • Phyoestrogens
  • Glutathione
  • Melatonin

Water (Hydration)

You need water to stay hydrated, especially if your diet is on the high side with protein. It’s not the protein that damages your kidneys, it’s the lake of water needed to flush it through. Drinking plenty of water will also keep your liver nice and healthy, making it work more efficient at waste removal, nutrient handling and keep the blood viscous. Water also helps maintain body temperature and maintaining a healthy body weight. Water can also help improve not just your health but physical abilities and most people fall well short of the amount needed to keep you hydrated. Being dehydrated could be the reason you feel tired and weak, even after a sleep. Drinking plenty of water will not make you fat, once you are hydrated the excess will be flushed out (unless you consume extreme amounts).

Water can also be used to help fill the stomach and reduce hunger, you are 60-70% water, it keeps you alive, feeling good and can also actually improve your strength when you are fully hydrated.

Drink water throughout the day, it takes time to rehydrate a dehydrated body to give 100% performance. There isn’t a set amount you should drink, but the more you perspire the more you need. Aim for 1-2 glasses every few hours, but remember there is water in your food and other beverages to take into account. You need to do what your body is asking, if you are thirsty drink. If it is hot and you are sweating more, then drink, if you are working out in heat, then drink more water.

Can you drink too much water?, yes you can, but we are talking silly amounts of water.

Tips – if you want flavoured sweet water, try adding fruits to it and avoid any other flavoured drinks as they are normally loaded with various sugars and or sweeteners. I also tend to have a 1 litre bottle of water on my desk, that I will drink between meals. This litre bottle is in addition to any other fluids I have during the day.

Nitric oxide

When we get older our blood vessels and nitric oxide system are not as efficient as in our younger years. The reason for this can be many, including damage from free radicals, smoking, poor nutrition, high cholesterol and inactivity.

So what is nitric Oxide?

Nitric Oxide, not to be confused with nitrous oxide is itself a free radical that is a cardiovascular signalling molecule, which helps the body in many ways, such as improving the immune system, oxygen and blood flow and blood pressure and can also improve sleep, muscular endurance and strength.

How do I increase my nitric oxide intake?

Exercising will increase it, as well as foods that contain or create the amino acids L-arginine and L-citrulline, such as nuts, fruits like strawberries, melons, raspberries, cherries, bananas, protein-rich meat and poultry and vegetables like beetroot and leafy greens such as kale and spinach, celery, lettuce, also dark chocolate and red wine  and supplements (please read labels and side effects when looking at this supplement and/or consult your doctor if you have any medical conditions). As a side note, high fat/carbohydrate diets will inhibit nitric oxide production.

Caffeine

Caffeine is a well known fat burner (can raise basal metabolic rate) and a central nervous system stimulant. Therefore if used correctly can be great at enhancing physical and mental performance. It is most beneficial approximately an hour before physical exercise. The amount required varies from person to person. Be aware that long term very high doses are associated with several health issues, but a cup or two of coffee a day for instance should cause no side effects for most people, other than keeping you awake if you take it too close to bed time.

Green tea

Green tea as above can also provide caffeine, but one of its main benefits is its comprehensive and varied antioxidant content. Green tea has been associated with fat loss through increased metabolic rate and also can help with brain function improvement, lowering of type 2 diabetes and lower bad cholesterol amongst other benefits.

A word about Fasting

While this has been proven to work for losing body fat and very effectively. It will only work for a short period, as it’s impossible to sustain and once the honey moon is over you will most likely gain the weight loss back. Fasting has a tendency to slow down your metabolism, it’s a natural survival mechanism for your body to slow it down to avoid starving to death. When you return to a more regular diet, the slowed metabolism will now work against you and you will gain more fat than you lost. Plus you lose the nutritional needs of your body, so it’s not in my opinion a healthy option. Also If you think you can keep your metabolism up while working out and fasting, you may just not have enough energy to do it long term.

Eating on a budget

To be honest I’m not too sure why I need to have this section. But since it is a common question, here goes. If you have read my nutrition articles and my meal plan, then there should be no problem to buy all the food you need and eat well for less than you spend on the processed and man-made foods out there. I can tell you I eat very well on a small budget. You need to shop around and not spend on anything else. All those additional empty calorie treats all add up. Skip the takeaways, eating out, processed ready meals, cakes, ice cream etc. The fact is the good foods that are non processed natural foods aren’t expensive, as they don’t require numerous processes to create and you get much more healthier food thrown in.

Summary

Finally don’t go hungry – you tend to eat more, as it takes time for your brain to acknowledge you have/are eating and keep a record of what you eat or have a spreadsheet with your meal plan, so you know what you can eat and when. It makes it so much easier to follow and you don’t have to waste time to stop to think about it.

With all that information above, it is important to say that it is over eating that will make it difficult to lose body fat. Remember that at the end of the day, taking in more calories than you burn off will result in stored body fat.

I understand that we have covered a lot in this article, but I didn’t want to have you search this site and go through lots of articles to get this information. Now you need to put it all together by checking out the putting it all together article or return to the nutrition plan main page to continue the series of related article and if you need to, you can come back and refer to this article when required.

Please also see About resistant starch