Healthy Eating for Men

When men think of healthy eating for some reason, they automatically think they have to eat salad. But we’re here to tell you, you can be healthy without having to resort to boring rabbit food!

healthy eating for men

Men and women aren’t that different when it comes to daily nutrition. Yes, men tend to have more muscle mass which increases their requirements compared to a female. But nutritionally speaking, men still need a wide variety of vitamins and minerals to tick along each day. If you’re a ‘skip the veggies, pile on the meat’ type of guy, don’t worry we’re not about to suggest you turn your phone off and lock yourself at home eating chicken, broccoli and rice to meet your goals!

 

We surveyed all the men in our lives and found some common themes when it came to eating habits. Based on these findings, here are our Top Tips to Eating Healthy as a Dude while still balancing life and the bro-code.

 

Common Man Trend No. 1 – Skimping on the veggies

Veggies just get in the way of meat right?! Well depending on your age, 5-6 serves are recommended each day for men. This equates to 3 cups of vegetables or 6 cups of salad which we know can be hard to meet at times.

Hot Tip 1

Our biggest advice here is to try and add a serve or two to breakfast. Throw some spinach, tomato, mushrooms into the pan while you’re cooking your eggs and add some baked beans on the side. Or if you’re partial to something sweet for breakfast, give our carrot cake porridge a go! It’s far easier to meet your serves each day when you start early with 1-2 already ticked off before morning tea.

 

Common Man Trend No. 2 – Forgetting to trim the fat

Just because it’s attached to your steak doesn’t mean you should eat it! Leaving meat untrimmed can more than double the fat content and add over 500kJ to your meal. It’s also not a fat we need any more of in our diets.

Hot Tip 2

Try making a visual connection between the fat you’re eating and the energy it provides. That 500kJ is the same as an extra ½ cup of rice, a slice of bread, or a tub of yoghurt. Always trim the fatty rind off BEFORE cooking or avoid the temptation altogether and swap that rib-eye for a nice eye fillet without the fatty rind and heavy marbling to start with.

 

Common Man Trend No. 3 – Making it all about the meat

Overconsumption of protein, in particular red meat, is one of the most common downfalls for Australian men. It seems to stem from the common misconception that more protein equals more muscle mass. But in fact, excess protein is simply a waste, not to mention problematic for our health. High meat and in particular, red meat intake is associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer (1). High meat consumption also leads to an increased intake of energy and saturated fat that over time can cause excess weight gain and a build-up of LDL (bad) cholesterol in your body.

Hot Tip 3

There’s no reason why you can’t enjoy a good BBQ and red meat 2-3 times per week. The World Health Organisation recommends keeping red meat intake to 500g/week or less to decrease the risk of cancer. A great way to include red meat while not going overboard with 450g rumps is to make your own burger patties. Try our delicious homemade recipe for beef burgers HERE, they’re delicious!

 

Common Man Trend No. 4 – Falling into the cycle of after work drinks

It can be easy to fall into the habit of having ‘one or two’ drinks (or at least that’s what you tell your partner) after work each day to wind down, or perhaps a few more when catching up with friends over the weekend. Unfortunately, this common habit can negatively impact your health by increasing your energy intake, appetite and altering the way your body metabolises fat.

Hot Tip 4

Our advice is to enjoy one beer, or one glass of wine with a meal, but be careful not to let this become a daily event. If you’re joining your colleagues after work for a drink then try and opt for something non-alcoholic (just don’t tell them), or a choice that has a lower alcohol content like light beer so the overall quantity of the toxin entering your body is less. Avoid getting yourself into rounds as you lose all control when you’re part of the pack.

 

Common Man Trend No. 5 – Not adjusting your intake to reflect your activity

Most guys eat the same thing every day. But as your training load changes, so should your daily energy intake. It can be easier to remember to increase your intake on a heavy training day, as your body gives you hunger cues. But it’s the other way around that can be forgotten.

Hot Tip 5

If you didn’t end up going for that long run like you’d planned, or if you got too busy with work to get to the gym, think about scaling what you’re eating. We’re not saying starve yourself – but perhaps swap that large roll for a wrap or your rice out for potato. This will help you adjust your intake to reflect your activity without having to resort to rabbit food.

 

Common Man Trend No. 6 – Ignorance is bliss!

If you are unaware of recommended serving sizes for different food groups, then it becomes increasingly easy to miss the mark and either be eating too little or too much! Unfortunately, this strategy isn’t going to help you hit any training or nutritional goals.

Hot Tip 6

Try using visual measures of the food on your plate based on the following serve sizes:

  • Protein – aim for approximately the size of the palm of your hand

  • Carbohydrate – aim for approximately 1 fist on your plate for lunches and dinners

  • Salad/Vegetables – aim for 2 fists serves on your plate. 1 serve of veggies = ½ cup of cooked veg, 1 cup of salad. Remember you need 5-6 each day

 

Final Word

Life is about balance and we’re all about enjoying food. We firmly believe healthy eating shouldn’t be HARD or BORING. We challenge you to give our 7 hot tips for Healthy Eating for Men a go and see how you feel. We’re not asking you to eat rabbit food, just make some conscious decisions for your long term health. 

Comment below if you give any of these strategies a go! 👇🏼

 

References

(1). Cancer Council Australia (2013). Position Statement: Meat and Cancer Prevention. Retrieved from Cancer Council NSW https://www.cancercouncil.com.au/1752/cancer-prevention/diet-exercise/nutrition-diet/other-foods-nutrients/meat-and-cancer-3/

Eating for Entrepreneurs

Our Top 5 Tips for Mental Performance

Eating for Entrepreneurs.jpg

As busy business owners, eating well can often take a back-seat when there’s tight deadlines and a million other things to do! But when you’re busy, stressed and time-poor, it’s even more important to eat well to get the most out of your day.

Food is fuel for our bodies and our brain, so if you want to maximise your mental performance and get even more productive, try implementing our top 5 tips today:

1. Choose low GI, whole grains (avoiding white)

Choosing lower GI carbohydrate sources such a wholegrain breads and cereals, brown rice, legumes etc. slows the release of glucose (sugar) into the bloodstream and your brain. This avoids those sugar highs and lows, instead drip-feeding the release of fuel to your brain so you can focus better, with more clarity for longer.

2. Include oily fish at least 3 x per week

Oily fish such as salmon, tuna, herring, mackerel are a great source of omega-3 fats which are critical for brain function and development. Don't like fish? Try taking a daily fish oil supplement to enhance your memory, learning and brain cell communication. Easy.

3. Meal prep a protein-rich lunch

Spend 30mins on the weekend setting your week up for success with a batch cooked lunch. Choose a lean protein source such as red meat, chicken, fish, eggs or tofu and serve with salad or veggies. Keeping carbohydrate to a minimum at lunch will help you stay awake for the afternoon and prevent 3:30-itis.

4. Caffeinate with strategy

Coffee or what we like to call 'Productivity Juice' is the worlds most socially acceptable stimulant. But too much can have negative effects. Excessive caffeine consumption can reduce your ability to focus on the one task, irritability, heart palpitations, hormone imbalances and insomnia. If you're a caffeine lover, aim to stick to a maximum of 2-3 x espresso shots/day. If you’re currently having double (or triple) this, work your way slowly back down by decreasing a shot a week until you’re back within an acceptable limit.

5. Avoid junk food

It's the high sugar load in junk food that will give you a quick pick-me-up (read: rapid rise in blood sugar), but then a massive crash 20-30minutes later. If you want to maximise your brain power, don't eat junk when you're trying to be productive. Pick yourself up with a quick walk around the block during a phone call instead to pump blood to your brain. Remember we want brain fuel drip fed throughout the day, not big spikes and crashes.

Take home message

Spend a little time on food preparation and organisation for the week to set yourself up for success. It only takes an hour or two on your “day off” but can save you many more hours during the chaos of the week. Try scheduling 1-2 hours in your calendar for planning, shopping and meal prep each week and set this to repeat. It doesn’t matter what day, as long as it’s there and it works for you. This will set your whole week up for success so you don’t have to think about what to eat, you just grab and run and keep your brain firing on all cylinders.

If these tips have helped you in any way, please share your experiences in the comments below 👇🏼

For more great #DietitianApproved tips, join the crew HERE

How to choose the best protein powder

We have a food first philosophy here at Dietitian Approved but in some instances, protein powders can have their time and place within a healthy and active lifestyle. As a supplement, that’s exactly what they should be used as; an addition to a balanced diet when you can’t get enough protein through real food for whatever reason.

Protein Powder


Here are some of the reasons we might advise using a protein powder:

  • For convenience. If like us, you have a busy lifestyle and seem to be always on the run!

  • To meet protein needs directly after a heavy strength specific session – where we are trying to maximally stimulate muscle protein synthesis (building new muscle)

  • To make sure your recovery meals tick all the boxes when you’re in a location where real food isn’t feasible. E.g. Post-racing where your recovery meal gets delayed while you’re waiting for your medal :)😂 Or if you struggle to eat post-exercise

  • To bump up the protein of a meal that’s otherwise inadequate to meet your needs. E.g. For those of you who don’t like adding yoghurt to your porridge

 

If you’re thinking about using a protein powder, you first need to ask yourself three questions:

1. Why am I using it?

2. Is it safe?

3. Is it necessary?

 

It’s all too easy to get caught up in clever marketing and the popular opinion that supplements are needed for optimal performance! Once you’ve answered these questions with legitimate answers, the next step is choosing the best protein powder for you. Here are our TOP TIPS to get the best bang for your buck!

1. Ensure it includes enough protein per serve

For optimal muscle protein synthesis look for ~20-30g of protein per serve. More doesn’t equal better when it comes to protein. Anything above this amount in one sitting is a waste as it doesn’t increase the rate of protein synthesis any further (1). And guess where it goes? Straight down the toilet! That’s right – we pee it out.

 2. Choose a protein of high biological value

Not all protein sources are created equal. This is measured by the biological value of the protein. High biological value means two things:
1) it contains all 9 essential amino acids (the ones our body can’t make itself) needed to build and repair muscle and
2) the ratio of these amino acids are similar to what is needed by our body (1).
High biological value proteins are typically whey or milk protein based, but includes egg and some soy proteins as well.

Plant based sources of protein are often missing essentials amino acids and are in a different ratio than what’s required by the body, making them lower in biological value (1). Not to say they are bad, as they can still be matched with a complimentary protein source to provide all essential amino acids between the two sources, but a larger quantity is likely needed as we don’t absorb these as well. Plant-based protein powders are a good choice if you’re vegan or sensitive to lactose or milk proteins.

Protein quality is also influenced by how fast it can be digested, meaning how quickly it can reach your muscles for synthesis and repair. Whey protein has both a high biological value and is rapidly digested, giving this protein powder a great big tick ✔️.  

3. Get enough Leucine

Leucine is a particular amino acid that works as a catalyst for muscle protein synthesis. It’s one of the building blocks required, but it’s also the switch that turns on muscle protein synthesis. Look for a protein that contains 2-3g of Leucine per serve (1). This amount is normally found in 20-25g of high biological value protein (animal protein sources such as whey and meats), but is something to look for when buying a plant-based protein as it can be added.

4. Skip the stimulants

Protein powders advertised to have an ‘energising’ effect can sometimes contain caffeine and other random ingredients. If you’re an evening trainer and plan to use protein powder post-session, avoid a product that contains stimulants. Even small amounts of caffeine can compromise your sleep quality and impact your recovery (check out our previous blog on sleep and recovery).

5. Beware of buzz words

These are the attention-grabbing words that usually sound fantastic but generally just add to the price tag not the quality.

One of our favourites: ‘Weight loss’

Consuming protein in itself will unfortunately not result in weight loss. Supplements with this word generally have an added stimulant or ‘fat-burner’ and we say that loosely as the evidence base on fat burner’s is not currently conclusive (3).

6. Less is more

Remember that the reason you are buying this supplement is for PROTEIN intake, so the smaller the number of ingredients listed, the better. Often cheaper powders contain creamers, emulsifiers, anti-caking agents and other random things to improve the texture of a lower quality product. Also be mindful of random herbs and words you’ve never heard of.

A big one to avoid is “propriety blend”. If the company isn’t open and honest about what a powder is made up of exactly – AVOID IT!

Most protein powders will also have added sugar or sweeteners to make it palatable. If you are choosing a sweetened product, opt for a non-nutritive sweetener like stevia or sucralose to improve the taste without increasing the energy density (2). 

Our Final word

Always try and meet your requirements with real food first! Milk, Greek yoghurt, cottage cheese, meat, chicken, fish, eggs, tofu, legumes, nuts and seeds are all great food options that provide protein.  

If you’re unsure if you can meet your requirements then sit down with an Accredited Sports Dietitian before going any further! Then if you decide to incorporate a protein powder choose a high quality protein like whey (unless you’re intolerant/vegan). Go for a brand with minimal ingredients and watch out for buzz words that add to the cost but don’t improve the quality.  

 ADDIT:

We’ve had lots of questions about which particular brands we use. In our cupboard at the moment is Venom WPI
Minimal ingredients, provides 27g of protein per serve, 3g of leucine, hormone-free, grass fed NZ cows and cost effective!
Use code TARYN10 to get 10% off at checkout
We don’t get any payment or commission for recommending this product (or any product for that matter), we just like it!

References:

(1)   Burke, L., & Deakin, V. (2015). Clinical Sports Nutrition (5th ed.). North Ryde, NSW: McGraw-Hill.

(2)   Azad, M., Abou-Setta, A., Chauhan, B., Rabbani, R., Lys, J., Copstein, L., Mann, A., et al. (2017). Non-nutritive sweeteners and cardiometabolic health: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials and prospective cohort studies. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 189(28), 929-939. doi: 10.1503/cmaj.161390

(3)   Maughan, R., Burke, L., Dvorak, J., Larson-Meyer, D., Peeling, P., Phillips, S., Rawson, E., et al. (2018). IOC consensus statement: dietary supplements and the high-performance athlete. British Journal of Sports Medicine52(7), 439–455. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2018-099027

How to Beet Your Best Time and Get the Competitive Edge

Beetroot juice was the secret sauce for many athletes competing in the London 2012 Olympic Games. Lots of countries were using it, but it wasn’t until afterwards that the news about beetroot juice became public knowledge.

Many athletes are looking for that performance edge over their competitors. Most athletes have heard about it, but don’t know how to use it. If you’ve nailed the fundamentals of basic sports nutrition and are looking at taking your racing to the next level, it is essential to add beetroot juice to your race plan.

Why beetroot juice?

What is it about this vegetable that gives you a performance kick? The component responsible for the benefits of beetroot juice is Nitrate. It’s produced within our bodies and is also found in some of the foods we eat, particularly green leafy vegetables, beetroot, processed meats and the water supply.

But the nitrate content varies widely even among the same vegetable variety. Freshness and farming practices play a part in how much nitrate is present by the time it lands on your plate. Vegetables grown with nitrogen-containing fertilisers will have higher levels of nitrate. So if you choose organic produce, these will probably contain lower levels of nitrate compared to non-organic produce.

How does it work?

When ingested, nitrate is absorbed and rapidly converted into nitrite. This circulates in the blood and is converted to nitric oxide under conditions of low oxygen availability (just like when you exercise).

Nitric oxide is a versatile little compound that can improve some of the crucial components needed during exercise. It’s known to play a number of important roles in the regulation of blood flow, hormones and metabolism (1, 2). By using beetroot juice, it’s been shown to (1-3):

  • Reduce resting blood pressure

  • Reduce the oxygen cost of exercise - So you use less oxygen for the same amount of work

  • Reduce time trial performance

  • Increase fuel availability

  • Improve skeletal muscle contraction

  • Improve high-intensity performance

Ticking lots of boxes to allow you to work harder and faster before you reach exhaustion!

Who could it benefit?

Some of you may have already dabbled in beetroot juice supplementation and not noticed any difference. Or you don’t know how to properly use it to your advantage. In fact, you probably won’t be able to tell on a day to day basis. Some people are not as responsive as others...

When we look at the relationship between nitrate and oxygen efficiency you would expect the majority of the benefits to be seen in endurance events where oxygen cost is crucial. But in fact, current research shows inconsistent results in longer events of sub-maximal intensity (e.g. an Ironman) (3-5). More research is needed in this space. Whereas if we look at high-intensity exercise (>85-90% VO2max), where our body creates an acidic environment, this is perfect for nitric oxide conversion, helping to improve performance for this type of exercise (5).

Results can also depend on the personal conditioning of the athlete. If you have a higher proportion of Type II muscle fibres that are responsible for powerful bursts of movement, then you’ll likely see more benefit from nitrate use. Also, if you’re more on the beginner/weekend warrior end of the athlete spectrum, you’re more likely to see improvements compared to a highly trained, elite level athlete.

The protocol

More research is definitely needed, but current protocols suggest taking 5-6mmol (or ~300mg) 2-2.5hours before exercise. There are a few concentrated products that help you do this – Beet It (300mg) and Go Beet shots (260mg).

For longer events, e.g. triathlon, road cycling, marathons – 1 shot 2-2.5hrs before may not be enough, so add an additional shot closer to the start of the race (as tolerated).

Potential side effects

Good news here! The side effects appear to be few and far between. With the most common issue reported being temporary and harmless pink discolouration of urine and stools (1,3). Some athletes do report gastrointestinal tract discomfort (1,3) though so this is definitely something to trial in training before using for the first time on race day.

Take home message

In summary, if you’ve got the foundations nailed, want to race faster and improve your performance, make sure you look at introducing beetroot juice into your bag of tricks. If you want more great tips like these to enhance your performance, sign up for our regular newsletter where we share evidence-based sports nutrition tips for everyday athletes HERE.

We’re interested to hear from anyone that has played with beetroot juice supplements already so please comment below if you have and share your experiences!

Remember if you don’t use beetroot juice, chances are your rivals are and will have an advantage over you on race day. When you start using this secret sauce correctly, you’ll reach your full potential!

References

(1)  Burke, L., & Deakin, V. (2015). Clinical Sports Nutrition (5th ed.). North Ryde, NSW: McGraw-Hill.

(2)  Dyakova, E.Y., Kapilevich, L.V., Shylko, V.G., Popov, S.V., & Eanfinogenova, Y. (2015). Physical exercise associated with NO production: Signalling pathways and significance in health and disease. Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology, 3. doi:10.3389/fcell.2015.00019

(3)  Jones, A.M. (2014). Dietary Nitrate Supplementation and Exercise Performance. Sports Medicine, 44(1), p35-45. doi: https://doi-org.ezp01.library.qut.edu.au/10.1007/s40279-014-0149-y

(4)  Mcmahon, N.F., Leveritt, M.D., & Pavey, T.G. The Effect of Dietary Nitrate Supplementation on Endurance Exercise Performance in Healthy Adults: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Sports Medicine, 47(4), p735-756. doi: 10.1007/s40279-016-0617-7

(5)  Van De Walle, P., & Vukovich, D. (2018). The Effect of Nitrate Supplementation on Exercise Tolerance and Performance: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 32(6), 1796–1808. doi:10.1519/JSC.0000000000002046

Dietitian Approved Crew- Megan Piccardi

Name: Megan Piccardi

Current home location (where you live): Brisbane

Profession/Educational background: Lawyer

Sport of choice: Power lifting & sometimes runner

How many years have your been training for: I have been training for just over 2 1/2 years.

What got you into it? For running, I was never really a runner and decided one day that I wanted to push myself and do a fun run. My first fun run was City 2 South in Brisbane and I loved it! If you are a runner, you will understand that running & fun runs are addictive so I kept looking for fun runs to enter which lead me to the Vienna City Half Marathon & Disneyland Half Marathon. I love running overseas as it is a great way to see the sights and it keeps you accountable while you are overseas.

I got into power lifting as I had just started strength training and I really enjoyed it. I changed gyms and felt a little insecure in the weights area so I got in touch with Alesha Pimm from Building Elite to help me gain some confidence lifting weights. It is here that I learnt what power lifting was and I fell in love with the sport. I have now competed in 4 novice competitions. I love the competition day environment, everyone is so supportive and they just want to see you do well. 

What’s your favourite training session? deadlifts with a conditioning circuit to finish. 

Events for 2018: Pretty & Powerful in October - 3 lift all female novice competition

Looking ahead to 2019 and beyond, what are your bigger goals for your sporting career: Although my training has been focused on power lifting lately I still love (sometimes hate) running and I would love to run a full marathon one day. For power lifting I would love to be able to compete at a national level one day. 

What’s your biggest achievement in your sport so far: 120kg deadlift

Do you have a saying or motto you live your life by? The body will achieve what the mind believes. 

What are one or two things you do in your day to day training life that you feel are keys to your success? I train every morning even if I don't feel motivated to. 

Three things you can’t live without?

1. My husband 

2. My puppy, Winnie

3. Beyoncé 

Favourite food: Ice cream 

Favourite post-training meal or snack? Protein oats with berries or a smoothie....... yum! 

What’s the number 1 (or 2) thing you’ve learnt about sports nutrition for performance in your sport?

1. Spreading protein throughout the day is important to promote muscle recovery. 

2. It is important to eat within 30 mins from training to optimise recovery & helps me feel fuller throughout the day. 

Great Southern Run Half Marathon

Nutritionist vs Dietitian vs Sports Dietitian

What is a Dietitian and Nutritionist?

We constantly get asked to explain the difference between a Dietitian and Nutritionist. Yes they're different and yes we will always correct you when you call us a Nutritionist. Read on to find out why we get slightly offended ;) 

 

Australia currently does not regulate the professional titles ‘nutritionist’ or 'dietitian', leaving a wide market for misinformation if you do not do your own research. The media also tends to use the two terms  interchangeably, making distinctions between qualifications increasingly difficult. Read on as we break down the differences between these professions, their relevant qualifications, what they can do for you and what to look for when looking for a professional.

Nutritionist

This term can be the most confusing of the three, as there are varying levels of qualifications that result in the title ‘nutritionist’. Nutrition is a three year university degree, but there is currently no regulation over this title in Australia, meaning anyone can call themselves a nutritionist if they want, even you. Even if they have only completed a 20 minute online lecture!

The Nutrition Society of Australia is currently attempting to clear up confusion with a voluntary registration that requires a minimum three year tertiary degree, or relevant years of work experience, to gain the title Registered Nutritionist (RNutr). Nutritionists have completed study pertaining to community and public health, food science and food policy. They are qualified to offer broad health advice, however are not qualified to deliver individualised medical nutrition therapy. In Australia, every dietitian is a nutritionist, but not every nutritionist can call themselves a dietitian unless they've gone on to complete further study. Confusing right?! 

Dietitian

A dietitian is a person with a 4 year University education in Nutrition & Dietetics. They are qualified to provide individualised, evidence-based nutrition advice after undergoing a course of study with substantial theory and practice in medical nutrition therapy.  They are classified as the quality standard for nutrition advice by the Australian Government, meaning they are covered by Medicare health rebates and recognised by most private health funds.

Once again the term ‘dietitian’ is not specifically controlled, however you can trust that professionals who carry the title Accredited Practicing Dietitian (APD) have completed a minimum four year tertiary degree and must undertake many hours of continual professional development to uphold their qualification each year. See a general dietitian if you need assistance with a chronic disease, weight management or just want to improve your overall health. 

Sports Dietitian

A Sports Dietitian has gone on to complete further study to become experts in Sports Nutrition. They must be an Accredited Practicing Dietitian first, with a minimum of one year clinical experience, along with completion of additional study in the field of nutrition for sporting performance. Sports Dietitians are the guru’s on optimising athletic performance through food. Their services aren’t just for professional athletes, they can (and do!) assist everyday exercisers to get that little bit more out of their training. See a Sports Dietitian if you're an exerciser of any level and want to:

  • Develop a plan to help you reach your ideal body composition (fat loss/muscle gain)

  • Get specific dietary advice to get the most out of your training/exercise/sport

  • Maximise your recovery

  • Make weight prior to competition without having to starve yourself

  • Get sports supplement advice for the performance edge

  • Carbohydrate load for endurance events

  • Get tips on sticking to your nutrition plan with a busy lifestyle

  • Healthy athleat friendly recipe ideas
    Plus many many more

Accredited Practicing Dietitians and Sports Dietitians are both fantastic resources and have a wealth of knowledge to assist you in reaching your goals. Our founder Taryn has completed more than 6 years of study and continues to clock numerous hours of ongoing education to maintain an Advanced Sports Dietitian status. Now you'll know why her nostrils flare a little when you call her a Nutritionist ;)