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Did you know that meal planning can have many health benefits? We have all heard this before, right? Plan ahead for Success.....well easier said then done, yes or no? Well, I would have to say from my own experience with meal prepping/planning it is quiet easy and there are many benefits to this process. From as far back as I can remember I have always been a natural born healthy eater, however, when we are hungry we tend to settle for convenience rather than healthy options.....and yes I have fallen victim to this habit in my our daily life. That was until I decided to compete in my very 1st NPC Bikini Competition! When it came to training my body and building muscle, I was a pro, however, I need guidance when it came to proper nutrition for an athlete so I sought the advice of my dear friend Annie Parker, MS Nutritionist, Trainer and Bikini Competitor Coach. Annie customized a meal plan that was right for my body with portion sizes....yes I said portion sizes. So I quickly got to work with cooking, measuring and scheduled feedings. Now you may be asking yourself why I am telling you all of this...well, as a Health & Lifestyle Coach I know the logistics to healthy living, however, this experience taught me that there are many benefits to meal prepping/planning that any person regardless of age, gender, athletic ability, weight-loss or management goals making an big impact on ones health.

  • Saves $$
  • Saves Time Making Eating on-the-go Easy 
  • Healthier Eating Habits 
  • Portion Control 
  • Controls Comfort Eating 
  • Balanced Meals 
  • Weight Control 

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BCAA’s and Their Effect on Active Males as an Ergogenic Aid

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Insulin and BCAA have been shown to be anabolic compounds via their augmentation of translation initiation when secreted or ingested before, during, or immediately after an acute resistance exercise (RE) bout. During prolonged aerobic endurance exercise, muscle glycogen may become depleted and the muscle may increase its reliance on BCAA for fuel. BCAA supplementation has been studied for its effects on…..various types of exercise performance, including ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) during exercise and mental performance following exercise as well as results of body composition changes over a period of time. In general, the findings are equivocal, as are the conclusions from several recent reviews. One investigator concluded that BCAA supplementation reduces RPE and mental fatigue during prolonged exercise and improves cognitive performance after exercise, and also suggests that in some situations BCAA supplementation may improve physical performance, such as during exercise in the heat or in actual competitive races where central fatigue may be more pronounced than in laboratory experiments1. Another study that evaluated 36 trained males found that 8-weeks supplementing with BCAA’s increased lean mass while decreasing body fat2. However, in a similar study with 20 recreationally active males, similar results on serum levels were not found3. This may be due to the difference between BCAA’s results following an 8-week protocol as opposed to a single measurable result. Although current research does not support an ergogenic effect of BCAA supplementation, most investigators recommend additional research.

A randomized, double-blind study was performed to evaluate the efficacy of consuming a supplement containing branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) during an eight-week resistance-training program. Thirty-six strength-trained males with a minimum of two years resistance-training experience (25.5 yrs, 177.7 cm, 85.2 kg and 9.3% body fat) were randomly assigned to receive either 14 grams of BCAAs (n = 12), 28 grams of whey protein (n = 12), or 28 grams of carbohydrates from a sports drink (n = 12) while performing an eight-week resistance-training program. Participants followed a periodized, whole-body training program that involved training all major muscle groups once per week using a four-day training split. Subjects body weight, body composition, and 10-rep max on the bench press and squat were determined before and after the eight-week training program. Subjects followed a standardized diet while following the program.

Ingestion of a supplement containing BCAAs while following an 8-week resistance training program resulted in a greater decrease in percent body fat, an increase in lean mass, and 10-RM strength gains on the bench press and squat vs. ingestion of a whey supplement or a sports drink. In addition, the ingestion of a whey protein supplement resulted in greater lean mass gains than ingestion of a sports drink2.

In another randomized, double blind, placebo controlled design, 20 recreationally active males (22.7 ± 3.9 yrs; 177.1 ± 7.3 cm; 83.9 ± 11.5 kg) ingested either 120 mg/kg of BCAA (n = 10) divided into 3 equal doses or a placebo (n = 10) in conjunction with a lower body RE bout. The RE bout consisted of 4 sets of leg press at 80% of 1 RM to failure followed by 4 sets of knee extension at 80% 1 RM to failure. Rest periods between sets and exercises were 150 seconds. Supplementation was administered 30 minutes prior, immediately before, and immediately following RE. Serum insulin was obtained at baseline, 30 minutes after the first supplementation administration, as well as immediately post, 30 min, 2 hr, and 6 hr post RE. Serum insulin was analyzed via ELISA (Alpha Diagnostic Intl.). Insulin data were analyzed using SPSS for Windows version 15.0. A 2 × 6 repeated measures ANOVA (mixed methods) with repeated measures on the second factor (time) was utilized3. At a dosage of 120 mg/kg of bodyweight, it appears that BCAA supplementation does not increase serum insulin values to a greater extent than an acute bout of resistance exercise alone.

In conclusion, BCAA’s may show more promise as an ergogenic aid in studies where the tests are longer and show progression. They may not have as much effect on 1RM as they do on recovery over time.

Download Paper

Source: Evolution Nutrition


1.  Blomstrand E. Amino acids and central fatigue. Amino Acids. 2001, 20:25-34.

2.  Stoppani, J., Scheet, T., Pena, J., Rudolph, C., Charlebois, D. Consuming a supplement containing branched-chain amino acids during a resistance-training program increases lean mass, muscle strength and fat loss. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 2009, 6(Suppl 1):P1.

3.  Oetken, A., Campbell, B., La Bounty, P., and Willoughby, D. The effect of BCAA supplementation on serum insulin secretion before, during, and following a lower-body resistance exercise bout. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 2008, 5(Suppl 1):P20.


Fueling Prior to Training or Competition

Eating prior to training or games serves the primary purpose of maximizing energy stores for activity, with glycogen being of main concern. This should be of a concern not only in the hours before training, but also in the several days prior. Studies of glycogen synthesis have shown that stores can be normalized by 24 hours of rest and adequate consumption of carbohydrates. Intakes between 7 and 10g/kg bodyweight per day of carbohydrates are sufficient to maximize glycogen saturation. This would correlate to a 100-kg (220 lb) football player consuming 700 to 1000g of carbohydrates in the 24 hours prior to competition. The needs of the athlete…. may be slightly lower than the given values, as an athlete with a larger percentage of body fat, and a lower percentage of metabolically active tissue, will require less carbohydrates than these values show. The stores created by this range are adequate for the muscle fuel needs of events lasting less than 60 to 90 minutes in duration. Values above this, such as with carbohydrate loading, do not enhance performance in events of this duration.

Research examining the effects of carbohydrate consumption on maximal power and resistance training has also shown correlations with glycogen stores. Strength and power are not only products of the exercise stimulus, but also to the stimulus created through nutrition, particularly with recovery. If optimal intakes do not occur between training sessions, recovery, and as a result, performance in the subsequent training series will be negatively affected.

The typical resting values for muscle glycogen in trained muscle are 100-120 mmol/kg net weight. A typical glycogen synthesis rate is ~5 mmol/kg/hour and therefore 24-36 hours should be set aside following the last training session in order to allow for maximal glycogen re-synthesis. An example of this would be to either eliminate exhaustive practices in the 1 to 2 days prior to competition, or to taper training to only movements that do not significantly elevate an athlete’s heart rate.

Consuming carbohydrates prior to training or games should also be a factor in the hours prior to the event. A significant factor involved with whether the athlete chooses to consume a meal prior to sports participation is comfort. Many athletes are not accustomed to eating or taking supplements prior to heavy exercise and the meal could cause gastro-intestinal or psychological discomfort. The goals of the pre-event meal are to:

1) Continue to fuel muscle glycogen stores if they have not fully restored since the last training session

2) Restore liver glycogen content, particularly for events in the morning where liver stores are depleted from an overnight fast

3) Ensure the athlete is well hydrated

4) Prevent hunger, but avoid gastrointestinal discomfort during training

Through research of glucose metabolism and exercise performance it has been determined that the optimal range of carbohydrate intakes in the hour prior to training should be between .6 and 1.0 g/kg bodyweight. Liquid carbohydrate supplements are sometimes preferred over solid foods, due to their decreased gastrointestinal transit time (time in the GI tract) and increased absorption.

Fueling During Training or Competition

The purposes consuming carbohydrates during training is to maintain elevated blood glucose and preserve muscle and liver glycogen. If blood glucose levels begin to fall, glycogen reserves will be used to maintain these levels to sustain the high work rates. When hypoglycemia occurs, glycogen reserves become utilized to a greater extent and can become diminished. Work rates must then decrease to a point in which beta-oxidation, or the metabolism of fats for fuel, can produce the ATP needed. During sports, it is important to maintain blood glucose levels above 2.5 mmol/L. Below this level, physiological and psychological consequences may occur that impede athletic performance. Several of the common symptoms include dizziness, disorientation, and nausea, and most importantly fatigue.

The type of carbohydrate most preferred is in the liquid or in semi-liquid form, either as sports drinks or carbohydrate gels. A list of commonly used supplements is displayed in the previous section. Many studies have looked at the rates of carbohydrate oxidation during intense exercise, as this will help determine optimal timing of intakes and volumes. In general, during short-term intense exercise, such as during football, it is recommended that athletes consume 6-8 oz of 5-7% glucose solution or electrolyte drinks. This equates to approximately 20g of carbohydrates every 15 minutes, or 1 to 2 small cups of a sports drink during rest periods on the sidelines8. Caution must be taken because although carbohydrate intakes may be sufficient, an athlete’s fluid needs may not be adequate. Fluid intakes are recommended of 1.5-2.0 mL/kg bodyweight every 20 minutes. An example would be a 100 kg (220 lbs) athlete needing 150-200 mL of water every 15 to 20 minutes. In addition to carbohydrate replacement drinks, water should be ingested at regular intervals to prevent the onset of thirst or hypo-hydration.

Fueling After Training or Competition

The immediate replenishment of fuel reserves after training is strongly correlated with an athlete’s abilities to adapt to the stresses of training. If recovery is sub-optimal, these adaptations will be hindered, and the increased development of strength or power capabilities will be affected. A significant amount of research looking at recovery from exhaustive, repetitive exercise has formulated several guidelines with regards to fuel replenishment. They are listed below.

1) Initiate carbohydrate feeding immediately (within 1 hour) after exhaustive exercise

2) Consume high glycemic carbohydrates (0.7g glucose or sucrose/kg bodyweight or 50g carbohydrate) every 2 hours for the first 4-6 hours. Manipulation is required during pre-season training with multiple practices

3) After 6 hours, low glycemic carbohydrates should be consumed totaling approximately 500-700g, or ~7g/kg bodyweight9.

In conclusion, the importance of carbohydrates can be found in most studies to be paramount before, during, and after workouts. The pre-workout optimal range of carbohydrate intakes in the hour prior to training should be between .6 and 1.0g/kg bodyweight and in the form of liquid or semi-liquid form to ensure the athlete will maintain hydration and increase the glycogen stored and used for exercise. Equally as important is utilizing carbohydrates right after exercise in the form of high glycemic carbohydrates (0.7g glucose or sucrose/kg bodyweight or 50g carbohydrate) every 2 hours for the first 4-6 hours to replenish glycogen stores and help with recovery.

SOURCE: Evolution Nutrition

Download Paper


  1. Friedman JE, Neufer PD, Dohm GL. Regulation of glycogen resynthesis following exercise. Dietary considerations. Sports Medicine. 1991;12:313.
  2. Febbraio MA, Keenan J, Angus DJ, Campbell SE, Garnham AP. Preexercise carbohydrate ingestion, glucose kinetics, and muscle glycogen use. Journal of Applied Physiology. 2000;89:1845-51.
  3. Haff G, Lehmkuhl MJ, McCoy LB, Stone MH. Carbohydrate supplementation and resistance training. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2003;17(1):187-96.
  4. Kuipers H, Fransen EJ, Keizer HA. Pre-exercise ingestion of carbohydrate and transient hypoglycemia during exercise. International Journal of Sports Medicine. 1999;20:227-31.
  5. Thomas DE, Brotherhood JR, Brand JC. Carbohydrate feeding before exercise: Effect of the glycemic index. International Journal of Sports Medicine. 1991;12:180-6.
  6. McConell GK, Canny BJ, Daddo MC, Nance MJ, Snow RJ. Effects of carbohydrate ingestion on glucose kinetics and muscle metabolism during intense endurance exercise. Journal of Applied Physiology. 2000;89:1690-8.
  7. Tsintzas K, Williams C. Human muscle glycogen metabolism during exercise. Sports Medicine. 1998;25(1):7-23.
  8. Steensburg AV, Gerrit K, Charlotte O, Takuya S, Peter P, Bente S, et al. Muscle glycogen content and glucose uptake during exercise in human: influence of prior exercise and dietary manipulation. Journal of Physiology. 2001;541.1:273-81.
  9. Wolinsky I,  Hickson J. Nutrition in Exercise and Sport. CRC Press, Boca Raton: 19

“Nutrition is important!”  We hear this everywhere we go, from the barista at our local coffee shop to the health, nutrition, or fitness professional we’re paying to get us in shape.  Nutrition is a major factor, and sometimes the deciding one, when we’re trying to achieve improved health and performance.

The goals for pursuing better nutrition can range from weight loss and changes in body composition, to improving our cardiovascular profiles or strengthening our immune system.  We, however, live in a society where… we are constantly inundated with self-help and “do-it-yourself” guides, and through all of this noise, we’re told nutrition is something we can take on ourselves.  Research, however, shows that when a person works directly with a health and nutrition professional, long-term improvement is significantly greater.3 Physical and health-related progress in body mass index (BMI), weight, lipid levels, body fat percentage and other risk factors, like high blood pressure, are achieved at a greater level, over a longer period of time.4,5

Professionals will impact the physical changes we achieve, but the education and awareness we gain through this intervention empowers us to make better nutrition choices in the future.3  This empowerment may be the most beneficial aspect of a relationship with a professional and can be the most important factor for lasting impacts.

Whatever the reason, deciding to make a lifestyle change through nutrition is a process.  That process involves first acknowledging a change is needed; second, gaining education and awareness to successfully create that change; and finally, applying the intervention strategies for success and maintenance.  This “3 step process” seems simple on paper. Unfortunately, we are saturated with the notion that nutrition interventions are simple, without regard for differences between us as individuals.  Weight management, for instance, is often seen as just taking in fewer calories.  The ACSM guidelines for weight loss, for example, recommends 500 fewer calories per day.2  With the advancement of nutrition science and application, however, we know that energy balance is only a single component in a web of factors surrounding nutrition for healthy weight management.  This singular factor can be changed by manipulating meal and nutrient timing, applying strategies for portion control and adjusting macronutrient (carb/protein/fat) percentages.  A truly effective weight loss program is one that takes advantage of all these techniques while identifying, preventing and correcting any nutritional deficiencies that may contribute to disease, or negative health impacts.  Doing this properly demands the knowledge and experience of a qualified healthcare professional.

A qualified professional will always have the education and experience needed to most effectively address our nutritional needs and goals, they’re just not always easy to find.  With the constant advancements of online resources, however, we’re seeing professional interventions more effectively delivered than ever before.  Professional nutrition consulting and management services are continually changing and improving.   With the power of the internet, we can cut through all the noise to find that effective nutrition management is available to everyone.


Written By: Claudia Wilson MS, RD, CSSD, CD

(1)  “An integral role of the dietitian: Implications of the Diabetes Prevention Program J Am Diet Assoc. 2002 August; 102(8): 1065–1068.
(2)  “Nutrition in primary care:  current practices, attitudes and barriers” Can Family Physician 2010;56:e109-16
(3) “The effectiveness of a nutrition education program for family practice residents conducted by a family practice resident-dietitian.”  Family Medicine 1995 Oct; 27(9):576-80.
(4) “Education by a dietitian in patients with heart failure results in improved adherence with a sodium-restricted diet:  a randomized trial.”  American Heart Journal 2005 Oct; 150 (4):  716
(5) “Effect of Onsite Dietitian Counseling on Weight Loss and Lipid Levels in an Outpatient Physician Office”.  American Journal of Cardiology.  2007 July; 100 (1):  73-75.

All information presented by Abe Fuentes via this guide, its publishers, authors, or distributors in any form or method is intended as an educational resource and is not intended as a substitute for proper medical advice.

Consult your physician or health care professional before following any diet, nutrition or taking any supplements. This is especially important if you are pregnant or nursing, if you are elderly or have chronic or recurring medical conditions. The statements made about products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug administration (U.S.). They are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any condition or disease.

Please consult your physician or health care practitioner regarding the suggestions and recommendations made. Neither the author of the information, nor the producer, nor distributors of such information make any warranty of any kind in regard to the content of the information presented on this website or through any forms of distribution.

The Publisher and Author disclaim any personal liability, both tangible and intangible, loss or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any advice, information or methods presented herein.

Furthermore, the Publisher and Author strictly prohibit any unauthorized duplication or distribution of this material, in any format, of any kind. Any violation of copyright will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Copyright 2003. © All Rights Reserved.


Whether it is for the summer bikini, black dress Christmas party or the guy who wants "abs" instead of "love handles", dieting is a 24/7 year round sport. But, optimal fat loss does not have to be difficult and tortuous. By following this "carb cycling plan", you will maximize fat burning by boosting your metabolism and you WILL lose more weight and body fat than you ever dreamed possible.

Everyday of every year, people all across this great nation start some type of diet. Then, an astounding 92% of dieters see their weight loss stall, or worse, they see pounds of fat sneak back onto their body. Everyone who has ever "dieted" has had this happen. But do you know WHY this happened?

When you diet the wrong way, i.e., calorie cutting, your body thinks that food is scarce, so it hoards fat instead of burning it, and energizes with glycogen, a sugar - based fuel found in muscles. So, the more often you diet and constrict calories, the faster your body will shift into muscle - burning / fat storing mode. Your body essentially stores fat and eats muscle for fuel. Which lowers your metabolism in an attempt to save energy in preparation for a false, upcoming famine.

Carb - cycling: The secret that turns fat to energy.

Whenever the muscle stores of glycogen are completely depleted (a process that can usually take anywhere from three to seven days) the body STOPS burning muscle and STARTS burning stored fat as fuel. According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, "the body burns fat cells around the belly, hips and butt first."

Surprising as it may sound, it is actually very easy to diminish glycogen stores. You simply have to restrict carbohydrate intake. I know what you are thinking - "Great! There goes all the food that I enjoy". But, it does not have to be like that. Once the glycogen stores have been depleted, a lot of the cravings for sugar, breads, pastas, etc., start to go away pretty quick. The carbohydrate sugars from these foods, which make up the majority of most people’s diets, supply the glucose from which muscle glycogen is derived. So, by cutting these types of carbohydrates for at least three days, depletes the muscles’ glycogen stores, forcing the body to use fat for fuel.

But, you have to be careful. The body is hyper sensitive to calorie restriction, as in the example of your body going into starvation mode at the beginning of this page, so it will quickly go back to storing fat and slowing your metabolism in an attempt to conserve energy. Right along those same lines, restricting carbohydrate intake for too long deprives the brain of glucose, which is needed to produce the feeling of being "full" or "satisfied". Therefore, it is important to limit your carbohydrate restriction to no more than seven days.

Once you have completed seven days, it is important to "carb" back up, in order to prevent the body from hitting a weight loss plateau. This also restores the brain’s appetite regulating neurochemicals.

"Shocking the Body"

By shifting between "carbing up" and "carbing down" days shocks the body into tapping into the fat stores or "reserves" for energy, rather than relying on the glycogen in your muscles. Simple right? It should be. Competitive athletes, bodybuilders, fitness and figure models have known this technique for decades. It works!

So here we go. What to do and eat in your first seven days.

Days 1 - 7:

You MUST limit your carbohydrate intake to 20 grams per day. Try to stay with fresh, non-packaged food. If the food is packaged, then make sure to examine the label. (On the label, total carb grams per serving MINUS fiber grams per serving is the actual carb count. Fiber grams do not effect the glycogen stores nor the insulin production of the body. Both increase the fatty tissue build up.) (INCLUDE PROTEIN IN EVERY MEAL!)

Avoid: all starchy carbs (breads, pastas, cereals, oatmeal, rice and potatoes), starchy veggies (corn, carrots, beets and peas), low-carb packaged foods and processed foods, fruits (YES, fruits!), fruit juice, alcohol, sugar, fructose, etc,.

Stave off hunger by snacking on and filling up on low glycemic (low sugar) veggies such as broccoli, celery, cucumbers, spinach, lettuce, muschrooms, radishes, etc,. Try to stay with the "dark greens" as much as possible.

Sample meal plan for 1 day:

Breakfast : 1 egg, 3 egg white omelette with (diced chicken or turkey or ground beef, and a small amount of very low - no carb, full fat cheese).

Snack: ½ cup of cottage cheese (once again, full fat because it usually contains fewer carbs)

Lunch: (no later than 3 hours after last snack) Lettuce, cucumber, spinach and mushroom salad topped with 4-8 oz. of grilled chicken or turkey, with olive and vinegar (measuring a TOTAL of 2 tablespoons.)

Late afternoon snack: a basic Whey protein shake with less than 5 grams of carbohydrates. Mix with water and a little bit of ice.

Dinner: 4-8 oz. of broiled or grilled salmon or Tilapia; 1 cup of steamed broccoli or asparagus; lettuce and cucumber salad topped with same dressing as at lunch.


During these next seven days you will change up your plan and slightly "carb up" which will keep away the plateau, but, will still cause you to drop an additional 5-6 pounds. You will cycle your carbs with 3 different plans in 7 days. (INCLUDE PROTEIN IN EVERY MEAL!)

Formula 1: Base days. Monday, Thursday and Sunday.

Eat one serving of starchy carbs at breakfast and lunch. Have no carbs but low glycemic (low sugar) veggies for the rest of the day.

Examples of breakfast and lunch:

Breakfast: Oatmeal (cinnamon, natural sweetener Stevia) and egg whites.

Lunch: 4-8 oz. grilled tuna; steamed broccoli; ½ cup of rice.

Formula 2: Low-carb days. Tuesday and Friday.

Eat one serving of starchy carbs (like in Formula 1) at ONE meal of your choice as long as it is before 3 p.m.

Formula 3: High-carb days. Wednesday and Saturday.

Eat one serving of starchy carbs before 3 p.m., then two servings of starchy carbs after 3 p.m. (Could include 1 glass of alcohol, fruit, pizza, pasta, bread, etc., don’t go overboard!)



Simply switch the "high carb" and "low carb" days from the previous week. Once again, this small change will continue to "shock " the body and prevent your fat loss from stalling. Expect to see another 4-6 pounds fall off. (INCLUDE PROTEIN IN EVERY MEAL!)

Monday, Tuesday and Friday. ( low-carb days)

Eat one serving of starchy carbs at one meal of your choice before 3 p.m. Only low glycemic (low sugar) veggies for the rest of the day.

Thursday and Sunday. ( base days)

Eat one serving of starchy carbs at breakfast and lunch. Only low glycemic veggies for the rest of the day.

Wednesday and Saturday. ( high-carb days)

Eat one serving of starchy carbs before 3 p.m., then two servings of starchy carbs after 3 p.m. (Could include 1 glass of alcohol, fruit, pizza, pasta, bread, etc., don’t go overboard!)

Sample Dessert with ANY ONE MEAL:

1 cup of sugar-free jello and 1 tablespoon of full fat Reddi-whip whipped cream.


The goal for anyone wishing to optimize muscle building and improve their body compsition by losing fat is to learn how to eat and exercise in a way that these goals can be reached in the quickest manner possible. 

One important tool is to understand nutrition and food timing. The importance with food timing is so that you eat the right food at the right time so that your body is provided a steady stream of nutrients, and so that blood sugar levels also remain steady. 

One of the most important ways to accomplish this goal besides eating high quality, low fat foods, several times throughout the day.  

Article continued here.     

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About the Author, Jeff Behar 

Jeff Behar
Jeff Behar, MS, MBA

Jeff Behar, MS, MBA is a recognized health, fitness and nutrition expert, regularly writing about hot topics in the areas of health, fitness, disease prevention, weight loss, nutrition, anti aging and alternative medicine. Jeff Behar's work also often appears in several of the major health and fitness newsletters, health and fitness magazines, and on major health, fitness and weight loss websites. Jeff Behar is also the CEO of, and; two very popular health, fitness, nutrition and anti aging information sites.






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 For those of you that got into the Biggest Loser phenomenon, Jeff Behar of Musclemagfitness breaks down the diet and routines below in this article. Links to article and Jeff's site below.

 The Biggest Loser Diet is a calorie-controlled, carbohydrBiggest Loser Diet Logoate modified, fat reduced, weight loss diet geared to help you burn pure fat from the body. It also help to do so without deprivation or loss of energy.  Learn whether this diet is healthy and if it is right for you from the nutrition and health experts at  MyBestHealthPortal.

How The Biggest Loser Diet Works

The Biggest Loser Diet guides you to choose foods that are closer to their natural source, particularly fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, because your body processes and uses them much more efficiently to build health. Whole foods are those that have not been modified from their natural state, or have been modified only a little bit, for example, through cooking. Foods that have been substantially modified are classified as processed foods. For example, blueberries are a whole food but blueberries toaster pastries are not. 

Whole foods are higher in fiber, which aids in weight loss, both because it is filling and because it helps reduce the number of calories that your body absorbs after a meal. Further, whole foods are much less fattening than processed foods because they do not contain added sugar or other sweeteners. Nor do they contain added fats or oils.

This is a low calorie diet based on the Biggest Loser pyramid of 4-3-2-1 (four servings of fruits and veggies; three of lean protein; two of whole grains; and one "extra"), along with good old-fashioned exercise. Eat a diet based largely on fruits, vegetables and lean protein, add a heavy dose of physical activity and you will lose weight, lower cholesterol, decrease blood pressure, and become stronger and more energized. 

The Biggest Loser Diet is based on a diet is high in lean protein. Protein has a hunger controlling effect on the body, which is why higher protein diets are so effective for weight loss and fat-burning.

What Food is Allowed in The Biggest Loser Diet 

The Biggest Loser Diet gives you the freedom to eat a wide variety of foods, as long as you stick to mostly whole, natural foods. Over the course of the 12-week program, you can expect to eat small, frequent meals containing plenty of fiber and protein, for fullness without too many calories.

The Sample Meal Plan for The Biggest Loser Diet

The Biggest Loser Diet plan includes one week sample meal plans for 1,200, 1,500 and 1,800-calorie diets, along with some recipes. Forty-five percent of the total calories come from carbohydrates, 30% from protein, and 25% from fat.

The 4-3-2-1 Biggest Loser Pyramid sets the stage for number of servings from each of the food groups:

  • 4 servings of fruits and vegetables
  • 3 servings of protein -- lean, vegetarian, or low-fat dairy
  • 2 servings of whole grains
  • 1 extra of fats, oils, sweets, alcohol, or your choice, equivalent to 200 calories 

What Foods are Not Allowed in The Biggest Loser Diet

The Biggest Loser Die doesn’t allow eating any appetite stimulating white foods like bread, pasta, or potatoes.  You have to keep daily food logs, watching portion sizes, and drinking 48-64 ounces of water each day round out the basic plan.

Dieters are urged to choose foods that are not processed and contain no added fats, sugar, or salt. 

How to Benefit from The Biggest Loser Diet 

There is a simple formula for you, put together by the Biggest Loser doctors and nutritionists.   

Your present weight X 7 = Your daily caloric needs for weight loss.

Your calorie count should never be static; in fact, it's a moving target. As you lose weight, you'll need to readjust your daily calories downward in order to keep losing at a good pace and break through plateaus, should your weight loss ever seem stalled. Your Biggest Loser online program will make this adjustment for you, and change your meal plans as necessary. 

Note: Everyone is different, and we all burn different amounts of calories at different rates. So if you and a partner, friend, or buddy follow The Biggest Loser Diet, one of you might lose weight at a different rate, faster or slower, than the other from week to week. 

Additional Suggested Health Benefits of The Biggest Loser Diet 

The biggest loser diet program contains a detailed cardio and strength-training program that increases in intensity for a fat-busting boost. 

It works because you burn more calories than you eat, and if you follow the prescription for eating healthy, whole foods every few hours, you shouldn't have to deal with hunger. 

Potential Risks of The Biggest Loser Diet 

Sounds simple enough, but when you don't have a personal trainer pushing you, as the TV contestants have, it is difficult to stay motivated. If you're motivated by the television program, you have to struggle hard at home with this sensible and straightforward approach. 

Whilst The Biggest Loser Diet doesn't provide viewers with a realistic format for exercise, it does motivate them to get started and that is a good thing. 

What the Experts Say about The Biggest Loser Diet 

The Biggest Loser Diet has certain advantages. When you eliminate refined starches and sugars or the appetite stimulating foods, hunger and appetite go way down because blood glucose and insulin spikes are minimized. 

The diet is endorsed by the American Dietetic Association.  According to American Dietetic Association spokesperson Amy Jamieson-Petonic, MEd, RD, the Biggest Loser Diet is a worthwhile diet-- as long as you consume at least 1,200 calories daily. "It is not recommended to consume fewer than 1,200 calories a day because it is difficult to obtain the necessary vitamins, minerals and nutrients needed for daily activities," she says. 

Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, assistant director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of California at Los Angeles also endorses the diet. According to Bowman, "The Biggest loser Diet is very similar to the plan we use at our clinics, using very low-fat and lean protein, lots of fruits and vegetables (with an emphasis on vegetables), and avoiding refined grains -- which has proven to be successful because the diet is very satiating," she says. Bowerman also recommends that dieters get plenty of omega-3 fatty acids, either in a supplement or by eating low-mercury types of fish twice weekly. 

American Dietetic Association spokesperson Amy Jamieson-Petonic, MEd, RD, endorses the Biggest Loser Diet -- as long as you consume at least 1,200 calories daily. "It is not recommended to consume fewer than 1,200 calories a day because it is difficult to obtain the necessary vitamins, minerals and nutrients needed for daily activities," she says.

Bottom Line Evaluation of the Biggest Loser Diet

Only four components of food supply calories: protein and carbohydrates (4 calories per gram), alcohol (7 calories per gram), and fat (9 calories per gram).  Vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, fiber, and water do not supply calories. 

Diet-wise, no matter what you've heard, calories really do count, and they count big-time. If you don't eat fewer calories than you burn off, there will be no weight loss.