Banana Smoothies: 5 Simple Recipes!

banana-feature
02 Aug

If you’ve ever worked a smoothie, chances are one of the ingredients was banana. Due to its nutritional properties, a banana is a very good choice to put into a smoothie: the average banana (about 100g) has 89 kcal / 372 kJ.

Bananas contain 74% water, 1% protein, 0.5% fat, 13.5% sugar, 23% carbohydrates and 3.4% vegetable fibers. They are rich in potassium and contain magnesium, calcium, fluorine, phosphorus, iron, zinc and copper. In addition, bananas are rich in vitamins: they contain beta-carotene, B vitamins, and vitamins C and E.

Banana is often an integral part of a smoothie because it is this fruit that gives the smoothie a creamy texture and density. We suggest peeling a banana in the evening and refrigerating it. Put a lightly iced banana in a blender with the other ingredients – this will give the smoothie extra refreshment.

If you are missing out on an idea for your favorite banana smoothie, here are five recipes among which you are sure to find one for yourself!

1. The Simplest Banana Smoothie

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Ingredients (for 2 servings):

  • 2 Bananas (ripe, can also be with black dots),
  • 1 – 1,5 cup of low fat milk or yogurt,
  • 4-5 Ice cubes.

Preparation

Nutritional value (1 serving)

Energy Value: 180 calories
Protein: 5 g Fat: 4,5 g Carbohydrates: 32 g Sugars: 20 g

2. Banana and berry smoothie

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Ingredients (for 2 servings)

  • 2 Bananas (ripe)
  • 1 – 1,5 Cup low fat milk or yogurt
  • 100 g Blueberries (can be frozen)
  • 100 g Blackberries (can be frozen)
  • 100 g Raspberries (can be frozen)
  • 2 Whole strawberries (can be frozen)
  • 4-5 Ice cubes

Preparation :

Put all the ingredients in a blender and mix until a uniform mixture is obtained. Pour into glasses and immediately enjoy this berry banana smoothie.

Nutritional Value (2 Servings)

Energy Value: 230 calories
Protein: 6 g
Fat: 4,5 g
Carbohydrates: 47 g
of which sugars: 27 g

3. Banana and oatmeal smoothie

banana-3

Ingredients (for 2 servings)

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 100 g oatmeal (small type)
  • 70 g almonds
  • Half a cup of low fat yogurt
  • 3-4 ice cubes

Preparation

Put all the ingredients in a blender and mix until a uniform mixture is obtained. Pour into bowls and enjoy a great smoothie that can serve as a breakfast or meal before physical activity.

Nutritional value (2 servings)

Energy Value: 380 calories
Protein: 12 g
Fat: 15 g
Carbohydrates: 53 g
of which sugars: 19 g

4. Chocolate banana protein smoothie

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Ingredients (for 2 servings):

  • 1 Banana
  • 1 – 1,5 Cup of low fat milk
  • 2 Teaspoons cocoa powder (unsweetened)
  • 1 Tablespoon of peanut butter
  • 1 Measure of whey protein (chocolate flavor)

Preparation

Put all the ingredients in a blender and mix until a uniform mixture is obtained. Pour into glasses and immediately enjoy a protein superfood smoothie.

Nutritional Value (1 serving):

Energy Value: 290 calories
Protein: 13 g
Fat: 9 g
Carbohydrates: 45 g
of which sugars: 28 g

5. Superfood smoothie

Ingredients (for 2 servings):

  • 1 – 1,5 up of coconut juice
  • 115g Of fresh pineapple
  • 1/3 Smaller avocado
  • 0.6 ml of yogurt
  • 4-6 Leaves of fresh basil
  • 1 Teaspoon of chlorella
  • 1 Teaspoon of chia seeds
  • 1 Teaspoon of powdered kitten
  • 1 Teaspoon of pollen (except for people allergic to pollen)
  • 1 Teaspoon of squeezed lemon
  • Little salt
  • Sweetener if desired

Preparation

Put all the ingredients in a blender and mix until a uniform mixture is obtained. Pour into glasses and enjoy the ultimate superfood smoothie right away.

Nutritional value (1 serving)

Energy Value: 324 calories
Protein: 13 g
Fat: 15 g
Carbohydrates: 39 g
of which sugars: 22 g

A banana-containing smoothie is a great choice to start the day with as it will give you energy for the activities that follow. Also, this smoothie is a good choice as a meal before physical activity as you will need the energy that a banana (and other ingredients) will give you during your workout.

Banana Smoothie is not advised before bedtime, because this is a time when it is recommended to eat a carbohydrate-free meal that is high in bananas.

Creatine – How to use it to get the best results?

creatine-1
30 Jul

Creatine is a substance naturally produced by our body as a source of energy for our muscles. It is produced by the liver, but also by the pancreas and kidneys. It is transported by blood to muscle cells where it is converted to creatine phosphate.

Creatine is formed in the body from the amino acids Arginine, Methionine and Glycine. Creatine produces a chemical energy called ATP (adenosine triphosphate). The average person’s body produces about 2 grams a day. Creatine that is instantly synthesized into the body thus maintaining a positive balance. By ingesting more creatine, it is synthesized which gives the body more power and energy.

In addition, creatine successfully absorbs water up to 400% of its weight, which means that it is more in muscle tissue – it is thicker and larger and has more power. Most creatine in nature is found in meat and fish. Vegetarians usually have a lack of creatine in the body. Studies have shown that creatine also helps stimulate protein synthesis and prevent the body from using protein from muscle mass as energy (protein brakedown).

How to use creatine to get the best results and the most muscle mass without much loss after you stop taking it?

The truth is that we are not all the same and the results are always different from person to person. However, it is good to take creatine in cycles because the results are better and longer lasting; the body is not accustomed to creatine, which is good because otherwise it would just stop producing it, the muscles do not lose as much after stopping it and the maximum effect that creatine can provide is achieved.

The best way to use creatine is one teaspoon (about 5 grams) of creatine in a glass of juice or some high-carb beverage. Why not plain water? It can of course also with water, but carbohydrates increase the amount of insulin in the body which again helps the muscles absorb creatine better and faster, which of course results in the maximum utilization of creatine and thus more muscle mass.

At the very beginning of creatine ingestion we have loading phase or charge phase. We take 6 servings a day for 5 gr. creatine (30 gr in total). After 7 days, we enter the second phase when we take 2-3 servings of 5 grams (10-15 grams daily in total) for the next 3 weeks. One of the meals should definitely be taken immediately after the workout, because then the metabolism is accelerated, and the supplies of creatine are consumed in the body, then it is the right time for creatine in one of the beverages.

Then, after these three weeks, it is mandatory to take a week of rest, because the body has reached its maximum within a month and no longer responds as well to creatine as it did at the beginning, and there is also a danger that the body will stop producing its own creatine, which means results they are no longer so noticeable.

After a week of rest (or 7-10 days), we start again with the loading phase of one week and then 3 weeks as before, so we can do three cycles after which we take a 20-30 day break, and then we can do it all again. It is normal that the results will not be the same in the second and third cycles as in the first, but we will not lose a lot of muscle mass and will constantly, at least for a little while, gain new.

This is a proven way to make the most of expensive paid creatine and the hours and days of hard workout. Take full advantage of the great creatine product and show yourself in the best light this summer.

Check out our Creatine supply at our online shop

Nutritional Supplements: Capsules or Powder, which is better?

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30 Jul

The nutritional supplements industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the world. Manufacturers are rapidly expanding their offerings, and it’s hard to imagine what we can’t find as a dietary supplement. At the same time, everything on offer comes in several forms, tablets, capsules, powder, liquid, gel, etc.

It is increasingly difficult for the average dietary supplement user to choose not only the dietary supplement they really need (of course, if you are listening to commercials, you need everything), but also the form in which each dietary supplement is best consumed.

Are you in for capsules or powder? In the article below, we will make it easier to choose between these two forms by listing the advantages and disadvantages of each:

Capsules

Kapsule su vrlo praktične za transport, lako ih je ponijeti gdje god želite, bez straha da će se rasuti. Potrebna vam je samo mala vrećica ili kutijica za tablete i možete ih ponijeti u džepu.

S prahom je to malo teže. Točnije, puno su veće šanse da će vam se prah istresti. Također, ako imate više prahova, svaki ćete morati označiti da vam se ne pomiješaju, a kad sa svim tim različitim prahovima dođete npr. na carinsku kontrolu, velike su šanse da ćete završiti u sobi za ispitivanje.

Nadalje, ako imate više kapsula, nije problem popit ih sve zajedno, bez obzira što se u kojoj nalazi. Potrebna vam je samo čaša vode i to je to.

No zamislite scenarij u kojem imate 3-4 različita praha: jedan s okusom čokolade, drugi jogurta, treći manga i četvrti kikirikija pa sve to pomiješate u istom shakeru i trebate popiti. Ne zvuči baš kao zabava, zar ne?

Zbog opne u kojoj se suplement nalazi, otpuštanje i djelovanje kapsule je znatno sporije nego kod praha. To treba imati na umu npr. ako uzimate pre-workout – kapsule ćete trebati uzeti u puno većem razmaku prije treninga, nego što je to slučaj s prahom.

powder

Powder

According to some estimates, as many as 40% of people have problems swallowing capsules and supplements are the only solution for powdered diets. The mechanism behind the ingestion of capsules is very simple: the human brain perceives food as fuel for its normal operation. However, it does not agree with the idea that capsules have the same effect and simply prevents a person from swallowing something that is capsule-shaped, that is, not a normal food form.

In addition to being easier to swallow for many, the powder is a more appropriate form for those nutritional supplements that are taken in large quantities. For example, whey protein never comes in capsule form because for one measure of protein a person would have to swallow too much capsule.

However, all dietary supplements taken in smaller doses, of a few grams, can be stored in capsules except in powder.

As stated in the capsule chapter, powder is much more rapidly absorbed into the body because there is no barrier formed by the capsule membrane. With powders, absorption begins immediately and is faster.

When it comes to the flavor we usually get with powders, it can be both positive and negative. As mentioned earlier, sometimes more flavors are not the best combination, and there are some nutritional supplements whose flavor, when powdered, is so intense that it is sometimes unbearable, such as creatine ethyl ester, maca powder or krill shrimp oil.

Therefore, the taste can be an advantage, and it can be a huge and insurmountable disadvantage, so it may be best to be guided by the taste when choosing capsules or powders of certain supplements. If the powder tastes awful and you have the option of capsules, then select them and drink them as simply and quickly as possible. If taste is something you enjoy, choose powder because it will make this dietary supplement comfortable and easy to drink and will also increase fluid intake, which many people lack.

Therefore, both capsules and powders have some advantages in consumption, from convenience, absorption rate to taste and ease of administration, so consider all the criteria and choose the form that works best for you.

15 Quick Tips for Optimal Nutrition!

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29 Jul

1. Start your day with a serving of fresh seasonal fruit and a glass of juice. Why?

To encourage and support the urination and elimination of toxins and by-products from the body.

2. When to eat fruit?

In the morning as your first meal!

The fruit should be eaten 1/2 – 1 hour before the main meal or 3 hours after lunch! Why? Fruits are easily digestible and if eaten immediately after a meal rot in the food we consumed.

3. Fruits can be eaten in the evening, but in the morning you should not eat heavy and long-lasting digestible foods as your first meal. Why?

Our organism has a cyclical structure.

1. From 4-5 o’clock in the morning until 12 o’clock it is cleansed of all by-products and toxins.

2. From 12 o’clock to 8 o’clock the organism receives food.

3. From 8 pm to 4-5 am, our body uses the food and nutrients taken from it.

4. Do not consume concentrated protein (meat, poultry, fish) in the same meal with concentrated carbohydrates (pasta, rice, potatoes). Why?

food

Scientists have found that taking them in the same meal cancels each other and their overall effect is weaker. For example, eat fish, meat or poultry with a serving of salad, and at the same time consume pasta, rice or potatoes with copious amounts of salad!

5. Eat balanced (biologically effective) daily meals every day. Why?

In order to enter the body through nutrients through the necessary nutrients – proteins, carbohydrates, unsaturated fats, fluid!

6. When should you take your last daily meal and why?

At least 3-4 hours before bedtime, to minimize the burden on the body at bedtime and rest!

7. In the preparation of meals, the so-called cold – pressed oils, such as olive, sunflower, soybean oil. Why?

Because these oils are a great source of desirable unsaturated fatty acids, which are essential for the body.

8. Divide your body weight by 8 and you will get the number of glasses of fluid (2 dcl) you need to drink each day. (If your body weight is 72 kg, this means you will drink 9×2 dcl, 1 l and 800.

Watch your urine if it is light and transparent, it is a sign that you are drinking enough liquid. If your urine is a thick yellow color, urgently start drinking at least 1.5-2 liters of fluid daily!

9. Make sure you consume enough, but not too much (not more than 25g) fibers from different sources! Eat pasta, rice, potatoes and fruit! Why?

healthy-food

Fiber protects the heart muscle, makes the digestive system healthy, maintains optimal body weight and desirable cholesterol, prevents high blood pressure and diabetes, and veins and bowel disease.

10. Eat preferably fresh (not frozen), seasonal from our climate, naturally grown without pesticides and fertilizers!

11. Drink fresh milk (not permanent, it’s full of chemicals) and fermented dairy products: kefir, acidophilus, probiotics and whey.

12. Eat fish at least twice a week as it is easily digestible and is a rich source of unsaturated fatty acids, essential fats, minerals and vitamins.

13. Supplement daily with suggested doses of Vitamin C, E, Vitamin Complex, and minerals and oligoelements. Why?

Because older people find it difficult to absorb all the micronutrients they need from food.

14. Be sure to be moderately physically active daily – hiking, biking, swimming, exercising, or exercising.

stretching

15. Strive to spread comfort and a positive attitude in your family, your neighborhood, and your environment. You will avoid stress and, above all, maintain your health.

BCAA amino acids – everything you need to know and how to consume them

BCAA amino acids – everything you need to know and how to consume them
29 Jul

BCAA (branched-chain amino acids or branched-chain amino acids) are a fantastic trio made up of the amino acids leucine, isoleucine and valine. All three are essential amino acids, which means that not only can the body synthesize them from other amino acids, they must necessarily be ingested through food or supplementation.

BCAAs account for 40% of the daily requirement of a total of 9 essential amino acids (the others are: phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, methionine, lysine and histidine). In addition, they make up about 35% of muscle tissue.

Of course, they are found in protein-rich foods, most in chicken, beef, salmon, eggs, etc. They are also found in whey proteins.

bcaa-1

The importance of BCAA supplementation

As far as supplementation is concerned, it is of particular importance for athletes because the free form of BCAA passes through the liver and the gut and directly enters the bloodstream. This is the reason why people with liver impairment when entering the BCAA supplement have managed to keep the muscle mass.

The BCAAs came on the market in supplementary form before some more advanced supplements, such as creatine, and for a long time did not attach to them the importance they deserve for their qualities. Just recently, they are devoting more research, whose results reveal that BCAA is much more than ordinary building blocks of protein.

When we usually talk about proteins, we primarily mean their building material, not their energy role. However, with the BCAA, their energy role is unavoidable. Unlike other amino acids, BCAAs are metabolized within the muscle, allowing the muscle to use it as energy in the form of ATP during training. There is also a bonus effect, because not only can BCAAs be used as energy, they promote the oxidation (breakdown) of fat in athletes whose glycogen reserves are depleted.

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More about BCAA

Another way BCAAs allow an athlete to train longer and more intensely is their effect on glycogen reserves. BCAAs have been shown to “conserve” glycogen and reduce its consumption by up to 25%. This also enables faster recovery after training.

Another beneficial effect that BCAAs have is on anabolic hormones: testosterone, insulin and growth hormone. Normally, testosterone under the influence of intense training increases, but after training there is a fall. However, it has been found that his level remains increased up to several hours after training if the athlete has entered the BCAA before training.

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In addition, BCAAs improve testosterone: cortisol and thus contribute to the anabolic environment. Leucine has shown the potential to increase insulin sensitivity, leading to easier resolution of adipose tissue, greater muscle growth and defense against diabetes.

The latest research reveals the abstract, Sci-Fi, or long-distance BCAA activity and its benefits. BCAA (especially leucine) has been found to play the role of a signaling molecule that sends a message to the body: “Build muscle!” and it does so through a specific mechanism.

Specifically, the cell contains the protein molecule mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin or mechanistic target of rapamycin). Leucine has been shown to act as a trigger on its mTORC1 fraction, which activates a complicated metabolic pathway that results in the activation of protein synthesis (= new muscle tissue). Of course, everything works together if physical activity is also present, this should not be mentioned separately.

Leucine, if administered after training at adequate intensity, can increase protein synthesis by up to 145%. Protein synthesis is impaired after 35 years. Therefore, in older age, leucine is an important link in achieving a favorable environment for muscle growth (that is, in this case maintaining and preserving existing muscle tissue).

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When to take BCAA

BCAAs are taken before, during and after training. Framework recommendation is 3-5g before, during and after training. Somewhere we will come across a recommendation with multiple values.

For athletes engaged in very intense training, the dose can be calculated using the following formula: (total body weight in kg) – (fat mass in kg) X 0.44 = number of grams of BCAA per day.

Additives in Food : The most common and the ones you should avoid

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27 Jul

The simplified definition of nutritional additives is related to substances of a particular chemical composition that are added to food in the process of processing and processing, with the aim of preserving the basic properties of taste, smell and consistency.

There are also additives called. natural origin, such as natural dyes, vitamins, fibers, enzymes, but there are controversies in the professional circles as to how convenient they are. We know more than 3500 compounds used in the industry as additives.

Once upon a time, people were using some methods to conserve food in order to extend its shelf life, so we can say that the good side of the story is that the additives have today achieved high product safety. Why do we then panic the article background so as not to check how many additives it contains our favorite product?

food-info

Namely, only the presence of food additives changes some of its original characteristics. It prefers to work on a consistent product quality as well as to make certain seasonal foods available throughout the year. Though we have once felt sorry for the team, today we are taught that we do not have problems in the middle of winter with tomatoes in the basket and run the cashier’s way.

Thanks to the fact that she managed to survive long-term storage, we would like to thank the presence of additives or preservatives that have prevented her from tampering. In addition to uniform quality, food additives retain or alter the appearance of foodstuffs in the form of colorants.

Taste and flavor enhancers change the flavor while rinsing agents, for example in bread, increase the volume of the product. Some additives bind water to the product, such as phosphates in sausages or cheeses while others allow the creation of “new” products, which is most commonly the case with energy drinks,

Here you should not neglect the economic calculation because the wide and available offer reduces the cost of the product. Everything we find in a store and we know that there should not be because it is simply no season, we’ve come up with the development of food production technology, as well as the use of additives.

Let us break here and the illusions of the naive ones (if they are still hidden) – there is no “light” sweetener and emulsifier, there are no ready-made meals without flavor enhancers, there is no food that can stand for more than a few days without it being backed by some kind of preservatives , stabilizers or any other substance. If you do not have a garden behind the building, forget about the food-free additive.

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E-Numbers

Given that we are in the forest of information, recognition of additives takes place through E-numbers that represent a generally accepted mark throughout the world. E-numbers provide easier labeling and recognition, as well as certification of toxicological evaluation and classification of additives.

As additives are divided into several groups, there are certain numbering rules that we bring here:

dyes – 100-181
preservatives – 200-285 and 1105
antioxidants – 300-340
acidity regulators – are indicated by different numbers
thickeners / emulsifiers – 322, 400-499 and 1400-1451
substances to prevent stomach – 550-572
flavor enhancers – 600-650
polishing agents – 900-910
sweeteners – 420, 421, 950-970
We have already noted that although the additives allow us today a very high level of safety of the products in the technological sense, some do not keep a good voice and can harm the human health.

Precisely for this reason, consumers are increasingly aware of what they enter into the body, especially the group that already has some health problems or they are more sensitive.

Since food additives are a controversial subject, there is a clear legal framework for their labeling. As in the rest of the world as well as in Croatia there are special provisions dealing with labeling of nutritional additives and the food producer is legally obliged to mark all additives in a food product.

Before this comes at all, extensive methods of testing the quantity and manner of use of certain food additives and their effects on human health are being conducted. This is especially the case of an over-the-counter caution that would disrupt it, but it is true that the additives that have undergone all procedures are related to certain diseases.

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The most dangerous food additives

Sigurni smo da su vas već upozorili da od E621 bilježite kao od baba roge ali sad ćemo vam pobliže objasniti i zašto. Iako ima nekoliko zlih E-ova kojih se treba čuvati, ovaj je najopasniji.

Naime, riječ je o mononatrijevom glutaminatu (MSG) navedenom na deklaracijama proizvoda pod oznakom E621 a njegova česta upotreba može naškoditi čovjekovom zdravlju u vidu pojačanog lupanja srca, bolova u prsima, glavoboljama, mučninama, vrtoglavici i sl. a posebice se smatra da velika količina ovog aditiva pobuđuje receptore živčanih stanica i vodi do njihova odumiranja. E621 je sam opasan ali u kombinaciji s kompićima E626 do E635 može uzrokovati još veću štetu stoga se zna dogoditi da ih proizvođači hrane razdvajaju.

Rekli smo da je opasan ali u čemu je privlačnost? MSG predstavlja pojačivač okusa a sastoji se od natrija i glutamične kiseline. Ova potonja djeluje na receptore na jeziku i u mozgu, koji hranu registriraju kao ukusniju. Postoji i kontroverznije stajalište kako MSG napada krvno-moždano barijeru odnosno obrambeni sustav koji ima funkciju sprječavanja ulaska toksina u mozak te svojim pojačanim podražajima iscrpljuje stanice mozga što može uzrokovati njegovo oštećenje.

MSG pored toga može biti uzrok i pojavi gojaznosti obzirom da ponajprije djeluje na hipotalamus odnosno dio mozga odgovoran za regulaciju osjećaja gladi te na taj način u nama stvara iznimnu želju za hranom.

MSG možemo naći u mnogobrojnim proizvodima od instant juha, gotovih jela, brze i smrznute hrane, dodataka jelima, grickalicama, margarinu, senfu, žvakaćim gumama, topljenom siru, tjestenini.

Obzirom na navedene opasnosti, ipak ga nalazimo u hrani i ukoliko ga ne vidite na deklaraciji, postoji mogućnost da se krije pod nazivom prirodna aroma, ekstrakt kvasca, hranjiva tvar ili nešto slično.

Other additives that are desirable to avoid, we mention:

  • Sodium nitrite-preservative, serves for preservation, color and flavor of meat products. We can find it in bacon, ham, ham, smoked fish and stuffed beef.
  • Butylated Hydroxyanisols (BHA) and Butylated Hydrotoluene (BHT) – Antioxidants are used to preserve food and prevent oxidation. They are found in grains, chewing gums, chips and vegetable oils.
  • Monosodium glutamate – an amino acid, is used as a flavor enhancer in soups, salads, chips and frozen foods.
  • Propyl gallate, preservative that prevents fats and oils from fading. We find it in meat products, soup cakes and chewing gums.
  • Olestra – a synthetic fat that prevents the absorption of fat from the digestive system. It can be found in chips.
  • Potassium bromide – used as a supplement to increase volume in white flour, bread and baking.
candy

Speaking of E- numbers, it is best to avoid the following:

E102, E 104, E107, E110, E120, E122, E123, E124, E127, E131, E132, E133, E142, E150, E151,E153, E154; E171, E173, E210, E220, E223, E232, E249, E250, E284, E285, E310, E311, E312, E320, E321. E308, E407, E472, E473, E512, E553, E620, E621, E622, E626, E942, E950, E951, E952, E954, E1440.

Napomenimo samo da je niz od E630 do E640 zabranjen u dječjoj hrani.

Ne očekujemo od vas da ćete popis nositi u novčaniku kao sliku djece, ali svakako obratite pažnju pri sljedećem posjetu trgovini.

Jasno je da su aditivi danas u prehrambenoj industriji nezaobilazni. Oni čine hranu primamljivijom , dugotrajnijom, izazivaju u nama iznimnu želju za njenim unosom. Gotovo je nezamislivo na koje bismo sve namirnice morali zaboraviti da aditiva kojim slučajem nema.

Stoga, zaključak je kako ih ne možemo izbjeći. Ono što možemo je educirati se o onim najštetnijim i probati ih izbjeći kada je to moguće. Upozorenja se posebice odnose na one najosjetljivije, djecu i pripadnike starije dobne skupine. No opće pravilo vrijedi za sve- što je deklaracija „kraća“, to je sadržaj proizvoda „zdraviji“.

Your 4 Must-Know Nutritional Principles For Losing Fat

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25 Jul

Keep in mind that the daily calorie number is just an estimate. To get dialed in, you need to begin tracking your food intake every day, and checking your morning body weight a few times per week. Your weight-loss goal should be 0.5-1.0 percent of your body weight per week. For example, 0.9-1.8 pounds per week if you weigh 185 pounds.

If you’re losing weight slower than this—or not losing at all—reduce your total calorie intake by 10-15 percent (read more below about how to do this.) If you’re losing too quickly, raising your risk of muscle loss, increase your calories by 5-10 percent. Whichever way you’re going, adjust your meals until your rate of weight loss falls within 0.5-1.0 percent of your body weight per week.

Principle 1: Eat More Protein (And Distribute It Evenly)

Protein offers fat-loss phase benefits that’ll help you maximize your physique changes as you go through this program. First, it plays a major role in muscle growth and repair. As long as you consume enough protein, you can optimize muscle maintenance even when restricting calories.

Protein can also reduce your appetite because it takes time to digest, so food stays in your stomach longer. Plus, protein triggers the release of several satiety hormones, including cholecystokinin, to further suppress your hunger. And the more protein you eat, the more cholecystokinin is released and the less hungry you feel.

But how much protein do you need to eat? A study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that natural bodybuilding athletes preparing for competition do best by consuming 1.1-1.4 grams per pounds of body weight, for example, 204-259 grams of protein per day for a 185-pound person.[1] Go back to the figure you got from the macro calculator to make sure your daily protein target falls within this range.

The recommendation from the study is a great starting point. You’ve also got to make sure you distribute your protein intake evenly throughout the day to maximize muscle growth and maintenance. That’s because you need a minimum threshold of leucine, an amino acid found in protein that fully activates muscle growth and repair at the cellular level. You should aim to consume 25-35 grams of protein per meal to get the recommended dose of 2-3 grams of leucine per meal.

Make sure your protein comes from high-quality, complete proteins, such as dairy, beef, poultry, pork, and soy. These complete proteins are rich in leucine and contain all nine amino acids essential for maximizing muscle growth and repair.

Principle 2: Reduce Fat First

The amount of protein you consume will be the same throughout the program. Your challenge now is to adjust your other macronutrients to create a calorie deficit. When it’s time to start cutting calories, cut fat first.

You don’t want to start by reducing carbohydrates because they are the primary fuel source for your brain and muscles. During exercise, your body relies on both carbohydrates and fat as fuel. The higher the volume and intensity of your workout, the more your body relies on carbohydrates.

Let’s say you need to create a 300-calorie deficit. You can remove 33 grams of fat, the equivalent of 2 tablespoons of olive oil or 4 tablespoons of peanut butter (I know, it still sucks, but it’s for the gains). Or you can cut out 75 grams of carbs, or about 2 cups of brown rice or 3-1/2 medium-sized apples!

Cutting those carbs would probably have a helluva bigger impact on your satiety. And if you’re constantly hungry when you’re dieting, your chances of sticking to your plan are slim to none, which means those abs won’t be popping anytime soon.

Principle 3: Prioritize Carbohydrates Around Your Workouts

Consuming carbs during your workout delivers a quickly digested fuel supply that spares muscle glycogen, enhances focus, and reduces the extent of muscle breakdown.

Your post-workout meal, which you try to eat within an hour of finishing your workout, should be full of carbohydrates to replenish your muscle glycogen stores and properly prepare your body for tomorrow’s workout. Eating carbs post-workout also minimizes the rate of muscle breakdown, and enhances the recovery process.

 

To maximize energy before and during your workout, and to fuel recovery afterward, distribute your carbohydrate intake as follows:

  • Pre-workout meal: 30-40%
  • Intra-workout shake: 5-15%
  • Post-workout meal: 30-40%

By following this approach, you’ll be able to continue training hard and progressing well, while doing everything necessary to maximize muscle maintenance as you diet.

Principle 4: Drink More Fluids

Getting hungry when you diet—and you will get hungry—can send you sprinting to the pantry for comfort food. Well, here’s a big secret: To keep your appetite in check without knocking yourself out of a calorie deficit, drink more fluids before, during, after, and in-between meals.

When you drink lots of fluids at once, your stomach expands, which triggers the “stretch receptors” located in your stomach lining to send satiety signals to your brain. By staying hydrated throughout the day, and drinking 12-16 ounces of water anytime hunger hits, you’re more able to skip that high-calorie snack you were fantasizing about and stick to your plan.