I often get asked what are the best snacks. The questioner is generally expecting me to give the obvious answer – to use low carb almonds and walnuts, cheese, peanut butter and protein bars. But the best answer is most people should avoid snacks altogether. We don’t need snacks for a healthy diet, and unless you’re doing manual labor or playing five set tennis matches, you don’t need the extra calories.
Snacks are so common that they are almost unconscious part of our daily activities, and that’s a big problem. Because snacks are usually eaten in small portions, we often dismiss them as not really counting. It’s the old joke that a cookie broken into small pieces does not have as many calories as a whole cookie. Sorry, five 50-calorie bites is still 250 calories.
A first step is to stop using the word “snack,” which kind of implies it’s small and insignificant, and begin to realize these are “eating occasions.” Any time you eat anything – small or large – you need to recognize it as an eating occasion and your body reacts to it. The correct question is not “what are the best snacks” but “why do I eat snacks at all?’
In the past, there was a belief that the best way to control calories was eating lots of small meals or snacks. This was a philosophy of high carbohydrate diets. The logic was that a large meal required the body to store most of the meal as body fat while a small meal that was high in carbs and low in fat would lead to less fat storage. The concept is partially true, but the important issue is... (read more)
The Changing Philosophy
About Diabetes Management
... Dr. Donald K. Layman
DeToxed Your Body?
The benefits of modified citrus pectin (MCP) have been extensively studied for their role in reducing cancer and blocking galectin-3, a protein involved in tumor growth.
Protein for Healthy Kidney
...by Dr. Donald K. Layman
The PRIME(ary) Importance of Nitric Oxide
... by Dr. Donald K. Layman*
The past 25 years witnessed remarkable advances in medicine and nutrition derived from discoveries about how cells communicate, what we call cell signaling. Our earliest knowledge about cell signaling came from hormones like insulin or neurotransmitters like serotonin, but as science techniques became increasingly more powerful, our understanding moved down to smaller and smaller molecules. In 1998, the Nobel Prize in medicine was awarded for the discovery of a little molecule called nitric oxide that has a really big role as a regulator of the cardiovascular system.
The list of nitric oxide roles in signaling seems virtually endless and includes vasodilation (lowering blood pressure), reducing platelet aggregation (blood clots), preventing LDL oxidation and superoxide damage (primary causes of heart disease), increasing glucose uptake into muscle, and increasing fat burning (lipolysis). Among these diverse roles, perhaps the most important is regulating the smooth muscles that line the blood vessels. Nitric oxide (NO) is produced in the endothelium cells of the blood vessels, and the NO is sent to the smooth muscles surrounding the blood vessels allowing them to relax. Relaxing the blood vessels is called vasodilation and opens up the small capillaries throughout the body to increase blood flow and increase the flow of oxygen and nutrients to muscles and (read more)
the Problem. Really.
I frequently get asked why we have saturated fat in our METABOLIQ products. The easy answer is that the METABOLIQ Shakes and bars represent complete meal approaches; and complete meals should always have a precise balance of protein, carbohydrates and fats. Don’t ever confuse the metabolic purpose of our METABOLIQ products with cheap protein powders. With simple protein powders, you are left with the challenge to figure out what else to eat and how to balance your diet.
Even more important, if you read the METABOLIQ label closely you’ll see that our saturated fats are actually medium chain triglycerides (MCT) derived from palm kernels. These saturated fats are very different than the long chain fats in candy bars or in the cheese on pizza and cheeseburgers. MCT are small molecules (shorter fat chains) that will actually dissolve in water. This means MCT bypass all of the complicated machinery in your body for handling fats and go directly to your liver where they are burned as a fuel. Research suggests MCT actually burn extra fat in your body and can cause weight loss. I’m not sure about the weight loss part, but I know they do not lead to fat storage and they do not affect your blood lipids (LDL, HDL and TAG). They’re perfect for the METABOLIQ balance.
Beyond our use of MCT in METABOLIQ products, let me tell you the real science about saturated fat versus what you may read in the news. A recent research summary in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (the leading nutrition journal in the world), stated that after reviewing all of the published scientific reports, “…there is no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of … heart disease…” Wow, that’s not the message you usually hear from the pharmaceutical company trying to sell you a statin drug. So let’s take a deeper look... (read more)
* Dr. Donald K. Layman is Professor Emeritus of Nutrition in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at the University of Illinois. With more than 33 years of teaching and research experience, Dr. Layman has numerous awards and recognitions, including awards from the American Society for Nutritional Sciences, the National Institutes of Health and the Nutrition and Metabolism Society.