Health Benefits Of Carbohydrates

Health Benefits Of Carbohydrates

If you recoil at the word carbohydrate, you probably also flee in fear when you hear the word fat. Both have been given a bad rap due to some offenders in their category. Carbohydrates can have health benefits, but they also can damage your health. It’s all about the type of carbohydrate you choose. If you’re consuming whole-food carbohydrates, chances are, you’ll be eating a healthy carb. However, if you eat a highly processed carb, most likely you’ll eat a bad carb.

What are carbohydrates?

Carbohydrates are a macronutrient. Other macronutrients are protein and fat. Within the category of carbohydrates, there are three sub-categories, starch, fiber, and sugar. Another classification includes simple and complex carbohydrates. In most cases, simple carbohydrates include sugar that’s added to food. They’re in brown sugar, glucose, sucrose, fructose, HFCS, corn syrup, and raw sugar. Fruit juice with the pulp removed acts much like a simple carb. It breaks down quickly in the digestive tract to glucose and floods your bloodstream. There’s no fiber to slow the absorption of sugar in the digestive tract.

You need fiber.

Fiber provides many benefits for the body. Fiber slows the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream, which helps prevent serious conditions like insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Soluble fiber feeds beneficial microbes in the gut. In turn, the microbes perform many services for the body, such as breaking down food into nutrients the body can use. Soluble fiber also reduces fat absorption, lowers cholesterol, and can benefit weight loss.

Like all carbohydrates, starch provides energy.

They also provide so many more benefits. One type of starch is resistant starch. It’s in beans, dried peas, lentils, and green bananas. When you cook and cool food like pasta or potatoes, it also forms. This is why you need to scrape pasta from the pot immediately or it’s far more difficult to remove. The body doesn’t digest it. It ferments in the large intestine. Fermentation produces short-chain fatty acids, a type of fiber. Those fatty acids can help prevent colon cancer and provide all the benefits fiber does.

  • Healthy carbs provide many nutrients that are difficult to find in animal products. They contain fiber, vitamin C, and phytochemicals only found in plants—as the name suggests. Phytochemicals play an important role in keeping the body healthy.
  • The key is to eat healthy sources of carbohydrates. These include whole fruits and vegetables. They provide your body with the nutrients it requires, plus energy. Avoid processed carbs and those with added sugar.
  • Food can be a combination of protein, carbohydrates, and fat. For instance, tree nuts contain protein, fat, and carbohydrates. Most carbs are plant-based, with milk being the exception.
  • When you choose your carbs wisely, you don’t have to worry about the number of carbs you eat. Most healthy food options are lower in carbs and don’t pack on the pounds.

For more information, contact us today at Iron Fit San Antonio

How To Break A Weight Loss Plateau

How To Break A Weight Loss Plateau

Even if you’re sticking with your diet and working out regularly, sometimes you face a weight loss plateau, where the next pound simply won’t budge. That can be extremely frustrating but happens to many people. Plateauing can occur for several reasons. One of them is quite positive. You may be gaining muscle. Muscle weighs more per cubic inch than fat tissue does, so while you aren’t losing weight, you’re losing inches. If your pants are a bit loose and button with ease, you’re still making progress. In this case, keep up the good work, and don’t change a thing.

Have you continued to use the same workout routine?

If you haven’t changed a thing since you started your quest to a smaller, narrower you, it’s time to make some changes. The more exercise, the more efficient your body becomes. That means it burns fewer calories. Vary your routine and work your muscles on a different plane or focus on a new muscles group. It feels awkward and difficult initially, but that’s a good thing. It causes the body to burn more calories and continues the loss of weight.

Remember weight loss isn’t a straight line down but a crooked one.

Most people think they’re going to see a consistent loss every week. You try for that, but it doesn’t always work that way. Some weeks you’ll lose four pounds and other weeks none. Another problem may come from your new lower weight. You may have to cut calories further and work out harder. The ten pounds you lost was like carrying an extra ten-pound weight everywhere you went. Of course, you burned more calories. Reevaluate your program.

Look at your exercise program.

Are you only doing aerobics? It might be your problem. When you do aerobic-style workouts, like running a mile or two, you’ll blast calories for sure. However, the body doesn’t discriminate what the source is. They may start as fat tissue converted to energy or come from lean muscle tissue. The less muscle tissue you have, the lower your metabolism, since muscle tissue requires more calories to maintain than fat tissue does. Add strength-building exercises to your workout to build muscles and torch fat.

  • If you’re on the straight and narrow when it comes to food, but not paying attention to what you drink, it might be the problem. High-calorie sugary drinks can pack on the pounds. Skip soft drinks and go for water.
  • Check your diet for too low of a calorie count. If you’re not eating enough, it can slow your body’s metabolism and make weight loss more difficult. Make sure you include healthy fat. It’s necessary for weight loss.
  • Are you getting adequate sleep? Lack of sleep can make you hungrier since it boosts the hunger hormone and diminishes the one that makes you feel full. It also can slow you down so you burn fewer calories.
  • Don’t weigh yourself every day. Sometimes, the weight is temporary. If you think it’s water weight, flush it out by drinking more water. It not only makes you feel full but also helps flush your system, acting like a diuretic.

For more information, contact us today at Iron Fit San Antonio

Supplements NOT To Take

Supplements NOT To Take

If you go to any grocery or drug store, you’ll see an aisle or two devoted to supplements. All types of vitamins, minerals, nutrients, and herbal options are available. Even though these nutrients will never substitute for a healthy diet, some supplements may be beneficial, which includes common ones, such as vitamin D. Not all are. There are also supplements not to take for many reasons, and some exotic herbs that may cause health issues.

Some fat-soluble vitamins may seem harmless, but you might be wrong.

When people self-diagnose, they often look for easy cures for self-medication One diagnosis is a lack of proper nutrition. If the problem is nutritional deficiency, they choose to use supplements instead of improving their diets. In the case of vitamin A, it’s not about taking it but taking too much. Vitamin A is a fat-soluble that accumulates. Too much can cause thinning hair, dry skin, and other direct symptoms. If you’re pregnant, too much can cause problems with the baby’s central nervous system and birth defects. You can accumulate too much vitamin D, E, and K, also fat-soluble vitamins. Overdosing on any vitamin or mineral has negative consequences. You’re far better off getting nutrients from whole food.

Stick with a cup of coffee or tea and skip the caffeine supplements.

A cup of coffee before a workout might increase your productivity but beware of going overboard with caffeine supplements. A little can be beneficial but is best when it comes from coffee or tea, which also have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant phytochemicals. Drinking your caffeine lets you control the reaction better. You start to notice the anxiety and jitters. It’s far too easy to overdose on a caffeine supplement, which can negatively affect people with diabetes, heart disease, and mental issues.

If you’re going for big muscles, be wary of some protein supplements.

Whether you’re a bodybuilder or a senior just trying to get adequate protein, be careful when you choose a protein supplement. Make sure it’s received third-party certification. The FDA doesn’t review these types of products, but third-party certifiers do. The USP, BSCG, and NSF review it and give it a score. Some protein supplements have been found to have some pretty shady ingredients not shown on the label that range from rat droppings to metal shavings. Avoid products with creatine for bulk. It can cause heart and kidney problems.

  • If you’re a male senior, avoid protein supplements made with soy isolates. It acts like estrogen on the body and can cause male breasts to develop. Avoid cleavage and use those made from milk-protein isolates.
  • If you’re taking medication, always check to see if the supplements interact with your meds. Check the dosage before using. Some supplements come in extremely high-dose units.
  • You might be wasting your money if you purchase cheap vitamins. Not all vitamins are bioavailable, so your body can’t use them. Normally, the more expensive forms have the highest bioavailability.
  • Be aware of the side effects of some supplements. The supplement glutamine improves immune health but may cause a fast heartbeat, blood in the urine, and weakness. Ginkgo boosts memory and may improve certain eye diseases, but it can cause problems with blood sugar levels.

For more information, contact us today at Iron Fit San Antonio

How To Lose Weight On A Low-Carb Diet

How To Lose Weight On A Low-Carb Diet

Eating healthy should always be the top priority of people in San Antonio, TX, whether trying to lose weight or not. One question often asked is whether a low-carb diet can do both. The answer is a resounding yes. A low-carb diet is a simple solution, but you must follow some ground rules to keep it healthy. First, it’s low-carb, not a “no-carb diet.” People tend to forget that as they cut out all carbs, including healthy ones, from their diet.

It’s all about cutting sugar and processed foods.

Fruits and vegetables contain carbs, meat doesn’t. However, most fruits and vegetables aren’t a problem. Consider celery. Sure, it has carbs, but you can cut down to 20-50 carbs a day and still lose weight. Eating a cup of broccoli only adds 6 grams of carbohydrates, a cup of cooked green beans has 6 digestible carbs, a salad made with a cup of raw spinach with ½ cup of sliced red bell peppers has four carbs, and a serving of meat has zero. That’s only16 carbs, and it contains a powerhouse of nutrients. A chocolate frosted donut contains 30 grams of carbohydrates and it’s not nearly as filling.

How low can you go?

Not all low-carb diets are as restrictive as the one mentioned. That’s a keto-style diet designed to burn fat most efficiently. You can lose weight by cutting carbs without following the restrictive version of a low-carb diet. Just focus on healthier food options, skipping food you already know is unhealthy, like highly processed flour products, sugary treats, and fried foods. A medium order of french fries contains 47 carbs. That’s almost a full day of carbs on a strict low carb diet and half a day’s on a more lenient one, yet there is no nutritional value.

Combine a low-carb diet with exercise.

The body uses carbs for energy. The average diet has 35% of the calories from fat, 50% from carbohydrates, and just 15% from protein. By switching where the calories come from, you can create your own low-carb diet by changing the source of calories to healthier options and reducing the percentage of calories from carbs. Don’t cut fat from your diet. Healthy fat is vital for weight loss. Keep carbs in your diet for fiber. It helps reduce cholesterol levels, aids in preventing diabetes and insulin resistance, and keeps you feeling full longer.

  • Increasing protein in your diet to replace the carbs can help build muscle mass. Make the source a free-range, pastured option and you’ll boost levels of healthy CLA—conjugated linoleic acid, which helps reduce body fat.
  • Eliminating pasta and white bread from your diet can be a step toward a lower-carb diet, just as giving up foods with added sugar is. Highly processed bread has few if any benefits.
  • No matter what type of diet you use, your plate should be a rainbow of colors. Red, green, blue, and white fruits and vegetables should all be part of it. Each color represents different phytonutrients that help improve your health.
  • The theory behind a low-carb diet is that it forces the body to get calories elsewhere. When there are no carbs for quick energy, it starts burning body fat for energy.

For more information, contact us today at Iron Fit San Antonio

Health Benefits Of Chia Seeds

Health Benefits Of Chia Seeds

During the holiday season, you’ll often hear the sing-song words, “chah-chah-chah-chia” blaring through the television speaker accompanied by a picture of a terra cotta head with a healthy growth of green or a small terra cotta animal with green shoots of fur. Chia seeds are beneficial for more than a novelty gift. When you include them in your diet, they can provide health benefits. The Aztec, Mayan, and Tarahumara warriors used them as their only food when traveling. A small amount carried in a pouch could feed them for days.

Chia seeds contain fiber, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins.

Chia seeds are tiny and may not look like they pack much punch, but a small amount can fill you up, while also providing a wealth of nutrition. They also have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Just two tablespoons provide 8.7 grams of healthy fat, 4.7 grams of protein, and 11 grams of carbohydrates. The healthy fat includes 5 grams of ALA—alpha-linolenic acid—a heart-healthy fat. While there are 138 calories, the fat and protein make you feel full. Two tablespoons also provide 9 grams of fiber and a substantial amount of B1, B3, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and phosphorus.

The ALA is heart-healthy and offers other benefits.

Much of the omega-3 in chia seeds is from ALA. ALA reduces inflammation throughout the body. It can help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and other inflammatory conditions. Inflammation even plays a role in weight gain, making it more difficult to lose weight. Chia seeds are higher in fiber, fat, and protein, so a small amount will keep you feeling full longer without adding extra calories. A six-month study using obese or overweight subjects showed including chia seeds in your diet could increase weight loss.

Chia seeds are easy to add to your diet.

You can use chia seeds to thicken soup instead of flour or corn starch. It boosts health benefits while providing a creamier texture. Chia drinks can be costly, but you can make your own. Combine water with chia seeds, then add juice or chopped fruit. Hydrate the chia seeds with fruit juice or flavored milk for another sweet treat that’s pudding-like, but healthier. Toss chia seeds into your smoothies. Grind them in a blender before adding and you’ll never know they’re in it, since chia seeds have to flavor on their own. You can also use ground chia seeds in bread, other baked goods, or breading for baked fish or meat.

  • The fiber in chia seeds can help stabilize blood sugar. That can help reduce the risk of insulin resistance, prediabetes, and type 2 diabetes. It improves insulin sensitivity if you already have insulin resistance.
  • The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of chia seeds come from the caffeic acid they contain. It’s also found in turmeric, coffee, thyme, kale, and other healthy food. Besides reducing the risk of serious conditions, it can help prevent premature aging.
  • You can add chia seeds to your diet without drawbacks or adverse reactions, providing only healthy benefits.
  • Chia pudding is a sweet treat that will fill you up and keep you feeling full longer. Mix a tablespoon of chia seeds with ¼ cup of milk. Store in the refrigerator overnight. Add fresh fruit or a bit of honey to sweeten and nuts or coconut for flavor.

For more information, contact us today at Iron Fit San Antonio

Should Babies Avoid Grains Before 12 Months?

Should Babies Avoid Grains Before 12 Months?

Whether it’s advice from your best friend, mother, or mother-in-law, everyone has an opinion on what to feed babies before they’re 12 months old. Many people believe giving babies grains too early in life can create problems. It’s true that food allergies are increasing in children, but is that caused by introducing allergens too early or not? Top allergens, like eggs, peanuts, seafood, soy, tree nuts, milk, and wheat, could be caused by an early introduction, but studies have found they also might be prevented.

When does early introduction reduce the risk of allergies?

Breastfeeding babies tend to be more protected from the risk of all types of food allergies. Studies indicate that if a baby is breastfeeding, the best time to introduce a prominent allergen, like grains, is between 4 and 6 months. In breastfed babies of that age, it lowers the risk of developing an allergy. It’s not all about allergies when it comes to grains. It’s more about gluten intolerance and the digestibility of grains. One study focused solely on grains and found that introducing them late, after approximately 6 months, whether breastfeeding or not, increased the risk of a wheat allergy.

Food allergies and celiac disease are two different conditions.

Food allergies come from the body reacting to specific proteins in the food, such as gluten in wheat. Celiac disease is quite different. It is an autoimmune disorder that causes the small intestines to react because of gluten in grains and if not addressed, can cause permanent damage to the lining of the small intestines. Contrary to more common belief, two studies on babies from families with a history of celiac disease showed not only did early introduction not increase the risk of developing it, but if grain containing gluten were introduced between 4 and 6 months, it reduced the risk.

Giving babies grains before 12 months provides other benefits.

Most grains given to babies are enriched, which boosts the levels of thiamine, iron, riboflavin, and fiber. Some of these nutrients are found in other foods, but those foods aren’t nearly as palatable, like liver, and some babies won’t eat them. When introducing grains, choose products fortified with iron. Look for those with whole grains or whole grain flour, no sugar added, and low or no salt. Oatmeal, quinoa, and non-rice baby cereal are a few options.

  • If wheat is introduced between 5 to 7 months, the risk of developing a wheat allergy is the lowest, making it the best time to add grains to a baby’s diet.
  • Grains contain starch. Starch requires enzymes to digest. Babies have only a fraction of the enzyme compared to adults but start producing an adequate amount at about six months.
  • One reason babies that breastfeed have an easier time digesting food is that mother’s milk provides many of the enzymes necessary for digestion for up to 12 hours.
  • Based on all recent studies, avoiding grains before 12 months may be a mistake for mothers and unhealthy for babies. Offering babies a wide variety of grains dense with nutrients before 12 months is a good idea.

For more information, contact us today at Iron Fit San Antonio

Eating for fat loss

Eating for fat loss

By now you are probably aware that the term, eat clean, has nothing to do with washing your food and has everything to do with eating in a way that promotes fat loss.

While it may sound simple enough, it’s pretty challenging to stick with a clean eating plan. I suppose if it were easy then everyone would be lean and confident about their body.

So what’s the secret to long-term, clean eating success? Here it is…

Eat-For-Fat-Loss Secret #1: Keep It Balanced
Many fat loss strategies encourage eating only from one category of food: soup, grapefruit, salad, chicken breast…While these foods may promote fat loss and reduce overall calorie intake, this way of eating sets you up for a fall.

No one sticks with highly restrictive, one-food-only diets for very long, and you’re no exception. To make your clean eating plan last, keep your diet balanced with a range of healthy, real foods.

Eat-For-Fat-Loss #2: Don’t Put a Label On It
How many times have you uttered the words I’m on a diet? Ugh, just saying that puts one in the mood to cheat on said diet.

If eating clean means you’re on a diet, then you’re not committed enough to make this a way of life. True fat loss success comes when clean eating is second nature, and not a temporarily imposed sentence.

Eat-For-Fat-Loss #3: Have Patience
Wouldn’t it be great if a week of clean eating could erase a decade worth of indulgences? But, alas, you didn’t gain that fat in a week, and you won’t lose it in a week either.

Look for, and acknowledge, each and every small victory along the way to your long-term goal. Notice each pound, each inch and each pant size. These accomplishments build on one another until you reach your ultimate goal. Just remember that big changes take consistent, long-term effort. Be patient.

Eat-For-Fat-Loss #4: Have a Plan
This is the most important step in your clean eating quest, without it you’ll flounder around without direction and will likely find yourself starting into the bottom of a bowl of ice cream. Spend time writing out your do’s and don’t’s for your clean eating plan—and please feel free to reach out to me to help you with this step. See below for a list of foods that your diet should mainly consist of and then make another list of completely off-limits foods.

Use these 4 steps as a guide to make clean eating a way of life. Click reply or call to get started on one of my fitness programs that will transform your body – once and for all.

Talk soon!

Reverse holiday pounds

Reverse holiday pounds

What do holiday parties and get together all have in common?

Food and drinks…as in high-calorie food and drinks! It’s no wonder most people gain weight during the holidays.

Everywhere you turn, you’re surrounded by sweet temptations—holiday cookies, gingerbread houses, pumpkin pies, and more. Even healthy foods like sweet potatoes and green beans are magically transformed into high-calorie dishes that will make you want to do nothing but fall asleep. And don’t forget the drinks. Eggnog and alcoholic beverages are loaded with calories.

Want to sidestep those holiday pounds?

Stay Focused

Yes, the holidays bring yummy foods and drinks, but friend gatherings and family traditions aren’t about food. Before a party, remind yourself what the holiday season is all about—friends, family, giving, and religious traditions. Then stay focused on the reason for the season rather than the plate full of hors d’oeuvres in front of you.

Second, stay focused on your fat loss goals. Remind yourself of how far you’ve come and where you’re headed. Keep your goals in the forefront of your mind. A few bites of food aren’t worth hours on the treadmill.

The holidays can be a time of emotional eating. For many people, the holidays bring stress, family conflict, or depression. Learn to address the root of your problems with solutions other than food or drink.


Is your holiday social calendar filled with night after night of parties and events? It’s time to come up with a plan. If you want to keep your diet on track, you’ll need to pace yourself. Don’t come to a party hungry but eat a small low-calorie snack ahead of time. Otherwise, you’ll overeat. When it’s time for extreme measures, wear tight-fitting clothes around your waist so there’s not much room for expansion.

Before and after a meal, chew gum so you won’t be tempted to overindulge in appetizers and desserts. During a party, don’t stand right next to the food table, but keep a safe distance. And before you get a plate of food, choose your plate wisely. Go with a small plate instead of a large dinner plate and don’t go back for seconds!

Another important strategy is figuring out how to get in a workout between parties. Leaving room in your busy holiday schedule for exercise will help you fight off the extra weight trying to attach itself to your midsection and rear.

Wise Choices

Be smart about what you choose to eat. Don’t deprive yourself of all the foods you love or you’ll likely spurge and ruin all your good intentions. Enjoy the goodness of the season, but in moderation. Trim calories where you can by limiting your trimmings-cheeses, gravy, sauces, creams, and nuts.

The holidays offer many food choices not available the rest of the year. Because of this, you may want to overindulge before they’re gone. Instead of doing this, survey what foods are available and make your choices. Indulge in your favorites and leave the everyday dishes for another time. Only eat what you love, and don’t just eat something because it’s on the buffet.

Also, be sure to limit the amount of alcoholic beverages you drink. As you likely know, they’re filled with calories, too. Try alternating an alcoholic drink with a non-alcoholic drink.

Follow these simple tips, and you will avoid holiday weight gain this season and start the New Year off right!

Exercise is a huge part of the equation when it comes to achieving weight loss.

I am passionate about seeing my clients achieve results—without wasting time, energy and effort on mistakes.

Call or email me today and we will get you started on the exercise program that is right for you.