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The Role of Protein, Carbohydrates, and Fats

Balanced Meals, Every Time.
Uriia Underhill, B.Sc.

 There are four main ingredients needed to perfect the fuel of the human body. All of these four things are needed in order for a body to survive and flourish. Protein, Carbohydrates, Fats, and Water, without these things the body would not be able to function. Each macronutrient is used for something different yet they all rely on others to keep the body in homeostasis. An athlete’s body would need an even more specific macronutrient breakdown to ensure that the athlete is replacing the calories used as well as replenishing low supplies of needed nutrients and vitamins. It seems beneficial for an athlete to follow a structured eating program in order to ensure that all energy, vitamins and nutrients requirements are met. The athlete is recommended to eat every two-three hours. One hour prior to intense physical activity and consuming a snack within thirty minutes after. The eating plan should incorporate at least 5-6 eating times a day.

             Protein is constantly being broken down to repair, and build new muscles and cells. When protein is broken down into amino acids it is called protein anabolism.  Amino Acids are important building blocks that structure the foundation of protein. Amino Acids are composed of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen. Amino acids are mainly used in the formation of proteins needed within the body, however amino acids can also be used for energy if metabolized in the muscle and liver (Fink, Burgoon, Mikesky, Chapter 5, 2011).  Protein helps hormones stay balanced and helps the body’s immune system. Proteins also play a hand in the formation of enzymes within the body. Protein also has the ability to help the body maintain a normal pH balance. During exercise lactic acid is produced, this lactic acid can fatigue muscles and hinder the athletic performance. It is encouraged that the protein quality be good and if the physical intensity and duration increase changes are your protein intake should increase as well. Protein utilization is related to duration and intensity of physical activity. If the activity goes over certain durations of time and glycogen stores are depleted, if the storage becomes too low the body must then utilize the protein and muscles available. Protein is not the bodies first go to for energy however will be used in place of as needed. If needed Amino Acids are slowly converted to glucose or ATP. Daily protein is needed to maximize protein synthesis needed for every day activities and physical activity. Good sources of protein include lean meats, beef, chicken, fish, and diary.

            Carbohydrates are the main energy source of the human body. Carbohydrates are also one of the fuels that increase an athlete’s performance. Carbohydrates are molecules formed of Carbon, Oxygen and Hydrogen. Carbohydrates are good for the body because they can be broken down into glucose and other simple sugars. Once broken down these sugars can be used as food, absorbed and used for energy. Blood glucose levels are affected by carbohydrates, which help regulate energy to all vital organs and brain. Carbohydrates can be simple or complex. Simple carbohydrates are broken down easily and are only made up of one to two sugar molecules. Complex carbohydrates consist of longer chains of sugar and take more time for the body to breakdown. The body stores the carbohydrate as glycogen and can easily break it down into glucose for energy (Fink, Burgoon, Mikesky, Chapter 3, 2011). Carbohydrates are used to provide energy as well as be able to metabolize fats in a short amount of time if needed. The need of carbohydrates increases with the duration and intensity of training present that day. Good sources of carbohydrates include fresh fruits and vegetables of nearly all varieties.
            Fats are important to the healthy functioning of the human body. Fats provide energy during rest and during light to moderate activities. Fats are beneficial because they provide fatty acids needed to have normal functioning of the body. Fats can help add flavor to food as well as provide fuel for high activity athletes. Fats are molecules belonging to compounds of lipids. Lipids are carbon-containing structures that are water-soluble and fat-soluble. Fats are different in the aspect that if the body over consumes either protein or carbohydrates it will be stored as fat. This fat will be stored in the adipose tissue until it is needed for energy. Fats are responsible for carrying vitamins A, D, E, and K within the bloodstream. The average athlete consumes nearly 35% of his daily calories from fats. Good sources of fats are walnuts, fish, flaxseed, olive oil, and coconut oil.

            Each one of the three macronutrients is required at every meal to ensure that the body receives a perfect portion of vitamins and nutrients. It is important that any body to intake healthy amounts of protein, carbohydrates, and fats. It is even more important for an athlete to know the specifics in which their body needs to run to the best of its ability. In doing so it helps prevent ailments and diseases of the body. An athlete’s body must be able to train and withstand hardships of their sport. If the athlete is not ingesting enough nutrients and vitamins the body will not perform the way it should. If Carbohydrate consumption is low energy will not be present, if the body has no energy and no stores it will attack the muscle. Without muscular strength and endurance the athlete will not be able to preform. With out the specific science of food (proteins, carbohydrates and fats) no body will be able to perform or for that matter survive.


Fink, H., Burgoon, L., Mikesky, A., (2011) Practical Applications in Sports Nutrition, (2nd edition, Chapter 5), Protein, Jones & Bartlett

Fink, H., Burgoon, L., Mikesky, A., (2011) Practical Applications in Sports Nutrition, (2nd Edition Chapter 3), Carbohydrates, Jones & Bartlett

Fink, H., Burgoon, L., Mikesky, A., (2011) Practical Applications in Sports Nutrition, (2nd Edition Chapter 4), Fats, Jones & Bartlett

The Mineral Phosphorus

Uriia Underhill, B.Sc.

Minerals are essential inorganic elements that are needed by the body, however normally in small amounts (Fink, Burgoon, Mikesky, 2011). Minerals are usually acquired through eating healthy mineral containing foods such as lean meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats or by supplementation. Minerals recommended doses are usually in the form of micrograms, or milligrams.

Phosphorus is a mineral that is vital for many functions of the body. Phosphorus works with calcium to help provide strength to bones and teeth (Fink, Burgoon, Mikesky, 2011). Phosphorus binds with lipids and forms phospholipids, which helps to strengthen cell membranes. Phosphorus also has the ability to turn on and off enzymes through a process called phosphorylation.

Deficiencies of Phosphorus are rare in the United States because the food supply is rich in the mineral. Deficiencies from Phosphorus can include bone pain, bone malformation, and muscle weakness (Fink, Burgoon, Mikesky, 2011). If you have ingested too much Phosphorus you may notice side effects such as compromised calcium metabolism and a higher risk of osteoporosis.

Foods high in Phosphorus are fish, meats, eggs, and nuts. Some specific food types include beef liver, sunflower seeds, ground beef, chicken, cooked oysters, almonds, and black beans.

Phosphorus is important for athletes because it may help prevent fatigue. Some studies have shown the effects of an increased VO2 max as well as an increase in ventilator anaerobic threshold. It is not recommended for athletes to take a supplement of Phosphorus because of the already adequate levels food in current food sources.


Fink, H., Burgoon, L., Mikesky, A., (2011) Practical Application in Sports Nutrition, (2nd edition, Chapter 7, Minerals) Jones & Bartlett Learning, Retrieved January 23, 2013


More Than Just a Christmas Tree
Uriia Underhill, B.Sc.

Historically early settlers have been rumored to chew, make teas, soups and other food with the help of PINE NEEDLES.  SAY WHAT?!?!?! Yes, you read it right! That huge tree that grows in yards through out your own neighborhood as well as rapid through the United States is actually good for you! 

Pine needles are said to contain 5 times the amount of Vitamin C as one lemon, producing 400mg per 8 oz. when mixed with water.  Vitamin C is a very powerful antioxidant, and necessary for growth and development (NIH, 2013). Vitamin C is also known to improve eyes and skin, and the cardiovascular system. Pine Needles are also very high in Vitamin A. Vitamin A is also a very powerful antioxidant. Vitamin A helps with hair, skin, eyesight, and the production of red blood cells.

BUT WAIT… It’s not just the needles that are said to be a healthy addition to any meal. For hundreds of years health benefits have came from consuming pine tree pollen, sap, and nuts.

Mother Nature is an open pharmacy.  Enjoy what is has to offer today, for a healthier tomorrow!

NOTICE**** NOT all types of Pine Tree Needles and other products are safe for consumption.  It is recommended that you DO NOT ingest Norfolk Pines (many commercial Christmas trees), Ponderosa Pines, and Yew. It is NOT recommended for pregnant or nursing women or animals.


National Library of Medicine, (2013) Vitamin C & A, Retrieved January 23, 2013 from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002404.htm , http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/vitamina.html

Walker, B., Dave’ Garden, (2013) The Amazing All-Purpose Pine Needle Tea, Retrieved January 23, 2013 from http://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/view/3126/

Protein and Carbohydrate Consumption for Athletes, or Anyone!

Protein for Muscles 

Uriia Underhill, B.Sc.


The best source of protein for an athlete would be the type food that would help his body runs to the best of its ability. Proteins are a very important part of every meal. It seems a good suggestion is each meal have a recommended amount of lean meat, seafood, a good supplement of good fat and balanced with a healthy portion of veggies and fruits.

Protein in the human body is continuously broke down meaning that an athletes need for protein is a lot more (Fink, Burgoon, Mikesky, 2009,). This is due to the amount of physical activity they do in a day, week, etc. as well as the body type of the athlete. It is also important to know that if your body is properly nourished it can feed off muscles for energy which in turn leads to muscle breakdown. ,which for an athlete could mean no muscle gains (McAdams, 2012). This could also play a role in how your body reacts and stores carbohydrates due to feel of not receiving the necessary fuels at the next feeding.

A good protein for each meal of the day would be as follows

Lean shredded beef (Protein), Kale (Carbohydrate), and a side of Sliced apples (Carbohydrate).
9am Snack-
 Pear Slices (Carbohydrate), Raw Pecans (fat)
12pm Lunch-
Lean Turkey breast (protein), mixed green salad (carbohydrate)
3 pm Snack-
Lean Beef Jerky (protein), Celery sticks (carbohydrate)
6pm Dinner-
Cucumber (carbohydrate) with avocado (fat) dip, cold peel and eat shrimp(protein),

It is very important to know that each meal is a balanced fueling period for your body. Barry Sears, PH.D has published many great finding out how the body especially athletes bodies preform to the best of ability when the body is fed on a balanced platform of Protein, Carbohydrate, Fat each meal. Each meal is recommended consumed within a 2-3 hour period. Of course this type of eating can be used for anyone to lose, maintain, or gain muscle for athletic performance all by figuring out what the athletes, or clients needs are based on their lean body mass, and body fat calculations.


Fink, H., Burgoon, L., Mikesky, A., (2009) Chapter 5:Protein (2nd edition pp.126-149) Sudbury, MA, Jones and Barlett Publishers

McAdams, A., (2012) LiveStrong, When Does the Body Start to Use Muscle Tissue For Energy, Retrieved January 11, 2013 from http://www.livestrong.com/article/554481-when-does-the-body-start-to-use-muscle-tissue-for-energy/

The Problems with Artificial Sweeteners

Real Sugar, Fake Sugar?
Uriia Underhill, B.Sc. 


Artificial Sweeteners = Chemicals

Aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal) is 300 times sweeter than normal table sugar.

Acesulfame (Sunett, Sweet & Safe, Sweet One) is 200 times sweeter than normal table sugar.

Neoptame (made by nutra sweet) is 7,000-13,000 times sweeter than normal table sugar.

Saccharin (Sweet “N’ Low) is 300 times sweeter than normal table sugar.

Keep in mind most of these sweeteners are deemed 0 calories – 5 calories, which let’s be honest is not anything that will tip the scale…. or will it?

In 2012 at least 46 million Americans ingest drinks or foods that are sweetened by these CHEMICALS. Some of these artificial sweeteners can even be found in baby food.

In studies conducted by Dr.Susan Swithers at Purdue, concluded that rats that consumed their normal type of food consumed more food per meal and gained more weight when artificial sweeteners were added.

Studies conducted by Dr. Bandyopadhyay showed that animals that consumed acesulfame, saccharin, and aspartame showed an alarming DNA damage in the bone marrow. It should be noted that even though these studies are conducted on animals the doses of artificial sweeteners that they consume is far lower than that of a typical day in the American diet.

In 2010 a study was conducted on 59,334 pregnant women residing in Denmark, it showed that the consumption of artificial sweeteners increased the risk of pre term labor.

It is common knowledge that anyone who regularly consumes food that is made with sugar has an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and obesity.

It is not to be said that sugar and artificial sweeteners are the main cause of these issues however it is found that they most certainly play a huge part.

The National Health and Nutrition Examination survey has concluded strong links between consumption of artificial sweeteners and metabolic syndrome, high cholesterol, high blood glucose and obesity. Alarmingly these results are not just apparent in adults but in children as well.

The Scientific Breakdown

Food reward in the brain consists of two branches, the Postingestive and the Sensory. The Postingestive component relies solely on the metabolic content of the food.  When food is eaten, the signal is sent to Postingestive to be either negative or positive. In the positive aspect the brain is signaled that it is full and satisfied, if the food is not nutrient dense then it will trigger a negative response. The negative response trips your brain and tells your body that you need more food.

In the case of artificial sweeteners the caloric and nutrient content is not able to fully activate the Postingestive component, which in turn tells your body that is not satisfied and “NEEDS MORE”.

All in all if your brain is unable to get what it needs in the forms of fuel, vitamins, and minerals it will tell you that you need more. Without the knowledge of this you might think you need more of artificial sweetened drinks as well as over eat at every meal, which in my opinion is NO DOUBT a reason for obesity and t other health related diseases our world currently faces.


Cordain, L., Ph.D. (2012) Artificial Sweeteners, The Paleo Answer, (Chapter 3, pgs. 33-36) Retrieved January 11, 2013

Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine (2010) Gain weight by “going diet?” Artificial sweeteners and the neurobiology of sugar cravings, Retrieved January 11, 2013 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2892765/

Good Fat, Bad Fat: We all need fats!

Good Fat, Bad Fat: We all need fats!
The benefits of Healthy Fats

Uriia Underhill, B.Sc.

In the current years more and more focus has been put on "No Fat, Low-fat" type diets and food trends. When in fact, eating appropriate amounts of fat does not make you fat, but helps your body run to the best of its ability.

You actually cannot live without fat in your diet. Your body relies on Good Fats to keep skin and nails healthy, provide fat-soluble vitamins, provide essential fatty acids, and provide a back up source of energy (WebMD, 2012).

 Good Fats can be classified as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats; these actually help you lower disease risk. In this case you can usually get a relatively healthy form of fats from most plant-based oils, nuts, seeds, and fish (Harvard, 2012).
Other good fats can include:
·       Essential omega-3s, from clean sources wild caught sources.
·       Avocados
·       Organic/free range eggs
·       Olives
·       Flaxseed oil
·       Coconut
The best sources proving to be found naturally in foods and are not heat processed and chemically damaged (Akins, 2016).

The types of good fats are known as monounsaturated, poly unsaturated, and saturated, most real foods contain a complex mixture of the three types of fat (Atkins, 2016).

Bad fats are known as excessive amount saturated and all trans fats. Foods that are high in these fats can increase disease risk. Bad fats can come from things such as most butters, ice cream, cheese, and most importantly processed foods. Bad fats are sometimes also known as bad fats or damaged fats that have reached a heating point multiple times (Atkins, 2016).

Avoiding fats from highly processed vegetables oils as much as possible. This includes oils from soybean, safflower, corn, or any highly process method.

Foods with clearly marked claims such as “reduced fat”, fat-free, or low fat should be avoided due to the possibility of being processed with chemicals that could prove to have more risks on your health then the fat in question.

Atkins (2016) How it Works, Good Fats, What are good and Bad Fats, Retrieved from https://www.atkins.com/how-it-works/library/articles/good-fats

Harvard School of Public Health, (2012) The Nutrition Source, Fats and Cholesterols, Retrieved January 7, 2013 from http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/fats-and-cholesterol/

WebMD, (2012) The Skinny on Fat: Good Fats vs. Bad Fats, Retrieved January 7, 2013 from http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/skinny-fat-good-fats-bad-fats

The Power of Movement..

If Your Not Moving, You're Standing Still
Uriia Underhill, B.Sc.

As the human body begins to age its desire for physical activity decreases as well as the need to complete hard strenuous tasks. In today’s society it also seems that current work trends have contributed to the decreased number of people who engage in daily physical activity. One example of a job lacking physical activity would be a 9-5-desk job.

People who work a desk job are more prone to stoke risks, heart attack and overall unhealthier lifestyle due to the lack of physical activity (Huffington Post, 2012). It seems like the jobs that are currently in demand have society sitting around which can lead to a life that is almost completely sedentary. Movement keeps our body in good working order; the machine must remain in motion in order to prevent rust!


HuffingtonPost.com (2012) Sitting at Work: Why It’s Dangerous and What You Can Do, Retrieved January 2, 2013 from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/24/sitting-at-work-why-its-dangerous-alternatives_n_1695618.html

Best Pre and Post Work Out Fuel..

Need a Quick Fix?
Uriia Underhill, B.Sc

It seems most of the carbohydrates mentioned for pre workout fuels are things such as ready to eat bars, oatmeal, and supplementing with easy sports drinks. While these forms of carbohydrates might make for a quick fix, it seems we have gotten away from the fact that the truest forms of vitamins and minerals come from fresh fruits and vegetables. Fruits in their raw form give a boost of quick digesting carbohydrates as well as a handy even more convenient form when dried. Vegetables can be easy cut and carried for a nutritious go-to snack. When ingesting a better form of carbohydrate compared to a processed product, it is shown to improve athletic performance. Loren Cordain, PhD and writer of the Paleo Diet for Athlete’s suggest that carbohydrates ingested remain low to moderate on the glycemic index.  He also suggests that a carbohydrate/ protein combination meal be eaten with a 30-minute window after any type of workout.


Cordain, L., Friel, J., (2005) The Paleo Diet for Athletes, A Nutritional Formula for Peak Athletic Performance

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