The launch of the new Evolv Shake was fantastic. With events happening all over North America thousands of people were introduced to Evolv’s newest product. If you haven’t had a chance to try the new shake, here is a short video to share some of the highlights.
One of the key aspects of this shake is that it not only contains patented USDA developed ingredients, Mod Carb and Calorie Control Trim, but it is a well balanced shake for what are called “macronutrients”. Macronutrients are the main components of foods; the carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Although, micronutrients; the vitamins and minerals are critical for overall health, so are the macronutrients. There is a lot of misinformation around macronutrients and strictly avoiding or eating too much of any of the three can cause long term health challenges. Proper balance is the key. Below are three articles by the Evolv Exersciz team on the importance of consuming the appropriate amount of the macro-nutrients on a daily basis.
PROTEINS – What they are and what they do
Proteins are one of the three macronutrients – the other two being carbohydrates and fats – that provide the body with building blocks and energy for all bodily functions. Proteins are made up of a series of building blocks known as amino acids. Some of these amino acids are called ‘essential’ amino acids, as they cannot be formed in the body and therefore must come from the food we eat. This is one of the reasons why it is important to eat protein every day.
Compared to carbohydrates and fats, proteins have the greatest variety of roles in the body, with the main one being the building and repairing of tissues. Other functions of protein include being a major component of enzymes and being used in the production of hormones, brain chemicals and antibodies (which play a role in immunity). Unlike carbohydrates, providing energy is not a significant role for proteins.
There are two main types of protein: complete and incomplete. Complete proteins contain all of the essential amino acids in quantities sufficient enough to meet the body’s requirements. Most proteins from animal sources (e.g. dairy, eggs, meat, poultry and fish) are complete proteins. Incomplete proteins are deficient in at least one of the essential amino acids.
Plant proteins tend to be limited in one or more essential amino acids. For example, beans are low in the amino acid lysine, while rice is high; therefore by combining rice and beans in a meal it ensures that the body is getting sufficient levels of this essential amino acid. These types of food pairings are called “complementary proteins”. Examples include grains and legumes or legumes and seeds and nuts. People following a vegetarian diet must eat protein foods that have complementary proteins so that the essential amino acids missing from one protein food can be supplied by another.
The quality of a protein can also be measured by how well the body can absorb and utilize it. This measurement is referred to as the ‘Biological Value’ (BV) of a protein. The higher a protein’s BV is, the more it promotes tissue repair and growth – including lean muscle. Animal sources of protein have higher BVs compared to vegetable sources of protein. The natural, whole food source with the highest BV is eggs, against which all other protein containing foods are rated in comparison.
In general, 10% to 12% of dietary calories should come from protein. Adults typically need 1 gram (0.035 oz) of protein per 1 kilogram (2.2 lbs) of body weight. Infants need 3 times this amount, while children and adolescents need approximately 2.5 times this amount. Note that 1 gram of protein equals 4 calories.
CARBOHYDRATES – What they are and what they do
Carbohydrates are one of three macronutrients – the other two being proteins and fats – that provide the body with building blocks and energy for all bodily functions. Carbohydrates ultimately break down into glucose, commonly referred to as blood sugar. The main function of carbohydrates is to provide energy, especially for the brain, in the form of glucose (the brain’s preferred energy source). Carbohydrates include sugars, starches and other indigestible substances such as fibre.
Carbohydrates are broken down into two broad groups: simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates. From a chemical perspective, simple carbohydrates include sugars, and complex carbohydrates include starches and fibres. From a practical perspective, another way to distinguish between simple and complex carbohydrates is to ask yourself whether or not the food is in its natural form (the form that nature provided it in). If the answer is ‘yes’, then consider it a complex carbohydrate.
Examples of complex carbohydrates are vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grains. Note that many grain products, such as pastas, breads, rice, crackers, cakes and cookies are often made with refined grains as opposed to whole grains. Refined grains have had the vitamin- and mineral-rich bran and germ removed during processing, leaving only the starchy middle of the grain. These refined grain products are then ‘enriched’ with some, but not all, of the nutrients that were lost in processing.
Most canned or bottled juices are also simple carbohydrates. They can be high in sugar (especially fruit juices – even if no sugar is added) and they lack the fibre one would get by eating the fresh fruit or vegetable. In addition, certain vitamins are easily damaged during processing.
Complex carbohydrates are the healthiest source of carbohydrates as they help to prevent blood sugar fluctuations. The fibre content promotes satiety and slows digestion, allowing the body to absorb glucose at a rate that won’t spike insulin and blood sugar levels. Simple carbohydrates cause a rapid spike in blood sugar and while this gives a short ‘energy high’, a crash soon follows.
The amount of carbohydrate that needs to be consumed to meet the average daily minimum amount of glucose used by the brain is 130 grams (4.58 oz); however, daily carbohydrate consumption is typically higher than this in order to meet the energy needs of not just the brain, but the rest of the body. In general, it is recommended that 45% to 65% of dietary calories come from carbohydrates – with the majority coming from complex carbohydrates. Note that 1 gram (0.035 oz) of carbohydrates provides 4 calories.
An excess of simple carbohydrates in our meals and snacks creates a whole host of health issues and promotes weight gain as the excess glucose from carbohydrate metabolism will be stored as fat. An excess of simple carbohydrates puts stress on the pancreas, compromising its ability to secrete both insulin and digestive enzymes. It will most likely also lead to a deficiency in fibre and essential nutrients and will rob the body of many minerals, including calcium and magnesium.
For these reasons, it is important to ensure carbohydrate consumption is primarily in the form of complex carbohydrates such as vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Strive for 5 to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables, and 2 to 3 servings of whole grains/whole grain products daily.
FATS – What they are and what they do
Fats have many important functions in the body. They are a part of every cell membrane, they help us maintain our body temperature, they are a major component of the brain and they are building blocks for many important hormone-like substances. And… you have to eat fat (healthy fat) to lose fat! So, what is a healthy fat?
You’ve likely heard of the terms saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. They refer to a fat’s chemical structure which determines how ‘stable’ a fat is. Saturated fats are more stable than monounsaturated fats, which are more stable than polyunsaturated fats. The less stable a fat is, the more easily it will be damaged. When a fat is damaged, for example, by being heated above its smoke point, it is no longer healthy to eat.
Typically, saturated fats are solid or semi-solid at room temperature (butter, coconut oil), monounsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature but solidify when refrigerated (olive oil) and polyunsaturated oils are liquid both at room temperature and when refrigerated (most vegetable oils). Note that polyunsaturated oils should be refrigerated.
Polyunsaturated fats include a very special group of fats called essential fatty acids (EFAs). They are called essential because they are critical to good health but the body cannot make them. The most commonly cited EFA is Omega-3. Omega-3 has many roles in the body, including maintaining the proper shape and membrane permeability of our cells, which is critical to every bodily function. Unfortunately, most of us are deficient in Omega-3 and this deficiency has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, some forms of cancer and chronic inflammation. Good food sources of Omega-3 include cold-water fish (such as salmon), ground flax seeds or flax seed oil and chia seeds; however, the most efficient way to ensure that you are getting enough Omega-3 is to supplement daily with a high quality, high purity fish oil.
To be healthy, we need balance, variety and moderation in everything we do, including our fats and oils. In fact, ALL fats and oils, whether from meat, dairy, nuts, seeds, vegetables or fruit, are some combination of saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat. The problem occurs when we consume too much of one, not enough of the other (especially Omega-3) or cook with them at very high temperatures.
Since many of us use fats and oils for cooking, here are a few recommendations for some of the more popular ones:
– Higher temperature cooking: Use animal fats, butter, clarified butter/ghee, coconut oil, grape seed oil and avocado oil.
– Lower temperature cooking: Use olive oil and sesame oil.
– DO NOT heat/cook with pumpkin seed, safflower, sunflower, flax seed, hemp or any other oils rich in the essential fatty acids Omega 3 and Omega 6.
– If you put some oil in a pan and it starts to ripple or smoke, DO NOT use it as it has been damaged.
– Don’t save and re-use oils.
Finally, limit trans fats, often found in processed and packaged foods. They are unnatural and unhealthy and increase the risk of many diseases such cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. Beware of packaged foods that boast a ‘zero trans-fat’ claim as labeling rules still allow them to contain a certain amount of trans fats per serving. Read the ingredients and beware of any oil that has been hydrogenated or modified (even ‘partially’).
Ideally, 20% to 30% of dietary calories should come from fat. Not getting enough fat in our meals and snacks may compromise many important bodily functions as well as the absorption of the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. 1 gram of fat (0.035 oz) gives 9 calories of energy. This is just over double the energy from 1 gram of carbohydrate or 1 gram of protein (each give 4 cal/gram); therefore, excess fat will lead to excess calories, which typically results in weight gain.
As with other food choices, choose unrefined fats from a variety of sources that are as close to the form that nature provided them in.