As more well-known athletes are choosing to go vegan, various studies are overthrowing the concept that you can only get enough nutrients by including meat in your diet. Several popular athletes are proving their abilities to perform in the fiercest competitions within their professional fields despite on a vegan diet. Scott Jurek, who is a hardcore long distance runner who typically runs over 30 miles or more. Next is professional ultimate fighter, Nate Diaz, who is primarily on a vegan diet and tied for the 2nd most UFC awards with 15 total. Next is professional basketball player in the NBA, JJ Redick, who claims eating a plant-based diet allows him to maintain a leaner frame and makes him feel healthy, fit, and agile.
Consumers on a vegan diet are often asked how they obtain enough essential nutrients like omega-3s, iron, zinc, and calcium as these micronutrients are usually associated with meat. Could be surprising to some but many natural ingredients and healthy seeds actually provide these much needed nutrients. For healthy fat, both chia seeds and flaxseeds are high in omega-3s. In fact, chia seeds contain more omega-3s than salmon on a gram to gram basis.  For minerals, pumpkin seeds and flaxseeds are high in iron  and pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and chia seeds are all high in zinc.  For calcium, you can easily obtain this through leafy green vegetables or almond milk as a cup of almond milk actually gives around 45% of daily recommended intake for calcium based on a 2,000 calories diet per day calculation.  Obtaining the necessary nutrients for crucial bodily functions are easier than you think.
Here are some vegan foods and ingredients ideas:
- All kinds of vegetables: kale, spinach, cucumber, celery
- Rolled or steel oats
- Fresh fruits: blueberry, apple, banana
- Smoothies (check out Suspro’s blog for various recipes)
- Grains and seeds: buckwheat, millet, quinoa, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds
- Starchy greens: potatoes
- Beans and legumes: lentils, chickpeas, pea, black beans
- Suspro protein bars
The plant-based diet for muscle gains and strength training are not much different from a normal and healthy diet. If you are used to eating a lot of whole foods and nutritious ingredients, the majority of the ingredients in your meals will actually overlap between a normal diet and vegan diet. Whatever your fitness goal, there are a few things to consider:
- Macronutrients ratios that fit your body type, weight, and goals.
- Understanding how active your daily life may be and adjust your calories need accordingly.
- A proper workout plan to work along your nutrition strategies.
All of these are very specific questions which are different from person to person. Below we have an insightful interview with perennial runner, Phil Parrot-Migas, who has been on a vegan diet for years. He is a high performance long distance runner who recently finishes a half marathon with a time around 1 hour at the Houston Marathon. Also, he is the back to back winner at Gasparilla Distance Competition and 1st Place at Chilly Half Marathon 10K run event in Ontario. The vegan diet is something that is very personal to him as he cares about animal cruelty, saving the environment, and also personal health. All these factors are closely aligned with Suspro Food’s value as we consistently make donations to our non-profit partners, Critter Care Wildlife Society, to help orphaned and injured animals. Below are some common questions for vegan athletes and the responses from Phil:
- What does a typical training session look like for you?
- I train 7 days a week and run on average 20-25km per day. My weekly mileage adds up to about 160km. Workouts are on Monday, Wednesday and Saturdays. Tuesday, Thursday and Friday are considered easy days where I run 10km at lunch and then about another 14km in the afternoon/evening. Sundays are considered long run days where I run on average 30min or 2 hours
- What are the biggest challenges for you on a fitness standpoint?
- Making sure to not over train (listen to your body)
- Not comparing yourself to your peers (focus on my own training and results)
- Well balanced nutrition / training program (make sure to get adequate protein nutrition before and after your training session)
- How do you get enough protein with a plant-based diet?
- I get all my protein through vegetables, nuts, legumes and supplement with Suspro protein bars
- I get more than enough protein via these sources
- Are you losing muscles and strength on a plant-based diet?
- I am actually gaining muscle and strength
- I have so much more clean energy which helps me improve and get stronger
- What are some benefits after switching to a plant based diet?
- Feel much healthier
- More energy
- Clearer mind
- Positive impact on the environment
- Giving animals the right to live
- What are your recommendations to new plant-based athletes?
- Stay positive and don't give up, you will see improvements in your athletic results
- Through time you will adapt to this diet and see how beneficial it is to your health
- Be creative and open minded with recipes
- You are not at a disadvantage if eating plant based. You are actually at an advantage
1. Gunnars, K. (2018). 11 Proven Health Benefits of Chia Seeds. Heathline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-proven-health-benefits-of-chia-seeds#section6
2. Chen, R. (2020). Vegan Smoothie Recipe - Blueberry Smoothie Protein Bowl. Suspro Foods. https://www.susprofoods.com/blogs/news/vegan-smoothie-recipe-blueberry-smoothie-protein-bowl
3. Whitbread, D. (2020). Top 10 Nuts and Seeds Highest in Zinc. My Food Data. https://www.myfooddata.com/articles/high-zinc-nuts-seeds.php#:~:text=Nuts%20and%20seeds%20high%20in,ranked%20by%20a%201oz%20handful.
- Jun 23, 2020
Perhaps the biggest topic in health and wellness these days is sugar and how to cut back on consuming it. For ages, the average adult would add a spoonful of sugar here and there to food— it never seemed like a big deal. But over time, food manufacturers started adding sugar to just about everything in the grocery store, even foods that you don’t think of as sweet, like crackers and spaghetti sauce.
Today it’s clear that sugar is linked to various illnesses and conditions, and it is likely a major culprit connected to the rise in obesity and weight gain in this country. The information below will give some background on the sugar debate and suggest ways in which you can cut it out for good.
Does Sugar Make You Fat?
Obesity has been a hot topic in recent years, and with good reason. Roughly 38 percent of adults over the age of 19 in the U.S. are obese. What’s more staggering is that more than 70 percent of adults over the age of 19 are overweight or obese, suggesting that most people in this country have weight problems.
Just think about these statistics a bit: seven out of every 10 adults are overweight or obese. From a public health standpoint, effective weight loss programs are important, and it seems that sugar may play a role. Let’s take a look at how sugar is associated with weight gain.
Sugar’s Calorie Content
One of the first things with any body weight management program is to consider how much you eat and to cut out whatever is unnecessary. Sugar is a major culprit in weight gain since it contains calories, but not much else in the way of vitamins, minerals, or anything else that’s good for you. Overall, if you eat more than what you need, you will store the extra energy as fat. Some weight loss programs suggest that eating fat is the path to gaining fat, but in reality, it does not matter what nutrient you over consume; the more you eat, the more you gain.
Excess Sugar May Lead to Obesity
Considering the difference between how much sugar we should be eating and how much we’re actually eating, that excess sugar consumption might be one of the key factors in the rise in obesity levels in this country. If the recommended amount of sugar is at most 150 calories each day and the average adult is consuming more than double this value, perhaps the increase in overweight or obese adults is caused by this excess.
If a pound of fat equates to roughly 3,500 calories, and men consume 180 calories (at least) in excess and women consume 230 calories (at least) in excess, this could add up over the years. If you do the math on the extra amount men eat, 180 calories of sugar in excess from what is recommended each day, for a total of 365 days over an entire year, and this amounts to about 19 pounds of fat per year. Do the same math for women and this equates to 24 pounds of fat added each year. Doing the math, it seems clear how sugar can contribute to obesity across the nation.
Cutting Sugar to Lose Weight
One of the first rules in any weight loss program is to burn more calories than what you eat. This method suggests that for every 3,500 calorie deficit, you lose roughly one pound of fat. This is not an exact science, but it is a good way to estimate weight loss. In contrast, if you eat more than what your body needs, then you will gain weight. Figuring out the balance between the energy in and the energy out can be a challenge, but cutting sugar may be one of the best ways to reduce your excessive caloric intake.
If you use the figure of 82 grams of sugar consumed by the average adult each day, it should be no surprise that you could lose some serious weight from sugar alone. Consider this: if you eat a standard 2,000 calorie diet (men or women) each day and you immediately cut all sources of sugar from your usual food and drink, you would reduce your caloric load by 330 calories each day, assuming you eat the average of 82 grams of sugar each day. Reducing your caloric load by 330 calories in sugar each day would translate to about 34 pounds of fat loss each year, or close to three pounds per month.
If you are like many adults out there and you feel your diet is impeccable and that sugar is not an issue, consider this: one medium apple contains about 19 grams of sugar, a banana has 12 grams, one orange has 17 grams, and 1 cup of grapes has 15 grams. You can see that sugar is everywhere, even if you have a healthy diet. It is easy to hit the average 82 grams of sugar each day from fruits alone, but considering a plethora of other foods have sugar in them, it would be easy to consume this much without even touching a candy bar.
Effective Ways to Cut Sugar From Your Diet
Now that you have some information on how sugar impacts your weight management, some of the names that it goes by, and the difference between natural and added sugars, you will want to learn about some effective ways to cut sugar out for good. Consider the following tips to aid in your journey to successfully avoid sugar in your daily eating habits.
1. Substitute sugary beverages for water.
It may taste boring when you first make this switch, but beverages are the primary source of added sugars in the adult diet. Consider drinking your coffee black without sweetener or sugars and avoid all forms of soda, including ones with artificial sweeteners.
2. Be mindful of sugar substitutes.
Avoiding sugar is something that adults on diets aim to do, and many switch to artificial sweeteners as an alternative. While they may be calorie-free, artificial sweeteners and sugar substitutes can be up to 600 times sweeter than regular sugar, which means your brain thinks you are consuming enormous amounts of sugar at one time. This strategy often leads to you having intense sugar cravings throughout the day.
3. Avoid fruit juices.
An orange has plenty of sugar, and a cup of orange juice has the juice of five oranges in there—so it has five times the amount of sugar. And that’s if you make the juice yourself. Orange juice found in cartons in the grocery store—even the ones that say they’re not from concentrate— are highly processed, and many brands have added sugar.
4. Limit fruit.
If you are serious about cutting sugar from your diet, you should pay attention to how much sugar is in the fruit you’re eating. Fruit can be healthy for you, but you need to limit your intake to 2-3 pieces at most a day—and count that as part of your sugar consumption.
5. Get used to reading grocery labels.
Even if the ingredient list on your favorite food items doesn’t specifically list “sugar” as an ingredient, there’s still a chance that it could have a high sugar content under the veil of a different name. There are at least 60 other names for sugar out there, with the most common being high fructose corn syrup.
6. Be mindful of your snacks choices.
Similar to the last tip, always check the ingredient list of your snacks. Most of the popular snacks on the shelves today contain a high level of sugar as that is the easiest way to get consumers hooked onto the product. In Suspro protein bars, all products are low sugar and contain less than 4g sugar. Also, the top ingredient in the bar is the combination of natural seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, quinoa, and chia seeds. Remember to check out Suspro Foods if you want a healthier snack.
7. Know the difference between natural and added sugar.
Not all sugar is created equal and it’s important to know the difference between natural vs added sugar. While it may be difficult to avoid all forms of natural sugar, avoiding added sugars that are refined or processed can be a realistic goal to strive for.
8. Helpful Weight Loss Tips
If you have ever been on a diet plan only to see it work briefly and then go south from there, then you should consider a lifestyle change to make your plan more effective. Consider the tips below as some of the most effective ways to boost your weight loss journey so that your previous frustrations turn into successes.
9. Adjust your exercise routine.
One way to boost your weight loss success is to adjust your exercise routine. Many adults hit the gym, perform endless amount of cardio exercise day after day, only to see minimal results. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, your cardio intensity may not be high enough. Consider high-intensity interval training (HIIT) for better results. Second, add a resistance training program—lifting weights, for example—which will help build muscle. Muscle burns more energy than fat, so this will help with weight loss. Changing your workouts to include high intensity interval training as well as resistance training is a great way to boost your metabolism and add lean muscle mass.
10. Avoid long periods of sitting.
One of the biggest issues with weight loss is that adults go all-out at the gym, only to lose all of the benefits directly afterwards. Studies have shown that sitting for long periods of time can lead to weight gain, suggesting that changing this habit may help with n your weight loss goals. Avoid sitting for longer than 30-60 minutes at a time throughout the day for best results. Taking standing breaks can help to circulate your blood, and it increases your heart rate and metabolism just enough to where your body is not in continuous fat storage mode.
11. Be mindful of alcohol.
Another factor that adults should watch when attempting to lose weight is alcohol consumption. Alcohol may have some health benefits, but consuming it often can lead to increased fat production as well as inflammation. Consider cutting alcohol from your diet any time you are looking to lose weight and only drink amounts that current health guidelines suggest you consume.
12. Make a Habit of Walking.
One effective way to control your body weight is to take a brisk walk after each meal. Research has shown that brisk walking after a meal for about 15-45 minutes can lead to an improvement in overall glycemic control in older adults. An improvement in glycemic control could cause better usage of insulin, which could lead to a reduction of fat in your body. Consider making a brisk walk a habit after each meal and you may see great benefits in both weight and in mood.
Sugar consumption is linked to a number of health concerns. Perhaps the most concerning one is obesity. Obesity is a highly prevalent issue in the U.S.: seven out of every 10 adults are overweight or obese. And sugar plays a major role in this statistic.
The average American consumes twice as much sugar as what’s recommended. That excess sugar adds up to about 330 calories each day, which means the average adult could be gaining close to 20 pounds a year simply from eating too much sugar. Sugar consumption is likely a major element contributing to obesity levels in this country.
Content from Sweet Defeat
- Nov 20, 2018
The ketogenic diet first gained fame through its effectiveness for weight loss. The high-fat, low-carb diet promotes nutritional ketosis–a normal metabolic state marked by moderate levels of ketones in the blood. The idea with carb restriction in terms of weight loss is that it prompts the release of body fat to be burned or converted to ketones for energy (extra dietary fat also contributes to ketone production).
For decades, much of dieting focused on counting caloric intake. But not keto.
Let’s explore why you should be paying more attention to the types of food consumed instead of that little number on the back of a nutrition label.
Are All Calories Created Equal?
The question sparking hot debates in scientific circles!
The first law of thermodynamics (or the law of conservation of energy) states that energy cannot be created or destroyed. When applied to weight control, this law translates to the basic formula:
weight gain = energy (calories) in - energy (calories) out
This traditional viewpoint argues that the food eaten is unimportant–a calorie is a calorie. To lose weight, create a calorie deficit by either eating less or burning more. To gain weight, increase calorie intake.
The opposing viewpoint maintains that calories still count, but the type of food consumed has a trickle-down effect on the amount of energy expended, and what foods the body craves. It takes way more energy to process and store protein than it does carbohydrate or fat–this is called the thermic effect of food. Essentially, one burns more energy dieting protein because it requires more energy for the body to process. In one study, twice as much energy was expended after meals on a high-protein diet versus a high carbohydrate, low-fat diet. 
Another study compared the effects of three diets differing in macronutrient (carb, fat, protein) composition on energy expenditure during weight loss maintenance. Weight loss causes resting energy expenditure (metabolic rate) to go down, which predisposes to weight regain. Results of the study showed that very low carb and high protein diet diet had the LEAST effect on reducing resting energy expenditure following weight loss. 
The loss of energy as heat through the thermic effect of food is consistent with the second law of thermodynamics, which states that some energy is always lost in any chemical reaction. The idea that “a calorie is a calorie” defies this law 
Hormonal changes associated with different types of food are also important. Diets high in carbs cause increased secretion of insulin, meaning elevated insulin levels, meaning more fat storage. Low insulin promotes fat burning. [4, 5]
It seems obvious that the type of food consumed can affect energy expenditure and fat loss. Staying away from processed foods made with refined starches and added sugar is, “the road map to reducing the obesity epidemic in the United States,” said Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, a cardiologist and dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University.
At its core, weight loss results from burning more calories than you consume. But the macronutrient composition of those calories is also vital. Different foods have substantially different metabolic and hormonal effects on the body. So what’s eaten (and how calories are expended) can change how much you eat and whether those calories are burned or stored.
Not all calories are created equal. This is why you should focus on nutritional products and ingredients. In Suspro protein bars, the number 1 ingredient is the combination of natural seeds, including sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, quinoa, and chia seeds. These powerful seeds provide high level of healthy fats, protein, vitamins, and minerals which are all vital to bodily functions. Stop consuming empty calories and check out Suspro Foods as our mission is to pack in more value on a per gram basis into our snacks.
1. Johnston, C. S., Day, C. S., & Swan, P. D. (2002). Postprandial thermogenesis is increased 100% on a high-protein, low-fat diet versus a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet in healthy, young women. J Am Coll Nutr, 21(1), 55-61.
2. Ebbeling, C. B., Swain, J. F., Feldman, H. A., Wong, W. W., Hachey, D. L., Garcia-Lago, E., & Ludwig, D. S. (2012). Effects of dietary composition on energy expenditure during weight-loss maintenance. Jama, 307(24), 2627-2634.
3. Feinman, R. D., & Fine, E. J. (2004). "A calorie is a calorie" violates the second law of thermodynamics. Nutr J, 3, 9.
4. Feinman, R. D., & Fine, E. J. (2007). Nonequilibrium thermodynamics and energy efficiency in weight loss diets. Theor Biol Med Model, 4, 27.
5. Volek, J.S., Sharman, M.J., Love, D.M., Avery, N.G., Gomez, A.L., Scheett, T.P., and Kraemer, W.J. (2002). Body composition and hormonal responses to a carbohydrate-restricted diet. Metabolism 51.
The information provided is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. This blog does not dispense medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose illness. Always seek the advice of your physician or qualified healthcare provider with any questions or concerns about your health. This website may contain links to websites operated by other parties. Such links are provided for your convenience and reference only. Check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program or diet program. Never disregard or delay seeking medical advice because of something you have heard or read in this article or the internet.
- Nov 07, 2018