Sugar vs. Low-calorie Alternatives

A calorie-conscious diet is important to many people today. Especially sugar is a red rag for many and so you can find more and more sugar substitutes and sweeteners such as aspartame, saccharin, succralose, mannitol, sorbitol and many more in various foods.

These artificial sugar alternatives are not only used in confectionery. They are also contained in many processed products, beverages and so-called ‘light’ products. Sweeteners usually have a very low or even no calorie content, whereas sugar substitutes, with about 40% of the calorie count, are only reduced in calories compared to household sugar.

Consumers are often easily misled on this topic. Reduced-calorie products are usually understood as “healthy” and are therefore preferentially purchased and consumed. However, the consequences of excessive consumption of the sweeteners or sugar substitutes contained in them can be devastating for the body.

1. Food Cravings

Research has shown that sweeteners like saccharin lead to constant feelings of hunger. This is because when saccharin is ingested, the body believes it needs to metabolize sugar. But since there is no real sugar to metabolize for energy, the organism reacts with feelings of hunger.

In stock-breeding, saccharin is used as an appetite-stimulating fattening agent. In the human organism, its intake has a similar effect.[1]

The consequence of sweetener consumption can lead to eating more and the body is supplied with more energy than it needs. Thus, by consuming light products, more calories are often absorbed than would be the case if the same product containing conventional sugar were consumed.

2. Disturbance of the Intestinal Flora

Products sweetened with sweeteners often contain the statement that “excessive consumption may have a laxative effect”. One of the reasons for this is that the artificial substances can disturb the intestinal flora. Studies published by the German Medical Journal confirm that sweeteners negatively change the intestinal flora.[2] The intake of sweeteners causes bacteria to multiply, which can metabolize more dietary fiber. This produces short-chain fatty acids, which enter the bloodstream via the intestinal cells and – when there is no energy demand – are stored in fat cells.

Artificially produced sweeteners cannot be metabolized by the human organism. Their consumption contributes to the fact that the composition of the intestinal flora is changed. In the long run, this unbalances the metabolism. Weight gain, high blood pressure and other ailments can be promoted.

Metabolic Balance deliberately avoids the use of sugar and any kind of sugar substitutes. The body can cover its sugar requirements with fruit and vegetables. Sugar substitutes and sweeteners, which are produced with high technological input or exclusively artificially in the laboratory, have no place in a healthy and balanced diet, which consists mainly of unprocessed and natural foods.

The clear recommendation is to stay clear of light products and all foods enriched with sugar substitutes.

It is best to reduce sugar altogether. However, if you don’t want to give up cakes or desserts completely, you should definitely prepare them from scratch. By doing so the sugar content can be significantly reduced or the natural sweetness of fruits (e. g. dates) can be used.


[1] Bürkle, Silvia et al. (2015): „Ernährung macht’s möglich – Stress ade“, p. 59

[2] Süßstoffe: Studie belegt Störung von Darmflora und Glukosestoffwechsel https://www.aerzteblatt.de/nachrichten/60139/Suessstoffe-Studie-belegt-Stoerung-von-Darmflora-und-Glukosestoffwechsel

Protein – not only for Building Muscle

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Protein is “THE” building block in the body. It consists of up to 50,000 protein compounds with vital functions. From muscles, skin, connective tissue, blood vessels, internal organs to hormones and enzymes – proteins are needed everywhere. Vital protein compounds are also needed for many biologically active substances, which provide, e.g., for the transport of iron or oxygen in the blood, for the immune system or bone metabolism. Protein makes up the largest proportion of human body mass in adults, at about 10 kg (about 22 lbs). The dry weight of many body cells consists of more than 50% protein.

Although protein is one of the energy-providing macronutrients along with fats and carbohydrates, it occupies a special position because it is never primarily stored in the body as energy. Unlike fats, which are stored in adipose tissue, and carbohydrates, which are stored as glycogen in the liver and muscle, proteins always have a specific function.

That is why protein is also an indispensable part of our nutrition. Whether vegetable or animal protein – in the stomach and intestines, the digestive juices break down the food protein into its smallest components, the amino acids.

To keep all vital processes running, amino acids must be available in sufficient quantities at all times. This is because thousands of repair processes take place in every cell every day, during which complex proteins are broken down into their individual components and are renewed.

Recommended daily protein requirement

If protein is lacking, it quickly becomes noticeable. Nails, hair and skin suffer, they become brittle, dull and wrinkled. Physical strength is also diminishing. We get tired quickly and are often exhausted for no reason.

How much protein is healthy for the individual cannot be answered in general terms. The German Nutrition Society (DGE) as well as the WHO recommend eating at least 0.8 g of protein per kg of body weight daily (0.36 grams per lbs).

A “high-protein” nutrition is considered to be, when 30 percent of food energy is absorbed in the form of protein. According to scientific studies, a nutrition rich in proteins can prevent some diseases of civilization. For example, studies have concluded that high-protein food can improve the metabolic condition of type 2 diabetes mellitus, lower liver fat, reduce inflammatory processes and improve the overall lipid profile in the blood.

Although we actually consume plenty of protein-rich foods, the positive effect is lost. Scientific research brings it to light: it is primarily due to the combination of “a lot of protein paired with unhealthy nutrients.”. Our nutrition usually looks like this: lots of meat and sausages with plenty of additives. We neglect vegetables and fruits and absorb too little fiber and polyunsaturated fatty acids. This increases the risk of lipometabolic disorders, diabetes or cardiovascular diseases, despite a high-protein nutrition.

Protein quality – Biological Value

In addition to the appropriate protein intake, the quality of the protein is particularly important. The quality of the protein is defined by the eight essential amino acids. The dietary proteins have a different composition and the quality of the dietary proteins is calculated on the basis of the limiting essential amino acid in each case. In this case, it is not the highest possible protein content of the food that is decisive for the quality of the protein, but how much of this protein content can be converted into the body’s own protein.

In general, plant proteins have a lower value than animal proteins, which are more similar in composition to the human amino acid profile.

Higher biological values can be achieved by clever combinations of foods. If a food contains smaller amounts of certain amino acids, it can be supplemented with another food that has an excess of these amino acids. In general, it is recommended to combine animal with plant protein sources in order to achieve a higher biological value. However, it must always be taken into account that the individual protein components must be consumed in a certain proportion in order to utilize the optimum effect. For example, 35% potatoes combined with 65% cottage cheese results in a biological value of approx. 136, or 22% potatoes and 78% beef have a biological value of 114.

A supply of dietary proteins with a high biological value also has a positive overall effect on the acid-base balance, because most of the amino acids supplied can be utilized by the body. When eating foods with a low biological value, on the other hand, an excess of amino acids accumulates that are not needed by the body in the first place and have to be buffered or neutralized and excreted accordingly, which overtaxes the body and metabolism in the long run. An accumulation of acids blocks the metabolism. This has an effect on the well-being. Fatigue and lack of concentration can be acompanying symptoms. Inflammation, muscle and joint complaints often occur, and weight loss is also delayed.

Protein powder – Sense or nonsense?

Protein powders or protein shakes are no longer only popular among bodybuilders – recreational athletes are also increasingly using the diverse range of protein powders and ready-to-drinks (RTD) to build up muscles or lose weight. Nevertheless, there are always critics who refer to these additional protein portions as superfluous or even unhealthy.

Protein powders are available in concentrates, isolates or hydrolyzates. The first two forms differ only in their protein content (concentrate 80%, isolate 90%). In the hydrolyzate, the proteins have already been broken down into smaller amino acid chains and thus enter the blood more quickly. However, this leads to the fact that the amino acid concentration in the blood increases faster, with the consequence that the amino acids are increasingly used for energy production instead of protein synthesis, which are actually important for muscle building.

Protein shakes are also often used for weight reduction. Over a short period of time, this can be a useful meal replacement, especially if the shake replaces the evening meal. This additionally boosts the metabolism and at the same time achieves a long-lasting feeling of satiety. However, when choosing protein powders, the composition should be closely scrutinized. Often, the various protein shakes contain, in addition to high-quality protein, a variety of additives and also sugar, which block the metabolism and have a negative impact on weight loss.

Metabolic Balance and the macronutrient Protein

At Metabolic Balance, the macronutrient protein is also an important component in our nutrition plans. The targeted selection of high-quality animal and plant protein-rich foods, which are combined with vegetables and fruits, creates the basis for a balanced metabolism. The body is supplied with all the valuable protein building blocks and at the same time, excess acids produced during metabolism can be neutralized more easily by the vitamins and minerals from vegetables and fruit.

For a healthy nutrition, it also makes sense to consume different protein sources (e.g. fish, meat, eggs, cheese, sprouts, legumes, mushrooms, seeds or nuts) in a certain proportion throughout the day. In addition, it has proven to be particularly advantageous that only one type of protein per meal contributes to a rapid balancing of the acid-base balance, as hyperacidity can be largely avoided and at the same time the de-acidification of the body is supported.

In addition to the quality of the protein and the frequency of its consumption, the arrangement of the meals with protein is also an important pillar for Metabolic Balance. That means if you want to gently balance your metabolism and relieve the digestive organs, you always start your meal with one or two bites of the protein component. This way, the pancreas first produces the hormone glucagon, which is necessary for protein digestion, and the production of insulin is reduced. This, in combination with complex carbohydrates (vegetables, whole grains), forms a long-lasting fullness and the absence of cravings.

Sources:

  1. http://www.deutsche-apotheker-zeitung.de/news/artikel/
  2. Bill Campbell, Richard B Kreider et.al: International Society of sports Nutrition position stand: protein and exercise; Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (2007)
  3. Mag.rer.nat. Eddie Semler: Eiweiß unter Verdacht; UGB-Forum 3/2003, S.122-124
  4. Jiaqi Huang, Linda M Liao et.al.: Association Between Plant and Animal Protein Intake and Overall and Cause – Specific Mortality; JAMA Intern Med. 2020 Sep 1; 180(9) DOI: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2020.2790

Vacation Time is Feasting Time – here are three Ingenious Tips how to Feast …

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combining pasta, sparkling wine and chocolate correctly!

Who doesn’t like to indulge oneself with a piece of chocolate, delicious pasta or a glass of wine on weekends or on vacation? Even while you are following our Metabolic Balance nutrition plan, small treats are allowed from time to time. True to the motto “the dose makes the poison”, participants can have a Treat Meal from time to time after the 14 days of the strict phase of the Metabolic Balance nutrition plan.

We put together a list of tips to keep in mind and how best to combine the most popular treats to minimize their stress on the body.

Chocolate is best eaten in combination with nuts. Why?

It is best to consume chocolate with a cocoa content as high as possible. It is rich in antioxidants and usually has significantly less sugar than conventional milk chocolate. But sometimes, far from any reason, the body demands the sweet milk chocolate. In order to metabolize carbohydrates such as the abundant sugar they contain, the body needs B-vitamins, which milk chocolate naturally does not provide. Nuts, on the other hand, are rich in these B-vitamins and provide precisely the nutrients needed to break down sugar. Thus, if it has to be milk chocolate, then preferably the one with nuts!

Enjoy prosecco with orange juice. Why?

The consumption of alcohol deprives the body of vitamins during the breakdown. Thus, it is best to drink some orange juice when you consume alcohol. The vitamin C contained in the juice not only helps metabolize the alcohol, but also helps the body to regenerate.

Eat pasta and co. with high-quality oils! Why?

Starchy foods with short-chain carbohydrates such as wheat pasta, rice, white bread or potatoes are best enjoyed in combination with high-quality oils (e.g., olive oil) or fats (butter). The fat surrounds the starch, i.e. the body needs more time to reach the starch and break it down into individual glucose building blocks, since the fat has to be processed first. The result – glucose enters the blood much slower, the blood sugar rises more slowly and this in turn leads to fewer cravings as well as a long-lasting fullness.

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Legumes

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Legumes are ripe, air-dried seeds of plants that grow in fruiting pods. From a botanical point of view, they belong to the legume family, also called “Leguminosae” or “Fabaceae”.

Legumes are distinguished according to their size, uniformity, shape, color, as well as cooking ability. When purchasing, make sure the seeds (the beans) are clean, smooth, shiny, and free of circular holes or black discoloration, as these can indicate poor quality produce, or worm and insect infestation. It is best to reach for clear packaging to check this at first glance. When you open the package, the legumes should smell fresh and spicy.

Legume cuisine does not get boring easily: After all, there are well over 12,000 different varieties. Legumes are very high in protein, contain many complex carbohydrates, provide plenty of fiber and, with the exception of soybean, contain relatively little fat with 1-2%.

Most legumes provide abundant B vitamins in particular, including B1, B2 and B3, as well as folic acid. Like the minerals iron and phosphorus, they are important for blood formation, the strength of bones and for the brain, the whole metabolism and strong nerves. They are also rich in secondary plant substances such as flavonoids, which have antioxidant and detoxifying effects.

These ingredients also explain the positive influence on blood sugar levels as well as blood pressure, which has already been impressively proven in some studies. (https://www.aerzteblatt.de/nachrichten/52122/Diabetes-Huelsenfruechte-senken-Blutdruck-und-HbA1c-Wert#group )

Legumes are best stored in a dry, airy and dark place: Filled into screw-top jars or cans and stored in the kitchen cabinet. Unpeeled legumes can be kept for several years, peeled ones up to six months.

Before cooking, legumes should be soaked in water. Seeds that float on top are not edible and should be removed. Lentils and shelled peas can then be cooked immediately, all other dried legumes must first be soaked, usually overnight. Please follow the package instructions! Since some legumes contain toxins, they should boil bubbly for about ten minutes and then continue cooking until they are soft. In general, it is recommended add salt to legumes after cooking, otherwise they will not become soft; and to cool them quickly after cooking. When stored in a warm environment, legumes start to ferment quickly.

For a long time, dishes with legumes were considered “poor people’s food” and people thought of thick soups and stews. With a little creativity, a number of different delicious dishes can be conjured up. From fresh salads to patties to noble vegetable side dishes, the most diverse meals can be prepared.

Legumes

Flour and pasta produced from legumes and Metabolic Balance

Whether lentils, beans or peas – legumes are very important for a balanced and healthy nutrition. Due to many valuable ingredients, legumes are therefore also found in many Metabolic Balance nutrition plans, provided that the blood values and preferences allow it. Since legumes tend to be “acidic” foods, they should, for example, be on the menu less often for people with an over acidic stomach, gastrointestinal ulcers, kidney disease or gout. However, the acid-base ratio can be easily balanced if the legumes are combined with whole grains, potatoes or vegetables.

To further increase the popularity of the colorful seeds, more and more products are entering the market, from flour made from various legumes to pasta and so-called “granules” which are mostly made from soy, supermarket shelves are nowadays full of products based on legumes.

Metabolic Balance participants often ask themselves whether they are allowed to eat flour or pasta made from legumes, since these usually contain only the legume and no other additives. Basically, they should keep in mind that pasta from legumes is a very highly processed product.

The unprocessed, raw legumes or even those preserved in water have much more nutrients, so it is not the same whether you eat natural legumes or pasta made from legumes.

Therefore, we recommend to integrate these pasta and flour alternatives into the menu only from phase 3 and also not to enjoy them too often, i.e. 1-2 times a week at the most. Soy granules, on the other hand, are produced with extreme technological input and are so highly processed that virtually no nutrients remain. That is why specialists and coaches at Metabolic Balance recommend avoiding granules.

Basically, it is always worthwhile to looking at the real food, which is nutrient dense. With regional organic prouce you will get the highest quality.

The Skin – Gut – Connection

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No other organ receives as much attention as the skin. The market of cosmetics and dietary supplements for beautiful skin is booming. Germans spend several billion euros a year to improve the appearance of their skin and keep it elastic and smooth. To maintain immaculate skin, radiant complexion and youthful appearance, we are susceptible to all sorts of creams, lotions and face masks that reduce our wrinkles, even out imperfections and retouch impurities. The first impression is crucial and, therefore, our skin is so to speak our business card.

At the same time, a lot is demanded of the skin. It is our largest body organ, which has the closest contact with the outside world and performs a variety of vital functions. It protects the body from too much sun, cold and radiation, as well as from drying out and overheating. It is both a respiratory and excretory organ, and it detects and destroys harmful microorganisms that try to enter the body.

The skin – the defense bastion

To cope with all these tasks, a strong defense system is needed. Therefore, the skin is composed of three interconnected layers: the outer layer or epidermis, which shields from the environment, the dermis, which supplies the skin with nutrients through blood and lymph vessels, and the subdermis, a loose layer of connective tissue that acts as heat and energy storage. In addition, the skin is surrounded by a protective acid mantle. The protective acid mantle is formed by the body’s own acidic substances such as sweat, sebum and horny cells. An intact protective acid mantle can ward off microorganisms as well as negative environmental influences from the skin. It remains protected from infections, allergies, irritation and dehydration. Therefore, the slightly acidic pH value of approx. 5.5 to 5.7 must be kept constant on the skin. With various skin care products people want to support the skin and contribute to a fresh, radiant complexion. But unfortunately, many skin care products contain chemical substances such as preservatives and fragrances or even softeners that irritate the skin and harm rather than support the natural protective acid mantle.

True beauty comes from within

Our lifestyle – little sleep, stress and unhealthy food – leaves traces on the skin. The importance of nutrition for skin health and aging has long been underestimated. Furthermore, the crucial impact of the intestine on skin health was also underestimated.

The skin and intestine, although quite different organs at first glance, are nevertheless very closely connected. The skin maintains very close contact with all the mucous membranes of the body, including the digestive tract, through the blood and lymphatic systems. Therefore, often the problems of the intestine are reflected in the skin and make the skin look sallow and pale or even manifest themselves in various inflammations. If you want to successfully keep your skin healthy, you should pay as much attention to your intestine as to your skin.

Creams and lotions can do little for the care of the gut – therefore, a healthy, varied nutrition is the optimal care. There are a variety of different bacteria in the healthy gut. Good and beneficial as well as pathogenic bacterial strains live in a finely tuned relationship to each other. To keep it that way, a nutrition healthy for the gut is needed, i.e. a nutrition rich in fiber that also provides plenty of secondary plan substances and anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. Current studies clearly reveal that dietary fiber in particular, which is abundant in whole grain, vegetables or legumes, is the ideal “food” for intestinal bacteria due to its resistant starch. Intestinal bacteria love dietary fiber and, when metabolizing it, produce valuable short-chain fatty acids – butyric acid and propionic acid – which serve as an energy source for intestinal cells and exert anti-inflammatory effects from which the skin can also benefit. In addition to short-chain fatty acids, intestinal bacteria also produce vitamins, enzymes and messenger substances that can counteract aging processes. But also secondary plant substances, such as polyphenols, can only be utilized by our body with the help of the gut bacteria. This is especially important for the skin, as polyphenols have strong antioxidant effects and can scavenge and render harmless free radicals that are produced in the body and also contribute to skin aging.

The broadest possible bacterial colonization in the gut is therefore more than desirable. This ensures that the gut is well supplied and the intestinal cells are optimally nourished, and thus the gut can fulfill its task of absorbing valuable nutrients, such as protein, zinc, silicic acid and B vitamins, which are essential for healthy, radiant skin.

Skin and intestinal care from the inside

Secondary plant substances, which are abundant in fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs and legumes, ensure that health-promoting gut bacteria prosper, multiply and keep the intestinal mucosa healthy, thus enabling smooth nutrient absorption. The secondary plant substances in particular must be processed by the gut bacteria so that they can enter the bloodstream via the intestinal cells. According to studies, once they reach the bloodstream, they protect the skin from oxidative stress, i.e. from free radicals formed by environmental pollution, nicotine, metabolic processes or by too intense UV rays.

Therefore, eating vegetables and legumes regularly, like the Metabolic Balance Nutrition Plan advocates, are optimal to build a certain inner protection and also to stimulate vitamin D formation at the same time.

In addition, beautiful skin and a healthy gut also need high-quality protein, B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin A and zinc to build mucous membranes, connective tissue and collagen, as well as to regenerate them. These individual building blocks are found in a wide variety of natural foods. However, in the past the real beauty booster have proven to be legumes. Often spurned and labeled as poor people’s food, they provide almost all nutrients from which the skin and gut can benefit.

Conclusion:

Anyone who wants to do something for their skin and also for their gut, whether due to illness or purely for cosmetic reasons, should be prepared that a change through nutrition does not happen overnight. This is an ongoing project that will only be rewarded with a little patience.

A balanced nutrition, as practiced in the Metabolic Balance nutrition program, which is rich in selected skin boosters, such as sufficient vegetables, legumes, fruit, as well as sufficient liquid in the form of water, forms the basis for optimal care of the skin and gut. Furthermore, under no circumstances should you skimp on fat and pay no attention to the rumor that a nutrition too rich in fat leads to blemished skin. Foods rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as high-quality vegetable oils, nuts and seeds, or fatty fish, provide flexible and pliable cell walls that can more easily absorb nutrients and also release metabolic waste products. In addition, the omega-3 fatty acids have an anti-inflammatory effect, which benefits both the gut and the skin. With a nutrition according to Metabolic Balance you can once again kill several birds with one stone and that full of pleasure!

Sources:

1. Cosgrove, M.C. et al.: „Dietary intakes and skin-aging appearance among middle-aged American women“. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol 86, Nr. 4, 1225-1231, October 2007

2. Miyake,Y. et al.: Consumption of vegetables, fruit, and antioxidants during pregnancy and wheeze and eczema in infants”.

3. Wolters, M.: Diet and Psoriasis: Experimental data and clinical relevance. Br J Dermatol 153: 706-14, 2005

4. Papanga, G., Miller, N., Rice-Evans, C.A.: The polyphenolic content of fruit and vegetable and their antioxidant activity. What does a serving constitute? Free Radic. Res, 30, S.152-163, 1999

Grilled Steak with Cabbage Salad

This simple and easy recipe is perfect for anyone in Phase 2.

Ingredients: (1 serving)
1 serving of steak
1 serving of vegetables (pointed/white cabbage and bell peppers)
Apple cider vinegar
Fresh chives
Salt, pepper

Preparation:
Wash the pointed/white cabbage and slice into thin strips. Add 1 pinch of salt to the pointed cabbage and massage and then let it sit for 15 minutes. Wash the bell peppers and then halve, clean, and cut into strips. Season the steak with salt and pepper and then grill for 3-5 minutes on each side. Wrap the steak in aluminium foil and let it rest for about 10 minutes. Rinse the chives, pat dry, and cut into small sections. Mix bell peppers, chives, vinegar and cabbage, season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve the meat and cabbage salad. Pour the juices from the meat in the aluminium foil over the meat.
Enjoy!

Optimize Your Health

Is it actually possible to eat healthy…? Buying healthy food, well that can be easy. But to know which individual foods are good for your health, that’s another story. The solution for a holistic way of eating is: Metabolic Balance. Our nutrition plan, based on your personal blood analysis includes exactly the foods you need for optimal health.

Inspired Pizza Creations – Time to rethink Pizza

If you decide to be inspired by the following combinations, please remember to only have one protein.  Also, we suggest making a Chickpea flour pizza crust  and then adding the toppings (Chickpea flour crust will be your protein.)

NOTE:  These recipes in the infographic are not metabolic balance recipes. This is inspiration for you to play with during your holiday.  If you are unsure about a combination, please ask your coach.

Also, please remember you can only use one protein on your pizzas so if you use the chickpea flour crust, that is the only protein you can use.

If you want to have a pizza feeling, you can take your rye bread and iron it flat or roll it flat using a rolling pin and then grilling it before adding the toppings and putting it in the oven.

If you use your rye bread this way, you can add the cheese on your plan to the pizza!

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photo of chickpeas by Mattie Hagedorn