Do you want to lose weight? Gain muscle? Improve health? Boost performance? This free calorie, portion, and macro calculator from Precision Nutrition can help you achieve the results you want… more easily than ever before.

Designed, developed, and tested in the Precision Nutrition research lab—and proven effective with thousands of clients—it’s the most comprehensive calorie, portion, and macro calculator available.

Here’s why: The Precision Nutrition Calculator first determines the appropriate daily calories for your body, based on the NIH Body Weight Planner (and adapted from research collected at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease).

This estimate takes into account:

  • Your personal details (height, age, weight, sex)
  • Physical activity levels (both daily movement and purposeful exercise)
  • The date you want to reach your goal by (within reason!)
  • The changing and adaptive nature of human metabolism (a major benefit of this calculator)

It then calculates your daily macros, combining the above data with additional factors, including your:

  • Nutrition and fitness goals (weight loss, muscle gain, better health, peak performance)
  • Dietary preference (Paleo, keto, vegetarian, fully plant-based, Mediterranean, and of course, “anything”)
  • Macronutrient preference (balanced, low-fat, low-carb, or virtually any other macronutrient ratio you want)

But here’s the reason this calculator is truly revolutionary: Once it estimates your calorie and macronutrient needs, it automatically converts those numbers into food portions that are equivalent to parts of your hand. (Specifically, your palm, fist, cupped hand, and thumb.)

The result: If you choose, you can skip weighing and measuring your food—as well as logging the details of every meal into calorie and macro tracking apps. Instead, you can use our hand portion tracking system to achieve your calorie and macro targets.

This unique approach takes the hassle out of calorie and macro tracking, making it easier for you to lose weight, gain muscle, eat healthier, and improve your performance.

(Once we calculate your macros, we’ll send you a free, personalized guide to using our hand portion system for hitting your calorie and macro targets.)

The Precision Nutrition Calculator

Instantly calculate your calories, portions, and macros (for the results you want)

Nutrition Calculator

How much should you eat? Let’s find out.

The benefits of this calorie, portion, and macro calculator

Some people naturally eat the appropriate amount of food and calories for their individual needs. They’re able to maintain a stable body weight for years—even decades— without counting calories, or tracking macros, or ever measuring their portions.

Unfortunately, these “intuitive eaters” represent only a small segment of the human population. The rest of us typically need help with our eating, in the form of external structure and guidance, at least temporarily. This can help you:

  • Eat the right amount of calories and macros for your goals
  • Understand appropriate portion sizes
  • Improve your food choices and eating habits

That’s why we created this calorie, portion, and macro calculator. It gives you a nutrition blueprint for achieving your goals and, at the same time, helps you develop the skills you need to eat well for life.

(For optimal results, it’s best to combine this nutrition plan with intuitive eating and self-regulation skills.)

The problem with only tracking calories

Most people know calories matter. If you eat more calories than your body needs, you gain weight. If you eat fewer calories than your body needs, you lose weight.

(Yes, this certainly sounds simple, but as you’ve likely experienced, there are many factors that make managing your calorie intake… not so simple. Learn more here.)

By tracking your calories, you can better know if you’re eating the right amount of food for your goals. There are, however, disadvantages to only tracking the total number of calories you eat daily.

Most notably: This method doesn’t ensure you’re getting an appropriate amount of macronutrients for your body, goals, and preferences. Depending on what you’re trying to achieve, this can negatively affect your appetite, hormones, energy levels, and nutrient consumption.

And that can make it harder to lose weight, gain muscle, eat healthier, and improve athletic performance.

Why tracking your macros gives you an advantage

Just in case you’re not sure, let’s start by defining what macros, or macronutrients, actually are.

There are three major macronutrients: Protein, carbohydrates, and fat. (The fourth macronutrient is alcohol.)

Your body breaks down the macronutrients you eat into compounds used to help create energy, build body structures, create chemical reactions, and stimulate the release of hormones. Which means they can impact how you feel, perform, and even behave.

When you track macros, you don’t need to count calories directly. Instead, you log how many grams of each macronutrient you eat every day.

That’s because each macronutrient provides a certain number of calories:

  • 1 gram of protein = 4 calories
  • 1 gram of carbohydrate = 4 calories
  • 1 gram of fat = 9 calories
  • (1 gram of alcohol = 7 calories)

As a result, tracking macros means you’re automatically tracking calories. It’s just that you’re ensuring a certain number of those calories come from protein, carbohydrates, and fat, respectively. This is known as your macronutrient ratio.

For example, let’s say you eat:

  • 30% of your calories from protein
  • 40% of your calories from carbohydrate
  • 30% of your calories from fat

Your macronutrient ratio would then be: 30:40:30.

By adjusting your macronutrient ratio based on your age, sex, activity levels, goals, and preferences, you can optimize your eating plan.

If you’re trying to lose weight, you might eat a higher proportion of protein, since it can help you feel satisfied longer after meals. Or if you’re a very active athlete, you might want a higher ratio of carbohydrates to meet your greater energy demands.

The good news: Our calorie, portion, and macro calculator will figure all of this out for you.

Just enter your information and, within milliseconds, you’ll get a macro ratio that’s customized exactly for your body, goals, and preferences. (Plus, the Precision Nutrition Calculator gives you the option to further adjust these numbers, in case you want to try a different macronutrient ratio.)

Like calorie counting, though, conventional macro tracking has its downsides. Perhaps the biggest challenge: Because it requires careful food measuring and weighing, most people won’t stick to it for long.

Many say it feels cumbersome and even takes the joy out of eating. Which can limit its effectiveness to very short periods of time. That’s where the Precision Nutrition hand portion tracking system comes in.

Hand portions: The easiest way to track calories and macros

When we created this calorie, macro, and portion calculator, we asked:

How can we help people eat the right amount of food, but without the burden of having to weigh and measure every morsel?

Our solution: to give personalized targets not just for daily calories and macros, but also hand portions. That way, you can use whichever method you prefer.

This hand portion system—developed by Precision Nutrition—allows you to use your own hand as a personalized, portable portioning tool. You’re not actually measuring your food, but rather using your hand to gauge portion size. It’s highly effective for food tracking because your hand is proportionate to your body, its size never changes, and it’s always with you.

Here’s a snapshot of how it works:

  • Your palm determines your protein portions.
  • Your fist determines your vegetable portions.
  • Your cupped hand determines your carb portions.
  • Your thumb determines your fat portions.

Based on the calorie, portion, and macro calculator’s output, all you have to do is eat the recommended number of each hand portion daily. (Again, we’ll show you how to put this method fully into practice once you’ve put your information into the Precision Nutrition Calculator and received your free report and eating guide.)

How effective are hand portions for tracking macros?

Our research shows hand portions are 95 percent as accurate (or better) as carefully weighing, measuring, and tracking. With substantially less effort and time involved.

Plus, our hand portion tracking system allows you to easily adjust your intake to further optimize your results.

Ready to get started? Go ahead and enter your information into the calorie, portion, and macro calculator above, and we’ll do the rest, providing you with a free nutrition plan customized just for you.

If you have more questions right now, or want to understand the nutrition rules we used to design this calorie, portion, and macro calculator, see the Resources section for a full breakdown.

Resources

The calorie and macro math

Here, we outline the numbers used to determine the calories and macros delivered by the calculator.

Calorie math

This calculator uses the same baseline algorithm as the Precision Nutrition Weight Loss Calculator to calculate maintenance, weight loss, and weight gain calorie needs. It factors in the dynamic and adaptive nature of your metabolism to predict how long it’ll take you to reach your bodyweight goal.

This algorithm is a mathematically validated model based on the NIH Body Weight Planner and adapted from research collected at the National Institutes of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease.

Q: How do goals change the equation?
A:

For people looking to improve health, the calorie, portion, and macro calculator uses the weight maintenance calories determined by the validated mathematical model inherent to the NIH algorithm.

For people looking to lose body fat, the calorie, portion, and macro calculator uses the validated mathematical model inherent to the NIH algorithm. This takes into account a whole host of anthropometric data, time desired to reach goal, and the adaptive nature of human metabolism.

For people looking to gain muscle, the calorie, portion, and macro calculator uses the validated mathematical model inherent to the NIH algorithm. This takes into account a whole host of anthropometric data, time desired to reach goal, and the adaptive nature of human metabolism.

For people looking to improve athletic performance, the calorie, portion, and macro calculator adds an additional 10% more calories to the weight maintenance requirements calculated by the NIH algorithm. This supports the increased demands of athletic performance.

For people looking to change their body composition with minimal weight change, the calorie, portion, and macro calculator lowers calorie needs by 10% from the weight maintenance requirements calculated by the NIH algorithm. This’ll help facilitate simultaneous fat loss and muscle growth. It should be noted that this approach is most appropriate for individuals who don’t wish to change their body weight by more than 10 to 15 pounds, yet want to improve their body composition.

Macro math

The macronutrients are calculated by many rules.

  1. Protein is set on a grams per pound of bodyweight basis, at a range of 0.65-1.35 g/lb, depending upon sex, weight, goal, and activity level. (For very low-fat and very low-carb options, protein is set at 20% of calories, not on a bodyweight basis.)
  2. Protein needs are also set on a sliding scale since, on average, even within the same goal and activity level, heavier folks would generally have a greater body fat percentage than lighter folks. Therefore, they require a smaller amount of protein on a grams per pound basis (though still higher on an absolute basis).
  3. Then, dependent upon the Macronutrient Preference chosen, either fat or carbohydrates are set at a particular percent of calories (e.g. “Low-fat” is set at 20% calories from fat, and “Low-carb” is at 20% calories from carbs) to determine the allocation of the remaining non-protein calories.
  4. Finally, the rest of the calories are filled out by the remaining macronutrient (either fat or carbs). Note, if “Balanced” was chosen, the non-protein calories are split evenly between fats and carbs.

Custom macronutrient percentages

When custom macronutrient percentages are entered, those ratios are used to determine all macronutrient and hand-portion calculations. Overriding the macronutrient math outlined above. (Calories will not be changed.)

Calorie and macro FAQ

How do I make meals out of macros?

You can’t. At least not easily.

Instead, you often have to make your meals first, weigh and measure foods, and input those measurements into an app to find out the macronutrient and calorie amounts. Then see what “allotment” you have left as the day progresses.

However, the hand-portion system does make this much easier, which you can read about in your free personalized guide (as well as below).

Hand portion math

The hand portion amounts were determined based on the calorie and macronutrient calculations as outlined above.

Approximate portion sizes

Using the average hand size for the average-sized man and woman, and combining it with common portion sizes of foods, we approximate the hand-size portions as follows.

For Men
1 palm (protein) ~4 oz (115 g) cooked meat / tofu, 1 cup Greek yogurt / cottage cheese, 1 scoop protein powder, 2 whole eggs
1 fist (veggies) ~1 cup non-starchy vegetables (e.g. spinach, carrots, cauliflower, peppers, etc.)
1 cupped hand (carbs) ~⅔ cup (130 g) cooked grains / legumes (e.g. rice, lentils, oats), 1 medium fruit (e.g. banana), 1 medium tuber (e.g. potatoes)
1 thumb (fats) ~1 tablespoon (14 g) oils, nuts, seeds, nut butters, cheese, dark chocolate, etc.
For Women
1 palm (protein) ~3 oz (85 g) cooked meat / tofu, 1 cup Greek yogurt / cottage cheese, 1 scoop protein powder, 2 whole eggs
1 fist (veggies) ~1 cup non-starchy vegetables (e.g. spinach, carrots, cauliflower, peppers, etc.)
1 cupped hand (carbs) ~½ cup (100 g) cooked grains / legumes (e.g. rice, lentils, oats), 1 medium fruit (e.g. banana), 1 medium tuber (e.g. potatoes)
1 thumb (fat) ~1 tablespoon (14 g) oils, nuts, seeds, nut butters, cheese, dark chocolate, etc.

You’ll note we used one cup of Greek yogurt and cottage cheese as comparable to a palm. And we used a medium-sized tuber and medium-sized fruit as a cupped handful. These sizes were used as they represent common consumption patterns or pre-portioned amounts of these foods, which allows accounting for them to be as consistent and simple as possible.

Now remember, these are just approximates. Not exact measures. Actual portion sizes ultimately depend on the size of the individual hand, which is usually proportional to the size and needs of the individual. (That’s part of the beauty of the hand-portion approach.)

Approximate portion math

With the above approximate portions, we can create various meal scenarios and simulations, and calculate the approximate macros these portions provide. This helps number-oriented users see how weighing and measuring their food compares to using our hand-portion system.

Men’s portion macros
1 palm protein ~ 24 g protein, 2 g carbs, 4.5 g fat, 145 kcal
1 fist veggies ~ 1.5 g protein, 5 g carbs, 0 g fat, 25 kcal
1 cupped hand of carbs ~ 3 g protein, 25 g carbs, 1 g fat, 120 kcal
1 thumb fats ~ 2 g protein, 2 g carbs, 9 g fat, 100 kcal
Women’s portion macros
1 palm protein ~ 22 g protein, 2 g carbs, 4 g fat, 130 kcal
1 fist veggies ~ 1.5 g protein, 5 g carbs, 0 g fat, 25 kcal
1 cupped hand of carbs ~ 3 g protein, 22 g carbs, 1 g fat, 110 kcal
1 thumb fats ~ 2 g protein, 2 g carbs, 8 g fat, 90 kcal

It can’t be emphasized enough—these are approximations. Nothing will be exact, because all aspects of calorie and macronutrient calculations are based on averages with known error rates. (Yes, even the USDA nutrient database reports out averages. Actual foods always vary.) Regardless, this information can be helpful to know for the more mathematically inclined and/or individuals with highly specific and targeted goals.

Assumed variety of food choices

And as you can see, the hand-portion system assumes a mixed intake of protein, veggies, carbs, and fats. As of course, these food sources will have varying amounts of each macronutrient.

For example, let’s look at protein.

Perhaps you start the day with eggs (a high-fat protein source), have a mid-morning Super Shake (very lean protein powder), have a chicken breast for lunch (very lean protein source), and have salmon for dinner (moderately lean protein source).

The hand-portion recommendations are based on the assumption that, on average, you’ll get a moderate amount of fat and even a small amount of carbs from your protein sources.

Now, if you’re consistently eating lots of fat-rich protein sources, or lots of very lean protein sources, you may need to make adjustments. Based on your progress, use outcome-based decision-making to determine if you, or a client, should simultaneously increase or decrease your daily number of thumb-sized portions of fats.

These same assumptions are built in for carbohydrates and fats as well. The hand-portion recommendations assume you’ll have a mix of fruit, starchy tubers, beans, and whole grains for carb sources.

And it assumes you’ll have a mix of whole food fats (e.g. nuts, seeds, avocado), blended whole foods (e.g. nut and seed butters, guacamole, pesto), and pressed oils (e.g. olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil) for fat sources.

If your intake is skewed towards oils, you may have to decrease the number of thumb-sized portions of fat you eat—since they contain more fat than the other sources. Or if you only eat berries for carbs, you may have to increase the number of cupped hands of carbs you eat—since they contain fewer carbs than the other sources. However, you should only decide that using outcome-based decision-making.

In essence, this means asking, “How’s that working for you?” If you (or your client) are achieving the desired results and are pleased with the overall outcome, there’s no reason to change what you’re doing. But if you’re not progressing the way you’d like, you could adjust your intake.

Testing the hand portion math

Let’s see how this system works in practice and in comparison to manually tracking macros and calories.

Example 1: High-level female athlete, 135 pounds with 18% body fat, who trains twice per day

  • Pre-Workout @ 6am: 16 oz black coffee, 1 cup plain low-fat Greek yogurt, 1 cup chopped pineapple, 2 tbsp chopped walnuts, 1 glass of water
  • Workout @ 7:15-8:30am: Sips on 16 oz water during training session
  • Post-Workout Shake @ 9:00am: 12 oz water, 2 scoops protein powder, 1 medium apple, 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats, 2 cups of spinach, 1 tbsp ground flax seed, 1 tbsp almond butter
  • Lunch @ 12pm: 3 oz salmon, 1 cup steamed mixed veggies, 1 medium sweet potato, 1 tbsp coconut oil, 2 glasses of water
  • Mid-Afternoon Snack @ 4pm: 1 banana, 2 tbsp natural peanut butter, 1-2 glasses of water
  • Workout @ 5:30-6pm: Sips on 16 oz water during training session
  • Post-Workout Dinner @ 7pm: 3 oz chopped chicken breast, 2 cups cooked whole grain pasta, plus 2 cups sautéed veggies with 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, minced garlic and white cooking wine, 2 glasses of water

If you calculate the calories and macronutrients of this person’s intake using the USDA nutrient database, you’ll get:

  • 2672 kcal
  • 170 g protein
  • 264 g carbs
  • 104 g fat

And if you put this person’s intake into hand-size portion terms, you’ll get:

  • Protein = 5 palms (Greek yogurt, protein powder x 2, salmon, chicken)
  • Veggies = 5 fists (spinach x 2, mixed veggies, sauteed veggies x 2)
  • Carbs = 10 cupped hands (pineapple x 2, apple, oats, sweet potato, banana, pasta x 4)
  • Fats = 9 thumbs (walnuts x 2, flax seed, almond butter, coconut oil, peanut butter x 2, olive oil x 2)

When you multiply those portion numbers using approximate hand-portion math for women (see above table), it would provide an estimated intake of:

  • 2672 kcal (exactly the same as calculating it with apps and spreadsheets)
  • 166 g protein (4 g fewer than calculating it with apps and spreadsheets)
  • 273 g carbs (9 g more than calculating it with apps and spreadsheets)
  • 102 g fat (2 g fewer than calculating it with apps and spreadsheets)

Example 2: Moderately active male, 210 pounds with 17% body fat

  • Wake @ 5:30am: 12 oz black coffee
  • Breakfast @ 7:00am: 4 whole eggs with a large bunch of peppers, scallions, and mushrooms cooked in a large pat of butter, placed on whole wheat wrap, with ~1 oz cheese, 1 cupped hand of black beans, and some pico de gallo, large glass of water, 12 oz black coffee
  • Super Shake @ 10:30am: ~10 oz water, 2 scoops chocolate protein powder, 2 cups of spinach, 2 cups frozen cherries, ~1 tablespoon cacao nibs, ~1 tablespoon of chia seeds
  • Lunch @ 2pm: 4 oz turkey breast, ~⅔ cup quinoa, 1 fist of mixed veggies, 1 apple, 2 thumbs of roasted almonds, 1-2 large glasses of water
  • 1-2 cups green tea @ 3-4pm
  • Dinner @ 6pm: 8 oz sirloin (lean), 2 cupped hands of roasted red potatoes with onions, 2 cups roasted rainbow carrots, 2 tbsp olive oil for roasting, 1 glass wine, 1-2 large glasses of water

If you calculate the calories and macronutrients of this person’s intake using the USDA nutrient database, you’ll get:

  • 3130 kcal
  • 212 g protein
  • 283 g carbs
  • 111 g fat

And if you put this person’s intake into hand-size portion terms, you’ll get:

  • Protein = 7 palms (eggs x 2, protein powder x 2, turkey, sirloin x 2)
  • Veggies = 6 fists (scallions / peppers / mushrooms / pico, spinach x 2, mixed veggies, rainbow carrots x 2)
  • Carbs = 9 cupped hands (wrap, beans, cherries x 3, quinoa, apple, potato x 2)
  • Fats = 8 thumbs (butter, guacamole, cacao nibs, chia seeds, almonds x 2, olive oil x 2)
  • Alcohol = 1 (wine)

When you multiply those portion numbers using approximate hand-portion math for men, it’d provide an estimated intake of:

  • 3183 kcal (53 kcal more than calculating it with apps and spreadsheets)
  • 220g protein (8 g more than calculating it with apps and spreadsheets)
  • 285g carbs (2 g more than calculating it with apps and spreadsheets)
  • 113g fat (2 g more than calculating it with apps and spreadsheets)

When looking at both examples, simply using your hands would be 96-100% as accurate as weighing, measuring, and logging all foods on apps or spreadsheets. Plus, with the known error rates of calories and macronutrients present on labels and in nutrient databases, this level of accuracy will likely suffice for all but the most advanced individuals (i.e. people being paid to look a certain way).

Hand portion FAQ

Do I gauge my portions before or after cooking?

One of the most common questions asked about using your hands to measure portions is whether the hand portions are for cooked or uncooked foods.

The answer is most certainly cooked. Hand portions are for plating your food, not cooking it. That way, they can be used at home, restaurants, buffets, conferences, Mom’s house, and the office.

Other helpful notes:

  • Dry carbs tend to double in size when cooked. For example:
    • 1/4 cup of dry oats (25g) = 1/2 cup cooked
    • 1/4 cup of dry rice (50g) = 1/2 cup cooked
    • 1/2 cup of dry whole wheat fusilli pasta (40g) = 1 cup cooked

This is helpful to know when it’s difficult to use your hand to measure a cooked food.

What to do with foods that don’t fit?

Some items don’t fit well into the hand-size portion system. It’s not perfect. No single system is. It’s meant to provide practical and actionable guidelines.

Most notably problematic are liquids.

Dairy

Cow’s milk and non-Greek yogurt are tricky as they’re a pretty even mix of all 3 macros or can vary depending on the fat level someone chooses (e.g. whole, low fat, skim, etc.).

Ultimately, we suggest making that decision based on the fat or carbohydrate content of the milk or yogurt you’re consuming.

Generally, consider 1 cup (8 oz) of whole milk products a “thumb” of fat. (Even though it’s larger than a thumb and also provides protein and carbs).

Anything lower in fat (e.g. 0-2%) is generally considered a cupped hand of carbs (while also providing fats and protein).

A cup of anything highly sweetened (e.g. chocolate milk, strawberry yogurt) is generally considered a cupped hand of carbs (while also providing fats and protein).

So what happens in this situation: You have a full-fat Greek yogurt or whole milk that’s highly sweetened? Is it a fat or carb? Think of it this way: If it’s already full-fat, you know it’s a thumb of fat. But if a lot of sugar is also added to it, then it’s also a cupped hand of carbs.

The key is to pick an approach, and apply it consistently. This is probably more important than the actual classification itself. (Remember, the system already has built-in buffers: It assumes your protein, fat, and carb sources contain smaller amounts of the other macros.)

Cookies, ice cream, chips (and other compound foods)

With naturally occurring or minimally processed foods, it’s usually best to assign only one hand portion to a food. But with these highly-processed “compound” foods, you’ll want to assign two (or more) hand portions. Because just like dairy products that are full-fat and highly sweetened, they count as both fat and carbs. An easy way to account for them: one handful is equal to one thumb of fat and one cupped hand of carbs.

Soda

Again, a serving of soda doesn’t really fit into a cupped hand. Instead, consider a 12-ounce can of soda as a cupped hand of carbs. Certainly, 8 ounces would be preferable from the standpoint of physical size (and carbohydrate total), but 12 ounces really simplifies the size and math, as these beverages come pre-packaged this way. (This is similar to how we account for bananas, apples, oranges, pears, and other fruits, since they’re “pre-packaged” by nature.)

Nut Milks

Nut milks are much like cow’s milk above. They tend to provide a mix of macros, depending on the source, and classification would also depend on whether or not they’re sweetened.

Generally, unsweetened versions (like almond milk) don’t count as anything, as they typically only have about 30 to 40 calories in a whole cup (8 ounces), and are often consumed in relatively small amounts. A sweetened version, however, would be considered a cupped hand of carbs.

Again, the key is to pick an approach and follow it consistently.

Alcohol

Alcohol generally should be its own category, as the majority of its calories are derived from its alcohol content (7 kcal / g), not its carb content. This applies to pretty much all alcohol, be it light beer, microbrew / craft beer, wine, and spirits (although some microbrews / craft beer and dessert wines can contain quite a few carbs).

However, many folks like to put alcohol in the carb category, which can work, too. Again, whatever method you prefer can work; just follow it consistently.

Note that most alcohol is about 100-150 calories per serving. If it has a sweetened additive (think margarita, or alcohol + tonic), then it’s adding a whole lot more sugar. So count that as a serving (or more) of alcohol and one (or more) cupped hands of carbs too.

How do I account for mixed-food meals?

It gets tricky with mixed-food meals, like soups and chilis. You simply have to eyeball it, and make your best guess, especially if you didn’t make it yourself.

Ultimately, the general goal is to get a protein, veggie, quality carb, and/or healthy fat in each portion. This is relatively easy to do when making it yourself. When made by others, simply guesstimate as well as you can. Most importantly, if the goal is anything other than weight gain, eat slowly and mindfully, until satisfied.

Often, meals like this are a mix of protein, carbs, and fats, but are a bit lower in veggies. Adding a vegetable on the side can be very helpful. And adding additional protein can also be helpful if the meal seems to have a greater proportion of carbs and fats.

Legumes and lentils: protein or carb?

Legumes and lentils both contain protein and carbs, so where should they be counted?

Answer: It depends on the meal itself and/or the eating style of the individual. If someone is fully plant-based/vegan, then it’s likely the legumes or lentils will count as their protein source, since those are probably the most protein-dense foods they’re consuming. But they can also count as both… under certain conditions.

Our suggestion: Choose the most protein-rich food (assuming there is one) as your protein source, and slot the other items from there.

Examples:

  1. Chicken with beans, broccoli and olive oil.
  2. Beans with rice, broccoli and olive oil.
  3. Beans x 2 with broccoli and olive oil.
  4. Rice with broccoli and olive oil
  5. Beans with broccoli and olive oil

In example 1, chicken is the protein (the most protein-rich part of the dish), beans are the carbs, broccoli is the vegetable, and olive oil is the fat.

In example 2, beans are the protein (the most protein-rich part of the dish), rice is the carbs, broccoli is the vegetable, and olive oil is the fat.

In example 3, one serving of beans would count as protein, and the other serving would count as carbs. In this scenario, it gets more difficult because it’s less clear-cut than the first two examples.

In example 4, there isn’t a protein-rich food, just a carb, vegetable, and fat.

In example 5, it would depend on the eater. Omnivore? Then we’d count the beans as a carb. Plant-based? Then we’d count the beans as a protein.

How do I quantify my exercise?

In using the calorie, portion, and macro calculator above, you’ll see the terms gentle, moderate, and strenuous. These describe the intensity of your activity.

Use the guide below to gauge your activity levels. When in doubt, it’s better to underestimate your activity rather than overestimate it.

Moderate to Strenuous Activity

  • Resistance training
  • Interval or Circuit training
  • Crossfit
  • Running or jogging
  • Rowing
  • Cycling
  • Swimming
  • Team sports (e.g. basketball, hockey, soccer, tennis, etc.)
  • Hiking
  • Jump Rope
  • Group classes (spin, dance, etc.) and bootcamps
  • Yoga (power, bikram)

Gentle Activity

  • Walking
  • Yoga (hatha, vinyasa, ashtanga, etc.)
  • Pilates
  • Golfing
  • Biking, swimming or cycling at a leisurely pace or for pleasure

Example 1: Let’s say your week includes:

  • Walking for 20 minutes, 2 times
  • Vinyasa yoga for 30 minutes, 2 times
  • Resistance training for 45 minutes, 2 times
  • Running for 30 minutes, 3 times

That’d count as:

  • 4 gentle activities (vinyasa yoga x 2; walking x 2) for a total of 100 minutes (1.66 hours)
  • 5 moderate to strenuous activities (resistance training x 2, running x 3) for a total of 180 minutes (3 hours)

Which means you’d select your activity level as “Moderate” under the purposeful exercise question. (Defined as moderate to strenuous activity 3 to 4 hours per week.) The gentle activities are fantastic, but don’t bump up your calorie needs like higher-intensity activity does. So that is what you would be counting.

Example 2: Suppose your week includes…

    • Swimming leisurely for 30 minutes, 3 times
    • Resistance training for 30 minutes, 2 times
    • Group exercise class for 60 minutes, 1 time

That’d count as:

  • 3 gentle activities (leisurely swimming x 3) for a total of 90 minutes (1.5 hours)
  • 3 moderate-strenuous activities (resistance training x 2, group exercise x 1) for a total of 120 minutes (2 hours)

Which means you’d select your activity level as “Light” under the purposeful exercise question. (Defined as gentle to moderate activity 1 to 3 hours per week.)

Example 3: Suppose your week includes…

  • Golfing for 2 hours, 1 time
  • Resistance training for 60 minutes, 2 times
  • Mountain biking for 90 minutes, 4 times

That’d count as:

  • 1 gentle activity (golfing) for a total of 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • 6 moderate-strenuous activities (resistance training x 2, mountain biking x 4) for a total of 480 minutes (8 hours)

Which means you’d select your activity level as “Very Intense” under the purposeful exercise question. (Defined as moderate to strenuous activity 7+ hours per week.)

Calculator development notes and FAQs

If you’re a coach, or you want to be…

Learning how to coach clients, patients, friends, or family members through healthy eating and lifestyle changes—in a way that’s personalized for their unique body, goals, and preferences—is both an art and a science.

If you’d like to learn more about both, consider the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification. The next group kicks off shortly.

What’s it all about?

The Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification is the world’s most respected nutrition education program. It gives you the knowledge, systems, and tools you need to really understand how food influences a person’s health and fitness. Plus the ability to turn that knowledge into a thriving coaching practice.

Developed over 15 years, and proven with over 100,000 clients and patients, the Level 1 curriculum stands alone as the authority on the science of nutrition and the art of coaching.

Whether you’re already mid-career, or just starting out, the Level 1 Certification is your springboard to a deeper understanding of nutrition, the authority to coach it, and the ability to turn what you know into results.

[Of course, if you’re already a student or graduate of the Level 1 Certification, check out our Level 2 Certification Master Class. It’s an exclusive, year-long mentorship designed for elite professionals looking to master the art of coaching and be part of the top 1% of health and fitness coaches in the world.]

Interested? Add your name to the presale list. You’ll save up to 30% and secure your spot 24 hours before everyone else.

We’ll be opening up spots in our next Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification on Wednesday, April 8th, 2020.

If you want to find out more, we’ve set up the following presale list, which gives you two advantages.

  • Pay less than everyone else. We like to reward people who are eager to boost their credentials and are ready to commit to getting the education they need. So we’re offering a discount of up to 30% off the general price when you sign up for the presale list.
  • Sign up 24 hours before the general public and increase your chances of getting a spot. We only open the certification program twice per year. Due to high demand, spots in the program are limited and have historically sold out in a matter of hours. But when you sign up for the presale list, we’ll give you the opportunity to register a full 24 hours before anyone else.

If you’re ready for a deeper understanding of nutrition, the authority to coach it, and the ability to turn what you know into results… this is your chance to see what the world’s top professional nutrition coaching system can do for you.

The post The Ultimate Calorie, Portion, and Macro Calculator appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

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Great information is valuable.

But knowing exactly what to do with it? That can be priceless.

Which is why our first-ever nutrition and fitness trends report doesn’t just cover the trends. It also provides actionable takeaways you can use with your clients. Not just in 2020, but right now.

To create this report, we analyzed data from nearly 15,000 Precision Nutrition clients and used it to identify the most interesting (and useful) trends.

You’ll not only learn what people really want to achieve through nutrition, fitness, and health change, but also what they’re struggling with the most.

Even more important, we’re sharing our insights: The proven strategies we’ve developed to help people overcome their most frustrating challenges—and speed their progress—based on our work with over 100,000 clients.

With this in-depth report, you’ll learn:

  • The top 10 nutrition challenges clients face (these may not be what you think they are)
  • The eating struggle that affects 70% of women (and is the fastest growing problem for men)
  • The secret problem with modern foods (it’s not just their calorie counts)
  • The average person’s #1 health and fitness goal (and how to help your clients achieve it)
  • Why most weight loss diets will continue to fail (and what to do instead)
  • The top 3 barriers to exercise (with strategies to overcome them)
  • The key foods people aren’t eating enough of (fixing this can speed your clients’ progress)
  • How to help clients eat better at restaurants (even if they won’t stop dining out every day)
  • And much more, taken from our extensive client research and deep professional experience.

All to help you get ahead of the curve for 2020—for better client results… and greater success as a coach.

While we won’t suggest this special report is literally “priceless,” we’re pretty sure it’s worth way more than we’re charging. Which is… absolutely nothing.

To access this FREE report, click here to download.

If you’re a coach, or you want to be…

Learning how to coach clients, patients, friends, or family members through healthy eating and lifestyle changes—and helping them achieve the lasting results they really want—is both an art and a science.

If you’d like to learn more about both, consider the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification. The next group kicks off shortly.

What’s it all about?

The Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification is the world’s most respected nutrition education program. It gives you the knowledge, systems, and tools you need to really understand how food influences a person’s health and fitness. Plus the ability to turn that knowledge into a thriving coaching practice.

Developed over 15 years, and proven with over 100,000 clients and patients, the Level 1 curriculum stands alone as the authority on the science of nutrition and the art of coaching.

Whether you’re already mid-career, or just starting out, the Level 1 Certification is your springboard to a deeper understanding of nutrition, the authority to coach it, and the ability to turn what you know into results.

[Of course, if you’re already a student or graduate of the Level 1 Certification, check out our Level 2 Certification Master Class. It’s an exclusive, year-long mentorship designed for elite professionals looking to master the art of coaching and be part of the top 1% of health and fitness coaches in the world.]

Interested? Add your name to the presale list. You’ll save up to 30% and secure your spot 24 hours before everyone else.

We’ll be opening up spots in our next Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification on Wednesday, April 8th, 2020.

If you want to find out more, we’ve set up the following presale list, which gives you two advantages.

  • Pay less than everyone else. We like to reward people who are eager to boost their credentials and are ready to commit to getting the education they need. So we’re offering a discount of up to 30% off the general price when you sign up for the presale list.
  • Sign up 24 hours before the general public and increase your chances of getting a spot. We only open the certification program twice per year. Due to high demand, spots in the program are limited and have historically sold out in a matter of hours. But when you sign up for the presale list, we’ll give you the opportunity to register a full 24 hours before anyone else.

If you’re ready for a deeper understanding of nutrition, the authority to coach it, and the ability to turn what you know into results… this is your chance to see what the world’s top professional nutrition coaching system can do for you.

The post Special report: The top nutrition, fitness, and health trends and insights for 2020. Key findings and proven solutions for better client results. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

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ProCoach is world-class software that helps you coach more people, in less time, with better results. In one simple, easy-to-use platform, you get the industry’s leading nutrition and lifestyle coaching curriculum—complete with daily lessons, habits, progress updates, and more—ready to be delivered to your clients, with you showcased as the coach. 

Developed over 15 years and proven with over 100,000 clients, ProCoach is built on Precision Nutrition’s continually evolving curriculum—which is based on the latest scientific research, practice-based change techniques, our own clients’ transformative results, and feedback from over 12,000 ProCoaches to date. 

ProCoach gives you everything you need to roll out best-in-class nutrition coaching, effortlessly. Allowing you to turn what you learned in the Precision Nutrition Certification into a thriving coaching practice, get better results with every single client you work with, and add a highly profitable, scalable income stream to your business immediately. 

For more, check out this short video; it provides an overview of exactly how the ProCoach software works:

See how other health and fitness pros are using ProCoach with their clients.

On Wednesday, December 4th, 2019, ProCoach becomes available to all Precision Nutrition Certification students and graduates. 

ProCoach is software that provides health and fitness professionals all the tools they need to start coaching nutrition with confidence—helping clients achieve better, longer-lasting results.

Plus, you can lock in a one-time special discount—and save 30%! (More details below.)

The most reliable and effective system for coaching nutrition.

When your job is to help people get in better shape, focusing on nutrition is the most important and effective step. But there’s a big problem: Piecing together all the details and getting the right systems in place to roll out a fully-functioning nutrition coaching service can be overwhelming.

As one of our ProCoaches put it: “Nutrition coaching felt SO complicated. When it came to offering it to my clients, I didn’t even know where to start.”

At best, most coaches are working with a clumsy combination of spreadsheets, Word docs, texting, email, and maybe a cheap calorie-counting app. They can already tell that as soon as they have more than 5 or 10 clients, it’s going to be chaos.

Despite their best intentions, these coaches struggle to keep their clients on track… which leads to negative feelings of self-doubt, stress, and frustration.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Adding nutrition coaching to your existing services doesn’t have to be so confusing, complicated, or difficult.

With ProCoach, you can seamlessly integrate nutrition into your business—while focusing on what you enjoy and do best: Coaching. Our software will handle all the details, from daily nutrition and lifestyle programming, to built in accountability, progress tracking, and more.

Now, instead of second-guessing yourself, feeling unsure about whether you know “enough” to offer nutrition advice, or worrying about figuring out all the details…

You can have total confidence—feeling energized, optimistic, and excited to integrate nutrition coaching into your business. Knowing you’ve got the world’s most effective and reliable system backing you up.

This means better results for every single client you work with. A stronger business for you. And the ability to help more people. 

With ProCoach, it’s all possible. 

Katie Wygant - testimonial card

Grow your business and work less.

Whether you want to start a new coaching business, or add nutrition coaching to your existing services, ProCoach will help you:

  • Market and sell your services to the people who need it.
  • Coach more people while delivering exceptional results.
  • Connect more deeply with your clients.
  • Spend less time on the admin things that drive you crazy.
  • Spend more time on the coaching things you enjoy.
  • Build a stronger business.

A proven curriculum, created/organized for you.

ProCoach automatically delivers—to your clients, on your behalf—an online nutrition coaching curriculum that helps them:

  • practice new eating habits,
  • troubleshoot their biggest challenges,
  • stay consistent, motivated, and accountable, and
  • radically improve their nutrition, lifestyle, and health.

With you as their coach—answering questions, offering encouragement, and tracking progress through a special dashboard—ProCoach helps you get more people to their goals, reliably and effectively every time.

Develop your coaching expertise.

ProCoach will also help you:

  • Assess clients quickly and efficiently.
  • Deliver daily habits, lessons, assignments from our curriculum.
  • Review client consistency and habit adherence at any time.
  • Track clients’ physical, mental, and behavior changes every week.
  • Communicate clearly and expertly when clients are stuck.
  • Attract new clients with photos, data, testimonials, and straight-up, irrefutable, hard-data evidence of your success as a coach.

ProCoach provides all the tools you need to start coaching nutrition—with confidence.

ProCoach is getting better every single day.

Through our exclusive ProCoach Facebook group, and the regular interviews and surveys we do with ProCoaches, we’re listening closely, responding dynamically, and creating new features every day.

As one ProCoach said: “I’m amazed at how closely you’re listening to feedback and shaping ProCoach in response. You’re saving us time, helping make both our experience and our clients’ experiences better, and much more.”

Indeed, since we opened ProCoach in June of 2016 we’ve released dozens of new features, including the following game changers.

Customized mini-site for every ProCoach

By answering a few simple questions within your ProCoach dashboard we’ll generate a customized mini website for your business, complete with a custom web address.

It’ll lay out your services, including the features, benefits, and hopeful future you’re promising.

Not only will this “do the selling for you,” it’ll also position you as the skilled, experienced, and educated coach that clients need to finally reach their goals.

ProCoach generates your own custom sales page and mini-site.

Done-For-You marketing

Attracting new clients is always a challenge. That’s why, with the help of Pat Rigsby, we created a host of online and offline marketing campaigns for you.

We built these to help you save time and make more money. They come complete with design assets, copy, and deployment instructions.

Now you can easily spread the word about your business and attract the right kind of clients without needing to be a marketing guru to do it.

Done-For-You Marketing is now built into ProCoach.

Quick-Start guides

Whenever onboarding new clients, it’s useful to share something tangible. Both so they feel like they’re getting something amazing for their money and so they can feel like they’re making progress on day one.

That’s why we’ve created these custom Quick-Start Guides. They’ll help set clients up for early success by giving them advice around portion control, workout nutrition, grocery shopping, and meal prep starting on Day 1.

Personalized Quick Start Guides are also built into ProCoach.

Comprehensive Learning Center

Since we first launched ProCoach in June 2016 we’ve made major improvements to our Learning Center.

With articles on every imaginable topic, and an awesome search feature, the Learning Center will teach you everything you need to be successful with ProCoach.

The comprehensive Learning Center included in ProCoach.

ProCoach Workouts (optional)

After working with thousands of ProCoaches to deliver comprehensive nutrition and lifestyle coaching, many began asking us to unlock our vault of expert-designed exercise programs so they can deliver a more holistic, single-platform experience.

As Precision Nutrition’s own coaching programs have offered integrated exercise, nutrition, lifestyle advice for years, we decided to make available our 28 client-proven exercise tracks for you to use with selected clients.

You now have 3 options when using ProCoach. For each client, you can:

  1. Use ProCoach for nutrition coaching only
  2. Use ProCoach for both nutrition and exercise coaching
  3. Use ProCoach for exercise coaching only

The choice is yours.

ProCoach Workouts is now an option you can use with selected clients.

Community of like-minded people + top experts

With our ProCoach Facebook group, you can now work alongside an extremely supportive group of more than 2,500 ProCoaches—including trainers, nutritionists, sport coaches, researchers, therapists, and other healthcare professionals from all over the world.

With case studies, lessons, daily tips, and more, being part of this community will help you expand your network, grow your business, and strengthen your coaching skills.

You’ll also get daily access to our experts and coaches, such as Dr. Krista Scott-Dixon, Kate Solovieva, Craig Weller, Adam Feit, and more. Ask questions, get feedback and advice, and nerd out on all things fitness and nutrition.

A story from our co-founder, Dr. John Berardi: “Once, I wanted to help more people. But I couldn’t.”

Enter JB:

I started coaching clients about 25 years ago. Back then, there was no such thing as “automated” or “online” coaching.

It was old-school: You met clients in person, you carried a clipboard, and after sessions you’d store handwritten programs on card stock paper in an organizer off to the side of the gym.

I have so many fond memories of my time training clients. But when I think back, there’s one frustration that always jumps out.

I consistently had between 15 and 20 full-time clients. No matter what I tried, I couldn’t find time to add more.

On top of working 45-60 hours every week on the gym floor training these clients, I needed to write programs, organize nutrition habits, do record keeping, manage billing, and nurture new leads.

I needed some time back, but I felt stuck.

I was working my butt off, but not making much money once the gym took their 50% cut of my coaching fees.

I realized that to make even a little more money, I’d have to find more time… which meant sacrificing my own workouts (and health) or the few hours I had left for socializing and sleeping.

After a few years on this merry-go-round, I finally came up with a solution:

I started supplementing my in-person training with online coaching.

It began really well. But whenever my roster reached 25-35 clients, I bumped up against new problems.

Problem 1:

With online clients, I didn’t have much time left for in-person coaching. I ended up doing a ton of administrative work for my online clients: program writing, record keeping, email responses, phone calls, and other routine client management tasks.

I was surprised; online coaching wasn’t the time-saver I had imagined.

Problem 2:

I started losing track of my clients.

Because I had more clients than ever, I started forgetting who was on what program, who had what goals… I sometimes felt like an idiot, asking people “So what program are you on again?” during a session.

The interesting part? Lots of other fitness and health coaches were experiencing the same things. They felt the same frustrations.

I wasn’t a lazy, disorganized, “bad” coach.

I just needed a system.

We all did.

We needed to find ways to do the “human” work of creating programs, listening, connecting with, and motivating our clients.

But we were constantly bogged down by administrative work, like paperwork, scheduling, and receipts.

So I got to thinking:

Couldn’t technology handle much of the repetitive “busywork” of day-to-day administration?

Couldn’t it keep us organized and on track? Monitor clients, even when we were sleeping or doing other things? Send us reminders and alerts?

I started asking: Could I “outsource” all these annoying and time-wasting administrative tasks so that I can take on more clients and do what I do best… coach?

So we built a dream solution to make coaching easier.

One of my best friends, Phil Caravaggio, had an answer.

Trained in systems design engineering, Phil showed me real-life examples of how IBM, Dell, and Apple were using software to simplify and amplify their businesses.

At that moment, I knew exactly what we had to do.

We set out to build a coaching platform that would allow coaches—starting with me—to deliver the highest quality coaching experience to larger numbers of clients.

One year later: Success!

We built a beta version of ProCoach and started testing it with a new batch of clients. Immediately I was able to go from coaching 25-35 clients to 100-150 clients at a time.

All while working the same number of hours—or even less—in a given week.

Chris Poese - testimonial card

15 years later, Dr. Berardi’s early prototype has become Precision Nutrition’s ProCoach.

Since then, the Precision Nutrition team has consistently and relentlessly refined the technology, the software, and the curriculum.

We’ve tested its max limits. We’ve broken it on purpose and rebuilt it so it’s stronger. We’ve found all the sweet spots.

For example:

Since we built the beta version of ProCoach, our in-house coaches at Precision Nutrition have coached an average of 5,000 clients per year with the software.

Today we’re able to coach these clients with 20 full-time Precision Nutrition supercoaches (and a group of part-time interns and mentors) who work wherever they want in the world, living life on their own terms.

You’ll notice that’s an average of about 250 clients per coach—and they get amazing results.

What kind of results are we talking about here? Check this out.

See what 365 days of ProCoach can do.

And this video shares some amazing behind-the-scenes client stories.

Bodies, and lives, are changed with ProCoach’s habit-based nutrition coaching.

As you can see, our clients are a diverse bunch. They come in all ages, shapes, and sizes. In fact, they’re probably a lot like your clients.

Which means:

The results you see in the videos above are the exact same results your clients can expect when you start using Precision Nutrition’s ProCoach.

Want to see more? Check these out:

  • Precision Nutrition Coaching – Men’s Hall of Fame
  • (225+ men’s before and after photos. Ages 21-70)
  • Precision Nutrition Coaching – Women’s Hall of Fame
  • (375+ women’s before and after photos. Ages 21-74)

Daniel Hennessey - testimonial card

The ProCoach reviews have been stellar.

In June of 2016, we opened ProCoach up to our Certification students and graduates. We wanted to let them test drive the program in their own businesses.

The response has been amazing.

We sold out all available ProCoach spots in a matter of hours—and the same thing has happened each time we’ve opened up new spots, ever since.

To date, our ProCoaches have:

  • enrolled over 100,000 new clients,
  • helped them lose over 965,000 pounds (and counting), and
  • collected nearly $57 million in revenue.

Yep, that’s all within just the first two years!

If you want to try this research-proven, client-tested, reliable system for coaching nutrition with your own clients—join us on Wednesday, December 4th, 2019.

Erika Volk Gilliland - testimonial card

Deliver nutrition coaching with confidence—and help your clients achieve better, longer-lasting results.

By incorporating ProCoach into your business, and coaching practice, you’ll:

  • Add practice-based nutrition coaching to your existing services, easily.
  • Add a highly profitable revenue stream, immediately.
  • Deliver habits, lessons, assignments from our proven curriculum.
  • Review and track your clients’ consistency and progress every week.
  • Set clients up for long-term, sustainable success.
  • Attract even more new clients with photos, data, testimonials, and straight-up, irrefutable, hard-data evidence of success.

You’ll save time while making more money.

Your clients will get world-class results.

You’ll look like a rockstar coach.

And you’ll feel more in control of your time (and your work) than ever before.

Nikki Strong - testimonial card

Interested? Add your name to the presale list. You’ll save 30% and secure your spot 24 hours before everyone else.

On Wednesday, December 4th, 2019, ProCoach becomes available to all Precision Nutrition Certification students and graduates.

If you’re interested and want to find out more, we’ve set up the following presale list, which gives you two advantages:

  • You’ll pay less than everyone else. At Precision Nutrition, we like to reward the most interested and motivated professionals, because they always make the best students and clients. Join the presale list and we’ll give you 30% off the monthly cost of Precision Nutrition’s ProCoach.
  • You’re more likely to get a spot. Remember, last time we sold out within minutes. But by joining the presale list you’ll get the opportunity to register 24 hours before everyone else, increasing your chances of getting in.

If you’re ready to become a confident nutrition coach, help more people live their healthiest lives, and grow your business… ProCoach is your chance.

The post Opening December 2019: Precision Nutrition’s ProCoach. Where expert coaching, world-class curriculum, and innovative software meet. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

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Worried you’re eating too much sugar? Wondering how much is safe to eat? Or whether it’s bad for you… no matter what? It’s time we took a clear-headed look at this topic. It’s time you heard the truth about sugar.

++++

Is sugar “good”?

Is sugar “bad”?

It’s hard to know for sure these days.

Which is interesting because…

Sugar is a fundamental molecule in biology.

Human bodies need sugar.

Sugar makes up the backbone of our DNA. Helps power our cells. Helps store energy for later. Plants convert sunlight into sugar. We convert sugar into fuel.

Molecules like glucose and fructose (just two of the many types of sugar) are so basic to our biological needs, even bacteria love them.

Indeed, sugar’s the breakfast of champions, chemically speaking.

Yet, somewhere along the way, sugar became the bad guy.

Why did we start hating on sugar?

When did we start wanting to purge it from our bodies?

Why do some of us fear it so much?

At this point… do we just need a little relationship counseling?

Or is it a toxic relationship?

Is it time to part ways?

The truth is, this is a difficult conversation to have because…

Almost all of us are emotionally invested in our position on sugar.

Talking about it brings up a lot of controversy and intense debate, even among scientists who are supposed to be “objective”.

So why not step back and take a fresh look?

In this article, we’ll explore five key questions about sugar:

  • Does sugar cause obesity?
  • Does sugar cause us to gain weight / fat?
  • Does sugar cause diabetes?
  • Does sugar cause cardiovascular disease?
  • How much sugar is OK to eat?

Yes, we’re biased too.

At Precision Nutrition, we generally consider ourselves ‘nutritional agnostics’. (Case in point: our view on the absolute best diet.)

We help people become their healthiest, fittest, strongest selves—in a way that works for their unique lives and bodies.

In our work with over 100,000 clients clients, we’ve learned a few things…

… that one size doesn’t fit all,

… that an all-or-nothing approach doesn’t work for most people,

… that fitness and health habits should be doable on your worst day, not just your best.

So here’s our bias in this article.

We follow the complexities of nutrition evidence as best we can, always interpreting them through the lens of:

  • How does practice X or Y work for us, for the clients we coach, and for the fitness professionals we certify?
  • Does said practice help us make our food choices wiser, saner, and simpler?
  • Does it address individual differences between people?
  • (And if not, how can we help adapt each person’s diet to match their unique needs?)

You can ask yourself these same questions as you go through the article. And, of course, feel free to come to your own conclusions.

But first, let’s get to know our sugars.

What is sugar?

Most of us think of “sugar” as the white stuff we put in coffee, or maybe what makes up 90% of those colored marshmallow cereals.

However, “sugar” is actually a group of molecules that share a similar structure. So we might actually call them “sugars”, plural.

This group includes lots of members such as:

  • glucose
  • fructose
  • sucrose, aka table sugar (which is glucose + fructose)
  • maltose (which is glucose + glucose)
  • galactose
  • lactose (galactose + glucose, found in dairy)

And so on.

Sugars naturally occur in biology and in most foods (even if just in trace amounts). For example, here’s what the breakdown of sugars looks like in a banana:

This is what the breakdown of sugars looks like in a banana.

There is, of course, much more sugar in processed and refined foods than in less-processed and unrefined foods.

(We’ll come back to this important point in a moment.)

Sugars live under the larger umbrella of “carbohydrates”.

Along with the sweet stuff, this macronutrient group also includes:

  • starches (like in potatoes or rice),
  • fiber (like the husks of whole grains), and
  • structural building blocks like chitin (which makes up the shells of crustaceans) or cellulose (which makes up things like the trunks of trees).

The more complex the molecule, the slower it digests.

  • Sugars, which are simpler, digest more quickly.
  • Starches and fiber, which are bigger, more complicated molecules, digest more slowly, if at all. (This is why eating more fiber can help us feel fuller, longer.)

Most carbohydrates are actually broken down into simpler sugars once they’re digested.

Other carbohydrates (such as insoluble fiber) don’t really get broken down nor absorbed fully, although our intestinal bacteria often love munching on them.

So: Sugars are a type of carbohydrate, but not all carbohydrates are sugars. And some carbohydrates break down quickly/easily into sugars. Others don’t.

This point is important to understand, because it tells us that not all carbohydrates do exactly the same things in our bodies.

Evolution has helpfully given us the ability to “taste” sugar.

Sugar-type molecules react with receptors on our tongue, which then tell our brain “OM NOM NOM DELICIOUS!”

Sugar tastes good to us, because in nature, sweet foods like fruits are often full of good stuff like vitamins, minerals, and energy.

But we differ in our physiology and behavior.

In all things, humans are diverse and variable.

Some of us like and seek out sugar more than others. This may be genetic. Or we may have learned it as we grew up. Or both.

For example, some of us like sugar in small doses; we can only eat a little before pushing the dessert plate away. While others like it a lot; the more we eat the more we want. The idea of “too much sugar” doesn’t compute.

Likewise, some of our bodies seem better suited to sugar than others.

For example, some of us can eat sugar all day long and feel fine. While others can only tolerate a little bit before our pancreas (which secretes insulin, a hormone that helps sugar get into the cells) tells us to knock it off.

In general, most of us like at least some sweetness.

When we’re young, we tend to like sweetness more and avoid bitter foods more. Yet each person’s response to sugar and sweet taste is unique.

With that said, let’s get back to the questions at hand. Starting with…

Question #1:
Does sugar cause obesity?

The term “obese” (or “overweight”) is, like sugar, a contentious thing. In this article we’ll use it just for the purpose of discussion, so bear with us.

The World Health Organization defines “obese” as having a Body Mass Index higher than 30. Of course, some fit athletes (like heavyweight boxers or rugby players) might have a higher BMI but still have a low body fat percentage.

However, for most folks, having a BMI higher than 30 signifies that they have a higher-than-average level of body fat. 

(Indeed, some studies that correlate BMI with body fat testing suggest that BMI may even under-estimate how much body fat a person has.)

When it comes to obesity, there have always been people who are heavier, and/or who have more body fat, than most other folks like them.

However, over the last several decades, “average people” in industrialized countries have gotten heavier, bigger, and gained more body fat fairly rapidly.

It’s now statistically “normal”.

Although this shift is happening worldwide, and there are differences by ethnic group and socioeconomic class, it’s particularly noticeable as a general trend in the United States.

Obesity rates in the United States

Along with body weights, we can look at changes in body fat percentage and overall fitness levels. Here, we also see that over time, body fat percentage has gone up, and fitness levels have gone down.

Currently in the United States, the average body fat percentage for men is around 28%, and the average for women is around 40%.

For comparison:

  • In general, 11-22% for men, and between 22-33% body fat for women, is considered a “healthy” range.
  • Lower than that is still “healthy” (to a point), but generally considered “athletic” or “lean”.

The percentage of body fats in U.S. adults

Does increased sugar consumption explain body weight trends?

Could sugar be responsible for changing body weights and body compositions in industrialized countries?

By reviewing data from the USDA Economic Research Service, National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES), as well as Food Frequency Questionnaires from the long-running Framingham Heart Study, we can track food intake from multiple angles. These varying streams of data all show fairly consistent trends.

They tell us that, since 1980, Americans:

  • Continued to eat the same total amount of fat.
    (Though they generally ate less naturally-occurring fats, like in whole fat dairy, and ate more added fats, like oils.)
  • Ate more carbohydrates.
    (Especially refined ones that included added sugars.)

So, as a percent of total calories consumed, fat dropped. But we didn’t end up eating less fat. We just added more sugar and other carbs on top of the fat we were already eating.

This added up to approximately 200-400 extra calories per day.

In terms of calories, that’s like eating an extra McDonald’s hamburger or a double cheeseburger, on top of your existing meals, every day.

Whether those calories came from sugar is probably irrelevant.

This increased energy intake alone, combined with decreasing rates of daily physical activity, is probably enough to explain people getting heavier.

Yes, but how might sugar play a role?

We can’t say that sugar specifically was the culprit behind the obesity surge for everyone. (Remember, humans vary.)

But our increased sugar consumption does seem to correlate with continued obesity levels… up until recently.

For about four hundred years, human beings have been enjoying more and more sugar.

Once Europeans discovered tropical trading routes and set up cheap slave labor economies to raise sugar cane, sugar became more and more available to the average person.

Indeed, sugar quickly became the food of the poor.

(It was said that the entire working class of the British Isles lived on jam and sugared tea during the Industrial Revolution.)

As a prime colonial power, the British once claimed the title of biggest sugar consumers. Per year, the average Brit consumed:

  • 4 lbs (1.8 kg) in 1704.
  • 18 lbs (8.2 kg) in 1800.
  • 90 lbs (40.8 kg) in 1901.

However, once they got rolling as a country, Americans weren’t far behind. Per year, the average American consumed:

  • 6 lbs (2.7 kg) of sugar in 1822.
  • 40 lbs (18.1 kg) in 1900.
  • 90 lbs (40.8 kg) by the 1920s.
  • There was a subsequent drop due to the Great Depression & World War II.
  • 90 lbs per person again by the 1980s.

Then they really took off: By 1999, the US reached peak sugar consumption of nearly 108 lbs (49 kg) of sugar per person per year.

Between 1980-1999 Americans ate more sugar. And obesity rates got higher.

But then something changed: Our sugar consumption actually started to decrease.

Interestingly, since 1999 through 2013 (most recent data available) intake of added sugar has actually declined by 18% (or as much as 22%, depending on the data).

This drop has brought Americans’ current added sugar intake back down to 1987 levels.

And during this time, total carbohydrate intake has dropped as well. (Makes sense, as this was the dawn of the low-carb phenomenon.)

Nevertheless, though sugar and carb intake have declined over those 14 years, adult obesity has continued to climb—from 31% of the American population in 1999 to 38% as of 2013.

(Diabetes diagnoses have continued to climb as well, which we’ll address in a moment.)

US Sugar Intake vs Obesity Prevalence - 1980-2013

So, despite lowering sugar intake by nearly 20% over a 14 year period, obesity (and diabetes) rates have continued to climb.

Along with sex, ethnic, and socioeconomic differences in obesity rates, this suggests that changing body sizes and compositions is probably a complex, multi-factored phenomenon.

Bottom line here: No single thing—including sugar—causes obesity.

Many factors work together to contribute to a consistent energy (calorie) surplus, which ultimately leads to fat gain. One of those things is often sugar, but not always, and not alone.

Question #2:
Does sugar cause us to gain weight / fat?

So, we can’t unequivocally blame sugar for increased obesity rates.

But many of us are still wondering whether sugar is a gateway to fat gain.

It seems logical. Carb and sugar consumption are the main drivers of insulin release. Insulin’s job is to help store nutrients, including fat.

Therefore, it seems obvious. Carbs and sugar cause fat gain, right?

Once again, our scientist friends reveal that it’s a bit more complicated than that. Let’s take a look at a couple of studies that explore this question.

Study 1: How do carbs, sugar, and/or insulin release affect body fat?

In 2015, a small pilot study was conducted by Dr. Kevin Hall to investigate the carb/sugar/insulin model of obesity.

What happens if we keep calories and protein the same, but play with dietary sugar and fat levels?

Here’s how the study worked.

  • 19 participants had to live in a metabolic ward, where the researchers controlled virtually everything about how they lived, what they ate, etc.
  • The participants tried both lower carbohydrate (LC) and lower fat (LF) diets.
  • They followed each diet for two weeks, separated by a 2-4 week period during which they returned to normal eating.
  • All participants spent the first five days of either the low-carb or low-fat diets following a baseline plan of 50% carbs, 35% fat, and 15% protein. This was done so that all participants started on an even playing field with an intake that virtually matches what the average American eats.
  • Each participant had to exercise on a treadmill for one hour every day for the full two weeks, to make sure physical activity levels were consistent and equal.
  • After the first five days, both groups had their calories reduced by 30% from the baseline diet (1918 calories vs 2740 calories). They then ate the lower calorie diet for six days.
  • With both diets, energy intake (i.e. calories) and protein were kept the same. Only carbs and fat went up or down.

Lower carbohydrate:

  • 101 g protein (21% of cals).
  • 108 g fat (50% of cals).
  • 140 g carbohydrate (29% of cals).

Lower fat:

  • 105 g protein (21% of calories).
  • 17 g of fat (8% of calories).
  • 352 g carbohydrate (71% of calories).

Lower carbohydrate and lower fat diets - comparison

Let’s take a closer look at how much the study participants actually ate.

On the lower carbohydrate diet:

  • Of their carbohydrates, 37 g was sugar. This means that 8% of all calories were coming from sugar.
  • This is much less than the average American eats.

On the lower fat diet:

  • Of their carbohydrates, 170 g was sugar. This means that 35% of all their calories were coming from sugar. That is a lot of sugar.

Chart showing the sugar intake compared to typical American consumption (based on a study)

So what happened?

Insulin production:

  • On the Lower Carbohydrate diet, people produced 22% less insulin throughout the day.
  • The Lower Fat diet didn’t change insulin output at all, since it had the same total carbs, and even slightly more sugar than the baseline diet.

Body weight:

  • People on the Lower Carbohydrate diet lost 4 lbs (1.81 kg) of body weight, and 1.16 lbs (0.53 kg) of body fat.
  • People on the Lower Fat diet lost 3 lbs (1.36 kg) of body weight, which included 1.29 lbs (0.59 kg) of body fat.

Note that body weight loss doesn’t necessarily equal body fat loss.

We can also lose body weight from losing glycogen, water, and/or body protein—and that’s exactly what happened to the people on the Lower Carb diet.

They lost more overall body weight, but actually lost less fat. (Though a difference of 0.13 lbs is irrelevant in the big picture. Who would notice that?)

Meanwhile, the folks on the Lower Fat diet lost more body fat but less total weight because their body was busy burning fat (rather than glycogen or lean body mass) to meet its calorie needs.

After these results were in, the researchers then ran validated mathematical models that showed over longer periods of time (say, longer than 6 months), the fat loss between the two groups would be roughly equal.

In other words, there was no particular physiological advantage to either diet in terms of body weight, nor body fat loss, over the longer term.

Study 2: Fine, let’s go lower.

For this second study, the game got hardcore: Drop the carbs and sugar much lower for the Lower Carbohydrate group, just to make sure the minimal differences found in the first study hadn’t been because the carbs and sugar weren’t low enough.

Here’s how this second study worked:

  • 17 overweight or obese people participated.
  • First, they followed a high-carb but calorically-restricted baseline diet for 4 weeks (with 25% of calories from sugar).
  • Then, they spent 4 weeks on a very-low-carb ketogenic diet (with 2% of calories from sugar), with equal calories to the baseline diet.

So what happened?

The researchers found that everyone lost weight and fat throughout the study.

However, when subjects switched from the high-carb, 25%-sugar baseline diet to the ketogenic, 2%-sugar diet, fat loss actually slowed down for the first few weeks.

Much like the previous study, this happened because as people’s bodies adapted to the ketogenic diet, they were more likely to break down fat-free mass and protein stores (e.g. muscle).

Thus:

  • Weight loss went faster during the ketogenic phase, thanks to losing glycogen and water.
  • But body fat loss was actually less during this phase (though not tremendously so, and it likely wouldn’t make any significant difference over time).

Overall, the researchers stated that based on the current evidence, as well as their validated mathematical models, long-term body fat loss would likely be very similar between the high sugar (high-carb) diet and the low sugar (low-carb) diet.

In other words, the amount of sugar didn’t seem to influence the results.

In the end, these, plus other studies, seem to support the idea that:

Sugar, carbohydrate intake, and/or insulin alone probably aren’t the main drivers of weight gain.

Other research comparing low-carb diets to low-fat diets has found similar results. The same results have also been found with:

  • Meta-analyses: Big reviews of other studies. These types of data are considered among the most robust as they explore a lot of experiments from a much broader perspective, pulling in evidence from dozens or even hundreds of studies to try to draw conclusions.
  • Systematic reviews: Methodologically rigorous comparisons and critical analyses of other studies. These type of reviews are also considered useful, because they take a skeptical perspective, looking for errors.

There have been at least 20 controlled in-patient feeding studies where protein and calories are kept equal, but carbs are varied from 20% to 75% of total calories (and sugar intakes ranged significantly as well).

Of all these studies, none of them found any truly significant differences in body fat levels when people were eating either high carb (and high sugar) or low carb (and low sugar) diets.

In other words, as long as protein and calories were equal, the amount of sugar people ate didn’t make a difference.

There have been at least 12 other systematic reviews and meta-analyses published over the past 10+ years on long-term low-carb diets (which are invariably also low-sugar diets).

Of these 12 reviews:

  • 3 were in favor of low-carb
  • 3 were in favor of non-low-carb comparisons (e.g. low fat, Mediterranean, vegan, low glycemic index, etc.)
  • 6 were neutral, meaning they concluded that various approaches can be equally valid and effective.

Yes, but how might sugar play a role?

Sweet foods may increase energy intake.

In 2013, a review commissioned by the World Health Organization investigated how sugar affected fat gain.

It found that increasing sugar intake can increase body weight, and lowering sugar intake can decrease body weight… but only by changing energy balance, not by any physiological or metabolic effect of sugar itself.

In other words, if we eat more sugary foods, we might be eating more energy (i.e. calories) overall.

Sweet foods are often processed and highly palatable.

This is especially true because most high-sugar foods are refined, tasty, and hard to stop eating. We digest and absorb the energy they contain quickly and easily, they overstimulate the reward/pleasure centers in our brain, and we tend to overeat them.

Plus, hidden sugars in processed foods (like yogurt, granola, juice) or even so-called “health foods” / “fitness foods” can add up fast without us even realizing.

These foods and our brain’s response to them, not the sugar by itself, can often lead to overconsumption.

So the sugar itself may be less of a culprit than the fact that many of us just can’t quit at just one gummi bear or sip of soda.

What else is going on, besides sugar consumption?

Most of our clients who struggle with their weight, body fat, eating habits, and health tell us: It’s not just about the food. There are many factors involved: stress, sleep, metabolic health, lifestyle, social environment, and so forth.

Sugar alone does not explain the complexity of our bodies’ health, function, fat percentage, nor weight. Metabolism is complicated.

And, as always, remember that people vary in response to particular diets.

Some people do better with higher carbohydrates and lower fats. Some do better the other way round.

This is likely due to genetic differences, individual satiety differences from fats vs carbs, personal preferences, and possibly even differences in the bacterial populations in our GI tracts.

The above studies don’t provide hard and fast rules that will always apply to everyone.

This is especially true given that many study populations were small and probably similar in terms of age, sex, ethnicity, and other important factors that can affect our physiological response to a given diet.

But they do indicate that sugar is not some kind of unusually evil substance that causes weight gain or prevents fat loss.

Question #3:
Does sugar cause diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease where we can’t properly regulate the sugar in our blood.

It seems logical, then, that eating more sugar might increase our risk for diabetes, particularly Type 2 diabetes, also known as adult-onset diabetes.

Unlike Type 1 diabetes, which typically starts in childhood and is considered an autoimmune disease (in which our own bodies attack healthy cells of our pancreas, which normally produces insulin), Type 2 diabetes typically starts later in life and (among other factors) is linked to long-term food and exercise behaviors.

Type 2 diabetes generally starts with insulin resistance, or impaired glucose control.

This means that over time, insulin is less and less able to do its job of moving glucose into our cells for safe storage. Your doctor might test this with various blood tests, such as an A1c test, which measures how much sugar is being carried around on hemoglobin, a blood protein.

Type 2 diabetes (as well as other metabolic diseases) are also related to how much fat we have in our livers and in or around other organs (such as our hearts and kidneys).

There does seem to be a link between how much refined sugar we eat and insulin resistance. Eating too much sugar can also increase fat accumulation in the liver.

For example, a recent study found that for every 150 calorie increase in daily sugar intake (essentially a 12 oz soda, or ~37 g) corresponded with a 1.1% increased risk for diabetes.

Other factors shape our disease risk, too.

That risk above might sound scary, but it’s important to keep it in perspective.

Other research has shown that losing 7% body weight and doing about 20 minutes of daily physical activity decreased diabetes risk by 58%.

And many other studies have corroborated those findings, telling us that losing a little weight / fat and doing a little more exercise, consistently, will significantly lower our diabetes risk.

In fact, a recent meta-analysis provided some compelling information on diabetes risk:

  • ~60-90% of Type 2 diabetes is related to obesity or weight gain, not sugar intake.
  • Having a significant amount of excess body fat / weight can increase diabetes risk by 90 times.
  • If people who are in the obese category lose about 10% of their initial body weight, they dramatically improve their blood glucose control.
  • Weight management (not sugar reduction) appears to be the most important therapeutic target for most individuals with Type 2 diabetes.

This makes sense if we understand how adipose (fat) tissue works: It’s a biologically active tissue that secretes hormones and other cell signals.

If we have too much of it, adipose tissue can disrupt metabolic health, including how we regulate and store blood sugar.

Does fructose contribute?

Some researchers have suggested that fructose, a particular type of simple sugar (aka monosaccharide) found in fruit as well as many processed foods, might play a special role in diabetes.

We know that fructose is digested, absorbed, and used in specific ways in our bodies.

Does that mean that fructose might have unique properties that could increase our diabetes risk?

Let’s take a look.

One meta-analysis looked at 64 substitution trials (in which fructose replaced another carbohydrate with no change in total calories), and 16 addition trials (where fructose was added to normal intake).

  • In the trials where fructose was substituted for another carbohydrate, the average fructose intake was 102 g per day.
  • In the trials where fructose was added on top of the participants’ normal intake, the average fructose intake was 187 g per day.

Compared to the average American fructose consumption of ~49 g per day, these are extraordinary intakes. To achieve those kinds of intakes would require up to 13 cups of ice cream, or consumption of 10 cans of soda.

Possible? Yes.

Daily norm? Sure hope not.

Diagram showing the comparison of experimental fructose intake in grams per day

A recent review paper summed up the state of the evidence on fructose nicely, essentially stating:

The best-quality evidence to date does not support the theory that fructose intake directly causes cardiometabolic diseases.

The review added that fructose-containing sugars can lead to weight gain, along with increases in cardiometabolic risk factors and disease, but only if those fructose-laden foods provide excess calories.

Overall, research does suggest that a high intake of all sugar (including fructose) might slightly increase the risk of diabetes development by itself.

However, this research also indicates that most of this risk is due to the high sugar intake leading to excess calorie intake, and therefore increased body fat (which leads to inflammation, and ultimately insulin resistance).

An absolutely immense amount of research consistently and strongly indicates that the main causes of diabetes are:

  • excess body fat,
  • inadequate physical activity, and
  • genetic predisposition.

On that last point, we know that diabetes risk, as well as risk of metabolic diseases and propensity to gain body fat, differs significantly by ethnic group or genetic subgroup. For instance, many groups of indigenous people are vastly more likely to struggle with these issues, as are people of African ancestry living in North America, or people of South Asian ancestry.

So your personal risk of these diseases also depends on where your ancestors came from, what genetic makeup they gave you, and/or how that genetic makeup interacts with your environment.

The bottom line here: Managing your sugar intake is just one small tool in your diabetes-fightin’ toolbox. However, far and away, the most useful tool is weight (and body fat) management, however you manage to accomplish it.

Question #4:
Does sugar cause cardiovascular disease?

The term “cardiometabolic disease” refers to a broad group of related diseases, like the Type 2 diabetes we mention above, along with other diseases related to the complex phenomenon of:

  • metabolic disruption,
  • changes in hormonal and cell signaling,
  • inflammation, and
  • an inability to regulate normal physiological processes (like DNA repair).

These diseases can appear in many organs or organ systems. When they hit the heart and/or circulatory system of blood vessels, we call them “cardiovascular disease”. They show up as things like heart attacks, strokes, clogged arteries, and so forth.

A heart attack, or heart disease, used to be a death sentence. With better treatment and new medications, people are surviving longer and living better with cardiovascular disease.

Over the past 50 years or so, deaths from heart disease have declined by over 60% despite sugar intake increasing by about 20 lbs per person per year over that time (and by more than 30 lbs per person per year at the 1999 peak intake).

Researchers estimate that about half of that 60% decrease might be from better medical care. The other half likely comes from reducing the risk factors, such as:

  • lowering blood pressure
  • smoking less
  • lowering blood cholesterol levels

Of course, as we’ve seen, consuming more energy in the form of sugar can increase body fat. And, because of its chemically active nature, more body fat definitely increases cardiovascular disease risk.

So eating a lot of sugar can certainly play a role.

But cardiovascular disease, as with other metabolic diseases, is complex.

It’s not just one thing.

It’s all the things.

It’s how we live, how we work, how active we are, how stressed we are, what’s in our environment, and the various other factors that influence our health.

There are other factors besides sugar in metabolic disease.

Indeed, if we look at factors that we know for sure are related to the risk of metabolic disease, only about 3% of Americans uphold four essential healthy lifestyle behaviors consistently:

  • Not smoking.
  • Maintaining a healthy body weight.
  • Eating 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day.
  • Being physically active at least 30 minutes a day 5 times a week at a moderate intensity.

On top of that, let’s consider two other known preventative methods for metabolic disease…

  • Keeping stress levels moderate.
  • Sleeping well, 7-9 hours per night, consistently.

…now we’re probably at 1% of Americans.

Once again, sugar intake is probably one piece of the puzzle. But it’s just one piece—and probably a very small one.

Question #5:
How much sugar is OK to eat?

Let’s get real here.

Sugar is not a health food.

It doesn’t nourish us.

It doesn’t add a lot of nutrient value: It doesn’t give us any vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, antioxidants, fiber, or water.

Eating a lot of sugar doesn’t make our bodies better, stronger, healthier, or more functional.

Sugar doesn’t add value, certainly not when compared to other foods or macronutrients like protein or omega-3 fatty acids.

But biology is complex.

Diseases are complex too.

We can’t blame one chemical for all the health problems we have.

Good health is neither created nor destroyed by a single food.

Again, human beings are diverse.

We vary widely in all kinds of ways, including:

  • How much carbohydrates we need to thrive or perform well.
  • How well we digest, absorb, and use sugars, as well as how effectively and safely we store or dispose of the excess.
  • How sugar affects our appetite, hunger, fullness, ability to stop eating it.
  • How we feel about and behave around sugar.
  • How sugar “spins our brain dials” and gives us a sense of reward.

So we can’t say that “X amount of sugar is always best for everyone, all the time” or that “People should never eat any sugar.” It just doesn’t work that way.

  • Some people might choose to cut out sugar completely.
  • Some people might try to micromanage their intake down to the gram.
  • Some people can just roll with a general “eat less-processed foods” guideline, and be fine.
  • Some people do find that a low-sugar, low-carb or even a ketogenic diet works for them. While others thrive on high-carb diets.

That said, being aware of your sugar intake is probably a good idea.

The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends limiting sugar to 10% of your intake. So, for example, if you’re consuming 2000 calories per day, that would be approximately 200 calories from sugar, or 50 grams.

What does this all mean?

Let’s sum up what the science suggests:

  • Sugars are basic biological molecules that our bodies use in many ways.
  • Each person’s response to sugar (whether physiological or behavioral) will be a little different. This goes for carbohydrates in general too.
  • Sugar is not a health food. But sugar alone doesn’t necessarily cause most chronic health problems like diabetes or cardiovascular diseases, which are multifactorial.
  • Sugar is energy dense. If eaten in excess (like most foods), sugar can contribute to weight / fat gain.
  • This weight / fat gain is probably mostly from the extra calories, not some special properties of sugars (or carbohydrates in general, or insulin).
  • Some people find it hard to stop eating sugar / sweet foods. This may also contribute to weight / fat gain—again, because of the extra energy intake.
  • We likely eat more sugar than we realize, since it’s hidden in so many food products.

Yet, after working with thousands of clients:

For most people, cutting out sugar completely, trying to abide by rigid rules, or basing dietary decisions on fear, probably isn’t sustainable or realistic.

That’s why, at Precision Nutrition, we prefer a more balanced approach.

What to do next:
Some tips from Precision Nutrition.

1. Recognize that health concerns are more complex than a single smoking gun.

The fitness and nutrition industry loves to say that one factor is responsible for everything (or that one magical food / workout / mantra will cure everything). It also loves to over-simplify and moralize (e.g. this is “bad”, this is “good”).

You don’t have to understand physiology to grasp the idea that things are complex.

There are many factors that go into good health, athletic performance, physical function, and wellbeing.

This means you should…

2. Begin with fundamental behaviors.

Sugar is one part in a much bigger puzzle.

Review this checklist and see how many of these fundamental behaviors you do well and consistently. That means every day, or most days:

  • Don’t smoke.
  • Keep your alcohol intake moderate.
  • Eat slowly and mindfully.
  • Eat enough lean protein.
  • Eat 5+ servings of fruit and/or veggies per day, ideally colorful ones.
  • Eat some healthy fats.
  • Get some movement for at least 20-30 minutes a day.
  • Get 7-9 hours of good-quality sleep every night.
  • Reduce stress.
  • Spend time with people you love, and/or who support you.
  • Do things that are meaningful and purposeful to you.

These are all behaviors that we know for sure are health-promoting and disease-preventing.

3. Become aware of your overall energy balance.

Take a clear-headed look at how much food you’re eating for your body’s needs, and how much activity you’re doing.

Are you eating the right amount for your physiological requirements?

If you’re heavier or carrying more body fat than you’d prefer, you may need to adjust how much you are eating and/or exercising.

This may mean lowering your sugar intake, and/or it may mean eating a little less of other foods overall.

4. Become aware of what’s in your food.

Read labels. Sugar lives in processed foods, even foods you wouldn’t expect (like salad dressings or frozen dinners).

Better than reading labels, ask how you can eat more foods without labels. (Like fruits and veggies, beans and legumes, nuts and seeds, meats and seafood, etc.)

Transitioning to less-processed and less-sweetened versions of various foods is a simple way to lower your sugar intake and get the benefits of a better nutrient intake. Double win!

5. Maintain a healthy weight.

There is no single “healthy” weight. Your weight may be higher than average, or it may be within a “normal” range.

What is most important is that this weight is healthy for you (which you’ll know because all your indicators like blood work or athletic performance and recovery look good).

If you think you need to lose a little weight/fat to look, feel, and/or perform better, the good news is that you often don’t need to lose very much to see metabolic benefits.

You don’t have to be super-lean… and in fact, many people won’t benefit from trying to do that anyway.

6. Be mindful of your overall eating patterns, habits, and perspectives.

Consider…

  • Are you eating slowly and mindfully? Can you stop when you’re satisfied?
  • Are you using sugar-rich foods as a “treat”? How often?
  • Do you feel “deprived” if you don’t “get” to have sugar?
  • If you have a sugary food, can you stop eating it when you’ve had “enough”? Is there an “enough” with some foods?
  • How does sugar fit into your life and overall habits? Is that working for you?

7. Keep it in perspective. Add “treats” in moderation.

Around here, we keep it real.

We like “treats”, “junk food” and tasty stuff just as much as anyone else, whether that’s a glass of wine, a bowl of ice cream, or a hot dog at the ball game.

We just keep the portions moderate and don’t have “treats” for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day.

For most people, a little bit of sugar fits just fine into an overall healthy diet pattern.

If you’re looking for numbers, we suggest you shoot for including “treats” or other discretionary indulgences at 10-20% of your meals. If you eat 3 meals a day for a week, that means about 2-4 of those 21 meals might include something fun or “less nutritious”.

8. Ask yourself what works for you and what doesn’t.

If you struggle with sugar (for instance, if it makes you feel ill, or you feel like you can’t eat sweet foods in appropriate amounts), then it’s probably not a good food for YOU.

Try experimenting with lowering your sugar intake gradually (for instance, by making simple substitutions like drinking water or seltzer instead of soda), and see what happens.

Look for foods that you love, and that love you back—that make you feel good and perform well, that give you sustained and long-lasting energy, that keep your moods level, and that keep you feeling “normal” as an eater.

9. If you’re a coach, keep it real and positive.

Don’t scare your clients. Don’t lecture them. Don’t moralize.

Help them. Learn about them. Understand them.

Although research may say that on average low-carb is no more effective than other dietary strategies long-term, or that sugar by itself is not addictive, or any other innumerable statistics, your clients are real people. They are not averages.

Each individual’s preferred approach, unique circumstances, and personal experiences have to be carefully considered and taken into account when working together.

Go slowly, step by step. Make sure your client can actually do what needs to be done.

Fit the dietary strategy to the client, not the client to the dietary strategy.

10. Use data.

Track your health and physical performance indicators.

Schedule regular medical checkups.

Look at stuff like how you feel, how your mood is, how you sleep, how your bloodwork looks, how well you recover from workouts (and life in general), etc.

Follow the evidence. If everything looks stellar, keep doing whatever you’re doing.

If you’re a coach, or you want to be…

Learning how to coach clients, patients, friends, or family members through healthy eating and lifestyle changes—in a way that’s evidence-based, practical, and individualized for each person’s lifestyle, preferences, and goals—is both an art and a science.

If you’d like to learn more about both, consider the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification. The next group kicks off shortly.

What’s it all about?

The Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification is the world’s most respected nutrition education program. It gives you the knowledge, systems, and tools you need to really understand how food influences a person’s health and fitness. Plus the ability to turn that knowledge into a thriving coaching practice.

Developed over 15 years, and proven with over 100,000 clients and patients, the Level 1 curriculum stands alone as the authority on the science of nutrition and the art of coaching.

Whether you’re already mid-career, or just starting out, the Level 1 Certification is your springboard to a deeper understanding of nutrition, the authority to coach it, and the ability to turn what you know into results.

[Of course, if you’re already a student or graduate of the Level 1 Certification, check out our Level 2 Certification Master Class. It’s an exclusive, year-long mentorship designed for elite professionals looking to master the art of coaching and be part of the top 1% of health and fitness coaches in the world.]

Interested? Add your name to the presale list. You’ll save up to 44% and secure your spot 24 hours before everyone else.

We’ll be opening up spots in our next Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification on Wednesday, October 2nd, 2019.

If you want to find out more, we’ve set up the following presale list, which gives you two advantages.

  • Pay less than everyone else. We like to reward people who are eager to boost their credentials and are ready to commit to getting the education they need. So we’re offering a discount of up to 44% off the general price when you sign up for the presale list.
  • Sign up 24 hours before the general public and increase your chances of getting a spot. We only open the certification program twice per year. Due to high demand, spots in the program are limited and have historically sold out in a matter of hours. But when you sign up for the presale list, we’ll give you the opportunity to register a full 24 hours before anyone else.

If you’re ready for a deeper understanding of nutrition, the authority to coach it, and the ability to turn what you know into results… this is your chance to see what the world’s top professional nutrition coaching system can do for you.

References

Click here to view the information sources referenced in this article.

The post Level 1: The surprising truth about sugar. Here’s everything you need to know about what it does to your body. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

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If you believe the buzz, ketosis—whether via the almost-zero-carb ketogenic diet or via ketone supplements—can curb appetite, enhance performance, and cure nearly any health problem that ails you. Sound too good to be true? It probably is.

++++

Wouldn’t it be awesome if butter and bacon were “health foods”?

Maybe with a side of guacamole and some shredded cheese on top?

“I’m doing this for my health,” you could purr virtuously, as you topped your delectably marbled, medium-rare steak with a fried egg.

Well, many advocates of the ketogenic diet argue exactly that: By eating a lot of fat and close to zero carbohydrates you too can enjoy enhanced health, quality of life, performance, brain function, and abs you can grate that cheese on.

So, in this article, we’ll explore:

  • What are ketones, and what is ketosis?
  • What, exactly, is a ketogenic diet?
  • What evidence and scientific research supports the ketogenic diet?
  • Do ketone supplements work?
  • Is the ketogenic diet or ketone supplementation right for me?

How to read this article

If you’re just curious about ketogenic diets:

  • Feel free to skim and learn whatever you like.

If you want to change your body and/or health:

  • You don’t need to know every detail. Just get the general idea.
  • Check out our advice at the end.

If you’re an athlete interested in performance:

  • Pay special attention to the section on athletic performance.
  • Check out our advice for athletes at the end.

If you’re a fitness pro, or interested in geeking out with nutritional science:

  • We’ve given you some “extra credit” material in sidebars throughout.
  • Check out our advice for fitness pros at the end.

It all started with the brain.

If you’ve called Client Care at Precision Nutrition, you might have spoken to Lindsay.

Aside from being an incredibly helpful and friendly voice on the other end of the phone, Lindsay is also a tireless advocate for a health condition that has shaped her life in many ways: epilepsy.

Epilepsy is an ancient brain phenomenon, known to medicine thousands of years ago. To manage it, our Neolithic ancestors drilled holes in one another’s skulls, perhaps trying to let the bad stuff out—a practice known as trepanation.

Around 400 BCE, the ancient Greek doctor Hippocrates observed a man who had seizures for five days. On the sixth day, he noted, as the patient “abstained from everything, both gruel and drink, there were no further seizures.”

About 1,400 years later, in 1000 CE, the famous Persian physician Avicenna—who coined the term “epilepsy”, from the ancient Greek verb epilambanein (to seize or attack, as the neurological condition caused seizures), speculated that “overfeeding” might be a risk factor for epilepsy.

By 1911, a pair of Parisian doctors were trying fasting as a treatment for children with epilepsy, and in the United States, physical culturist Bernarr McFadden was claiming that fasting for three days to three weeks could cure anything.

Despite not having the tools and insight of modern neuroscience, these and other people who explored fasting and dietary prescriptions for neurological disorders were on to something.

We now know that there may be a dietary connection
—not just between epilepsy and what we eat (or don’t), but also with many other brain disorders.

Unfortunately, fasting isn’t fun. We evolved with a pretty strong aversion to starvation, and our brains and GI tracts have lots of ways to make sure we eat enough.

Which raises the question:

Could we get the health benefits of fasting another way?

In other words:

Could there be “fasting without fasting”?

In 1921, two things happened.

One: Endocrinology researcher Rollin Woodyatt noted that the same chemical environment happened with both starvation and a diet that was very low in carbohydrates and very high in fat.

Two: Dr. Russell Wilder wondered:

Could a person get the health benefits of fasting without actually fasting?

He and other doctors at the Mayo Clinic experimented with what Wilder called the “ketogenic diet” during the early 1920s. Not only did children with epilepsy seem to improve overall with this type of diet, they seemed to think and behave better as well.

Proven by several notable medical authorities, a ketogenic diet as a treatment for childhood epilepsy found its way into medical textbooks by around 1940, and stayed there throughout the 20th century.

Nowadays, aging, contact sports, and modern warfare present us with new populations of people whose brains might benefit from a ketogenic diet:

  • people with neurodegenerative disorders (such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s); and
  • people with traumatic brain injury (TBI) from events such as explosions or concussions.

First the brain, then the body.

There was another group of people who became curious about ketogenic diets some time in the 1980s and 1990s: bodybuilders and physique athletes.

These folks weren’t too concerned about brain health or longevity. They wanted to be ripped.

The ketogenic diet seemed like a magic bullet: a way to eat butter, bacon and cream, and still get abs.

Today, what’s old is new again.

Physique- and performance-conscious people, as well as people looking to maximize lifespan and life quality, have rediscovered this old-school dietary paradigm and are wondering:

  • Could a ketogenic diet help me perform better?
  • Could a ketogenic diet help me live longer?
  • Could a ketogenic diet help me look great on the beach?

The answer?

It depends. (Don’t you hate that? But it’s true.)

To understand why, we’ll look at:

  • the science of ketosis;
  • what a ketogenic diet looks like in “real life”;
  • who it might work for (and might not work for); and
  • what this means for you.

Let’s start by clarifying just what a ketogenic diet is.

What does a ketogenic diet look like?

It might be hard to translate “low carb, high fat” into everyday foods.

To give you a better idea of the ketogenic diet in real life, here’s a comparison:

Protein Carb Fat
PN Mixed Meal  ~30% ~40% ~30%
Paleo Meal ~40% ~20% ~40%
Low-Carb Meal ~40% ~10% ~50%
Ketogenic Meal ~20% ~5% ~75%

And here’s what that might look like translated into meals.

2016.08-Composition-of-the-ketogenic-diet-1.3

Notice a few things.

Protein

For the first three meals, protein is more or less the same, with a little variation.

Ketogenic diets, on the other hand, include less protein—usually closer to 10 or 20 percent of total daily intake.

Extremely low in carbohydrates

The Precision Nutrition plate suggests high-fiber, slow-digesting carbohydrates, such as whole grains, beans and legumes, fruits, and starchy vegetables.

The Paleo plate may contain slightly fewer carbohydrates (early human diets often had plenty of them), but eliminates the grains and beans / legumes.

The “low carb” plate will have fewer carbohydrates than the first two, but still have a small amount, likely from vegetables.

The ketogenic meal shoots for near-zero carbs. Most estimates suggest around 10-15 grams of carbs a day. To give you an idea of what this looks like, that’s about one fist-sized portion of cooked carrots, or about 10-15 grapes. For the whole day.

Very high in fat

The Precision Nutrition plate suggests about 1-2 thumb-sized portions of fat-dense foods (like nuts, cheese, avocado, olive oil, etc.) per meal, depending on body size, activity level, and goals.

The Paleo and low-carb plates may be roughly similar, with a little variation.

We might call all three of these “moderate fat”. Indeed, some indigenous diets (aka variations on the “Paleo” concept) are often quite low in fat, especially saturated fat.

The ketogenic meal, on the other hand, is high fat—even up to 90 percent of total energy intake. That means if you’re eating a 500-calorie spinach and mushroom salad, you get about 2 thumb-sized pieces of chicken breast on top, and then pour about 3-4 glugs of olive oil on top… Yum yum!

Highly restrictive

A ketogenic diet is the most restrictive and limited of all four of these styles of eating. Here’s what you can eat on a ketogenic diet:

A small amount of protein, such as:

  • meat
  • poultry
  • fish
  • seafood
  • eggs

A large amount of high-fat foods, such as:

  • avocado
  • coconut and coconut milk or oil
  • olive oil and any other oil
  • nuts and nut butters
  • bacon
  • egg yolks
  • butter
  • cheese

A very small amount of very-low-carbohydrate vegetables, such as:

  • leafy greens
  • brassicas: broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage
  • asparagus
  • cucumber
  • celery
  • tomatoes
  • peppers
  • mushrooms
  • zucchini

Here’s what you can’t eat on a ketogenic diet:

  • Most dairy (except high-fat items like butter and certain cheeses)
  • Fruit
  • Grains
  • Beans and legumes
  • Starchy vegetables (such as sweet potatoes)
  • Slightly-sweet vegetables such as winter squash, beets, or carrots
  • Most processed foods (with the notable exception of pork rinds)

So, let’s recap:

Ketogenic menus:

  • Vary in the proportion of protein but are generally low.
  • Stay as close to no-carb as possible.
  • Are very high in fat.
  • Are very limited in food choices.

So why go to all this effort?

Well, for particular groups of people, ketosis may indeed be helpful.

(For other people, of course, it may not be helpful… and it may be actively harmful. We’ll talk more about that in a moment.)

To understand why this is true, let’s look at how ketosis actually works.

What is ketosis?

The role of ketones

Ketones are a group of organic compounds with a specific structure.

The term “ketone” was actually coined around 1850 by German chemist Leopold Gmelin, along with the term “ester”. (See? Not as new as you’d think!)

We can use two types of ketones as energy sources, acetoacetate and D-β-hydroxybutyrate. (The β sign means “beta”.)

Our body can make ketones through a complex biochemical pathway.

The pathway to ketosis

Put very simply, when the conditions are right (for instance, during starvation or fasting, or when our carb intake is very low):

  • Our body releases fatty acids from our stored body fat.
  • These fatty acids enter other cells.
  • Fatty acids are combined with co-enzyme A to form acetyl-CoA chains.
  • These chains move into the mitochondria (our cells’ energy factories).
  • The chains are broken down into acetyl-CoA units by a sequence of reactions known as β-oxidation.
  • Chemical magic happens.
  • Acetyl-CoA forms your friends the ketones: acetoacetate and β-hydroxybutyrate, along with acetone (the same smelly stuff in your nail polish remover).
  • Ketones are released by the liver into the blood.
  • Almost any cell that needs energy can grab it from these circulating ketones. Again, our brain will be the greediest for these nummy little molecules.
Let’s take an even deeper look

The shape and orientation of molecules is important.

Stereoisomers are molecules with the same chemical makeup, but different shapes and configurations. You can imagine your right hand as a “stereoisomer” of your left: they both share the same components, just arranged differently.

Shape and orientation matter to molecules and their actions, just like having right-handed and left-handed gloves or shoes matters.

The ketone D-β-hydroxybutyrate is not the same as its stereoisomer L-β-hydroxybutyrate.

This difference in molecular configuration matters for several parts of the conversion process.

For instance, when D-β-hydroxybutyrate is converted back to acetyl-CoA, its intermediate form D-β-hydroxybutyrate-CoA isn’t the same thing as L-β-hydroxybutyrate-CoA (an intermediate of β- oxidation).

Each stereoisomer uses different enzymes for conversion, much like each lock has its own unique key.

This difference also matters for ketone supplementation (see below).

You want to supplement the right stereoisomer, rather than a random pile of ketone types. Usually in test tube chemistry, you get a mix of stereoisomers (often around half one type, and half another type), unlike our body, which only uses and makes one version. 

Ketosis happens when blood ketones are higher than normal either through dietary changes (which lead to very low blood glucose) or through supplementation (independent of blood glucose concentrations).

Some people like to think of ketone bodies as the fourth energy source for humans (in addition to carbohydrates, fats and proteins).

That’s technically true, but the alcohol in booze (aka ethanol) can also be used for energy. Just because we can metabolize something doesn’t always mean we should.

Let’s take an even deeper look

Ketosis, which just means having more ketone bodies than normal, should not be confused with ketoacidosis, which is a potentially dangerous metabolic situation of uncontrolled ketosis.

Normally, our body is very good at self-regulating.

If it senses acid levels rising (as happens in ketosis), it responds by buffering with more alkaline molecules (such as bicarbonate), changing blood levels of CO2, absorbing hydrogen ions, or telling the kidneys to excrete more dihydrogen phosphate and ammonium ions.

However, if for some reason our body can’t compensate, and blood pH drops below about 7.35 (in other words, becoming more acidic), we’re in trouble.

This usually happens in diabetics and alcoholics, since their normal metabolic mechanisms may not work properly.

For the average healthy person, dietary ketosis or even brief fasting is generally safe

How do we get into ketosis?

Method 1: Ketogenesis

We can make our own ketone bodies naturally, through the process of ketogenesis.

Our ancestors kicked off ketogenesis the good old fashioned way: by starving. About 72 hours into starvation, ketogenesis is happening and you’re in ketosis. Congratulations!

Ketosis is essentially an effect of fasting. This means that many of the health effects of fasting may be due to ketosis itself, rather than something like energy restriction.

Let’s take an even deeper look

Interestingly, how quickly ketosis happens varies by age and species.

Other mammals don’t seem to go into ketosis nearly as quickly as humans (your friendly neighborhood hibernating bear or squirrel who doesn’t eat for weeks to months at a time? No ketosis.)

Babies, on the other hand, go into ketosis within a few hours of not eating.

This may have to do with our energy-hungry human brains. About 20 percent of our overall energy intake is devoted to feeding our brains. Although bears and squirrels are clever enough to get into the garbage, they don’t have brains as large as we do.

It seems that ketogenesis is a human backup system that provides enough energy (via ketone bodies) to the ol’ noggin in times of starvation.

And it may be this particular evolutionary adaptation—which perhaps began as a way to keep the thinking factory upstairs working when food was scarce—that also enables the brain-benefiting effects of the ketogenic diet. 

Stored glucose (our sugar-based fuel) is actually rather heavy. We don’t carry around much of it. Our body prefers to store most of our excess energy as body fat.

When we eat normally, our brain gets enough energy from glucose that can easily pass the blood-brain barrier.

When we stop eating, we run out of stored glucose (as glycogen) within 2-3 days (faster if we’re active), and have to find some other fuel source.

By the way, the relative heaviness of stored glycogen is why many people report fast weight loss on a ketogenic or low-carb diet: their body has dumped a little extra weight in the form of glycogen and water (which tags along with glycogen in a 3 parts water to 1 part glycogen ratio). Unfortunately, this water and glycogen comes right back once we start eating normally again.

Method 2: A ketogenic diet

Most people frown on starving children with epilepsy, so a ketogenic diet is the next best thing.

By cutting off the body’s carbohydrate (aka glucose) supply, but providing energy and nutrients in the form of fat (plus a little protein), we can get the same effects as straight-up starvation: ketosis.

As with starvation, it usually takes some time to get into ketosis once we stop eating carbs.

Let’s take an even deeper look

Many people like to measure their ketosis with Ketostix, which test for ketones in the urine. This is not always a reliable indicator, since all it tells you is whether you’re excreting excess ketones, not whether you’re actually in ketosis per se.

In addition, Ketostix only measure the presence of excreted acetoacetate, not the presence of D-β-hydroxybutyrate.

Over time, our body’s excretion of ketones can change, even if we’re still in ketosis. Therefore, you may see different readings on the Ketostix, regardless of what is actually happening in your body. 

Method 3: Supplement with ketones

If ketones are what we want, why not just take them instead of making our own by fasting or cutting out carbohydrates?

Great idea, and totally new… except it isn’t.

As early as 1953, there were studies looking into whether we could “artificially” produce ketosis by supplementation.

Today, we know that by supplementing with ketone bodies (usually D-β-hydroxybutyrate or certain esters) you can raise the level of ketone bodies in the blood without being in ketogenesis.

This has a lot of cool possibilities. If ketone supplementation can give us the health benefits of ketosis without us having to fast / starve or follow a very restrictive diet, that could be a win-win.

Unfortunately, we still don’t have conclusive human studies on this that would give us clear direction. Check back in 10 years.

Is ketone supplementation effective?

The buzz is that ketone supplements can make you thin and cure whatever ails you. But what you read about in the media or on the interwebs isn’t always what scientists actually found in the lab.

If you didn’t know better, you’d think ketone supplementation just started. Actually, research on this topic goes back to the 1950s. All of it has been conducted using rats. Here are the findings.

Weight loss

D-β-hydroxybutyrate supplementation made some types of rats eat less and lose weight, but not other types of rats.

Some evidence kinda sorta indicates that D-β-hydroxybutyrate supplementation might activate brown fat (a metabolically active fat that is, in part, responsible for thermogenic adaptations) via the sympathetic nervous system, but there was no follow-up.

Blood glucose regulation

Another showed that ketone supplementation with either 1, 3-butanediol acetoacetate diester or sodium/potassium β-hydroxybutyrate decreased blood glucose with no changes in cholesterol or blood triglycerides (the not-so-great side effects of the ketogenic diet).

Traumatic brain injury

In one study, infusing D-β-hydroxybutryate into adult rats after traumatic brain injuries showed improved energy (ATP) levels.

In another study, D-β-hydroxybutryate didn’t improve things and actually caused damage to the blood-brain barrier, even in healthy rats.

Epilepsy

New evidence suggests that it may not be D-β-hydroxybutryate or acetoacetate preventing seizures; rather, it might be the relatively short-chain fatty acids (nanoeic and decanoic acids) in the diets when on a ketogenic diet crossing the blood-brain barrier, inhibiting seizures.

But in another study that exposed rats to high-pressure oxygen containing ketone esters such as R,S-1,3-butanediol acetoacetate diester, the rodents saw increased blood β-hydroxybutryate and decreased seizures.

Cancer

A recent study found that ketone supplementation extended survival in mice with metastatic cancer. But while it’s true that most cancers have a highly anaerobic metabolism, this in not universal. If proven to be effective, it’s likely that ketone supplementation would be an additional treatment rather than a stand alone treatment for cancer, because of its robust nature.

For now, almost no studies on ketone supplementation have used human clinical trials. So if anyone tells you that ketone supplementation is a miracle cure, ask if you can get some for your pet rat… if it’s the right kind of rat. 

Will ketosis help me?

Ketogenesis and ketosis are easy to study.

All you have to do is starve people, or feed them a high-fat/low-carb diet, and wait. Then you see if it changes whatever you’re interested in fixing.

Since we’ve known about fasting and ketosis for quite a long time, and it’s relatively easy to research, there are probably good reasons why it’s not yet considered a miracle cure.

And it’s not because Big Pharma or Carbohydrate Corporation or The Cancer Conspiracy have vested interests. (Trust me, we scientists can barely keep the grad students from contaminating the super-purified water by leaving the lid off the jug, never mind organize an evil cabal of ketosis deniers.)

To be fair, the introduction of anti-epileptic drugs in the late 1930s onward did lead to less interest in dietary ketosis as a treatment for epileptic children.

But we don’t yet use ketosis (or ketone supplementation) to fix everything from muffin tops to hangnails because:

  • For many populations, ketosis has little or no effect.
  • It may only work for particular types of people, with particular needs and health conditions.
  • It may take too long to see a measurable effect.
  • For many people, a ketogenic diet is too hard to consistently follow.

That being said, here are some interesting and promising new avenues for ketosis… as well as some “don’t bother” examples.

Probable benefit: Metabolic diseases

We know that fasting is often an effective short-term treatment for metabolic dysfunction such as poor glucose control / early Type 2 diabetes, chronic inflammation, or hypertension.

We don’t know for sure yet whether this is because of ketosis or some other mechanism (such as programmed cell death, aka apoptosis).

However, research suggests that in some cases, such as type 2 diabetes, ketosis may be useful as a short-term treatment or a “boost” that helps return metabolic processes back to a more normal and well-regulated state.

In these specific situations, a ketogenic diet or a structured intermittent fasting program done under close medical supervision for a specific objective, may be a useful as part of a multi-pronged treatment program that probably should include other therapeutic tools such as medication or other well-established health procedures.

Notice all our italics here. What we mean is:

  • Don’t use ketosis or fasting alone to try to cure stuff.
  • Don’t use ketosis or fasting just to randomly “get healthy”.
  • “Medical supervision” does not mean Dr. Google.

Verdict: Could help in some cases, but should be done with a clear purpose and carefully monitored. Not a long-term “cure-all” for most people.

Let’s take an even deeper look

Why does ketosis seem to help some types of metabolic dysfunction?

Ketones may help, in part, because they decrease oxidative stress, boost antioxidants and scavenge free radicals.

Oxidation is a natural part of cellular metabolism, but too much oxidation, too fast, without the balance of antioxidants, contributes to many metabolic and other diseases.

Many metabolic disorders are related to this process of oxidation, in which our cells essentially “rust” from the inside. If we can slow and regulate oxidation, it may improve our health and longevity. 

Probable benefit: Neurodegeneration and brain injuries

We know ketosis for epilepsy is a win—can ketosis help other types of brain illnesses and injuries?

Recent research suggests that many brain disorders (such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, among other neurodegenerative diseases) are related to other metabolic disorders such as diabetes, obesity, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

These metabolic and neourodegenerative diseases show common features, such as oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, and inflammation. In fact, Alzheimer’s is now often described as “diabetes of the brain”, or “Type 3 diabetes”.

The presence of ketones also seems to improve outcomes from traumatic brain injury (TBI). However, right now, most of these studies have been done on rats.

Still, based on what we’ve seen with epilepsy and rat studies, chances are good that ketones may be a low-risk treatment—and perhaps even a preventive strategy—to improve brain health. See above about getting medical supervision from someone other than Dr. Google.

Verdict: Probably can’t hurt, might help people with neurodegeneration and/or mild to moderate brain injury.

Unclear benefit: Longevity

We know that caloric restriction (CR) improves longevity in most organisms studied. We know that intermittent fasting seems to have some of the same benefits, sometimes.

But right now, we don’t know if ketosis works the same way.

The real question here is: Who’s willing to find out?

Would you stick to a ketogenic diet in the name of advancing knowledge, achieving scientific glory as a “ketonaut”? Most of us wouldn’t.

Plus, without a control group (say, your identical twin who lives exactly the same lifestyle as you, in the exact same environment, with only your diets being different), it’s hard to know for sure whether your 100th birthday was due to ketosis or something else.

For now, any longevity benefits would be mostly speculative. And your 100th birthday cake would have to be a block of butter.

Verdict: You could try this one and get your next of kin to report back… but most people wouldn’t want to.

Interesting, but probably no advantage for most people: Athletic performance

Athletes need fuel to perform.

Could we possibly enable people to tap into their stored body fat more effectively, and require less re-fueling from stuff like sugary energy gels?

Ketosis lets you avoid glycogen depletion (aka bonking, hitting the wall), because you aren’t using glycogen as your energy source, so you don’t need to take in carbs as you compete. Instead you’re using fat and ketone bodies. You increase fat oxidation, spare glycogen, produce less lactate and use less oxygen at submaximal rates.

All this sounds great, but the exercise physiologists’ consensus is that while all these adaptations are true, the problem is that with fat and ketone bodies as fuel, you’re not going to go as fast as you can when using with glucose and carbohydrates.

The bottom line for athletes is performance, and so far there is only one very new study showing a small improvement in cyclist’s performance with ketone supplementation combined with carbohydrate supplementation (compared to just carbohydrate supplementation alone).

It seems that combining ketones with carbs, rather than exclusively using one or the other, might offer some benefit.

Cutting Edge Research: Carb + Ketone Supplementation Improve Aerobic Performance

A recent study compared the effect of drinking just carbs to drinking carbs + ketones in male and female elite cyclists.

After not eating overnight (about 16 hours) the cyclists came to the lab and drank either a carb drink or a carb + ketone (c + k) drink.

Carb drink:

  • 40% dextrose
  • 40% fructose
  • 20% maltodextrin

C + k drink

  • 60% dextrose
  • 40% ketone ((R)-hydroxybutyl (R) -3-hydroxybutyrate ketone ester).

Total amount of substrate in both drinks were 573 mg/kg body weight.

The cyclists drank half of their drink, rode for 1 hour at 75% of their max power output. Then they drank the other half of their drink and biked as far as they could in 30 minutes.

After a week, the cyclist repeated the experiment with the opposite drink.

Results

When drinking the c + k drink the cyclists biked, on average, 2 percent (400 meters) farther longer over the 30 minutes.

There were some metabolic differences to note in with the c+k drink:

  • less lactate
  • more fatty acids in the blood
  • more D- β- hydroxybutyrate

Bottom line: Supplementing with a combination of carbohydrates and ketones may improve performance in aerobic competitions. 

Verdict: Some intriguing possibilities, particularly for aerobic performance, but to date there very little evidence to improve overall athletic performance.

No real advantage: Losing fat

Oh, insulin, you naughty monkey! You have been getting yourself in so much trouble lately!

Low-carb advocates in the late 1990s and early 2000s thought maybe they had stumbled on the key to fighting flab: insulin. Insulin is mainly a storage hormone: Its job is basically to help nutrients get into cells.

The low-carb / insulin hypothesis, dramatically oversimplified, went like this:

  • Insulin makes stuff go into cells.
  • Stuff that goes into fat cells makes us fat.
  • If we don’t help stuff go into cells, then we won’t get fat. We might even lose fat.
  • Carbs (in their digested form of glucose) stimulate insulin release.
  • Therefore eating fewer carbs = less body fat.

Now, this theory did have some merits.

For one thing, it got some of us unhooked from processed sugary and starchy treats, and thinking more about fiber content and healthy fats.

Unfortunately, insulin is not the only player. There’s never only one player in the team sport and complex system that is your body.

Nor does insulin act alone. Energy storage is governed largely by our brain, not a single hormone.

The other upside to the low-carb approach was that people often ate more protein and more fat. When we eat protein and fat, we release satiety hormones, particularly CCK, which is one of the main hormones that tells us we’re full.

More protein and fat means we’re often less hungry. Which means we eat less. Which means we lose fat. It’s the “eating less” part (not the insulin part) that actually matters.

On top of this, if you’ll recall, carbohydrates are relatively heavy to store. Lower the carb intake, and our body will eventually release some water and glycogen.

Result: Weight loss. Magic!

Yet being in ketosis doesn’t seem to have any special advantage for losing body fat (rather than just weight), especially if we consider the lifestyle and behavior aspect to this.

You may find it easy to eat less when all you can eat is protein and fat. But after a while, you may grow tired of bringing your own whole salmon to parties, and wonder what the other 95% of the grocery store is up to. You may start to have fantasies about a threesome: you, Oreos, and chocolate sauce. Not only that, you may be getting some serious scurvy and other nutrient deficiencies.

For women in particular, lowering carbohydrate intake seems to have negative effects.

Women’s bodies go on high alert faster when they sense less energy and fewer nutrients coming in. Many women have found that the low-carb diet that worked great for their husband not only didn’t work for them, but it knocked out their menstrual cycle on the way out the door.

Verdict: We don’t recommend the ketogenic diet for sustainable fat loss.

Let’s take an even deeper look

As part of the carb-insulin hypothesis, people thought that maybe metabolism would also increase during ketosis.

A recent study looked at whether or not there was a significant increase in metabolic rate when going from a high-carbohydrate diet (48% carbohydrate) to a ketogenic diet (6% carbohydrate), with protein being the same (around 16-17%).

With this dietary change, insulin went down while fatty acids and ketone bodies went up. Basal metabolism (energy expenditure) went up by about 100 kcal per day.

Seems obviously good—but not so fast.

Figuring out what this actually means is complicated.

Researchers had to correct metabolism based on body weight, which as you’ve read, tends to drop when water is lost on low-carb diets.

The authors concluded that while there was a small increase in metabolism initially, that disappeared over the four weeks while insulin levels were still low.

So their study didn’t support the insulin-carb hypothesis.

Is protein actually the key factor?

The authors of the study think that differences found in other studies comparing high and low-carb diets are because of differences in protein intake rather than carbohydrate intake in those studies.

Protein promotes satiety and takes the most energy to digest and absorb, so differences in weight loss may be net calories absorbed, rather than decreases in insulin or increases in metabolism.

Definitely no advantage: Gaining lean mass

As you may have read above, insulin is mainly a storage hormone. It’s also considered an anabolic hormone. As in building things. As in getting swole.

For the most part, we need insulin—along with other hormones, such as growth hormone and testosterone—to create an anabolic, muscle-building environment. Trying to build muscle while in ketosis is like stepping on the gas and the brake at the same time.

However, as with athletic performance, we may discover that there is some benefit to supplementary ketones while building muscle. We don’t know yet.

Verdict: Build muscle with a more appropriately anabolic diet that includes carbohydrates (particularly around training), and supplement with ketones if you want to experiment.

What this means for you

If you’re a “regular person” who just wants to be healthy and fit:

  • Enjoy reading about ketosis if you like. Try it, if you’re curious. But you can be perfectly fit, lean, and healthy without it.
  • Don’t believe everything you read on the internet. (Except this article, of course.) Remember that the plural of “personal anecdote” is not “scientific data”. Be a critical reader and consumer.

If you’re an athlete:

  • Know your body and the demands of your sport. Unless you’re an ultra-endurance athlete, becoming fat-adapted or adopting a ketogenic diet probably won’t improve your performance.
  • Don’t add stress. Training is a good stress, but still a stressor. Fasting and restricting energy (i.e. calories) or a particular nutrient are also stressors. Stress adds up. Don’t add nutritional stress from a stringent diet to the mix, particularly if you’re female.
  • Make meeting your nutritional needs your priority. If you’re active, you need more fuel and nutrients than the average person. Rather than taking stuff out of your diet, look for where you can add good stuff in: protein, vitamins, minerals, fiber, fatty acids, phytonutrients, water, etc. from whole, minimally processed foods.

If you’re a fitness professional / nutrition coach:

  • Understand the basics of ketosis, ketogenic diets, and ketone supplementation. Know when, how, and for whom ketosis might be appropriate. If in doubt, learn more from trusted medical and research sources—which, again, does not include random people of the Internets.
  • Help people understand as much as they need to understand in order to make an informed choice, with your guidance. Your clients will likely have questions. Prepare your answers in advance.
  • Refer out: If you think a client might benefit from a ketogenic diet or ketone supplementation for a health condition, work with their doctor to support things like meal planning and keeping a food journal that looks for correlations between diet and how they feel.

If you have a specific health problem that a ketogenic diet (or ketone supplementation) may help with:

  • Consult your doctor first. Discuss any research findings or potential dietary modifications with someone who actually went to med school. If you’re on any medications, make sure nothing you do will interfere with their effect.
  • Carefully monitor and track any dietary modifications. First, you want to stay safe; second, you want to know if what you’re doing is having any effect. So decide how you’ll know if your dietary changes are “working”, and track those indicators closely.

More to this than you realized?

After reading this article, you might feel like nutrition is more complex than you thought. We get it. In the age of 24/7 health news and fitness-celeb podcasts, it’s tough to get the real story.

If you’d like to learn more about nutrition, consider the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification. Our next group kicks off shortly.

What’s it all about?

The Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification is the world’s most respected nutrition education program. It gives you the knowledge, systems, and tools to really understand how food influences a person’s health and fitness. Plus the ability to turn that knowledge into a thriving coaching practice.

Developed over 15 years, and proven with over 100,000 clients, the Level 1 curriculum stands alone as the authority on the science of nutrition and the art of coaching.

Whether you’re already mid-career, or just starting out, the Level 1 Certification is your springboard to a deeper understanding of nutrition, the authority to coach it, and the ability to turn what you know into results.

[Of course, if you’re already a student or graduate of the Level 1 Certification, check out our Level 2 Certification Master Class. It’s an exclusive, year-long mentorship designed for elite professionals looking to master the art of coaching and be part of the top 1% of health and fitness coaches in the world.]

Interested? Add your name to the presale list. You’ll save up to 44% and secure your spot 24 hours before everyone else.

We’re opening spots in the brand-new Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification on Wednesday, October 2nd.

If you want to find out more, we’ve set up the following presale list, which gives you two advantages.

  • Lock in your one-time special discount—and save up to 44%. We like to reward people who are eager to boost their credentials and are ready to commit to getting the education they need. So we’re offering a discount of up to 44% off the general price when you sign up for the presale list. Remember: After October, you’ll never see this price again.
  • Sign up 24 hours before the general public and increase your chances of getting a spot. We only open the certification program twice per year. Due to high demand, spots in the program are limited and have historically sold out in hours. But when you sign up for the presale list, we’ll give you the opportunity to register a full 24 hours before anyone else.

If you’re ready for a deeper understanding of nutrition, the authority to coach it, and the ability to turn what you know into results… this is your chance to see what the world’s top professional nutrition coaching system can do for you.

If you’re ready for a deeper understanding of nutrition, the authority to coach it, and the ability to turn what you know into results… this is your chance to see what the world’s top professional nutrition coaching system can do for you.

References

Click here to view the information sources referenced in this article.

The post The Ketogenic Diet: Does it live up to the hype? The pros, the cons, and the facts about this not-so-new diet craze. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

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“Here’s what you should eat… ”

Tell someone you want to lose weight or improve your nutrition, and this is almost always the first advice you get.

But that’s not, in fact, what the average person says they need the most help with. Not by a longshot.

We know because every year, we ask thousands of new Precision Nutrition clients about their biggest nutrition challenges.

“I don’t know what to eat” doesn’t even crack the top 10.

And year after year, people tend to have the same food frustrations, no matter what new “diet revolution” or “no-fail meal plan” comes along.

You might write that off as human nature. But we’d suggest another possibility:

Many nutrition coaches and diet programs don’t focus enough on solving the real food problems that prevent people from making progress.

Nor do they help people build the fundamental skills they need to sustain any changes they make.

That’s why we’re sharing these secrets from our own clients.

We’ve analyzed their answers and aggregated them into a snapshot of what truly troubles people. The data here are people’s own descriptions of their real-life nutrition struggles and stressors.

More importantly, we’ve also included real-life strategies—developed, tested, and refined while working with over 100,000 clients—that you (or your clients) can use to face and overcome your healthy eating obstacles for good.

The diet problems that drive people crazy

As you can see, “I don’t know what I should eat” is near the bottom of the list. Yet that’s the nutrition challenge most people—including coaches—obsess over.

Of course, what you eat matters for all kinds of reasons: appetite control, proper nutrition, optimal performance, and so on. But knowing what to eat probably isn’t the #1 thing holding you (or your clients) back.

Most people kinda-sorta know what they should be eating.

You’ve probably never said “I really shouldn’t eat this,” right before downing a big bowl of spinach. More likely, you utter those words as you dive headfirst into a bowl of salted caramel ice cream.

If you’re looking for a long-term fix to these top-ranking problems, more nutrition knowledge probably isn’t the answer. Neither is a meal plan. Or a new set of macros.

No, if you’re struggling with your food, eating, and exercise habits, you probably need help with your behaviors, especially being consistent with crucial fundamentals. (We call these “Level 1” practices, and we’ll introduce you to them throughout this article.)

According to our incoming clients, their most-pressing nutrition problems boil down to this:

How do they stop overeating and, at the same time, find convenient, practical, and satisfying ways to enjoy foods that best nourish their bodies?

Easy problems to solve? No.

Are they solvable? Absolutely.

With that in mind, here are the 8 biggest nutrition challenges*, along with proven strategies you can use to make better choices, and get better results.

Don’t try to tackle all these challenges at once. That rarely works.

Instead, choose just one. Focus on it for two or three weeks.

When you feel ready to take on more, select another area that needs some TLC, and give it your full attention.

You can make incredible, lasting progress this way. We know, because we’ve seen it happen with thousands of real clients.

Now it’s your turn. 

* We’ve combined closely-related categories.

Nutrition Challenge #1: “I can’t stop stress/emotional eating.”

More than 60 percent of our new clients list emotional/stress eating as a major nutrition challenge. What’s more, over 50 percent say they also “get intense cravings” and “snack when not hungry.”

If you relate, it might be a relief to know you’re not alone. Of course, that’s little consolation when your spoon’s scraping the bottom of a freshly-opened jar of cookie butter.

But what if you realized this behavior occurs…

  • Every time your mom calls?
  • On Sunday nights, when you’re dreading the start of a new week?
  • Whenever you see, smell, or hear something that reminds you of your ex?

In our coaching approach, we call this “noticing and naming,” and it offers us great opportunities to regain control.

Emotional eating and intense cravings are typically part of a pattern of behavior that’s triggered by a specific experience—a thought, feeling, and/or situation.

If you can identify the trigger, you can disrupt the pattern of behavior and make different choices. 

We use what we call a “break the chain” worksheet that helps clients identify their emotional and stress eating triggers. Then, we apply a step-by-step strategy to build alternative actions.

For the complete instructions, read this article: Conquer your cravings and break the sinister cycle that makes you overeat.

Nutrition Challenge #2: “I don’t plan meals.”

Survey says… 53 percent of both men and women check this box.

But good news: Serious improvement in this area may not be as time-consuming and complicated as it sounds.

Think about meal planning on a continuum. 

At the far left: You put zero thought into what you might eat later today or tomorrow or the rest of the week. Most decisions are made after you’re already hungry and while you’re staring at the contents of your refrigerator—or looking at a drive-thru menu.

At the far right: You spend Sunday morning grocery shopping and taking the afternoon to prep seven days of breakfast, lunch, and dinner, packing it away in containers and leaving nothing to chance.

But in between? There’s real opportunity to progress, and it doesn’t require a complicated meal plan. You just need to do a little better than you are now.

A great place to start: 

Plan to eat one to two servings (think: an amount the size of your fist) of produce at each meal. 

Don’t worry about variety for now: If you like steamed broccoli or raw carrots or sliced cucumbers, you could have those at every meal, if you want. Just practice buying what you need and eating it at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

And if you find yourself at a restaurant, stick to the plan. That could mean getting a side salad with an order of broccoli instead of fries. (For bonus planning, try checking the restaurant’s menu online before you go.)

You’ll be amazed at how this simple approach can transform the quality of your meals, yet it doesn’t require a ton of effort.

For more ways to ease yourself into healthy eating, check out: Why meal plans usually suck.

Nutrition Challenge #3: “I eat too quickly.”

While this isn’t at the top of the challenge list overall, it was the #1 issue for men—with nearly 60 percent of guys raising their hand.

And turns out, these folks are spot-on. Almost everyone benefits from eating more slowly.

In fact, in our coaching method, slow eating is one of the first practices we ask clients to do. The reason is simple: It’s incredibly effective.

The act of consciously slowing down—even just taking a breath or two between bites at first—can help you eat less without feeling deprived.

And we’ve found it works for everyone from the most advanced dieters to those who’ve struggled with healthy eating for a lifetime.

To experience how you can use this practice to transform your body—starting at your next meal—see The 30-day slow eating challenge.

Nutrition Challenge #4: “I have a serious sweet tooth.”

Maybe you love cookies. Or M&Ms. Or anything that’s rolled in sugar.

That’s completely normal, according to almost 50 percent of our new clients.

However, it’s typically not just the sweetness that appeals to your taste buds, belly, and brain. It’s a diabolically delicious combination of sugar, fat, and salt that makes certain foods nearly irresistible. There’s even a special name for them: hyperpalatable.

In fact, food manufacturers use this flavor formula to create products you can’t stop eating. (It’s great for sales, after all.)

The biggest challenge with these foods is their availability: They’re everywhere, including your kitchen.

So, remember Berardi’s First Law (named for its originator, Precision Nutrition co-founder Dr. John Berardi):

If a food is in your house or possession, either you, someone you love, or someone you marginally tolerate will eventually eat it.

This also leads to the corollary of Berardi’s First Law:

If a healthy food is in your house or possession, either you, someone you love, or someone you marginally tolerate will eventually eat it.

We’re not saying you should make sweets off-limits. Instead, shape your environment to set yourself up for success.

What would happen if, next time you visit the grocery store, you bought some fruit for dessert instead of that jumbo pack of Oreos? 

Try it, and observe what happens.

To learn more about how to handle hyperpalatable foods, read Manufactured deliciousness: Why you can’t stop overeating.

Nutrition Challenge #5: “I eat out a lot.”

With so many temptations on restaurant menus, it’s natural to feel a little tortured about what to order. Once that mental back-and-forth begins, it’s all too easy to say, “Heck with it, give me the carbonara and pass the bread sticks.”

Along with planning meals or your food choices (as in Challenge #2), you can also plan how to show up.

  • Is this a special occasion where you want the freedom to indulge? Is the food so unique and amazing at this restaurant that it’s truly worth it? (If so, slow down and really savor the experience.)
  • Or would you prefer your choice align with your healthy eating practice? (If so, consider preparing in advance by reviewing the menu, or even setting a phone or calendar reminder to help yourself stay on track.)

There’s no right or wrong answer, but deciding ahead of time can help you stay focused and avoid being distracted by a mountain of pasta. 

Every time you follow through on your plan, notice how you feel after you’ve finished your meal.

Ask yourself: “Am I just as satisfied as I would have been otherwise?”

If yes, that’s a positive step to encouraging the same behavior next time. (With more practice, smart choices become easier and easier.)

If no, try following these steps:

  • Order a plant-rich dish. (Shoot for half your plate to be vegetables.)
  • Choose a lean protein. (Read: chicken breast or fish.)
  • Avoid breaded and fried foods. (This eliminates a lot of poor choices.)
  • Ask for dressings on the side. (And use responsibly.)
  • Eat slowly. (See Challenge #3, above.)
  • Stop when you’re 80 percent full. (See Challenge #6, below.)

These aren’t hard and fast rules, but a practical guide for when you’re eating out—no matter if you’re at a fine-dining establishment or a fast food chain.

Is this your top challenge? Make sure to read 25 ways to eat well on-the-go for additional insights and strategies.

Nutrition Challenge #6: “I eat larger portions than I need.”

In the weight loss industry, it’s popular to tell people, “It’s not your fault.”

And in this case, it’s probably true. Between your parents directing you to “clean your plate,” the abundance of hyperpalatable foods (see Challenge #4), and the mega-meals served by chain restaurants, eating more than you need can feel completely natural.

Which means eating an appropriate-sized meal can feel… completely unnatural. At least until you get you used to it. And that requires practice.

A simple way to start: 

Eat slowly (Challenge #3… again), and stop when you’re 80 percent full. Do this no matter how much is left on your plate or how uncomfortable it makes you feel. 

This won’t be easy at first, and you may wonder, “Am I at 80 percent full or 70 percent?” or “Did I just totally mess up and go over?”

Don’t worry about it. The point is to become a more mindful eater and pay better attention to your body’s satiety signals. That takes time, and like any skill, you’ll improve with practice.

We’re going for progress here, not perfection.

Of course, it helps to start with a reasonable portion size. But you don’t need to enter your meals into a calculator ahead of time. You can use your hands to estimate how you should eat, with our simple but effective portion and calorie control guide.

Nutrition Challenge #7: “I don’t have time to prepare meals.”

Are you seeing a theme emerge? Sure, this one’s related to “I don’t plan out meals” and “I eat out too much.” But it’s also slightly different because it’s specifically calling out the reason why: a lack of a key resource.

Now let’s be honest: There may be a lack of desire here, too, at least compared to activities you do have time for. And that’s okay.

After all, many people are on the move all day, making a living, commuting, and/or caring for others. You deserve some time to unwind, and if that means grabbing takeout so you can sink into your couch 30 minutes sooner, we get it.

But let’s go back to our continuum concept:

  • If you’re making zero meals now, could you find time to make one meal each week?
  • Or if you’re making three, could you find time to make four?

If you can make just one extra meal, you’ll be taking a positive action to change your behavior and improve your health. 

That’s how real, lasting transformation happens: one tiny step at a time, not by trying to change everything overnight.

So figure out what action you’re capable of now—even if it doesn’t seem like much—and try it out. Then practice it next week, too. As it becomes easier, ask yourself: “Could I add in another home-cooked meal?”

Remember: Progress, not perfection.

And for more ways to deal with a hectic lifestyle, check out 7 ways to make time for exercise and nutrition.

Nutrition Challenge #8: “I drink too much.”

If you’re nodding your head right now, we feel you. And so do more than 30 percent of our new clients who say they over-consume alcohol.

The question is: What does “too much” mean? It can be different for everyone.

Maybe you’re drinking two or three glasses of wine at night and wondering if you’re relying too much on alcohol to take the edge off. Or perhaps you don’t imbibe during the week, but drink to excess on the weekend.

Even if you don’t have what’s considered a “serious” problem, your drinking habits could be affecting your ability to lead a healthier lifestyle—by interfering with your sleep, affecting your judgement (“Hey everyone! Who wants late-night nachos??”), and stimulating your appetite.

Ask yourself: What’s one action you could take to feel a little better about your alcohol intake?

  • Could you have two glasses tonight instead of three?
  • Could you drink more slowly, so that one glass lasts longer?
  • Could you have a glass of water between cocktails?

If your alcohol intake isn’t destroying your work or family life, you don’t necessarily have to slam on the brakes.

Ease yourself into it, and notice how you feel. Better awareness can result in better choices. 

For more help and how-to advice, check out: Would I be healthier if I quit drinking?

If you’re a coach, or you want to be…

Learning how to coach clients, patients, friends, or family members through healthy eating and lifestyle changes—in a way that helps each individual overcome their unique nutrition challenges—is both an art and a science.

If you’d like to learn more about both, consider the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification. The next group kicks off shortly.

What’s it all about?

The Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification is the world’s most respected nutrition education program. It gives you the knowledge, systems, and tools you need to really understand how food influences a person’s health and fitness. Plus the ability to turn that knowledge into a thriving coaching practice.

Developed over 15 years, and proven with over 100,000 clients and patients, the Level 1 curriculum stands alone as the authority on the science of nutrition and the art of coaching.

Whether you’re already mid-career, or just starting out, the Level 1 Certification is your springboard to a deeper understanding of nutrition, the authority to coach it, and the ability to turn what you know into results.

[Of course, if you’re already a student or graduate of the Level 1 Certification, check out our Level 2 Certification Master Class. It’s an exclusive, year-long mentorship designed for elite professionals looking to master the art of coaching and be part of the top 1% of health and fitness coaches in the world.]

Interested? Add your name to the presale list. You’ll save up to 44% and secure your spot 24 hours before everyone else.

We’re opening spots in the brand-new Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification on Wednesday, October 2nd.

If you want to find out more, we’ve set up the following presale list, which gives you two advantages.

  • Lock in your one-time special discount—and save up to 44%. We like to reward people who are eager to boost their credentials and are ready to commit to getting the education they need. So we’re offering a discount of up to 44% off the general price when you sign up for the presale list. Remember: After October, you’ll never see this price again.
  • Sign up 24 hours before the general public and increase your chances of getting a spot. We only open the certification program twice per year. Due to high demand, spots in the program are limited and have historically sold out in hours. But when you sign up for the presale list, we’ll give you the opportunity to register a full 24 hours before anyone else.

If you’re ready for a deeper understanding of nutrition, the authority to coach it, and the ability to turn what you know into results… this is your chance to see what the world’s top professional nutrition coaching system can do for you.

The post Exclusive data: Overcome the 8 biggest diet challenges, based on 100,000 client results. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

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The Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification is the world’s most respected nutrition education program. Taken by over 70,000 health and fitness professionals, it gives you the knowledge, systems, and tools you need to feel confident and qualified to coach nutrition with anyone.

Developed over 15 years, and proven with over 100,000 clients, the Precision Nutrition curriculum stands alone as the authority on the science of nutrition and the art of coaching.

Whether you’re already mid-career, or just starting out, the PN Level 1 Certification is your springboard to a deeper understanding of nutrition, the authority to coach it, and the ability to turn what you know into results—for yourself and your clients.

For more, check out this short video; it includes interviews with renowned health and fitness professionals who’ve experienced the program:

 

 

On Wednesday, October 2nd, we’re opening registration for the brand-new Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification.

The certification gives health and fitness professionals the knowledge and tools they need to feel confident and qualified to coach nutrition with anyone.

Plus, you can lock in a one-time special discount—and save up to 44%! (More details below.)

Nutrition coaching can make (or break) the results you get.

When your job is to help people get in better shape, focusing on nutrition is the most important and effective step. But there’s a big problem: Most coaches don’t feel qualified to coach nutrition.

They don’t know where to start, what recommendations to make (or when to make them), or how to get their clients to actually follow the plan.

Despite their best intentions, these coaches often fail to get their clients the results they deserve… which leads to negative feelings of confusion, stress, and career burn-out.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Nutrition coaching doesn’t have to be so confusing or difficult.

In the Precision Nutrition Certification, we’ll guide you and point out everything you need to know in order to feel confident and qualified.

The result? You’ll be able to offer advice that you know is right. And you’ll be able to transfer that knowledge in the right way, so that each person you work with gets the results they’re looking for.

Put simply: Knowing how to coach nutrition effectively is the key to helping people get the results they deserve (and the business you deserve.)

We’ll show you how.

Precision Nutrition Certification

 

 

What if you could make a real difference with the people you work with—and never feel confused about nutrition again?

Imagine how good it would feel to have total confidence in your nutrition knowledge… to finally feel qualified to give nutrition advice… and to feel empowered to coach anyone to better health and fitness.

That’s what the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification has done for over 70,000 health and fitness professionals—and you can be next.

Equally rooted in the latest nutrition science and behavior-change psychology, it’s a proven and practical coaching system that shows you exactly what to do at every stage of the nutrition coaching process—from the very first time you meet with a client, until they reach all their goals.

The best part? You’ll never feel confused about what to do with your clients ever again. With our help, you’ll learn how nutrition really works—and discover how to coach people through powerful transformations.

With the Precision Nutrition Certification, you’ll learn how to:

  • Give the right advice at the right time
  • Get better results… with less effort
  • Boost your credibility and establish your reputation
  • Build the kind of business (and lifestyle) you’ve always wanted.

No matter where you’re at in your career,  you can become Precision Nutrition Certified… and learn how to coach nutrition in the most effective way possible.

And the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification will help you do it.

 

 

A brand-new, completely updated 4th edition.

Since we first launched the Precision Nutrition Certification, we’ve been recognized as the world’s most definitive source on the science of nutrition and the art of nutrition coaching.

Indeed, over 2 million people interested in fitness, health, food, and nutrition visited our website last month, enough to fill Dallas Cowboy stadium 20 times.

Yet we’re never satisfied with yesterday’s success.

Nutrition science is dynamic, and new discoveries are made daily. And that’s just on the research side. As we continue to coach (over 100,000 clients to date), we’re discovering new methods to achieve real, lasting behavior change.

As we train and certify health and fitness professionals (over 70,000 and counting), we’re also uncovering the best ways to help our Certification students learn, retain, and apply the material.

That’s why we’ve spent the better part of this year re-envisioning and redesigning the program from the ground up.

Here’s what’s new…

New “skills, practice, and action” framework

It’s one thing to read and retain information. It’s an entirely different thing to actually apply what you’re learning and start getting results right away.

This was our focus in this 4th edition: To teach you the theory and to help you practice what you’re learning, so that you can start getting life-changing results with your clients from Day One of the program.

We’ve designed the entire curriculum in a way that helps you immediately apply your new knowledge.

  • Practice-based approach. Along with reading the textbooks, watching the videos, and answering workbook questions, you’ll also get the opportunity to practice what you’re learning throughout the entire program. By the end, your nutrition coaching skills will be second nature to you.
  • Step-by-step learning process, for immediate results. You can read a chapter in the morning, and use what you learned in your afternoon coaching sessions with clients.
  • Active learning tools. From case studies, to “try it now” exercises, to your own “Learner’s Manual,” we’ll give you all the tools you need to use what you’re learning in the real world, right away.

With the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification, you’ll learn nutrition coaching the right way.

Now, more than ever, our certification is guaranteed to give you a one-of-a-kind education experience—plus the knowledge and confidence to coach nutrition with anyone.

That’s why top organizations like this come to us for help:

And companies like:

And major media outlets like:

Newly updated 4th edition of the Level 1 Certification program

This latest version of the program is more valuable and practical than ever. Inside you’ll find:

  • 3 unit textbooks, beautifully packaged in a box set—to give you everything you need to know about nutrition, exercise, behavior-change psychology, and coaching practice. Plus, it’s easy to carry from your house, to the car, to the gym, so you can study anywhere!
  • 20 animated instructional video seminars, to help you better understand each chapter (check out a sample video below).
  • Workbook and study guide, with exercises and thought experiments to help prepare you for the end-of-chapter exams.
  • Real-world case studies, drawn from our work with over 100,000 clients, to help you practice and retain the concepts you’re learning.
  • Over 40 premium coaching tools, including assessment forms and questionnaires, to help you learn more about your clients and unlock their full potential.

The brand-new 4th Edition of the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification is beautifully packaged in a box set and packed with the latest research and proven coaching practices.

Professional nutrition software, ProCoach (optional)

As a PN Level 1 Certification student, you’ll also have the opportunity to access ProCoach, our cutting-edge nutrition coaching software that helps you coach more people, in less time, with better results. This is only available to Certification students.

Tested with over 100,000 clients, ProCoach helps you deliver world-class nutrition coaching. Now you can grow your business while working less & getting better results.

Community of like-minded people + top experts

As a PN Level 1 student, you’ll get instant access to our private Facebook community. Now you’ll be able to learn alongside an extremely supportive group of over 35,000 coaches, physicians, trainers, nutritionists, researchers, therapists, yoga teachers, and other health and fitness professionals from all over the world.

With case studies, lessons, tips of the day, and more, being part of this community will deepen your learning, introduce you to new people, and help you level up your career.

You’ll also get daily access to the field’s most accomplished experts and coaches, including me, Brian St. Pierre, Dr. Krista Scott-Dixon, Dominic Matteo, Dr. Helen Kollias, Kate Solovieva, Adam Feit, Lisanne Thomas, and more.

As part of the community you can ask questions, get feedback and advice, and nerd out on everything health and nutrition.

Precision Nutrition Certification

 

 

The Precision Nutrition Certification is everything we’ve learned over 15 years—brought together, and shared with you.

Precision Nutrition is the only nutrition certification company in the world that successfully coaches real clients every single day. 

What does that mean? The Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification is NOT full of abstract theory that doesn’t work in the real world.

Instead, it’s deep knowledge that’s client-tested, scientifically proven, and constantly updated based on the data we’ve collected working with 100,000 coaching clients.

Even better, you’ll get the education you need, on your terms and on your schedule—without having to go back to school.

Precision Nutrition Certification

 

 

Why choose Precision Nutrition?

The Precision Nutrition Certification gives you everything you need to feel confident and qualified to coach nutrition with anyone.

Here are just a few reasons for why we’re the most-respected nutrition certification company in the world.

We wrote the book on nutrition coaching

The PN Level 1 Certification, 4th Edition. There’s nothing else like it anywhere.

We couldn’t find a textbook or a course that did all the things we wanted to do, nor all the things we wanted to teach others.

So we created the Precision Nutrition Certification, based on our extensive research and work with over 100,000 clients. It includes 3 unit textbooks, packaged in a beautiful box set for easy reference.

Each unit is packed with the latest research in nutrition and behavioral-change psychology, and includes practical coaching strategies, plus a step-by-step system for getting results with anyone.

Let’s get specific:

In Unit 1, you’ll learn all about the Precision Nutrition approach to coaching. After working with over 100,000 people (and counting), we’ve learned what really works for helping people change. Now we’re passing it onto you.

We’ll show you how to:

  • Set yourself up for the best learning experience
  • Explore your own coaching style
  • Use scientific evidence in coaching
  • Build a healthy coaching relationship with clients
  • Coach people to “deep health”—where your clients thrive in all areas of their lives (physical, mental, emotional, and so on)

Next up is Unit 2, where you’ll dive into the science of nutrition. We’ll cover topics like:

  • The body’s systems, organs, and cells
  • Calories and metabolism
  • Digestion, absorption, and water balance
  • Energy production, fat storage, and muscle gain
  • Macronutrients: protein (amino acids), carbohydrate (fiber, sugar, and starch) and fat (triglycerides and fatty acids)
  • Vitamins, minerals, and zoonutrients (yes, zoonutrients!)
  • And much more

It’s like getting a graduate-level education in nutrition science. Yes, you’re going to “nerd out” a bit! But don’t be intimidated. Each chapter is written in a way that’s easy to consume and comprehend.

In Unit 3 you’ll learn how to best apply this new information, including how to:

  • Walk clients through the PN Coaching process step-by-step
  • Assess clients, gather data, and identify their goals
  • Create an action plan they’ll actually follow
  • Measure their progress and adjust where necessary
  • Help them achieve lasting changes in their health and lives
  • Work with all types of clients and situations
  • Build a coaching business, in-person or online

In all, you’ll get nearly 700 pages of the latest, most effective research in nutrition science and behavior-change psychology—co-authored by some of the industry’s leading authorities in health and fitness.

And that’s not even including the workbook & studyguide, case-studies, and video seminars you’ll have access to.

Like this video from Chapter 3, called “What is a great coach?”:

With this incredible learning resource we’re doing everything in our power to change the game. We’re out to educate and train a new, more effective kind of health and fitness professional.

And we’re being recognized for it by the top organizations in the world.

The PN Method has been validated clinically.

The Precision Nutrition Method, which drives our Certification and ProCoach programs, was recently validated in 3 peer-reviewed studies. This means that the system you’ll learn in the Level 1 program is truly “evidence-based.” In fact, we’re the only nutrition certification company in the world that successfully coaches real clients every single day.

Our method was recently validated in peer-reviewed studies published in Internet Interventions, the Journal of Cancer Survivorship, and Obesity Science and Practice.

Having worked with over 100,000 clients, we know our system is highly effective at helping people lose fat, build strength, and make big health improvements. Now the medical and scientific communities know it, too.

 

 

Master the science of nutrition and the art of coaching.

We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: Precision Nutrition is the only nutrition certification company in the world that successfully coaches real clients every single day.

Clients like these:

What’s that mean for you? You can trust that every single thing we teach you in the Level 1 Certification has been tested, tweaked, and proven to work.

Get the brand-new Precision Nutrition Certification at the lowest price ever—save up to 44%. (October 2019 registration only.)

Experts, coaches, educators, and scientists all agree: The Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification is the gold standard in nutrition coaching education.

Now you can get a deep understanding of the science of nutrition, boost your credentials, and finally feel qualified to coach nutrition with your clients.

The best part? You can lock in a one-time special discount on the brand-new PN Certification. It’s our way of rewarding those who are ready to invest in themselves, so they can be better professionals and help more people.

The general public price for the previous third edition of the PN Certification was $99 USD per month for 12 months.

For the brand-new fourth edition, the general public price is $119 USD per month for 12 months ($1428 USD).

But when you join the free presale list today, you’ll get the opportunity to pay only $79 USD per month for 12 months or a one-time payment of $799 USD—up to 44% savings.

After years of research and testing, the fourth edition of the Precision Nutrition Certification is more valuable and practical than ever. It includes the most cutting-edge developments in nutrition science, behavior-change psychology, and coaching methodology you won’t find anywhere else.

This one-time special price will never be seen again after our October 2019 registration.

And just like always, we only take a small number of new students to teach them our proven nutrition system. Spots are first-come, first-served, so don’t miss out!

 

 

With the PN Level 1 Certification you’ll:

  • Understand the science of nutrition on a deep-level. We’ll help you understand the what, why, and how of nutrition coaching so you can feel qualified to give advice, and empowered to help anyone achieve better health and fitness.
  • Get amazing results for your clients. Never feel confused about what to do with your clients ever again. We’ll show you how to give the right advice at the right time. You’ll learn how to create a clear action plan for each client, with uncomplicated nutrition and lifestyle practices they’ll actually stick to.
  • Apply what you’re learning right away, for immediate results.  Along with building new and valuable skills over time, you’ll also be able to apply what you’re learning right away. That means you can read a chapter in the morning, and use what you learned during your afternoon sessions.
  • Earn the income you deserve to earn. A coach who truly understands how to help people is worth their weight in gold. And since people LOVE to tell their friends and family about their success, you can sit back and watch your client retention and referral business jump to a new level.
  • Study at your own pace, from anywhere. We know how busy life can get. That’s why you can take as long (or as short) as you like to work through the materials and get certified. Because the PN Certification is like a degree in elite nutrition coaching, you don’t have to go back to school in order to get the education you need.
  • Establish credibility, grow your reputation, and connect with top professionals. Join the PN Level 1 Certification, and you’re in good company. We now have over 70,000 students from around the world who can confidently say, “I know my stuff — and I change lives.”  You can find many of them on the private Facebook group, where you can swap tips and insights with your colleagues while making new friends.

Precision Nutrition Certification

 

Interested? Add your name to the presale list. You’ll save up to 44% and secure your spot 24 hours before everyone else.

We’re opening spots in the brand-new Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification on Wednesday, October 2nd.

If you want to find out more, we’ve set up the following presale list, which gives you two advantages.

  • Lock in your one-time special discount—and save up to 44%. We like to reward people who are eager to boost their credentials and are ready to commit to getting the education they need. So we’re offering a discount of up to 44% off the general price when you sign up for the presale list. Remember: After October, you’ll never see this price again.
  • Sign up 24 hours before the general public and increase your chances of getting a spot. We only open the certification program twice per year. Due to high demand, spots in the program are limited and have historically sold out in hours. But when you sign up for the presale list, we’ll give you the opportunity to register a full 24 hours before anyone else.

If you’re ready for a deeper understanding of nutrition, the authority to coach it, and the ability to turn what you know into results… this is your chance to see what the world’s top professional nutrition coaching system can do for you.

The post Opening October 2019: The Brand-New Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

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Want to achieve total confidence in your coaching skills? Get (and keep) more clients? Grow and strengthen your business? If so, the Precision Nutrition Level 2 Certification is definitely for you.

The Precision Nutrition Level 2 Certification is designed specifically for Level 1 students and graduates who realize that knowing how to coach nutrition isn’t enough.

Part master class, part graduate program, part mentorship, it’s the only course in the world that helps you master the art of coaching, meaning better results for your clients, and a better business for you.

For more on the Level 2 Certification, check out this short video. It includes interviews with superstar coaches, physicians, and trainers like Adam Feit, Dr. Spencer Nadolsky, Adam Lloyd, Mary Kate Feit, and Dr. Will Boggs:

 

 

On Wednesday, October 2nd, we’re opening registration for the next Precision Nutrition Level 2 Certification group.

Our highest rated (and most revered) program, the Precision Nutrition Level 2 Certification gives exclusive training, mentorship, and coaching practice under the guidance of the Precision Nutrition team — resulting in a more rewarding, sustainable, and profitable business for you.

By working closely with a PN Master Coach, you’ll become truly elite, capable of solving complex coaching challenges, delivering unparalleled results to every single person who comes to you for help, and standing out from the pack as a genuine client whisperer.

In addition, you’ll be ready to truly catapult your career using ProCoach, our nutrition coaching software that’s exclusively available to Precision Nutrition Certification students and grads.

What does this mean for you and your career?

Well, aside from the deep satisfaction that comes with mastering your craft, we also know that the Level 2 Certification has a real impact on coaches’ business and finances. The average Precision Nutrition Level 2 coach:

  • gets more clients than the average Level 1 coach,
  • retains more clients than the average Level 1 coach,
  • gets better results with those clients, and
  • reports more fun and enjoyment in their coaching practice.

Indeed, as amazing as our Level 1 certified coaches are, recent ProCoach data with over 100,000 clients shows that Precision Nutrition Level 2 certified coaches have 10 times(!) the retention vs. Level 1 coaches.

IMAGE 4

 

 

Welcome to the Master Class.

The Precision Nutrition Level 2 Certification, often called the Level 2 Certification Master Class, started out as our own in-house training program for newly hired Precision Nutrition coaches.

You see, as talented as some of our applicants were, almost none had the training or skills required to coach at the highest possible level, to the Precision Nutrition standard.

So we created an intensive, year-long coaching curriculum for our new recruits and paired them up with one of our Precision Nutrition Master Coaches to form a practice-based mentorship.

We were absolutely blown away by the results.

After completing the training, already great coaches were 10 times better at creating connection, navigating challenges, helping clients achieve their goals.

Why the difference?

Well, this isn’t a learning program. It’s a doing program.

As you already know: Your clients or patients don’t get healthy by learning about health. They get healthy by practicing nutrition and fitness, consistently. (And, often, under the guidance of a coach).

Likewise, you don’t become an expert coach by learning about coaching. You become an expert coach by practicing excellent coaching, consistently (under the guidance of your own coach).

In the end, after seeing what this learn by doing program did for our own coaches, we decided to make it available to coaches everywhere.

IMAGE 2

 

 

The Level 2 Certification Master Class is a year-long mentorship where you:

  • build your skills through daily coaching practice and habits that are part of a big-picture coaching curriculum,
  • complete challenging case studies that come from real client examples we’ve seen in our own coaching programs,
  • solve your clients’ or patients’ biggest problems using PN’s special tools and techniques, now proven in 3 peer-reviewed scientific studies, and
  • work directly with a Precision Nutrition coach who’ll guide you through coaching scenarios, case studies, and daily coaching habits.

In the end, through daily practice (and a mentor’s watchful eye), you’ll end up mastering PN-style client/patient-centered, practice-based coaching.

This means…

  • Being a confident, world-class nutrition coach able to work with — and deliver results for — anyone, anywhere.
  • Making a real difference, helping clients or patients make important, potentially life-saving changes to their health, fitness, and performance.
  • Feeling competent and capable every day. (No more confusing, frustrating, anxiety-inducing “I have no idea what to do here!” situations.)
  • Learning to create, market, and sustain a successful professional practice — thriving where other coaches struggle and (maybe even) fail.

That’s what completing the Level 2 Certification Master Class will do for you.

Of course, the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification gave you a strong foundation in the science of nutrition and the art of coaching.

Now it’s time to build on this foundation with daily practice (and mentorship) that’ll help you evolve into a remarkable coach with a one-of-a-kind business: Where you help even more people, make a real difference to the clients you serve, coach with confidence, and make more money while you’re at it.

IMAGE 5

 

 

With the Precision Nutrition Level 2 Certification Master Class, you’ll:

  • Apprentice with Precision Nutrition to become a world-class nutrition and fitness coach.
  • Get 12 months of daily lessons, building your skills while solving real client problems with oversight from the Precision Nutrition team.
  • Get hands-on practice applying our best coaching tools, techniques, and technologies.
  • Get personalized help and guidance, to push yourself and become the best coach possible.
  • Have the chance to use the same proven ProCoach software that we use with Precision Nutrition Coaching clients.
  • Feel 100% confident in your ability to get results with every client you work with.

Want to know more? Download and read through the entire Precision Nutrition Level 2 curriculum. It gives a week by week breakdown of what the program offers, plus example lessons, quizzes, and case studies.

IMAGE 1

 

 

What’s new?

The PN Method validated in scientific journals

The Precision Nutrition method, which drives our Certification and ProCoach programs, was recently validated in 3 peer-reviewed studies. This means that the system you’ll learn in the Level 2 program is truly “evidence-based”.

Our method was recently validated in peer-reviewed studies published in Internet Interventions, the Journal of Cancer Survivorship, and Obesity Science and Practice.

Having worked with over 100,000 clients, we know our system is highly effective at helping people lose fat, build strength, and make big health improvements. Now the medical and scientific communities know it too.

Community of like-minded people + top experts

With our private Facebook community you’ll be able to learn alongside an extremely supportive group of over 35,000 trainers, nutritionists, physicians, sport coaches, researchers, therapists, and other healthcare professionals from all over the world.

With case studies, lessons, tips of the day, and more, being part of this community will deepen your learning, introduce you to new people, and help you level up your career.

You’ll also get daily access to the field’s most accomplished experts and coaches, including me, Brian St. Pierre, Dr. Krista Scott-Dixon, Dominic Matteo, Dr. Helen Kollias, Kate Solovieva, Adam Feit, Lisanne Thomas, and more.

As part of the Precision Nutrition Certification community you can: Ask questions. Get feedback and advice. Nerd out on all things nutrition, health, and fitness.

How to get results, Precision Nutrition style.

People ask me all the time:

“How do you guys get such incredible body transformations in your clients?”

Our clients tell us:

“It’s like you’re reading my mind! How did you know what was holding me back from my goals?”

We just smile and keep quietly innovating. While getting results like this:

Until now, we’ve kept most of the dynamic, day-to-day coaching methods we use with Equinox, Nike, and Titleist, a secret.

Only Precision Nutrition Level 2 Certification Master Class students are given behind-the-scenes access to the same training and mentoring program we use to onboard the full-time coaches we hire.

Just one caveat:

This program isn’t for everyone.

  • You need to care about your coaching practice and your client’ results, and want to make those better.
  • You need to show up ready to learn, grow, and to be guided (and sometimes, challenged).
  • You need to be willing to commit time and energy to improving your skills.

Only one issue:
Last year, spots sold out in under an hour.

Because the Master Class offers personal attention to every student, we can only accept a small percentage of the people who want to work with us. Only the most eager and serious get in.

So with over 70,000 Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification students and grads, and only a few spots available for the next class, we’re preparing for the same thing to happen again: Spots will sell out. And they will sell out fast.

That’s why if you’re interested in being a part of this exclusive group, I recommend that you join the Level 2 Certification Master Class VIP list.

Add your name to the Master Class VIP list and you’ll get the chance to register 24 hours before everyone else. Plus, you’ll get a huge discount on the program.

It’s our way of rewarding the people who are ready to get started and want to gain true mastery in their nutrition and fitness coaching practice.

If you’re ready, let’s change the game.

After coaching over 100,000 clients and developing some of the best pros in the nutrition coaching field, I’m absolutely certain that this Master Class is a game changer.

Develop your own practice and skills.

Help every single person who walks in your door.

Build your business.

And become a leader who changes the entire field of health and fitness.

More details about the Master Class.

To learn more about why we created this course and what you can expect to get out of it, check out the videos below.

+++++

Coaches are made, not born:
Becoming the ultimate coach

If you’re passionate about nutrition and fitness and are thinking about switching careers to do more coaching, this is a must-see. Watch time – 4 minutes

+++++

Applying your knowledge:
Developing a system

Lots of folks struggle with translating theory into a practical system. Here’s how to get started. Watch time – 2 minutes

+++++

The secret weapon:
How to forge a coaching relationship

If you’ve ever felt “on your own” when improving yourself, this insight might change everything. Watch time – 4 minutes

+++++

Finding a mentor:
Yes, even coaches need coaching

If you’re a coach, you must believe in the power of coaching. So shouldn’t you be getting some yourself? Watch time – 3 minutes

+++++

Working with tough clients:
How to do it

Tough or complex clients can zap your confidence and make you question your expertise. Not any more. Watch time – 3 minutes

+++++

Interested? Add your name to the VIP list. You’ll save up to 37% and secure your spot 24 hours before everyone else.

We’ll be opening up spots in our next Precision Nutrition Level 2 Certification Master Class on Wednesday, October 2nd.

If you want to find out more, we’ve set up the following VIP list which gives you two advantages.

  • Pay less than everyone else. We like to reward people who are eager to get started and ready to gain mastery in their coaching practice. So we’re offering a discount of up to 37% off the general price when you sign up for the Master Class VIP list.
  • Sign up 24 hours before the general public and increase your chances of getting a spot. We only open the PN Master Class twice per year. Due to high demand and a very limited number of spots, we expect it to sell out fast. But when you sign up for the Master Class VIP list, we’ll give you the opportunity to register a full 24 hours before anyone else.

If you’re ready to take the next step in becoming a world-class coach, we’re ready to share our knowledge and help you master the art of coaching.

The post Opening October 2019: The Precision Nutrition Level 2 Certification Master Class. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

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Changing your eating and exercise habits is hard enough. Getting loved ones to support your healthy lifestyle changes? Prepare to grit your teeth. The company you keep does affect your progress toward healthier living. So here’s how to reduce peer pressure and get the social support you need.

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You beam as you gather your family ‘round the dining table, where you’ve lovingly assembled a colorful and nutritious meal.

Everyone takes a seat.

You serve the grilled chicken, the sauteed broccoli, the pumpkin seed-studded salad. You nervously watch for reactions.

It’s really delicious…You swear!

Then, within moments:

A floret of broccoli makes a perfect arc across the room after your toddler daughter catapults it from her fork.

Your preteen son slumps so low that only his furrowed brow and the top of his phone peek above the table.

Your partner, trying to be polite and supportive, has been chewing his first bite for a good two minutes. Without swallowing.

Even the dog, usually hovering shamelessly, sniffs at a spinach leaf and then flops down in the corner with a sigh.

You feel… alone.

Now what?

To change your eating and exercise habits, do you have to convince your friends and family to change too?

Would getting loved ones on board with your healthy lifestyle changes make the whole endeavor easier?

And if so, how the #@*% do you do that?

This really matters to you.

You’re excited about your experiments with lifestyle changes.

You’re eating more vegetables. You’re walking on your lunch breaks and seeing a trainer on the weekend.

Your body is looking, working, and feeling better.

You feel sparks of inspiration and hope. And you want to keep going.

You desperately want loved ones with you.

Why?

Well, because you love them.

You want your family and friends to be healthy and safe — to feel good. You want to protect them from the pain of poor health.

You want the best for them.

And frankly, you need support from the people closest to you.

It seems hard — even near impossible — to make these big changes alone.

If you’re feeling these things it’s important to know: The thoughts are really, really normal.

It is hard to eat and move in ways that support your own health goals when, in your social circle, Fridays mean beer and tacos; Saturdays mean a Jenga tower of bacon at the greasy spoon; hanging out means meeting at the bar to shoot tequila instead of at the park to shoot hoops; etc.

In some ways, you are the sum of your social circle.

Habits can be contagious.

The people around you matter. And you matter to the people around you.

Research shows that we are affected by the body composition, habits, and lifestyles of those around us. The more people around us are doing something, or living a certain way, the more likely we are to do and live the same — whether that’s what we eat, how we eat, whether we move (or not), how we move, and so on.

If your friends and family are fitter and healthier, you’re more likely to be fitter and healthier. And the reverse is true, too.

Research shows that:

  • The weight of those closest to you may help determine your own weight. According to one large-scale study, having a friend, an adult sibling, or a spouse who is obese increases your own obesity risk by 57 percent, 40 percent, and 37 percent respectively.
  • Even your friends’ friends matter. Two degrees of separation between you and someone who is obese increases your own chances of being obese by 20 percent. You don’t even have to have met them for this to be a factor in your own weight.
  • Your weight is more influenced by people of your own gender. For women, this means that a girlfriend’s or same-sex partner’s weight may have a larger effect than a guy friend’s or opposite-sex partner’s; and vice versa for men.
  • Weight convergence likely happens subconsciously. Researchers believe that we change our habits to match those of our social group without talking or even thinking about it.
  • The amount you eat depends on who you’re eating with. Dine with a big eater, and you’re liable to consume more; sit down with a light eater, and you’re likely to take in less. This effect has been observed even among strangers. When asked, the diners usually attribute the mirroring effect to taste and hunger as opposed to the behavior of others around them.
  • How much you eat also depends on the size of the group you’re with. Eating with one, two, three, four, five, six, and seven or more other people is associated with a 33, 47, 58, 69, 70, 72, and 96 percent increase in energy consumed, respectively.
  • Your social network can also have a big impact on what you eat. People whose friends generally meet the guidelines for produce intake are more likely to eat at least five servings of fruit and vegetables per day.
  • Your impression of social norms help determine what you eat, how much you eat, and your physical activity level. If getting a light salad for lunch seems “normal”, that’s what you’re likely to do, even if no one’s going to see you eat it. Conversely, if eating a bag of Ruffles for lunch seems “normal”, you may do that, even if you know the salad is more aligned with your health goals. Those who report a high level of physical activity as the social norm are also more likely to be active themselves.

As you can see, most of this happens subconsciously. We often change our habits to match those of our social group without talking or even thinking about it.

It’s not just how you eat and move, of course. Research indicates that you’re influenced by family and friends for other big-deal game-changers, like whether to get married or when to have a baby.

Of course, all of these findings are correlations — researchers are still working out exactly why the body weight and lifestyle of friends and family affects your own.

But why does it work this way? Why can’t you be a lone wolf or a unique individual? Well, in some ways, social influence is a good thing.

Social cohesion keeps us alive.

Human beings are social creatures.

We evolved in small groups who depended on one another for survival. Much of our brain is devoted specifically to social cues and communication: recognizing faces, reading emotions, making and understanding language, etc.

We depended on social cohesion — on belonging — to survive. To be alone (whether abandoned, rejected, or left behind) often meant certain death.

Today, modern medicine shows us that loneliness can still kill: our bodies respond to social rejection and isolation as if they were viral threats. When we are persistently lonely, inflammation goes up, immunity goes down; we get more chronic diseases and die sooner.

Aloneness is scary. Vulnerable. Difficult.

“Aloneness” can be “real”, like the actual aloneness of a young woman who chooses to stay in to eat a healthy dinner and get a good night’s sleep when all her roommates have gone out for pizza and partying.

“Aloneness” can also be a feeling, like the way a guy feels when all his buddies are drinking beer and he’s got a seltzer.

If you’re the only one at happy hour ordering a side salad instead of fries, it’s basically like you’re outside the campfire circle of social safety, just waiting for the lions to attack your tender, undefended flesh.

Thus, protecting ourselves against aloneness is in our DNA.

Swimming against the current is hard.

Of course, it is possible to go it alone. (Terms like “pioneer” and “trailblazer” exist, after all.)

But let’s face it: It’s a lot easier to eat better and get more exercise when your social environment — the behavior of your family and friends — supports your goals.

As with all things, the laws of physics come into play. When you’re trying to change, you may encounter either friction, or momentum.

Friction can make you feel stuck.

Friction makes things harder to do.

Eye-rolling coworkers, spinach-resistant kids, and chili nachos-loving friends — people who explicitly disagree with you or simply engage in opposing habits — create environmental and emotional barriers as you try to move toward your goals.

Friction is:

  • when you make a big batch of kale chips for your family on movie night instead of the usual popcorn, and your kids respond with flailing limbs, screeching protests, and exaggerated gagging performances.
  • when you sign up for a 10K run and your friends wag their fingers at you and tell you that running will kill your knees.
  • when you make an agreement with your mother-in-law that you will take care of the sides for Thanksgiving dinner because you want to provide healthy options, but when you arrive she has prepared all the usual greasy, sugary dishes because she “didn’t want to break tradition”.

When you’re dealing with friction, lifestyle change is like climbing a steep mountain with gravel moving underneath you — complete with cursing, tripping, and slow progress.

Momentum helps you keep rolling.

Momentum boosts you and replenishes your energy.

Willing and/or like-minded loved ones can help keep you accountable, connected, and supported, bolstering you as you work to change your eating and exercise routine.

Momentum is:

  • when your whole family chips in to make a wholesome meal, turning food preparation into a family project. You talk about what fruits and vegetables you like, research healthy recipes, and try new weird-shaped vegetables, together.
  • when you sign up for a 10K run and your friends ask if you want a cheering section, or at least someone to throw water on you (supportively, of course).
  • when you make an agreement with your mother-in-law that you will take care of the sides for Thanksgiving dinner. She gets the hint, lets you do your thing, and takes a cue from you and puts out some local berries for dessert as well. (Of course, people still hit the pie… but… well… c’mon, it’s pie.)

Be brave; be positive.

Now here’s some “PN physics”: You can have friction and momentum, together.

In other words, even if you encounter resistance, you can still get support too.

Even if your loved ones aren’t super-enthusiastic about your nutrition and fitness experiments, or will never love pea sprouts like you do, it doesn’t mean they don’t care, or won’t help.

  • You can pursue your goals in the face of wavering or stingy support.
  • You don’t have to dump all your friends and family.
  • Most importantly, you may not even have to try to convince anyone in order to get them on board.

Social support works both ways.

The people around you can influence you. And you can influence them back.

This is where the good type of “going it alone” comes in: leadership.

While it may be easier to wait until your immediate social circle comes around to prioritizing healthy choices, it’s also incredibly empowering and inspiring to be a leader for change, despite the forces against you.

And in doing so, you’ll build your own small wave of momentum that, little by little, erodes the friction you encounter.

But here’s an important tip: You don’t reduce friction by pushing back. A powerful healthy-lifestyle pioneer… is a peaceful one.

In order to step into that role, try this gentle, sometimes counterintuitive, action plan.

3 crucial strategies for getting friends and family to support your healthy lifestyle.

1. Accept that you may not be “right”.

Step back and embrace some hard truth.

How much of the friction you feel from others… is actually created by you?

Even if you mean well, and even if you are absolutely 100% correct (yes, smoking is bad; yes, vegetables are good)…

How often have you been judgemental? Insistent? Preachy? Self-righteous? Dismissive? Over-enthusiastic? Maybe even a bit… culty? (That t-shirt that says “Kale University”? We see it.)

Conversely, how often have you been curious? Interested in others’ perspectives? Able to deal with diversity and tolerate various viewpoints? Open-minded? Empathetic and compassionate? A good listener?

Consider this: Maybe “right” isn’t so obvious.

All behaviors and choices have a reason to be there. You might not know the reasons; you might not quite understand the reasons or even agree with the reasons.

But whatever habits your loved ones are practicing, they are doing them for a reason. In some way, their habits are “right” for them. They may have only a limited toolbox of options or coping skills.

This means:

  • understanding that your brother feels panicked and crushed under work stress, and sees drinking as the best way to cope.
  • having compassion for your best friend, who is terrified to confront her body, and therefore gets defensive and critical every time you bring up your new health regimen.
  • understanding that your parents were raised to respect traditional authority figures, so they still believe margarine is better for you than butter, because that’s what their doctor drilled into them 30 years ago.

When we focus on defending our “right-ness” and proving our loved ones’ “wrongness”, our perspective becomes very narrow and our relationships become oppositional.

However, when we let go of judgement and choose compassion and empathy, we make room for understanding.

Understanding dissolves conflict, because it usually shows us that, at our cores, we are all dealing with the same themes — we’re more alike than different.

Understanding helps us collaborate instead of clash; connect instead of criticize. We start to ask questions that, instead of inducing blame and shame, invite connection and support:

Why are they so different from me?
becomes
When have I dealt with something similar?

How do I get them to stop the bad habit?
becomes
What problem is the bad habit trying to solve?

What is wrong with them?
becomes
What might they really need?

As your loved ones begin to feel more understood, and less judged, they may begin to practice more flexibility and less judgement toward your new habits and beliefs too.

(And by the way, it’ll serve you immensely to practice non-judgement, compassion, and understanding on yourself too.)

2. Be persistent, not pushy.

Resistance more often comes from fear than from true philosophical opposition.

Change can feel scary. It can bring up issues of control, security, and identity, and it can also bring up painful emotions like anxiety, panic, shame, or loss.

When our loved ones resist change (in all the creative ways they can come up with — consciously and unconsciously, kindly and unkindly), what they might actually be feeling underneath it all… is fear.

Their fear can be the result of thoughts like:

  • What if you become a different person?
  • What if this new food tastes gross?
  • What if your healthy habits make me confront my unhealthy habits?
  • What if people don’t accept us?
  • What if you judge me or don’t love me anymore?
  • What if I can’t keep up with you?
  • What if life gets uncomfortable?
  • What if I lose you?

Just like a scared child, resistance and fear in their adult forms don’t respond well to rational arguments and pushing.

So while you must press forward with the changes you’re trying to make for your own well-being, you’ll more likely get support if you practice persistence rather than pushiness.

Pushiness means attempting to force friends and family to join/agree with you, and accepting only a rigid set of compliant responses.

Persistence means continuously offering opportunities for your friends and family to join you on your quest for a healthier life, and yet remains open to a wide range of responses to any given invitation.

So be persistent:

  • Keep offering healthy dishes at the dinner table.
  • Keep inviting your friends and family to join you on runs, hikes, and exercise classes.
  • Keep having conversations about nutrition, healthy body image, and what it means to have a truly good, capable life.

Prioritize positivity and connection when you present these options, and expect resistance, sometimes over and over and over again.

As much as you can, take the drama and emotional charge out of these conversations. Validate your loved ones’ reasons for staying the way they are, and don’t push back.

Perhaps, when their fear subsides and they realize it’s safe to dip their toe in the land of green smoothies and box jumps, your loved ones will join you, and you’ll ride off into the sunset (on your recumbent bikes, drinking coconut water) together.

3. Just “do you”.

Change is difficult.

In order to overcome the many bumps, blocks, and blusters inherent to significant lifestyle change, we need to be anchored to a deep, internal, personalized “why” that will pull us through.

You can’t manufacture this type of motivation for someone else. No matter how hard you try to coerce your kids, spouse, parents, and friends to change, they may have none of it.

And in fact, that may be a good sign. Because that means they know that in order to make the kinds of changes you’re making, they have to want it too.

We call this “intrinsic motivation” — a connection to one’s own, internal reasons for doing something. Research shows that intrinsic motivation leads to change that’s longer-lasting and more self-sustaining than extrinsic motivation, which is based on the desire to obtain external outcomes such as good grades or the approval of others (ahem).

Intrinsic motivation requires deep thought and reflection, and may take longer to develop.

So respect that your loved ones may take time to connect to their own reasons for eating and moving better.

Meanwhile, just “do you”.

Focus on your own intrinsic motivations. Stay connected to what’s driving you, deep inside, to make these personal changes.

Without ignoring your natural love and concern for loved ones, let your attention turn inward. Spend more energy on your own growth and development.

Which could lead to something else amazing…

Think about how you feel when you watch someone you love work toward a BIG goal with heartfelt determination, grit, and bravery.

Think about how you feel when you watch that person persist despite setbacks, failures, and fears.

Think about how you feel when you watch that person triumph, however messily and imperfectly, over adversity.

You feel inspired.

You feel like anything is possible.

You feel like maybe you could do something great too.

And that is the beautiful irony in “doing you”:

By working toward and achieving a healthier, happier, more confident and capable version of yourself, you become the inspiration, the positive influence to your family and friends.

And it all comes full circle when that little healthy-lifestyle wave you started attracts other riders, builds, and then becomes a huge tidal of momentum to carry you to your final objective — a fit, healthy you — and keep you there.

Influence happens in both directions, remember?

Lead the way.

What to do next.

We’ve learned that change is hard, and changing others is harder. It can be challenging to know where to start.

Take one of these concrete steps today to start reducing conflict and maximizing your own efforts toward healthy living.

Practice sacrificing a “win”.

If you find yourself in a conflict with a loved one, check your instinct to want to be “right”.

Ask yourself who you want to win: you, or the team that makes up you and your loved one(s).

Sometimes we have to sacrifice personal “wins” for the sake of the greater good of the family/friend unit. Often that means loving and accepting our loved ones even when they disagree or aren’t compliant with what we believe is “right”.

This takes practice, and it can be uncomfortable at first.

Find one opportunity to practice non-rightness today, and note the result.

Use “approach” goals instead of “avoid” goals.

To foster understanding among you and loved ones, play with the language you use to (gently) coach them.

“Avoidance” goals — such as “stop eating junk food”, “don’t watch TV after dinner”, and “don’t overeat” — are more likely to make people feel restricted, rebellious, and resistant.

“Approach goals” — such as “try two new vegetables this week”, “eat three different colors of plants today”, and “do something that gets you out of breath for 20 minutes” — are more likely to make people feel expansive, creative, interested, and willing.

Approach goals help make the process of change more harmonious, positive, and even fun for you and your family.

Find objective support that’s just for you.

Having a support person that is detached from your social bubble can be tremendously helpful.

A skilled nutrition and fitness coach provides an objective perspective and functions as a sounding board, a voice of reason, and a resource for practical ideas and inspiration — a source of momentum.

An experienced coach can also provide accountability, which is especially important if you are the lifestyle “trailblazer” in your social circle.

Check your motives.

Each time you make a decision about food or exercise (or any other health factor you’re trying to improve) ask yourself:

Am I doing this because everyone else is doing it, or because it matches my own internal intentions and values?

This doesn’t mean it’s wrong to want to do what other people are doing. But if you do go the way of the crowd, do it consciously.

Involve your loved ones.

Small moments of support can make a huge difference when you’re trying to move away from friction, toward momentum.

So:

  • Ask your spouse to help you stretch out after a workout, or to accompany you on a morning walk.
  • Ask your children to help you menu plan, choose vegetables at the grocery store, or even help prepare a meal.
  • Ask your best friend for a hug when you’ve had a stressful week.
  • Ask your friends and family to cheer you on at a race.

Involve and integrate your social network, into your life, without forcing them to change themselves.

Accept them as they are, and be sure to tell them how much it means to you that they are there for you.

Want help becoming the healthiest, fittest, strongest version of you?

Most people know that regular movement, eating well, sleep, and stress management are important for looking and feeling better. Yet they need help applying that knowledge in the context of their busy, sometimes stressful lives.

Over the past 15 years, we’ve used the Precision Nutrition Coaching method to help over 100,000 clients lose fat, get stronger, and improve their health… for the long-term… no matter what challenges they’re dealing with.

It’s also why we work with health, fitness, and wellness professionals (through our Level 1 and Level 2 Certification programs) to teach them how to coach their own clients through the same challenges.

Interested in Precision Nutrition Coaching? Join the presale list; you’ll save up to 54% and secure a spot 24 hours early.

We’ll be opening up spots in our next Precision Nutrition Coaching on Wednesday, July 17th, 2019.

If you’re interested in coaching and want to find out more, I’d encourage you to join our presale list below. Being on the list gives you two special advantages.

  • You’ll pay less than everyone else. At Precision Nutrition we like to reward the most interested and motivated people because they always make the best clients. Join the presale list and you’ll save up to 54% off the general public price, which is the lowest price we’ve ever offered.
  • You’re more likely to get a spot. To give clients the personal care and attention they deserve, we only open up the program twice a year. Last time we opened registration, we sold out within minutes. By joining the presale list you’ll get the opportunity to register 24 hours before everyone else, increasing your chances of getting in.

If you’re ready to change your body, and your life, with help from the world’s best coaches, this is your chance.

[Note: If your health and fitness are already sorted out, but you’re interested in helping others, check out our Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification program].

References

Click here to view the information sources referenced in this article.

The post 3 critical (and counterintuitive) strategies for getting loved ones to support your healthy lifestyle. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

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Feeling overworked and under-appreciated? Having trouble staying consistent with nutrition and fitness because of life’s demands? Wondering if you’ll ever be able to find time to achieve the body and health you want? This article is for you.

Putting others’ needs before your own? For lots of women, it’s an everyday reality.

Whether you’re a high-powered professional, a mother, a caregiver, a partner, a worker, a daughter, a friend, or all of the above and more….

….if you’re a woman, you’re asked to do a lot.

Many of us spend our days putting out fires, handling to-do lists, wiping little noses, meeting deadlines, and making sure other people are fed, safe, and happy.

Here’s the thing…

We’ve gotten to know a lot of women through our Precision Nutrition Coaching program. And we’ve learned that most of them enjoy — and thrive on — that impossible list above.

They like rising to the challenge of supporting others and getting stuff done.

That is, until their energy runs out and they realize they don’t have any left over for themselves.

And slowly, after months or years of putting other people first, multi-tasking, and wrangling that epic to-do list:

  • They’re drained mentally and emotionally.
  • The time they used to invest in self-care has disappeared.
  • The clothes that used to fit… feel a little (or a lot) tighter.
  • The sugar and junk food cravings seem much stronger.
  • The exercise classes/workouts are postponed, then canceled.
  • The bathroom mirror and scale are avoided. (Along with the bed.)
  • The stress of yo-yo dieting starts up again.

With putting so much time into caring for others, and juggling all their responsibilities, women end up neglecting themselves.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

You can feel healthy, fit, and good in your own skin.

You can regain control of your schedule and your body.

You can overcome emotional eating and cravings.

You can show love and appreciation to others while still taking care of yourself.

We’ll show you how.

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • The two biggest obstacles in many women’s way when it comes to getting healthy and staying in shape.
  • How to overcome these obstacles to get the body — and life — you want.

Oh sure, you think.

Maybe some women might find this helpful.

But my life is different. My body is different.

That’s exactly what tens of thousands of other women thought before they started Precision Nutrition Coaching.

They also felt frustrated, lost, and confused, struggling to manage their eating, health, and bodies. They knew they wanted to feel better, and they were trying hard, but they weren’t sure how to make it all work.

That was them before they started.

And here’s how they ended up… after a year of simple, do-able, progressive habits. The difference is astounding. Check out this short video:

Meet some of the people whose bodies — and lives — have been changed by Precision Nutrition Coaching.

 

 

At one point, many of these women felt like you do right now. But they discovered…

The kind of change you want is possible.

No matter where you’re starting.

No matter how you’re feeling right now.

No matter how much stuff is on your plate.

It’s possible.

Here’s what women are often wishing for when they start working with us, and some ways you can get started right now.

Wish #1:
“Help me have a better relationship with food.”

At some point in their lives, many women struggle with overeating and emotional eating. We love our wine, chocolate, sugar, or whatever our “I-deserve-this” or “I-need-a-freaking-break” treats are… but they don’t always love us back.

Once the “food rush” wears off, we’re left with the very same stress and problems we started with — plus now we feel guilty, ashamed, and maybe even out of control.

The cycle often looks like this.

  • Feel stressed, anxious, upset, etc.
  • Overeat.
  • Feel guilty and ashamed for overeating.
  • Feel more stressed, anxious, upset, etc.
  • Vow to “do better”.
  • White-knuckle a new diet, and/or make rigid “rules”.
  • Feel stressed, anxious, upset, etc.
  • Overeat.
  • Repeat the cycle.

(Believe me, I’ve been there.)

Solution: “Break the chain” exercise.

Simply notice, observe, and record what happened leading up to any food cravings, emotional eating, overeating, and/or any other times that feel “out of control” with food and eating.

Because here’s a secret:

Those feelings and behaviors didn’t come out of nowhere. They aren’t random. Something led to them.

Now you get to be a detective and figure out all the links in the chain.

To help you put this exercise into practice, download a printable version of our Break the Chain exercise, or think through the exercise below.

1. Start with any recent food or eating-related episode that troubled you. (For instance, eating too much, eating foods you didn’t want, feeling out of control, etc.).

2. Write down all the stuff that was happening around you just before that episode happened.

For instance:

  • Where were you?
  • What were you doing?
  • What were you thinking?
  • What were you feeling?
  • Who was with you?

3. Now see if you can go back even further.

Maybe a few hours. Once again:

  • Where were you?
  • What were you doing?
  • What were you thinking?
  • What were you feeling?
  • Who was with you?

Try to capture as much detail as possible.

4. Now look at your data. Are there any patterns?

If you don’t see any connections right away, no worries.

Try this exercise a few times, and then start looking for links between what was happening in the days or hours before you had a serious food craving or emotional eating episode.

5. If and when you find patterns, be curious about them.

Don’t worry about fixing them right away. Just notice them.

“Hm, that’s interesting. Every time my mom calls me, afterward I want to hit the chocolate.”

“You know, I actually feel fine most of the month, but the week before my period hits — watch out.”

“It’s been a long, stressful week at work. Give me that wine before I stab someone.”

6. You might notice solutions right away.

“OK, I’m going to go for a workout after I talk to mom, to get some of that energy out.”

“I’m going to mark my PMS days on the calendar so I know about them in advance.”

“I’m going to walk home on Fridays, to unwind.”

Or you might not notice solutions. You might feel stuck at step #5, noticing the patterns but not sure how to change.

Either way, that’s OK.

The important thing is: Now you’re aware of what’s happening.

(Reminder: you can download a printable version of our Break the Chain worksheet here. Use it to practice working through the above steps.)

Wish #2:
“Help me be consistent with my diet, exercise, or healthy lifestyle habits.”

If you’re like most women, you’ve probably tried at least some stuff to get and stay in shape.

Here’s what most women have tried before getting results with us:

  • Weight Watchers
  • MyFitnessPal and other calorie counters
  • Jenny Craig and Curves
  • Crossfit and other group workouts
  • Popular diets like Paleo, juice fasts, cleanses, and low-carb
  • Workout books and magazine articles

Of course, these aren’t “bad” options. They end up working for some people.

But most folks tell us they have a hard time staying consistent. They mean well, and work hard, but struggle to stay on track.

In part, this is because other plans don’t account for your life.

They don’t offer meaningful, step-by-step change that you can actually do in your real life. You know, the real life with a job and kids and a commute and going to school and all that stuff. The one that actual human people have.

And, in part, most other plans don’t offer support, care, and accountability like coaching does.

Solution #1:
Make yourself accountable to a program… that really works.

Ideally, you want a program that:

  • Focuses on all the things that are right with you, and all the strengths and skills you already have.
  • Gives you proven solutions that start to work right now.
  • You can customize to your lifestyle (so you can stay consistent and do it even when you’re busy).
  • You actually enjoy doing (and isn’t just another chore).
  • Makes you feel positive, hopeful, and supported all the way through.
  • Lasts. Like, for life.
  • Gives you a big goal to shoot for, if you want.

On that last point, some folks like big goals.

That’s why we give away $250,000 every year in Precision Nutrition Coaching.

Winning the money isn’t the point. It’s just something extra to push for. Something to look forward to. (That is, if you’re a goal kinda person. If you’re not, that’s cool too.)

Rachel lost 31 pounds in PN Coaching; we surprised her with $25,000.

So how do you know if a certain program will help keep you accountable?

After 15 years in the fitness industry, and over 100,000 clients , here’s what we’ve found works best:

  • Having a plan that provides both structure and flexibility.
  • The ability to customize the plan based on your skill levels, goals, and how much time you have available. 
  • Getting a daily reminder to practice whichever nutrition, exercise, or lifestyle habit you’re currently working on.
  • Measuring your progress at regular intervals.

That’s what helped our clients achieve results like this:




Solution #2:
Make yourself accountable to a person… who really cares.

As we like to say here at Precision Nutrition, nothing worth doing can be done alone.

Social support — whether that’s a friend, a workout partner, your spouse, your kid, your dog, a co-worker who walks with you at lunch, a personal trainer at your local gym, whatever — is crucial.

Don’t try to do this all alone.

Independence is great, but for a project like this, you need a team and a tribe of like-minded people helping and supporting you.

Social support plus accountability and lots of caring coaching is our specialty.

We’re in this business because we want to help you feel, look, and perform better… whatever body or goals you have.

If you want to join our next nutrition coaching program, we’d love to help you.

If that’s not a great fit for you, no problem. Just find one or more people who can support you, guide you, help you, and maybe give you the occasional loving boot in the butt when you need it.

The important thing is that you make yourself accountable to somebody and get the help you need. You have a lot on your plate already; why not let someone else show you the way?

Want help becoming the healthiest, fittest, strongest version of you?

Most people know that regular movement, eating well, sleep, and stress management are important for looking and feeling better. Yet they need help applying that knowledge in the context of their busy, sometimes stressful lives.

Over the past 15 years, we’ve used the Precision Nutrition Coaching method to help over 100,000 clients lose fat, get stronger, and improve their health… for the long-term… no matter what challenges they’re dealing with.

It’s also why we work with health, fitness, and wellness professionals (through our Level 1 and Level 2 Certification programs) to teach them how to coach their own clients through the same challenges.

Interested in Precision Nutrition Coaching? Join the presale list; you’ll save up to 54% and secure a spot 24 hours early.

We’ll be opening up spots in our next Precision Nutrition Coaching on Wednesday, July 17th, 2019.

If you’re interested in coaching and want to find out more, I’d encourage you to join our presale list below. Being on the list gives you two special advantages.

  • You’ll pay less than everyone else. At Precision Nutrition we like to reward the most interested and motivated people because they always make the best clients. Join the presale list and you’ll save up to 54% off the general public price, which is the lowest price we’ve ever offered.
  • You’re more likely to get a spot. To give clients the personal care and attention they deserve, we only open up the program twice a year. Last time we opened registration, we sold out within minutes. By joining the presale list you’ll get the opportunity to register 24 hours before everyone else, increasing your chances of getting in.

If you’re ready to change your body, and your life, with help from the world’s best coaches, this is your chance.

[Note: If your health and fitness are already sorted out, but you’re interested in helping others, check out our Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification program].

The post Overstressed and overeating: How to solve the two biggest health and fitness problems most women face. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

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