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Hi Everyone! Now we have really entered the colder season many people are concerned about keeping up their exercise routine and eating well. Recently we were visited at the college I lecture in by a group of participants in a ‘Boot Camp’ exercise and weight loss program. Here are some questions that they asked us… and they are very commonly asked of me in clinical practice too! 

How much protein should I eat?

The general guide is 1-1.5g of protein for 1kg of body weight. EG. 70 kg = 70g protein PER DAY.

Bear in mind that protein is not weight of protein foods for instance 1 egg = 5-7 g of protein. 120g Chicken = 20 g of protein, Handful of nuts = 10g protein. The complete proteins are meat/fish/eggs/tofu which can be eaten on their own in a meal eg. chicken salad, steak and vegetables, tofu and stir fry vegetables. Whereas the incomplete or vegetarian proteins need to be combined (2 in the same meal) as they do not have all the essential amino acids (protein building blocks we need to eat) like the complete proteins.  They are nuts & seeds, wholegrains and beans/pulses/legumes.  So mix baked beans on wholegrain toast or lentil curry with brown rice. Vegans will need to do this protein combining each meal if they are not eating tofu in order to get enough protein in their diet on a daily basis.

How much carbohydrates should I eat?

This is so individual and depends on so many things. Are you trying to lose weight? Do you have an active job? How healthy is your gut bacteria? What kind of carbohydrates are you eating? A wholegrain carbohydrate like brown rice is not comparable to a slice of white bread. Low GI carbohydrates are recommended which are also high in fiber for the beneficial bacteria in the gut and in addition are also full of important B vitamins and minerals like zinc, magnesium, selenium and iron. Carbohydrates also provide us with a slow release of energy. You should speak with a Qualified Nutritionist to find out how many carbohydrates to eat per day for your daily requirements.

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Are carbs bad?

Carbohydrates are our preferred fuel source as our bodies break down all carbs into the simple sugars we use for energy. Anything leftover is generally used to store as glycogen in our muscles and then finally the excess not used is stored as fat. Carbs are also the main food for our gut bacteria in the form of fermentable fibres and resistance starch. Nothing in moderation is bad especially when you choose wholegrain sources of carbohydrates like rolled oats or brown rice. But remember that all fruit and vegetables are carbs too and they are generally good for us. The general rule is 2 serves of fruit and 5-7 serves of vegetables each day. Most of us tend to eat the same things every day and about only 20 things each week! But in fact our bodies would love us to eat more variety.  Why not try things you have never tried before? Different type of fresh greens like purslane or dandelion greens, chinese snake beans, choy sum or jerusalem artichokes, choko or purple carrots! The list is endless… visit your local farmers market and try a new thing each week and your bodies, gut and mind will love you for it.

Docs and Naturopaths can work together

What are good fats? And why do our bodies need it?

Good fats are essential fatty acids like the polyunsaturated Omega 3 oils EPA & DHA and some types of Omega 6 PLUS fat-soluble vitamins like Vitamin A, D & K. If you avoid fat the first thing to be depleted are these EFA and fat-soluble Vitamins. These are crucial for bone density, eye health, reducing inflammation, healthy skin and mucous membranes, good neurotransmitter function and many more important things. Having healthy amounts of GOOD FATS will help your joints, brain, heart and gut work properly. These good fats are found in fish, seafood, nuts, seeds, cold pressed oils such as olive and walnut and avocados.

Best foods to eat as soon as I wake up or sleep

A meal rich in protein – aim for 20g a meal with a complex carbohydrate and some good fat is what to aim for eg. Breakfast could be overnight oats with LSA (ground linseed, sunflower and almonds) and a spoonful of natural yoghurt (coconut, cow or sheep dairy) plus berries OR wholegrain rye/spelt/buckwheat bread with avocados, spinach and eggs.. Dinner could be a piece of fish like barramundi baked with sweet potato and a spinach salad sprinkled with pine nuts or fetta cheese and cherry tomatoes.

How long should I wait after eating to sleep/swim/train

Waiting at least an hour is ideal as that allows your body to focus on digestion rather than exercising or sleeping and repair.

Is eating at night bad?

Much of the evidence coming out now around health and in particular maintaining a healthy weight is to allow some fasting to occur. This could be 12 hours or it could be 16 hours. So eating right before bed if it is not a fasting day may be ok especially if you are struggling with blood sugar imbalances but make it small like a small handful of nuts and a few berries or some goats cheese and wholegrain crackers.. even yoghurt, chia and berries could work. But try to have a few days each week where you fast at least 12 hours. So that means you finish eating at 7 you don’t eat again until at least 7 the next day.

What is a good snack?

Some type of protein is good and mix it with a fruit or veg eg.

Humus and veggie sticks, or raspberries with chia pudding or nut butter on apple slices

Can I still drink alcohol if I want to lose weight?

I believe you can in moderation… That means a few glasses of wine a week that’s all! The evidence actually shows that moderate drinkers live longer than teetotalers (that means moderate though max 7-8  glasses per week with alcohol free days and not more than 2 drinks a day!  And a glass is not half a bottle but a more reasonable 150/175 mls sorry folks 🙂

What are the best foods to lose weight?

Protein, whole grain carbohydrates and some good fats in moderation PLUS fruit and vegetables. Cut the processed foods and sugar, your bodies will thank you for it!

What are the best foods to put on muscle

Aim for 1.5 g of protein per 1 kg of body weight. Make sure you are not over training and you take a supplement to help with muscle recovery like Magnesium and B vitamins plus Omega 3 oils to reduce inflammation and protect your joints.

Most of all enjoy your food and enjoy eating meals with your friends or family sometimes because the evidence does show that eating dinner together is beneficial for all family members (yes even the mumbling teens!). Shop, prep and cook together… kids are never too young to learn!

If you need Nutritional Advice or more specific dietary support please contact us on 02 9979 9888 or email us


Look out for a blog next week from Jason Passlow a local PT about the benefits of exercise!

Stay Well!

Fin Mackenzie

BSc(CompMed), ADNat, DNut, DRM

Naturopath, Nutritionist & Herbalist

Green Door Health – 24/12-14 Waratah St, Mona Vale NSW 2103

02 9979 9888


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