Author: Jordan Clarke

Whey Protein

Protein has many amazingly beneficial biological effects in the body. Protein is made up of many various essential and nonessential amino acids, which are the building blocks of all things. You can think of amino acids as little beads linked together on a necklace, which makes up protein. These little guys are responsible for the growth and repair of all tissues, specifically muscle, tendons, cartilage, neurotransmitters, bones, blood, hair, skin, and nails. Not only is protein responsible for the above duties in the body, they also help with hormone production and making enzymes in the body. These guys have serious responsibilities and most people do not get enough protein through their day to day lives. There are a lot of various proteins available for consumption, however not all of them are made equally.

There are two main types of amino acids in the body, Essential Amino acids and Non-Essential Amino Acids. Essential amino acids we cannot produce in our body, therefore we have to acquire them from food sources. Non-Essential amino acids are the opposite, even though they are still very important our bodies can produce them on its own.

When you are looking for the best sources to get protein, generally speaking animal sources are best. Why? Because they all are complete proteins. Complete proteins contain all of the 9 essential amino acids that our body cannot produce by itself. There are many benefits of plant-based proteins, however they are generally incomplete proteins, meaning most do not contain all of the 9 essential amino acids like animal sources. Grass fed, pasture raised, free range and sustainable animal sourced proteins are always best.

What is Whey protein?

Whey Protein is dairy based and is a mixture of proteins isolated from whey, which is the liquid part of milk that separates during cheese production. Milk contains 2 types of proteins, Casein which makes up 80% of the protein content, and Whey which makes up 20%. Casein is a slow digesting type of protein, where whey is fast digesting. After being separated during cheese production, Whey then goes through several processing steps to become what we see as the popular powdered whey protein found in supplements.

Benefits of Whey Protein?

Whey Protein is loaded with all 9 of the essential amino acids required in the body. Of these 9 essential amino acids they are also really high in BCAA’s (branched chain amino acids, specifically L-leucine, L-valine, L-isoleucine). Leucine has been shown to be the most anabolic (growth-promoting) amino acid in the body. (1) Whey protein is also very high in cysteine which helps boost the cellular anti-oxidant Glutathione. (2)

Whey protein has been shown to be very effective to assisting in muscle growth around workout times, before, during or after training. (3,4,5,6)

Whey protein can assist with weight loss. Protein is the most satiating macronutrient and can control the regulation of the hormone Ghrelin. Ghrelin is dubbed as the “hunger” hormone, which promotes the feeling of being hungry. Keeping up your protein intake can help manage feelings of hunger. One study has shown that eating at least 25% of your daily calories from protein can cut your cravings up to 60% and may reduce late night snacking. (7)

If your goal is to lose weight, whey protein can help with your weight loss as well as preserve muscle. (8,9)

Besides the benefits of leaning up, building muscle mass and helping with strength increases, whey Protein can also assist lowering blood pressure, blood sugar, and reducing symptoms and stress and depression. (10,11,12,13)

Different Types of Whey Protein:

Whey Concentrate: Generally, less than 80% of the protein supplement is protein. Contains more lactose, fat, and lower amounts of protein per volume. If you have a dairy sensitivity, you may notice symptoms more with this kind of Whey.

Whey Isolate: Over 80% of the supplement is generally protein. Contains less Lactose, sugar, and fats than concentrate and contains higher levels of protein. Easier and faster to digest than concentrate. Less dairy sensitivities than concentrate.

Hydrolysate Whey, or Hydrolyzed Whey isolate: Similar to Isolate, broken down into smaller fragments to allow even faster digestion. Higher protein per volume, lower fats, lower lactose than isolates and concentrates. More expensive to process and manufacture. Also has a much great affect on triggering insulin over Whey isolate and Whey concentrate.

How much protein should we eat?

  • Active lifestyle: 1.6g of protein/1Kg Bodyweight. If you weigh 75kg (165lbs) multiply 1.6 x 75 =120g
  • Weight loss: 1.8-2.2g/Kg Bodyweight. Adding more protein while improving body composition not only helps build more muscle but also prevents as much muscle loss.
  • Athletic performance: 2.2-2.5g/Kg bodyweight.

Review of CoreBlend Performance Nutrition’s Elevate Whey Protein:

  • Elevate Whey is a 100% whey isolate. There are no blends of concentrate, caseins, and other various types of protein. We kept it this way to cut back on the amount of Lactose (sugar found in dairy) to help prevent as much sensitivity to the product as well promote fast digestion and fast absorption.
  • We added two digestive enzymes to the mix, Lactase and Papain. Lactase is an enzyme that breaks down Lactose. It splits the lactose and helps convert lactose into glucose and galactose (2 other types of sugars). This helps with digestion, absorption, and sensitivity. Papain is a proteolytic enzyme that comes from papaya. Papain specifically breaks down amino acids into smaller strings of proteins which makes absorption easier and faster.
  • 1 serving of Elevate contains 25 grams of high quality protein, 1.5g of fat, and only 2g of sugar coming in at 130 calories. It also has a great amino acid profile and contains 5g of BCAA’s, which we touched on up above.
  • Since Elevate is a 100% isolate, the mixability is great. If you add 1 scoop of Elevate to 8-12 ounces of water it does not clump and mixes great.
  • We may be a bit biased on flavor, but so far we have gotten great feedback from our customers on taste. We hope that you will be the next one to give it a try!

Thank you for taking the time to read!



Is Keto Right For You?

It is very common for fad diets to come and go. Some can be effective if implemented properly while others can be a complete waste of time. For the diet topic of the week we will examine the Ketogenic diet and see if it is right for you.

With the rising popularity of the Ketogenic diet, and especially being a nutrition coach, one of the questions I have been asked countless times over the years is “What are your thoughts about Keto?”.

First before we get to that answer I think that understanding the background of the Ketogenic diet is really important. Even though the Ketogenic diet has recently gained explosive popularity, it has actually been around for nearly 100 years. In 1921, Rolland Woodyatt ran trials on the Ketogenic diet to help regulate epilepsy in children. Keto became popular in the 1920s and 1930s for therapeutic uses until it was later abandoned due to an increase of drugs to help regulate symptoms. The ketogenic diet has also been studied to help with other neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, ALS, Autism, headaches, Parkinson’s, and sleep disorders.

What exactly is the Ketogenic Diet?

The Ketogenic Diet Consists of a macro nutrient profile of high fat (75% of daily calories), moderate protein (20%), and extremely low carbohydrates (5%) in which most of them should be from green and/or cruciferous vegetables with high fiber and low sugar contents. Essentially, what the Ketogenic diet will do, if adhered to consistently, is it forces the body to burn fat as its main fuel source in the body.

How does this occur?

When we eat a carbohydrate source, our body breaks down carbs into glucose, AKA sugar. Even though the brains main fuel source is glucose, our bodies can effectively operate with extremely low carbohydrates in the diet. In the body we store carbohydrates in the form of glycogen. Approximately 75% of our glycogen is stored in our muscle tissue, and about 25% in the liver. When you implement a Ketogenic diet, our body will slowly burn through those glycogen stores. Once we run out of glycogen, similar to the gas in a fuel tank, the liver then turns to stored fat and will convert fat into fatty acids and ketone bodies which we then use as our main fuel source. When the body gets into ketosis from low levels of carbohydrates present in the body, our body then will then circulate fatty acids and ketones in the blood. This will provide energy for muscles and other various tissues of the body to operate as needed.

What are the Pros of the ketogenic diet?

  • Supports weight loss. When your body enters ketosis, it goes into fat-burning mode, which supports weight loss. Cutting carbs also causes your body to retain less water, which can lead to weight loss [2, 4, 6, 7, 9,18].
  • Suppresses appetite/enhances satiety. One of the best things about the keto diet is that you won’t feel hungry. Say goodbye to hunger pangs. The high amount of fats in the keto diet minimizes carb cravings, provides steady energy for hours, and suppresses appetite [2, 6,18].
  • Lowers cholesterol. Studies show the keto diet can improve “good” cholesterol (HDL) and lower “bad” cholesterol (LDL). Eating fat increases blood levels of HDL. The higher your levels of HDL, the lower your risk of heart disease. But that’s not all. Eating low-carb can also change your LDL cholesterol, altering it from “bad” to “benign” cholesterol. It does this by turning LDL particles from small (high risk of heart disease) to large (low risk of heart disease) while also decreasing the number of LDL particles in the bloodstream [2, 3, 6, 9, 10, 11,18].
  • Reduces risk for heart disease. Reducing carb intake can lower blood triglycerides, which are fat molecules in the blood. High levels of blood triglycerides can put you at higher risk for heart disease [3, 4, 6, 7, 9,18].
  • Reduces insulin levels and insulin resistance. Studies show the keto diet can reduce blood sugar and insulin fluctuations due to reduced carbohydrate consumption. Better insulin control can also help improve the associated metabolic disorders and symptoms linked to high insulin and blood sugar [2, 4, 9,18].
  • Lowers blood pressure. Research shows eating a low-carb diet can have positive impacts on blood pressure. Hypertension is a risk factor for many diseases, including heart disease, stroke, and kidney failure [4, 6, 7, 9,18].
  • Improves cognitive function. The keto diet has been used for decades to treat epilepsy in children. And it is currently being studied for its potential beneficial impacts on other neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s [1, 12,18].
  • Enhances mood, mental focus, and sleep. After a few days of cutting carbs, many keto dieters report feeling more alert, being in better moods, and needing less sleep [12, 13,18].
  • Boosts energy levels. The sluggishness and lethargy you feel after a heavy carb-filled meal is due to the insulin spike and reactive sharp drop in blood sugars. Eating a high-fat diet provides steady energy and helps you avoid crashes that are associated with eating a high-carb diet. Additionally, since ketones are the brain’s preferred source of energy, a ketogenic diet leaves you feeling more alert and mentally energized without having to supply a steady stream of caloric intake [13,18].

What are the Cons of Keto?

  • Requires an adaptation process. Getting keto adapted can take one to two weeks and the transition can be uncomfortable for some people. The “Keto Flu” is commonly used to describe flu-like symptoms associated with the transition process: headaches, fatigue, nausea, etc. Due to restricted carb intake, your body is not retaining as much water so loss of electrolytes is common. This can easily be rectified with taking mineral supplements or exogenous ketones, such as the beta hydroxybutyrate mineral salts [16,18].
  • May cause irregularity. Dramatically increasing your fat intake while drastically cutting your carb intake may cause gastrointestinal issues, ranging from constipation to diarrhea. This is something that should resolve itself when your body gets fat-adapted [5]. There is also the potential for nausea, particularly when switching from a low-fat diet to the ketogenic diet. It can take a while for the gall bladder, pancreas, and liver to adapt to digesting high amounts of fat [17,18].
  • Bans or puts restrictive limits on certain food groups. Some people simply don’t like banning entire food groups, and the keto diet requires you to give up all forms of sugar (no more candy, ice cream, and donuts), and popular carbs such as bread, rice, and pasta (no more pizza and burgers). Keto also limits most fruits due to the fructose content, as well as starchy vegetables such as potatoes and corn. The good news is that as your body becomes keto-adapted, your sugar cravings will dramatically fall or disappear altogether.
  • May cause high cholesterol for those who are genetically predisposed. While most people will see their cholesterol fall along with their weight, there are some that may see the opposite due to the meat-heavy nature of the diet. This is typically a genetic predisposition and means the keto diet is not right for everyone [11,18].
  • Makes social gatherings harder. Dining out at restaurants will require more planning and research due to hidden carbs on restaurant menus. Attending birthday parties, weddings, and other social events will require more self-discipline. If you want to drink alcohol, you’ll have to limit yourself to one or two low-carb drinks. This means dry wines (the dryer the better!) and unflavored clear liquors, such as vodka, gin, and tequila. There are a surprisingly number of keto-friendly alcoholic beverages that won’t knock you out of ketosis. For dessert, dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa) is okay in moderate amounts. Stick to keto-friendly chocolates that are naturally sweetened with zero-calorie sweeteners such as stevia and erythritol. You can have sugar-free candies on occasion, just be aware that the sugar alcohols may cause digestive discomfort if you have too much. [18]

What does a ketogenic diet look like?

Since the ketogenic diet is very high in fat and very low in carbs, you will not be permitted to be eating grains, processed carbohydrates, sweeteners, most alcohols, etc. Here is a list of foods that are Keto-Friendly:

  1. Seafood
  2. Low carb vegetables
  3. Cheese
  4. Avocado
  5. Meat/poultry
  6. Eggs
  7. Coconut oil
  8. Full fat Greek yogurt/cottage cheese
  9. Olive oil
  10. Nuts and seeds
  11. Berries
  12. Butter and cream
  13. Shirataki noodles
  14. Olives
  15. Unsweetened coffee and teas  

My thoughts:

The ketogenic diet has been researched well enough to show many positive benefits of using the diet. The Ketogenic diet if administered properly and consistently will deliver weight loss results without question. However, even with there being numerous health benefits of going Keto, the biggest issue with the diet from my observation is it is very difficult to stick to consistently and long term. It takes a decent amount of time to get into ketosis to begin with, and if you have one meal with too many carbs and sugar you will be immediately kicked out of ketosis, which is one of the main points of the diet to begin with. There are many things that are really positive about this diet though. One of the biggest things is it completely restricts processed foods, refined sugars, and low-quality foods which is really important. Most people eat too much of these foods to begin with and by cutting them out your energy will improve, you will most likely lose body fat, your fitness and performance will increase, and your body will surely thank you. Generally speaking when dieting, you will certainly have to make changes. Making too many changes initially however more often than not leads to failure. From experience, finding a diet that fits more within your lifestyle as well as a diet that you can adhere to long term is where the real results come. If Keto is it, excellent. If not, there are also many other variations of dieting you can implement and be very successful. At the end of the day, if you eat in a caloric deficit, you will lose weight.

Lastly, for individuals who are focusing on athletic performance, strength, etc. I highly recommend NOT following a ketogenic diet. Glycogen is the muscles main fuel source, when we lift weights, run, and workout we burn through glycogen. When we restrict carbs, we will not be able to refill the “fuel tank” so to speak. Without adequate levels of glycogen in the body, performance and endurance can drop dramatically which is the opposite of what you need as an athlete. Carbohydrates can also trigger the release of insulin, a powerful hormone secreted by our pancreas. Insulin is a double-edged sword as it can be very beneficial and also very negative. The benefit of Insulin for athletic performance are that it acts as a shuttling hormone, or a taxi for nutrients. As an athlete trying to recover from training and building new muscle mass utilizing this hormone can be incredibly beneficial. If you trigger insulin after training from higher levels of carbohydrates, insulin helps drive amino acids (broken down proteins) into muscle tissues to help with growth and also drives glucose (sugar) into replenishing glycogen stores that were used. This not only helps with building new tissues, but also replenishes glycogen to prepare you for your next training session.

Is Keto right for you? You decide. Thanks for reading.

4 Simple Tips for Better Weight Management

Weight loss can be an ongoing challenge and determining where to start and sifting through all the information available online can be tedious and more often than not you will leave yourself feeling even more confused as to where to begin and what to do. In terms of where to begin let’s start with some fundamentally important concepts of what you can start working on that will yield great long term results.

1. Eat More Protein.

A goal you should focus on to begin is eating good quality lean proteins with every single meal throughout the day. Aim to shoot for about 1-2 palm size servings every single meal. Protein has a high TEF (Thermic effect of food) meaning it requires more energy to simply breakdown and process the protein being consumed. Essentially, your body burns more calories to utilize this nutrient. Protein is also the least likely macro nutrient that can get stored as body fat when compared to fats and carbohydrates, it is still possible to store of course if you are overeating total calories, however much less likely. While you are in a fat burning state, your body goes catabolic. This means that you are breaking down tissues to use for energy, hence fat burning. When your body is in a catabolic state it will not only burn fat but can also utilize muscle tissues for energy if needed. Increasing protein intake while cutting unwanted body fat will help preserve your hard earned muscle. The more muscle you have on your frame equals more calories burned throughout the day. Win win.

2. Prioritize resistance training over just cardio.

Resistance training will stimulate the formation of new muscle tissues. As above, the more muscle mass you have the more calories and fat you will burn in the long term. You will also burn a higher amount of calories on days off from the gym because your body is recovering from its previous training session and in need of additional energy to grow and recover.

3. Limit processed carbohydrates.

Substitute white breads, enriched pastas, sugar filled drinks, most cereals, sweets, and white rice with more vegetables and fruits, preferably berries. Controlling blood sugar and insulin levels low is essential for fat to be mobilized and be used as fuel to burn.

4. Drink more water.

Shoot for minimum of 1-1.5 ounces of water per kilogram of bodyweight. Limit alcohol consumption, and focus on restful sleep.