Tactical Dietitian on Juicing, Amino Acids, and Body Recomposition

Jun 04, 2023


What is their nutritional value with juicing? Is there any value in it at all? What about amino acids? You really need to take them. Or are they just a waste of your money body recomposition? Is it possible? Is it possible to gain lean muscle and lose body fat at the same time? So we're going to try to answer some of those questions today.


I'm Susan Lopez, technical dietician, and this is the technical nutrition and performance podcast, where we help technical athletes bridge the gap between nutrition, metabolism, sleep, stress and training so that they can live better longer and perform at their peak. All right, guys, let's get into some of these questions today. It's not going to be a super long episode.



We did a question call on Instagram a couple of weeks ago. And when we've done this in the past, these questions have come up before. So I thought that it might be worth sharing here with you guys, because likely these are things that you have wondered about, too. And so we want to talk about them before we get into this.



Make sure you hit that subscribe button so you can get any updates for us whenever we post new material. All right. So first topic, juicing. So I got a question from one of our followers asking about juicing and whether or not it's really got any nutritional value. Is it worth it or is the juice worth the squeeze, pun intended?



Is it worth it to really be spending the money on not only money, but also time just juicing fruits and vegetables? Or is it really better for you nutritionally? And I know that juice cleanses are very common juice resets, that type of thing. But if you ask me, I mean, doing a juice cleanse, especially for something like improving body detoxification or for weight loss, really is just snake oil.



There is nothing wrong with juicing, but when you are juicing fruits and vegetables, you are removing pretty much all of the pulp and the bulk from that fruit and vegetable and you're just getting the juice. Now, is that juice going to have vitamins and minerals in it? Yes, but you're going to be losing about half of that within the pulp.



And on top of that, whatever fiber was in those foods is going to be lost in the pulp as well. So I really think there's some benefits there. Now, you're going to be missing out on if you're not getting that fiber in that pulp. Fiber, of course, has been shown to help with blood sugar management, weight management with healthy lipid levels and so when we're removing that from the foods that we're eating, we're really missing out on a lot of those benefits.



Now, if we're juicing on top of eating our normal diet, that might be okay. But honestly, guys, I've done some juicing in the past and I really just don't feel like that juice is worth the squeeze. It's a lot of work and it can be pretty extensive. So if you're getting the fresh fruits and vegetables, there is a lot, of course, of financial investment there because you have to use a significant amount of those foods for the amount of juice that you're getting.



It's not very much. And not only that, it's very time consuming to juice all of those foods. Now, again, if you're using on top of your regular diet, that might be an okay way to supplement in some extra antioxidants and vitamins and minerals. But again, you're losing half of it when you lose that bulk. If you're using the juice as your meals, then what's essentially happening is you're eating in a very extreme calorie deficit, if that's the only thing that you're taking in.



And so obviously, weight loss would follow that if you're doing that for anything period of time, even just as little as a week. And there are anecdotal reports of people just subjectively feeling like they have more energy. I would argue that that's probably because they were eating like garbage before they started the juice cleanse. And so when you remove some of that crap from the diet, you are likely to feel better just because of probably better hydration.



But then also maybe there's some things going on with your blood sugar levels and so you might feel like you have more energy. I would argue, though, that it is not worth it. So when it comes to juicing, for me, that's a no go. Even the juices that you get on the supermarket shelf that are already done for you, it's not typically something I'm going to recommend as part of a staple within your diet.



All right. So I rambled on a little bit there. So let's move on to amino acids. Now, this is a really controversial topic even among dietitians. I would say you've probably seen on Instagram or even maybe worked with a dietitian who will tell you that amino acids are a waste of time. And so what's accurate and what's not accurate?



And if you look at the research, yes, in the presence of a protein sufficient diet, amino acids aren't really going to provide you any more benefit than what you're already getting from your protein intake, especially in the realm of muscle protein synthesis and just general health. However, we are not ordinary citizens within the tactical community. There can definitely be times where you're not going to have access to not only adequate protein but high quality protein or protein that has a high bioavailability score.



And so in a situation like this, you could use amino acids. Now, in a situation such as I would argue that using an amino acid supplement that has a whole 20 amino acid profile versus just your branch chain amino acids is probably going to make more sense because remember, the branch chain to me isn't amino acids are just those three that are used predominantly or that have come to sort of the spotlight because they have the most impact on muscle protein synthesis.



Now, a lot of people would say, okay, what about whey protein? Why would I take amino acids instead of whey protein? And that's a good question to ask a source of protein, obviously, in those low resource environments as well. Or, you know, if you're just trying to hit that macro, you need the calories, whatnot. But there are going to be times when using a non whey protein source like amino acids probably makes a little bit more sense.



The first one that would come to mind would be if somebody is actually in a fat loss phase or a club phase and they are trying to stay within a certain calorie amount that is low in fat, so low that they might even be not have enough circulating amino acids to maintain some of the muscle mass that they're wanting to maintain.


And so in this instance, what we would want to do is have more amino acids available for muscle protein synthesis, but we don't necessarily want to bring those calories up. Then a whey protein shake would not work here. And so we could potentially use an amino acid powder. If somebody is going through that fat loss phase. Another situation where this might be applicable is if somebody is in a climate that is hot or muggy and, you know, they're really they're already doing things like drinking oral rehydration solutions and they maybe want to use amino acids in conjunction with that.



There are definitely situations on deployments. And in certain parts of the world where tactical athletes are going to be where they're not going to have access to that protein. And if we're talking about putting in whey protein with maybe just plain water now we're kind of sipping on throughout the day along with our electrolytes, I don't know that I would want to mix my lemon lime or a solution with my birthday cake whey protein.



And so that might be a situation where you could potentially use amino acids. It's also going to depend on what's available to you within the local area that you can resource and what you can get sent to you. And so there's those situations. I would also argue even for like somebody who is in a patrol car all day or, you know, maybe just came off a call and they're hot and they don't necessarily know that they're going to get anything into their system within that first hour or two that they need for recovery.



And I'm including protein in that. Remember, glycogen is most important to replenish in that first hour after demanding physical activity. So we need those carbohydrates. But protein is sometimes the more difficult one to get in. And when your adrenaline is pumping and it's still pumping immediately after an event or in that first 60 minutes after an event, you may not necessarily be able to eat food or even stomach something that has a texture like a whey protein.



So I would argue then they're that amino acid drink that's maybe a little bit more fruit flavored that you can mix with your s, and then maybe some carb powder as well might make more sense. Now, obviously, once the adrenaline wears off, then it comes back excuse me, appetite comes back, then it's, you know, it may not matter.



And if somebody enjoys using amino acids, by all means, it's not going to hurt them. Right. And give them the information that they need. We look at the context of their situation. It's up to them. If they want to spend their money on that I think is important for nutrition professionals to remember that our job is to educate.



But the guys that work in this community, they're going to do whatever the heck they want to do anyway. It's not our job to be their mommy, so we just educate them. Sorry, went off on a little bit of a tangent there, but you know what happens? And so I had to put it out there. All right. Last question, Bonnie Recomposition, Is it possible and I would say here.



Yeah, absolutely it's possible. Now, there are a lot of factors here. Of course, if you're somebody who's looking to gain lean muscle and drop body fat, some of the things are going to matter. Here is going to be your training age, your current level of physical fitness, your body fat percentage, and how much lean muscle mass you actually have on you and your training program.



Of course. And nutrition obviously can't lose or gain weight, body fat or lean muscle mass if your nutrition isn't tracking along the way that it needs to be. But yes, I would absolutely say that this is possible. Now, the one thing that I will say about that is that if you are a lower body fat percentage, then it can be a little bit more difficult.



So if you are getting close to single digits and you're wanting to re comp, then the primary focus on then the primary focus really should be on growth. So individuals who are lean are really going to need to be in a surplus in order to see that muscle mass growth, especially for somebody who's very physically active, has a demanding training program.



And then on top of that, maybe a demanding job. Now somebody who is heavier, maybe has a higher body fat percentage or has some extra body fat that they need to lose, then they're probably going to be okay being a little bit closer to their maintenance calories. And if it's a situation where they're cleaning up their diet during this whole process, then just getting closer to maintenance calories, cleaning up the diet, improving blood sugar levels is likely to help them get the result that they want, especially if they start now hitting adequate protein intake and they're doing a little bit better job of controlling their blood sugar and their SS calorie intake, especially from ultra



processed foods. There are going to be some of those individuals who are fairly new to training and pretty much any stimulus you throw at them, even if it's 80% correct, whether it be training or nutrition, they're going to see a positive effect. And there's those individuals who have a lot of experience in the training room who might have to work a little bit harder to get those lean muscle mass gains along with body fat.



And if we're talking about individuals who are maybe in their mid towards their end of career or in when we're talking about mid-career, we're talking about maybe 35 to 50. Right. Like you are probably going to have to fight a little bit harder there just because you're more likely to have families to have kids, you're more likely to have greater responsibilities, more stressors that somebody who's young, single, no kids.



So we have to take that into account, too. But it is possible to do so. And one of the things that we're going to be focusing on this year within our coaching group is learning how to seasonally plan for these things. And I'm going to put it out there right now because even though it is summer, it's June.



We really want to be thinking, remember about what we're going to do with our training, our nutrition in our annual plan, you know, at least 6 to 12 months out. And so the way it's going to roll through the fall into the coming year is we're really going to be focused on setting ourselves up in the fall metabolically.



We're really going to be focused on size, strength, you know, building that lean muscle mass in a way that makes sense. So that coming into January, if we need to go through that fat loss phase, we can do that and then coming into a summer of performance. And so if your member of our coaching group, you're going to get some exposure to that.



And over the coming months, we're going to do a really great job of kind of setting ourselves up so that they we're going to do a really good job of setting ourselves up so that coming into next summer, May, June, July, we can expect a higher level of performance and perhaps some changes within the body composition. So looking forward to that.



Obviously, if you're not a part of group coaching, you are more than welcome to apply. Just head over to tactical dietitian dot com and click the coaching link at the top of the page. All right. So that's the only three topics we're going to hit on today in this Q&A. So I hope you guys got some good information out of that.

And of course, if you have questions, you can always hit me up in my D ends on Instagram. All right, guys, that was good stuff. I enjoyed our time together and we'll see you next time.




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