What Are Some Grocery Shopping Tips For A Bodybuilder?

What are some grocery shopping tips for a bodybuilder? Proper diet is one of the most important aspects of bodybuilding. Here are some fantastic tips on making your way through a grocery store and learning about good nutrition habits.


TOPIC: What Are Some Grocery Shopping Tips For A Bodybuilder?

The Question:

Proper diet is one of the most important aspects of bodybuilding, so it makes sense that a bodybuilder would flip out if they saw that their refrigerator was empty. I guess it?s time to grab the weekly circulars and prepare for the supermarket.

What are some grocery shopping tips for a bodybuilder?

What are some good aisles/foods for a bodybuilder?

How can a bodybuilder be sure he bought food that will meet his nutritional needs?

Show off your knowledge to the world!

The Winners:

    Prizes:
      1st place - 75 in store credit.
      2nd place - 50 in store credit.
      3rd place - 25 in store credit.

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1st Place - Xtrainer
View This Author's BodySpace Here.

It's a simple concept, really. You don't eat like the average Joe - and if you do, you're going to change that - so why would you shop like him? No, bodybuilders and athletes have different nutritional needs than sedentary couch potatoes.

It's hard enough for bodybuilders to figure out what they need to eat, how to eat it, and when to eat. It's another problem entirely to make sure they actually have the proper food on hand. Hopefully, this article will serve as a guiding light in the stormy sea that is... the grocery store.


Grocery Shopping
What Are Some Grocery Shopping Tips For A Bodybuilder?

Here are a few general rules to make your grocery shopping as painless and conducive to the bodybuilding lifestyle as possible.

Rule #1: Accept That You Will Be Buying Groceries More Often Than Sedentary People.

    A weekly grocery trip will be the absolute minimum. Why will you need to shop so often? First, most of the foods you should be eating (meat, fruits, veggies, etc.) are perishable. Second, it's unlikely that you'll want to get everything at the same place.

    For example, in addition to the grocery store, you may want to hit up a local bakery for some whole grain products or the farmers' market for local meat and produce. If you want to get the most out of your nutrition, you can't necessarily expect shopping to be convenient.

Rule #2: Accept That You Will Be Spending More On Groceries Than Sedentary People.

    You may indeed find ways to work around this one to some extent (see Rule #3), but with food, as with most things, you get what you pay for. In addition to the fact that quality food often costs more than unhealthy food, you can expect to be buying quite a bit of it. Simply put, athletes need more calories, more calories mean more food, and more food means more money.

    On the plus side, however, you shouldn't be buying soda, chips, fruit snacks, or other processed (and expensive garbage), so take comfort in the fact that you can save a lot of money in that area.

Rule #3: Buy In Bulk Whenever Possible.

    There are numerous reasons to buy in bulk. First and foremost, it saves you money. Second, since you'll be going through a lot of food, it allows you to buy in quantities that will actually sustain you for awhile effectively reducing the frequency of you grocery store visits.

Rule #4: Shop Based On Need, Not Mood.

    Plan your shopping out as precisely as possible ahead of time. Shopping based on mood (hungry, full, happy, depressed, whatever) can only lead to one thing: Buying the wrong types of food in the wrong quantities for the wrong reasons. Make a list and stick to it. Everything you eat should have a purpose.

Rule #5: The "Perimeter" Rule.

    This rule is addressed in Michael Mejia and Dr. John Berardi's Scrawny to Brawny. Basically, you should be doing about 80% of your grocery shopping around the perimeter of the store (the produce section, the meat counter, the deli, the refrigerated section... ). This is where most of the fresh fruits, veggies, and lean protein sources can be found.

Rule #6: Have A System Of "Red Flags."

    As you check the ingredients and nutrition labels of potential grocery purchases, you should have a few set "red flags" in your mind that cause you to immediately toss the product back onto the shelves, regardless of how tasty it claims to be.

    Trans fat/hydrogenated oil content should certainly set off a "red flag." Other "red flags" could include high fructose corn syrup or certain preservatives and/or artificial sweeteners you choose to avoid. If you decide ahead of time that some foods will be completely unacceptable, the temptation to actually buy them will subside somewhat.


Good Aisles/Foods
What Are Some Good Aisles/Foods For A Bodybuilder?

What a bodybuilder eats is largely dependent on the individual. While there are some things that everyone should be eating (lean meat, vegetables... ), and some things that nobody should be eating (candy, cakes... ), it is often the middle ground that is the most dangerous and misunderstood.

By "middle ground," I'm referring to things like whole grain bread, milk, and other foods that have enormous potential for both good and evil, depending on the one consuming them.

There are some among us that have a hard time gaining any weight. They often refer to themselves as "hardgainers." Often, they fall into the somatotypic category of "ectomorph."

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These people need to eat massive quantities of calories in order to put on any mass. Therefore, while they still should not eat sugary processed garbage, they get a little more leniency about their food choices.

Others, (myself included) gain weight easily. If we look at food hard enough, we start to gain weight. Almost. Some of us could be described, metabolically speaking, as "endomorphs," although with hard training, we won't necessarily look endomorphic. Guys like us need to be careful about the quantities and types of food we eat, even when it comes to some foods that most people would consider healthy (like fruits and whole grains).

Still other people fall somewhere in between the two previous categories. They usually won't gain weight by accident, but it's not much of a struggle either. Many of them could be classified as mesomorphs. Like ectomorphs, mesomorphs have some latitude concerning the types and quantities of food they eat, but must be careful. If they go overboard, they'll end up gaining slabs of fat instead of muscle.

So, for the sake of clarity, these guidelines will be divided into three categories. "Hardgainer," "Easygainer," and "Middlegainer." Easy enough, right?


-> Aisle #1: Produce Section:

    Hardgainer: Yes
    Easygainer: Yes
    Middlegainer: Yes

    Key Foods To Buy:

    • Deep greens (spinach, Romaine lettuce, etc.)
    • Vegetables (carrots, celery, etc.)
    • Fruit (berries, apples, etc.)

    Key Foods To Avoid: None

    The produce section should be one of the first stops of your shopping trip, no matter what your body-type is. Everyone needs to be eating fruits and vegetables for micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, antioxidants... ), fiber, and quality carbohydrates. However, which fruits and veggies you actually pluck from the shelves, bins and baskets does depend on your body-type.


    + Click To Enlarge.
    Produce Section.

    Hardgainers should stock up on as many fruits and veggies they can handle. In addition, the calorically dense coconut has proven to be something of a "magic bullet" for hardgainers, so they may want to pick up a few of those.

    Easygainers need to be a bit more discerning. While they should still load up on deep greens and veggies, they need to use caution when it comes to fruit. They need to be aware that the sugary carbohydrates present in fruit can lead to excessive weight gain.

    So, while easygainers should be eating fruit, they must monitor how it affects their weight and try to consume it within a couple hours (before or after) of working out. Like hardgainers, middlegainers need not fear the fruit much, and should stock up in this section of the store.


-> Aisle #2: Baked Goods Aisle/In-Store Bakery:

    Hardgainer: Yes
    Easygainer: Extreme Caution
    Middlegainer: Caution

    Key Foods To Buy: None. You can do very well without any of the foods here.

    Key Foods To Avoid:

    • White bread
    • Cake
    • Bagels
    • Doughnuts
    • Cookies
    • ...do I really need to continue?

    The baked goods section-or, as many stores now have, the in-store bakery-is a dangerous place. Hardgainers and middlegainers can pick up some whole grain bread, but not much else. Furthermore, they must be sure to READ THE LABELS.

    Just because the packaging reads "Whole Grain" does not necessarily mean the product is healthy. Oftentimes, whole grain products are chock-full of high fructose corn syrup and preservatives. Another key point to remember is that there is a difference between actual whole grains (like oats) and whole grain flour, which whole grain baked goods are made from.


    + Click To Enlarge.
    Doughnuts.

    Unfortunately, whole grain flour does not function so much like actual whole grains as like white flour or even sugar. Easygainers would do well to avoid this section of the store entirely. With such a limited capacity for caloric consumption, they should focus on getting their carbohydrates and fiber from more wholesome sources, like fruit, vegetables, and real whole grains.


-> Aisle #3: Cereal, Breakfast, And Bars Aisle:

    Hardgainer: Yes
    Easygainer: Caution
    Middlegainer: Yes

    Key Foods To Buy:

    • Raw, old-fashioned whole oats
    • A wholesome cold cereal (like shredded wheat or an Ezekiel product)
    • Green tea/coffee
    • Perhaps your favorite protein bar is carried by the local grocery store.

    Key Foods To Avoid:

    • Sugary cereal
    • Anything with flashy packaging

    This aisle can also be dangerous, but, unlike the baked goods section, it has far more redeeming qualities. No one should walk down this aisle without picking up a big container of plain, old fashioned whole oats.

    Oats are a source of high quality complex carbs, fiber, and they taste good with anything. Even easygainers, with their poor carbohydrate tolerances, can benefit from consuming oats within a few hours before or after their workouts.


    + Click To Enlarge.
    Breakfast.

    Green tea and coffee have powerful antioxidants that all can benefit from, regardless of body type. The cereal aisle usually includes a wide variety of snack bars as well.

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    Bodybuilders and athletes should try to avoid the high-sugar varieties, but hardgainers and middlegainers may want to seek out a calorically dense protein bar as a source of quick and convenient calories. Easygainers should typically steer clear of bar foods, but may want to pick up a few high-protein, high-fiber, and low-sugar bars to have on hand for "emergency" use.

    One of the greatest dangers of this aisle is the fact that almost every product will boldly claim some sort of health benefit. For example, many cereals will be quick to inform you that they are "A GOOD SOURCE OF 9 VITAMINS AND MINERALS!" Yes... but what the big words don't tell you is that the cereal also contains 30 grams of sugar per serving!

    Similarly, apparently healthy products (perhaps low-fat or high fiber products) often contain massive amounts of sugar and preservatives. Beware of any items with flashy advertising adorning their packaging. This statement from the great John Berardi sums things up nicely:

      "My fridge contains no foods packaged in colorful wrappers, boxes, bags, or containers. Be wary of such foods: the "healthiness" of a food is generally inversely proportional to the colorfulness and cost of its packaging."


-> Aisle #4: Baking Supplies:

    Hardgainer: Caution
    Easygainer: Extreme Caution
    Middlegainer: Extreme Caution

    Key Foods To Buy:

    • Plain cocoa powder
    • Whole grain flower if you bake your own bread, etc.

    Key Foods To Avoid:

    • Cake mixes
    • Muffin mixes
    • Other desert mixes
    • Sugar
    • Frosting
    • Pretty much everything

    This is another dangerous aisle. However, due to the fact that most of the goodies found on this aisle must be prepared before eating, many of us will face little temptation.

    The only essential you must buy here is plain cocoa powder (no sugar or dairy added). This stuff adds great flavor to oatmeal, and is more antioxidant dense than green tea (Sahelian)! For hardgainers and middlegainers that do their own baking, whole grain flours can be found here. Easygainers should typically avoid bread products anyway, so they need not concern themselves with picking up any whole grain flour.


-> Aisle #5: Deli Counter/Meat/Poultry/Fish Counter:

    Hardgainer: Yes
    Easygainer: Yes
    Middlegainer: Yes

    Key Foods To Buy:

    • Lean red meat
    • Poultry
    • Fish

    Key Foods To Avoid:

    • Excessively fatty meat
    • Pre-made dishes

    This area of the store shares the top spot with the produce section. This is your primary source for quality protein in the form of fresh meat and fish. Regardless of body-type, all bodybuilders and athletes need plenty of protein.


    + Click To Enlarge.
    Meats.

    Pick out a variety of lean protein-packed meat and fish. If you can find organic, grass fed meat products and wild-caught fish, all the better. It's hard to go wrong in this section of the grocery store. A small note of caution: Be mindful of excess mercury consumption from fish. For more information on mercury in fish, see this article from the EPA.

    Often, the deli section of grocery store will have a number of pre-made dishes, like puddings and pasta salads. At this point, do I even need to say it... just avoid that stuff. There's no reason for anyone to be consuming these dishes, most of which are full of fat and processed carbs.

    As a general rule of thumb, you can get just about all the nutrients you need from meat, vegetables, fruit and real whole grains, so there is no "nutritional need" for dubious deli dishes.


-> Aisle #6: Canned Goods:

    Hardgainer: Caution
    Easygainer: Caution
    Middlegainer: Caution

    Key Foods To Buy:

    • Tuna and/or chicken
    • Veggies
    • Nuts/legumes

    Key Foods To Avoid:

    • "Meal in a can" type products
    • Anything loaded with sodium and preservatives.

    As with the cereal aisle, here you'll be assaulted by the brilliant packaging of hundreds of products claiming one health benefit or another. Don't be distracted by labels. Keep away from the "meal in a can" type foods, which are typically chock full of sodium, poor quality fats, and simple carbs.

    While no bodybuilder really "needs" anything that comes out of a can, having some canned tuna or chicken on hand can be a lifesaver, and canned veggies are better than no veggies at all. This simple advice applies to all three body-types.

    I know it might tempt some of the hardgainers out there when they joyfully read the massive calorie content of some "meal in a can" product. Despite the calories, however, that much sodium and that many preservatives is a recipe for poor health.

    Listen up, hardgainers: You can't obsess about gaining weight. You must remember that everything you eat affects your overall health in one way or another.

    Many grocery stores keep nuts and nut butters on this aisle. Stock up on whatever nuts you like, provided they're not sugar coated. Find a brand of all natural peanut, almond, and/or walnut butter you like. Even easygainers can benefit from nut products. While they are high in fat, they satisfy hunger and contain protein and fiber. Furthermore, the fat content is mostly unsaturated.


-> Aisle #7: Frozen Food:

    Hardgainer: Caution
    Easygainer: Extreme Caution
    Middlegainer: Caution

    Key Foods To Buy:

    • Frozen fruit/veggies

    Key Foods To Avoid:

    • "Frozen meals"
    • Ice cream
    • Frozen deserts
    • Sugary frozen juices

    As with the canned goods aisle, there isn't anything you "need" on this aisle. The only items of real value are frozen fruits and vegetables, and you should focus on getting those fresh from the produce section.

    If you absolutely need frozen fruits and veggies because of unavailability of fresh produce, go for it. Otherwise, this aisle is full of pitfalls, especially for the easygainer. Once again, there will be a lot of flashy packaging to ignore, so prepare yourself for that ahead of time.


-> Aisle #8: Refrigerated Section:

    Hardgainer: Yes
    Easygainer: Caution
    Middlegainer: Yes

    Key Foods To Buy:

    • Plain yogurt
    • Eggs
    • Cheese
    • Cottage cheese
    • Milk

    Key Foods To Avoid:

    • Flavored milk
    • Sugary yogurt
    • Other snacks
    • Margarine

    There's a lot of good food to be found in the refrigerated section of the grocery store. First, the issue of milk needs to be addressed. Make no mistake about it: All milk contains a lot of sugar, some milk (whole, 2%) contains a lot of fat, and a many people are at least mildly lactose intolerant.

    These facts make milk an unattractive choice for many serious bodybuilders. Some choose not to drink milk at all. Others choose to only have it in their post-workout shake, when their bodies can handle the sugar.

    I suggest these approaches for easygainers. On the other hand, some hardgainers have found milk to be very effective for putting on weight, and despite its drawbacks, milk is much healthier than most processed canned, frozen, and packaged food.

    After you resolve the milk issue in a way that suits your own needs, be sure to pick up some eggs, a healthy and dirt cheap source of protein. Most grocery stores now stock eggs that are rich in Omega-3s as well. Another product to consider is a liquid egg white product. It's always nice to have some high-quality convenient protein like this on hand.

    It would also be wise to find some cheese (which can be used to add protein and fat to almost any dish) and cottage cheese (a rich source of casein, a very slow-digesting protein). Easygainers should look for lower fat varieties of both cheese and cottage cheese, if possible.

    An occasional serving of yogurt promotes healthy digestion, but try to avoid sugary flavored yogurt. Flavor yogurt yourself, using things like fresh fruits or cocoa powder.

    If you do a lot of cooking, you may want to pick up some butter. Be wary of products-like margarine-that claim to be healthier than butter. Chances are, any product claiming some sort of superiority over plain old butter is full of trans fat and other artificial ingredients.

    I suggest avoiding most "butter substitutes" and simply using butter in moderation instead. No, it may not be incredibly healthy, but at least it is natural and you know what you're getting. Can you say the say for most substitute products out there?


-> Odds & Ends:

    Condiments/Spices:

      There are basically three types of condiments:

      1. The sugary kind (ketchup)
      2. The fatty kind (mayonnaise)
      3. The spicy kind (mustard, hot sauce)

      Easygainers should try to avoid all but the latter. Middlegainers and hardgainers will probably be relatively unaffected by moderate use of any condiments. Spices are seldom used in great enough quantities to have any nutritional impact, although some, like cinnamon, pack an antioxidant punch.

    Dressings:

      Dressings are typically fatty, except for those based on vinegar, which may be sweet (like raspberry vinaigrette). Everyone knows about the health benefits of olive oil, so be sure to use some of your salads occasionally. Hardgainers may find olive oil to be an excellent source of additional calories. Some types of vinegar contain high levels of antioxidants, so mix some vinegar in as well.

    Pasta:

      There are a number of healthier alternatives to traditional white pasta now. While pasta should never replace fruits and real whole grains as a primary source of carbohydrates, whole grain pasta is an acceptable addition to the hardgainer's diet, and can also be eaten in moderation by easygainers and middlegainers.

    Candy, Chips, Pop, Juice & "Snack Foods":

      These foods may indeed have whole aisles devoted to them. Avoid those aisles completely. Regardless of whatever the latest "Low Fat!!!" potato chip is, you don't need it. Abstain from all of these foods as much as possible. No, you can't expect yourself to be perfect, but don't buy this type of food because you think it will serve your goals in one way or another.

    Alcohol:

    Water:

      I shouldn't need to preach to you about how important good hydration is, but I'm going to anyway. The Mayo Clinic specifically states that even mild dehydration may cause "muscle weakness" ("Dehydration"). That should be enough to concern any athlete.

      If you don't have a source of clean water at your home, you should buy some. Wholesale warehouse-type stores often sell water bottles by the case at extremely inexpensive prices.

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-> Supermarket Supplementation:

    Many supermarkets now have small supplement sections. If you can find reputable brands, you may want to pick up some fish oil and whey protein. Of course, the prices will not be as low as Bodybuilding.com's.

    Most of your other supplements will still probably have to come from a specialty store, because the quality of some "supermarket supplements" is dubious at best, and, because of the lack of name brands, may be difficult to research.

    In summary, here is a rough idea of what your grocery list may include:

    For The Easygainer:

    • Greens: Spinach, Romaine lettuce, etc.
    • Fruit: Apples, bananas, berries, etc.
    • Vegetables: Carrots, celery, etc.
    • Protein: Lean meat, fish, poultry, etc.
    • Legumes/Nuts: Peanuts, natural peanut butter, etc.
    • Whole Grains: Oats, quinoa, etc.
    • Eggs/Dairy: Grass fed eggs, cottage cheese, etc.
    • Misc: Extra-virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, hot sauce, tea, cocoa powder etc.

    Middlegainers And Hardgainers, add:

    • Increased quantities of Previously Mentioned Products: Remember, you want to put on mass by eating more quality food.
    • Whole Grain Products: Whole grain bread, cereal, etc.


Nutritional Needs
How Can A Bodybuilder Be Sure He Bought Food That Will Meet His Nutritional Needs?

The first and most important step in determining your nutritional needs is calculating how many calories you need to consume to maintain your current weight. After you find that magic number, you can adjust your caloric intake to gain or lose weight.

Your caloric needs are not limited to merely your resting metabolic rate, which many "calorie calculators" imply. There are several other factors to take into account, all of which are detailed in this article, Massive Eating Part I, by Dr. John Berardi:

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In summary, there are four factors you need to take into account:

  1. Resting Metabolic Rate
  2. (Caloric) Cost of Activity
  3. Thermic Effect of Food
  4. "Adaptive Thermogenesis"

So, you've studied the Berardi article in detail and found out how many calories you need to consume. However, that number is pretty much useless without a basic understanding of what a "calorie" is in your daily eating.

To learn about the calorie content of food, log on to nutritiondata.com. This website provides you with detailed nutrition information, including calorie content, of pretty much any food you can think of. Experiment by looking up some of the foods you eat everyday. You may be surprised to learn about their nutritional value (or lack there-of).

Now you know how many calories you need and have a good grasp of what a calorie actually is. But you can't just get all of those calories from random sources. You need to make sure that your nutritional program provides you with adequate amounts of protein, fat, and carbohydrates, as well as micronutrients (like vitamins and minerals) and phytonutrients (like antioxidants).

Once again, Berardi has the answer. Study his "Seven Habits" to get an idea of what a good nutritional program should look like:

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You may also need to take into account "special needs" nutrition. Talk to your doctor about any conditions you have that may require the inclusion (or exclusion) of certain foods in (from) your diet.

At this point, you have learned how many calories to consume, what calories really are, and Berardi has given you some idea of what a quality nutritional program looks like. The rest is just details which depend on whatever your individual goals are at a particular time.

Search around this web site to find hundreds of articles on bulking, cutting, and improving body composition. For further reading, I highly recommend any of Dr. John Berardi's material.

It's all up to you from here. Good luck!

References:

  1. Berardi, John, and Michael Mejia. Scrawny to Brawny. Rodale Inc, 2005.
  2. Berardi, John. "Berardi's Kitchen." BodyBuilding.com 23 Jul 2004 Jul 2007.
  3. Berardi, John "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Nutritional Programs." BodyBuilding.com. 15 Mar 2004. Bodybuilding.com. 29 Jun 2007.
  4. Berardi, John "Massive Eating Part I." BodyBuilding.com. 21 May 2004. Bodybuilding.com. 29 Jun 2007.
  5. "NutritionData." nutritiondata.com. 2007. 29 Jun 2007.
  6. Sahelian, Ray. "ORAC Value by Ray Sahelian, M.D. Is ORAC value that important?"
  7. RaySahelian.com. 29 Jun 2007.
  8. The Mayo Clinic Staff, "Dehydration." MayoClinic.com 03 Jan 2007 Jul 2007.
  9. "What You Need to Know about Mercury in Fish and Shellfish." U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 17 Apr 2006. EPA. 29 Jun 2007.


2nd Place - poppinmycollar
View This Author's BodySpace Here.

We have no chicken?!?! As a hungry bodybuilder, I'm sure you have uttered these words and felt the anguish that goes along with being out of food. So its time to go to the supermarket, but you aren't sure what to buy, what with all the fancy signs for the unhealthy foods, false advertising, and contradicting messages from the FDA and other nutrition agencies.

Well, you have come to the right place; I am here to help you figure out what to buy, and how to decide what products are the best for your bodybuilding goals.

Now we have to figure out exactly how to shop, before deciding what aisles to choose and which to avoid. So here are some tips for the bodybuilder who is shopping.


+ Click To Enlarge.
Grocery Shopping.


Grocery Tips

First of all, you need to take care of the staples. Every bodybuilder needs a proper diet, and to construct a proper diet, every bodybuilder needs to assemble a small arsenal of nutritional foods. These foods should fit into one of these three macro-nutrient categories: Carbohydrates, Fats, and Proteins. Now, what to look for in these macro-nutrient categories?

-> Carbohydrates:

    Demonized recently, carbs are the backbone of a solid bodybuilding diet, as they provide the energy we need to power out workouts, and help our muscles grow. There is nothing evil about carbs, it is all about knowing which carbs to choose in order to maximize lean gains, and minimize fat gains.

    Look for carbohydrates that are minimally if at all processed. You need complex carbs, not quick digesting carbs that will quickly be converted to adipose tissue (fat). The carbs to avoid are simple sugars.

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    These come in many forms, such as High Fructose Corn Syrup (Soda, many canned fruits, sauces), and just straight sugar (Cereals, White Breads). So for quality carbs, you need foods that aren't processed, and include little to no added sugar. So what are these foods?

    Some good examples include:

    • Plain Oats (not the prepackaged sugary ones)
    • Brown Rice
    • Ezekiel 4:9 bread
    • Whole Wheat bread (avoid "wheat" bread, only go for whole wheat, as plain wheat bread is just white bread dyed brown)
    • Fruits
    • Certain breakfast cereals
    • Vegetables

-> Fats:

    Probably the most bashed macro-nutrient, fats are another under-utilized weapon in our quest to gain muscle and lose body fat. Now when shopping, this doesn't mean we should go and buy something that is fattening, because just like carbs, there are good fats, and bad fats.

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    Where we need to look for good fats are in foods that have been minimally processed, such as natural peanut butter, nuts, flax oil, and fish oil. At all costs, avoid trans-fats, which are present in products with hydrogenated oils.

    Fats can help maximize testosterone for male bodybuilders, so we gain muscle faster. For both men and women, fats allow the body to more efficiently utilize the body's fat stores for energy when it comes time to cut, and provide the body with the strength and power to gain muscle while bulking.

    To ensure you consume beneficial fats, look for nuts, natural peanut butter, flax and fish oil cheese, and to a degree, meat. Avoid foods high in fats and carbs, as these foods often contain unhealthy fats or carbs, or unhealthy ratios. Instead, combine the ingredients you purchased to make delicious treats.

-> Proteins:

    Well, now to everyone's favorite, the building block of muscle, the ingredient we all need for bodybuilding success. Protein is also the easiest macro-nutrient to find in a store, but there are so many low-quality sources, its important to weed the good from the bad.

    Where to find Protein: meat, eggs and dairy are your best bets for high quality sources of protein. Seems pretty straight forward right? Well the complex part comes when it is time to choose which specific items to buy.

    Eggs are straightforward, most any brand will do, just look for cracked ones. Now meat is a little more complicated. Avoid meats high in fat, such as high-fat ground beef, instead choosing those with lower fat contents, such as lean steak, or 3-7% ground beef.

    Additionally, avoid processed meats, such as bologna, and hot dogs. Some lunch meats are fine, as long as they have very few ingredients, such as sliced turkey.

    Some good meats include:

    • Boneless skinless chicken breast
    • Steak
    • Lean ground beef (< 10% fat)
    • Turkey
    • Pork tenderloins

    Finally, dairy is an important source of protein for many bodybuilders, and with good reason: it is one of the most high quality proteins available. However, as with meat, there are some dairy products that need to be avoided and some that should be vigorously consumed.

    Avoid at all cost full-sugar/full-fat yogurt, there is simply too much simple sugars in these sweet cups - instead use low-sugar yogurt. Also avoid whole milk - skim or even 1-2% are better options. Avoid full fat cottage cheese, personally I believe 2% is the best, because cottage cheese is often used at night so there should be some fats, but not a ridiculous amount.

    Avoid flavored milks, or cottage cheese with fruits, and definitely avoid puddings. These all have an amazing amount of fat inducing artificial sugars. Good dairy proteins include:

    • Skim, 1%-2% milk
    • "Lite" or sugar free yogurt
    • Low fat cottage cheese
    • Cheese

-> Ingredients:

    Next always look for the quantity and quality of ingredients in any item you buy, look for items with only four or five ingredients, maximum. Any more, and you are looking at a processed food. This doesn't mean none of the foods you buy cannot have more than 5 ingredients, but the staples shouldn't.

    The reason for this is, the foods with more ingredients are often highly processed, and therefore full of ingredients which will cause fat gain.

-> Purpose For Everything:

    Have a purpose for everything you buy; remember the easiest way to avoid cheating, is to avoid having unhealthy food in the house, its hard to cheat, when you have to make a large effort to do so.

    Know why you are buying a food; is it for breakfast? Pre-Workout? Pre-Bed? Post-Workout? Do not buy foods simply because they are on sale, buy foods that supply you with the correct macro-nutrient ratios throughout the day, eat for a purpose.

-> Make A List:

    Make a list, this is highly underrated, and overlooked. It is important to know what you are going to buy, this ensures you won't forget any items you need, and helps to combat the urge to buy items you don't need. Remember, you are the product of what you eat. And above all else, when making a list remember KISS (keep it simple, stupid). Here's a sample list:

    1. Lean Steak, Chicken Breast, Orange Roughy (Protein), I chose what was on sale.
    2. Oats, Sweet Potatoes, (Carbs), Again choose the healthy on sale items here.
    3. Fish Oil, Natural Peanut Butter (Fats), Also items that are on sale.

    Note the shortness of this list, it contains the staples. There is no need to get fancy, the more variety of food you have, the more likely there is something unhealthy which will prompt you to cheat.

-> Shop Around:

    Finally, don't be afraid to shop around. Look for sales. I personally shop at Fred Meyer, QFC, Costco, Sam's Club and Safeway. Costco and Sam's Club are amazing, if you catch sales there, you can often stock up for a while. The other stores are great for the items you need less of, like meats if you have a small refrigerator/freezer.


Aisles To Avoid

-> The Breakfast Aisle:

    This aisle has all those delicious cereals everyone loves. The point is, this aisle is full of processed junk food, labeled healthy because it has some vitamins (that your body can't even utilize, but that's a separate issue), slapped in to them.

    There is only one reason to venture into this aisle, and that is because oats are usually stashed here. In general, avoid this place like the plague, and only go here when you need oats.

-> The Snack Aisle:

    Same reasons as the breakfast aisle, just don't ever come here, there is nothing of nutritional value in this aisle, just sweet and salty junk food. And as a double benefit of avoiding this aisle, soda is usually stashed here too.


Aisles To Utilize

-> The Produce Section:

    Not technically an aisle per se, but still one of the most important places to shop in the supermarket, the produce section. The produce section supplies you with fresh vegetables and fruit, two of the best foods you can eat, not just from a bodybuilding standpoint, but also a general health standpoint.

    Two under-rated vegetables are celery and peppers. celery can add great finish to chicken/tuna salad with egg whites. Peppers of any color go great with a tomato sauce and chicken. Items to grab in the produce section:

    • Broccoli
    • Salad greens
    • Fresh fruit (seasonal)
    • Tomatoes (seasonal)
    • Sweet potatoes
    • Celery
    • Peppers

Veggies
Click Image To Enlarge.
Vegetables.

-> The Frozen Veggies Aisle:

    This is not your fat uncle's frozen food (pizza) aisle. Frozen veggies provide great taste, satiety, nutrition and ease to any meal. I personally use frozen vegetables more often than fresh, because they are more convenient. Make sure to avoid veggies with "extras," including creamed spinach and veggies with flavorings (often filled with sugar).

    Items to grab in the frozen veggie aisle:

    • Frozen spinach
    • Frozen broccoli
    • Frozen mustard greens

-> The Butcher/Fish Section:

    This is where the fresh meat is cut. Make friends with the butcher, from personal experience, with all the meat I eat, this can make a world of difference in discounts and knowing which cuts are the freshest this week. The freshness of the meat in this section makes it perfect for a bodybuilder, full of protein and unprocessed.

    Items to grab in the butcher/fish section:

    • Lean ground beef
    • Boneless skinless chicken breast
    • White fish (orange roughy/tilapia)
    • "Dark fish" (salmon)
    • Lean steak
    • Pork tenderloins

-> The Dairy/Eggs Aisle:

    These two sources of protein are some of the best. They supply you with complete and very bio-available proteins, so utilize these aisles.

    Items to buy in dairy/eggs aisle: eggs, lowfat/skim milk, lite yogurt, lowfat cottage cheese.

    Quality Food Items for the Bodybuilder:

    • Natural peanut butter
    • Eggs
    • Lowfat/skim milk
    • Lite yogurt
    • Lowfat cottage cheese
    • Lean ground beef
    • Veal
    • Boneless skinless chicken breast
    • White fish (orange roughy/tilapia)
    • "Dark fish" (salmon)
    • Lean steak
    • Pork tenderloins
    • Broccoli
    • Salad greens
    • Fresh fruit (seasonal)
    • Tomatoes(seasonal)
    • Sweet potatoes
    • Celery and peppers
    • Whole wheat bread
    • Ezekiel 4:9 bread
    • Oats
    • Brown rice
    • Flax/Fish Oil
    • Cheese/low-fat cheese

    Impostors (low-quality) Items That Could Be Mistaken For Quality:

    • Processed peanut butter (the kind with hydrogenated oils)
    • Whole milk
    • Full sugar/full fat yogurt
    • High fat (>15%) ground beef
    • Fried chicken breast
    • Chicken thighs/wings
    • Fatty steak
    • Ground pork
    • Creamed spinach
    • Broccoli with processed "cheese"
    • White rice
    • Processed, sugary oat packets
    • Some "fat-free" cheese (some have a small amount of hydrogenated oils, check ingredients)
    • Wheat bread (its just white bread dyed brown)


Quality Foods?

How can you tell if the items you bought are quality foods and will help you attain your goals? First check your shopping cart for garish, bright labels. See any? Those are a red flag that that product is processed, and unhealthy. Check your ingredients, if you see the words, high fructose corn syrup, or hydrogenated that isn't a quality item.

The best way to ensure you purchase quality foods is to adhere to a strict criteria. Don't buy items with ingredients you do not recognize or understand, do not buy pre-packaged foods, and stick to your list. Remember to shop when you aren't hungry or thinking of cheating, this will help you avoid purchasing an item you will later regret buying.

Remember, the most important part of shopping as a bodybuilder is choosing quality items. In order to choose quality, rather than the profitable items the supermarket markets more heavily. The best way to ensure quality is to read the ingredient lists to make sure there is nothing there you do not want.

Remember to check your cart for quality before you checkout in order to ensure you don't buy something you will regret, or doesn't further your goals.

Kyle R.


3rd Place - LaxPro
View This Author's BodySpace Here.

I used to dread shopping for food. Back before I started bodybuilding, I would always send my mom off to the supermarket to buy some more cereal, soda, and other assortments of junk. I was never interested in the aspect of browsing for different types of foods and looking at their nutritional values, the only thing that interested me was consuming those said foods.

Since having taken up the bodybuilding lifestyle, shopping for food has become more enjoyable. No longer am I looking to buy food to satisfy personal cravings, but for functionality. It is no doubt that the foods you eat have a great impact on your body composition as well as your performance in the gym.

When people state that gaining muscle and losing fat is comprised mostly of your dietary habits, they are not joking. Food shopping can be a tedious experience, but when you understand that the food you are buying plays such a vital role on your physique and has such a positive impact on your well being, you will be more willing than ever to push around a shopping cart at your local grocery store!

Going into a supermarket can be an overwhelming experience for some. Aisles upon aisles of food grace every square foot, where is one to start? I find it best to carry a list with me before I ever step foot inside.

Often, when you are shopping for food, you have to buy so much that it is more than likely you will forget a thing or two, and who wants to drive back after already spending ample amounts of time shopping? You got more important things to do, like eat!


Types Of Food

When food shopping, it helps to separate all the different types of foods you intend to buy into different categories to insure you are getting all your proper macro nutrients and food groups. Don't ever neglect any aspect of nutrition, even back during pre-historic times, people were still eating forms of carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables, as well as tons of meat.

In examining the physiques of our ancestors, any rational person can come to the conclusion that they were onto something in regards to what they ate and the positives it had on their body compositions.

Different foods all serve different purposes and regulatory measures, which is why it is important to include a wide variety and assortment in your daily diet.

-> Carbohydrates:

    Low glycemic carbohydrates play a vital role in providing your body with lasting energy and refilling muscle glycogen stores after a strenuous workout. They are best consumed before and after your workout at around thirty to sixty grams.

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-> Fats:

    Fats are also essential to ones diet and are usually overlooked and under consumed. Dietary fat is a vital nutrient that our bodies need for health and daily functioning.

    As an energy source, it supplies essential fatty acids for growth, healthy skin, vitamin-absorption and regulation of bodily functions. Fat is a calorie-dense energy source; it contains nine calories per gram while carbohydrates or protein each provide only four per gram.

    The consumption of mono and polyunsaturated fats, a.k.a. "good fats" will also provide you with long and stable sources of energy much like carbohydrates. They will also induce feelings of satiety keeping you fuller for longer and enabling you to eat less without going hungry.

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    As for other benefits of fat, it is shown that high consumption rates of olive oil in Mediterranean countries is considered to be one of the reasons why these countries have lower levels of heart disease. Monounsaturated fat is believed to lower cholesterol and may assist in reducing heart disease.

    Like polyunsaturated fat it provides essential fatty acids for healthy the development of body cells. Monounsaturated fat is also believed to offer protection against certain cancers, like breast cancer and colon cancer. Monounsaturated fats are typically high in Vitamin E, the anti-oxidant vitamin that is usually in short supply in many Western diets.

    Most important it is important to achieve a correct balance of omega 3 to 6. Fish oil and flax do have some benefits beyond general health; they are utilized by the body quickly and shouldn't lead to storage as fat. Some great sources of healthy fats include avocado, salmon, natural peanut butter, fish and flax oil, as well as various assortments of nuts.

-> Protein:

    Finally we come to the macronutrient we all know and love best - protein! Getting adequate supplies of protein, especially for a bodybuilder, is essential. Everyone needs protein to build new cells and repair any damaged tissues. Without protein the body cannot function well and muscles in particular suffer.

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    Generally, people think about protein coming from animal meat, but milk, eggs, fish, cheese are all good forms of protein. This is because the body can use most of the protein absorbed from these sources.

    Plant proteins such as that from grains, cereals, fruit etc are all incomplete proteins and so they need to be supplemented with foods that have a more complete protein source. Food which are high in amino acids are the best protein source, since amino acids determine how much of the protein can be used by the body.

    Half of amino acids need to be supplied in the food; the other half can be synthesized within the body from the acids already eaten. I want to note that people often overemphasize the benefits of lean protein, that is, protein that doesn't contain much fat.

    Although these may be good for one on a calorie limited diet, foods that combine protein and fat, such as whole eggs, cheese, steak, pork, are great for really packing on mass. Steak for example, contains zinc and creatine. Zinc plays an important role in managing testosterone levels and the various benefits of creatine are widespread.

    Forum Threads:

    Consuming whole eggs as opposed to just the white is actually found to lower your bad cholesterol while raising your good cholesterol; it will also supply you with much more energy than a tasteless egg white will.

    Also don't neglect your fruits and vegetables! They are packed full of nutrients and antioxidants and are a great complimentary to any meal.

    If you are on a budget, I'd recommend just buying some frozen vegetables as opposed to fresh, organic varieties. They may not have as many beneficial nutrients do to being stored and frozen, but they are a heck of a lot cheaper.

    It is also important to note, that the darker and richer in color the fruit or vegetable is, the better it is for you! Always choose romaine lettuce over say, generic iceberg, and the dark blue color that makes up a blueberry happens to be one of the most antioxidant packed fruits you can eat!

    Fruits and vegetables also contain a good amount of fiber, which help to keep you regular; nobody wants to have a backup when going to the bathroom!


Avoiding The Monotony

As I'm sure you've come to realize part of which that makes a bodybuilding diet so hard to maintain and to stick with the monotony and repetitive nature of the food we eat, and also the fact that at times it can be very bland and boring! Sure, we eat for functionality, but why not make food taste the best that it can, and why not add in variety when you are able to?

Some tricks and secrets that I like include using Splenda and cinnamon in my oatmeal and cottage cheese. Splenda is basically calorie free and cinnamon has a good amount of fiber in it, so these two aids won't be detrimental to your diet, and on the plus side as well, they make these boring foods taste good!

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Also, don't be afraid to use fruit as well, it is naturally sweet yet healthy so top your chicken breast with some grilled pineapple or throw some natural peanut butter on a couple pieces of banana.

Crush up some avocado and add diced onion and chopped tomato to make some delicious guacamole, it is a great compliment to any dish. Hot sauce is also typically low in calories and can add some great flavor.


Financial Issues

As if the food we have to eat on a daily basis doesn't seem like much of a deterrent to you, the fact that buying steaks, milk, cartons of eggs, veggies, fruit, as well as other assortments of goods tends to add up and be quite taxing on the wallet!

This is where it helps to be a little obsessive about where and what you end up buying. Always sift through circulars and coupon catalogs that get sent to you. You might feel like you are wasting your time, but when you go to the checkout line and realize you saved twenty or so dollars just by clipping coupons, you'll be happy you did it.

Also, buy it bulk! This is where places like BJ's and Costco come in handy. You might end up spending more money at a time buying ten chicken breasts as opposed to three, but overall you really do save, and it prevents you from having to go back out every third day and buying more food.

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Do You Buy Your Groceries In Bulk?

Yes.
No.
Sometimes.

However, be wary of sales such as "Buy three get one free" or sales citing things like, "Limit twelve per customer." Deals such as these may seem like a great buy, but chances are you will only end up buying more than you need in the first place!

Another tip is to never, ever purchase pre-cut/sliced fruits, vegetables, or meat. It may be convenient and you may be saving time not having to slice or marinade anything yourself, but realize that you're also paying a tremendous premium??"sometimes up to twice as much as uncut versions of the same food??"just so you don't have to bother picking up a knife.

Finally, make sure to take advantage of any shopper club card or membership system that your grocery store might offer. There incentive to offering these programs is to keep you loyal and coming back, in return, you reap the benefits of saving money on your purchases just by becoming affiliated.


Stick With It

One final word of advice is to really stick to your guns. Buy what you have to buy, and get out of there! Don't dilly-dally around looking at all the junk food and candy that is undoubtedly going to litter the majority of the aisles. It's not a coincidence that grocery store eye-candy with fancy packaging is placed right at eye level to entice and attract you, being in a supermarket is temptation paradise for anyone who is on a diet.

Each time I walk in I'm surprised and baffled about what the average American consumes on a daily basis and the sad part is that they do because most do not know any better. You may try to justify buying some treats by thinking to yourself about how hard you've been dieting or all of the progress that you made in the gym, but realize that after you leave the grocery store, any temptation will be gone.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not discouraging eating junky food on occasion when you really feel like you deserve it, but if you are succumbing to a sheer impulse, suck it up, wheel your shopping cart on, and try to get some sort of satisfaction just by looking at the food and imagining how it would taste, lol.

Gregory W.

LaxPro


3rd Place - Chevy0364
View This Author's BodySpace Here.

With so much of an emphasis on supplements nowadays, it is easy to forget what else we are putting into our bodies. Whether you are bulking, cutting, or just maintaining, it is essential to make sure that your diet is in check so that you can maximize results and attain your goals.

The body needs fuel and supplies from the outside environment in order to stay nourished and healthy, build muscle, and efficiently burn fat stores.

That being said, one of the most troubling things in a bodybuilder's lifestyle is temptation. Temptation to stay home and sleep instead of going to the gym, temptation to skip out on cardio, temptation to gorge on food that isn't healthy, etc.

For the latter, one can defend against such temptation by not stocking the freezer with ice-cream, so that even if the urge presents itself, it won't be readily available. However, one of the most "dangerous" places for the average bodybuilder is indeed the supermarket. It's filled with food, most of which is bad. It is important to know what to look for when stocking your fridge each week.


Make A List

First things first, you need to make a list. Yes, a list just like mommy used to use. This will ensure that:

  1. You get everything you need without forgetting anything.
  2. You have a guideline instead of getting yourself in trouble with "impulse buying."
  3. You get out of there as soon as possible.

Different foods come in different varieties with different nutrient profiles. It is key to make sure you're getting something that will help you. After all, you're spending YOUR money on this so you might as well get food that will produce results.

However your diet is planned, you will most likely have a breakdown as to what your macro goals are per week, a certain percentage of total caloric intake that is attributed to either carbohydrates, protein, or fat.

READ LABELS to ensure that your typical day will stay within your goals. Labels are your friend... don't buy based on "All Natural" logos. Read them anyway, you might just surprise yourself.

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So, what to buy? The answer: food you will not have to convince yourself to eat every time. Eating is fun, don't make it painful. Don't like fish? Then buy chicken. There is always something else that will be 'good' for you. It definitely helps to make sure you pick up a variety of food, so that meals do not become boring.

-> Fats:

    You need to make sure that you are getting fat in your diet. Fat intake is essential in making sure the body does not store the carbohydrates you consume in your love handles. Plus, as a bonus it leaves you feeling "full" and satisfied. However, the type of fat makes a difference.

    Saturated fat, chemically, consists of a base and a few 'fatty acid' carbon chains coming off of that. These chains are linear, meaning strait. This means that they can be packed more efficiently, so the body tends to use these for fat storage.

    Unsaturated fats are different in how one of the carbon chains has a "kink" in it, making it not very efficient for storage purposes. Therefore it is burned for energy and actually increases metabolism. Omega 3, 6, and 9 are examples of this kind of fat.

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    Sources for this in the supermarket include flaxseed oil, canola oil, pumpkin seeds, walnuts and fresh oily fish, such as mackerel. Personally, I'm not much of a chef so I make sure I'm always stocked with canned fish like tuna or salmon.

    Nowadays you can also find many foods that are being fortified with healthy fats. Another good source of fat is almonds. I know that most of you hate vegetables, but avocados are actually a great source of fat as well.

-> Carbs:

    Now on to the carbs. Everyone seems to be scared of carbs these days, with South Beach this and lo-carb that. YOU NEED CARBOHYDRATES IN YOUR DIET. Your body's #1 source of energy is carbohydrates so it is important to have carbs as a staple of your diet. But, like fat, it needs to be the right kind.

    You can't just go around chugging Jolly Ranchers and think that you're eating healthy. The Glycemic Index is a way of measuring a carbohydrates characteristics.

    Glycemic Index:

    When one says high GI carbs, they are referring to something that spikes blood sugar levels and leads to insulin fluctuation. Insulin levels dictate whether or not carbohydrates get stored in the body, and we want storage to be minimal so that muscle can grow and fat stores (the secondary fuel source) can be burned.

    Low GI carbs are essential post-workout when glycogen in the body is depleted and needs to be replaced for muscle growth and recovery. I personally like to have a high-carb breakfast just to give me that extra kick in the morning.

    Examples for things to look for are sweet-potatoes, oatmeal, oats, brown rice/pasta, and certain breads and breakfast cereals. It is important when picking out what to buy to look at the label.

    Under carbohydrates on the label, there are usually 3 categories:

    1. Fiber
    2. Sugar
    3. Other Carbohydrates

    We want to minimize sugar (a simple carbohydrate) and maximize our complex carbs. Also look for a low sugar Ezekiel bread (if you can find it) or whole wheat.

    This 'label looking' should also be done for the "fatty" foods as well. Vegetables are very important in the diet as well, so look to stock up on green beans, peppers, and my favorite, spinach. Veggies are great ways to keep your fiber intake high and steer clear of colon problems.

-> Protein:

    The third macronutrient is, of course, protein. We all love protein. Generally it tastes good, is the building blocks for new muscle tissue, and burns calories while keeping the body in an anabolic state... awesome.

    Amino acids, the little parts that link together to form a protein, are essential for almost all bodily function. Approximately half of these are chemically manufactured within the body, but the other half needs to be supplied through food. Depending of whether you are on a bulk or cut, you may want to watch how much fat is coupled with your "protein" foods.

    Great sources of protein include:

    • Fish
    • Poultry (especially chicken)
    • Eggs
    • Lean beef

    Now they make egg-white product in cartons so that people who are cutting don't have to bother separating it themselves.


"Don't" List

Now I'm going to do what everyone hates to hear. The "don't" list. I don't want to outlaw certain foods, because so many companies are making things better now. I'll do this instead: when you're looking at the nutrient profiles of the foods you buy, also take a look at the ingredients list.

There are many things in this day and age that we, as bodybuilders, should stay away from. I'll start with the oils. This includes Palm Kernel Oil, Soybean Oil, and other Hydrogenated/Brominated Oils. You might as well shoot yourself in the foot if you're taking in a big amount of these.

They are just packed with trans and saturated fat. Bad, bad, bad... stay away. Another fear that most bodybuilders have is lipogenesis. If you do a Wikipedia search you'll find that lipogenesis is "the complex process of producing lipids (fatty acids) from smaller precursor molecules."

In layman's terms: make fat to store in the body.

FAT CELLS
Click Text For Info.

Ingredients that lead to this include High Fructose Corn Syrup and maltodextrin. Some of the low-carb foods you see out there toot their own horns about having low impact carbs.

They essentially replace sugar with sugar-alcohols to slow absorption into the bloodstream so that insulin is not greatly affected. Some say they are harmless and some say that they can lead to cancer so I won't steer you one way or the other, but make sure you do some research and read some literature before you go hitting your body hard with sugar-alcohol.

Types of this (that will show up on the ingredients list) are maltitol, lacitol, erythritol, sorbitol, and xylitol. There are others so make sure you remember from chemistry class that ??"ol means alcohol. Also, glycerin and glycerine tend to add to glycemic woes, and are generally used as a sweetening agent.

On the high protein foods make sure that there isn't much hydrolyzed collagen. This is basically a waste of money, as it is not a quality protein and most likely will just be passed through your system (and into the toilet). Like the sugar-alcohol debate, there is also a debate about soy protein.

Personally I like it, as it is medium release, but some claim that it supports high estrogen levels (through phytoestrogens). Again, do your homework and make your own decision, but its something to think about.


Green Tea

I felt that this should get its own paragraph: BUY GREEN TEA. It'll increase your metabolism plus it tastes great. Be careful not to get a lot of sugar in the ready made drinks. Tea bags are the way to go if you feel you can sacrifice the time it takes to prepare (2 minutes lol).

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General Advice

So here is some general advice to help you stay on top of your goals via the supermarket. Buy enough so that you can eat many times throughout the day, so that metabolism stays optimal and muscle breakdown does not occur. Also you want to buy enough so that you don't have to go back there every other day.

Try to limit it to once per week. To recap, the making of a list is crucial, and it doesn't hurt to keep a list of ingredients to stay away from to make sure they aren't in what you're buying. STAY OUT OF THE "SNACK" AISLE. You will be pressured to buy some greasy potato chips and that isn't what we want.

Try to adhere to these guidelines and you should be reaching your goals in no time. Good luck.