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Precision Engineered Whey Protein – Yay or Nay?

precision engineered whey protein

In the world of whey protein, there’s a lot of debate over which one is the best. Source of protein, amount of protein per serving, and costs are amongst the main topics for consideration.  Let’s take a closer look at one company today and complete a Precision Engineered whey protein product review. A quick internet search will help you see that Precision Engineered products have mixed reviews. As a dietitian, I’ll be focusing on the nutrition facts of the product and ignore commenting on taste profiles and palatability. You can be the judge on that front.


Nutrition Facts Breakdown, on average:


Precision Engineered Whey Protein Isolate (Hardcore Series, vanilla)

– 1 scoop, 36grams, Protein 30g; Carbs 3g; Calories 140


Precision Engineered Whey Protein (vanilla)

– 1 scoop, 24grams Protein 18g; Carbs 2g; Calories 93

– 1.5 scoop, 36grams Protein 27g; Carbs 3g; Calories 140


You’ll notice that the hardcore series offers a minimal amount of added protein when the amount is adjusted between the two products. Don’t let sneaky marketing with the use of words like “hardcore” get to you. If there is a huge price difference between the two products, get the cheaper one because nutritionally, they’re practically identical.


How Much Protein is in Common Foods?

Here is a list of common foods and their respective protein content:

Food Group Food Protein Content
Meat and Alternatives Beef sirloin steak, 75 g 26 g
Tofu, firm, raw, 75 g 21 g
Pork tenderloin, 75 g 21 g
Chicken, skinless breast, 75 g 20 g
Tuna, canned light, 75 g 19 g
Eggs, whole cooked, 2 large 13 g
Kidney beans, boiled, 175 mL (¾ cup) 12 g
Lentils, boiled, 175 mL (¾ cup) 13 g
Almonds, 60 mL (¼ cup) 8 g
Peanut Butter, 15mL (1 tbsp) 4 g
Milk and Alternatives Cottage cheese, 125 mL (½ cup) 15 g
Cheddar cheese, 50 g (1¾ oz) 12 g
Milk, 250 mL (1 cup) 8 g
Yogurt, 175 mL (¾ cup) 8 g
Grain Products Whole-wheat pasta, cooked, 125 mL (½ cup) 4 g
Whole-wheat bread, 1 slice 3 g
Brown rice, cooked, 125 mL (½ cup) 3 g
Oatmeal, prepared, 175 mL (¾ cup) 3 g
Vegetables and Fruit Potato, with skin, cooked, 125 mL (½ cup) 5 g
Broccoli, cooked, 125 mL (½ cup) 2 g
Butternut squash, cooked, 125 mL (½ cup) 1 g
Banana, raw, 1 medium 1 g
Apple juice, bottled, 125 mL (½ cup) 0 g


Some reviewers of Precision Engineered Whey Protein complain that this product doesn’t have enough protein and concludes that hence, the product is less effective for building muscle. I offer an example to look at this from a different perspective:

  • 180 lb (81.8kg) male athlete that trains intensely almost daily requires about 1.2-1.5g protein per kg body weight per day = 98 to 123g protein per day
  • 3-4 scoops of the hardcore series or 4.5-6 scoops of the original provides this amount


Alternatively, the same amount of protein can be easily achieved through regular food intake:

  • Breakfast: ¾ cup Oatmeal + 2 Eggs + 1 cup Milk = 27g
  • Morning Snack: ¾ cup Yogurt + 1 medium Banana = 9g
  • Lunch: 2.5oz Chicken Salad Sandwich (2 slices bread) = 26g
  • Afternoon Snack: ¼ cup Almonds + ½ cup Apple Juice = 8g
  • Dinner: 5oz steak + 2/3 cup Mixed Vegetables + 1 cup Rice = 58g


There is no evidence to support that protein intake above 1.7grams per kg body weight per day is beneficial or necessary to support training (unless you’re a growing adolescent athlete, then up to 2.0g/kg is acceptable). If too much protein is taken, there is a risk that not enough other nutrients such as carbohydrate, fat, vitamins, and minerals are taken. It’s a common misconception that more protein helps build more muscle, but in fact, additional calories coming from any source gets stored as fat. Hence, I think this product has sufficient protein.


In fact, my concern lies in the low carbohydrate content. Current research tells us that the optimal recovery food post workout is a combination of protein and carbohydrate. This product has barely any carbohydrate. Post exercise recovery is optimized when approximately 20grams of protein is taken, regardless of body weight.


One solution is to mix the Precision Engineered whey protein powder (1 scoop provides 24g protein, 2g carbs) with 1 cup milk instead of water. This would bump up the nutrition to 32g protein and 14g of carbohydrates to promote better recovery since the carbohydrate can be used for fuel, reserving the amino acids from the protein for rebuilding muscle.


Alternatively, you could eat a sandwich made with 2 slices of bread and 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, with 1 cup of milk which would provide a total of 22g of protein, 45g carbohydrate.


If you ask me, the food option is a more natural and cheaper option that provides an amount closer to what post exercise protein needs are without going over as well as additional carbohydrates to reserve the amino acids for muscle building instead of being used up as fuel.



Jeukendrup, A. (2010). Sports Nutrition From Lab to Kitchen. In A. Jeukendrup, Sports Nutrition From Lab to Kitchen (pp. 78-79). Aachen: Meyer & Meyer Sport (UK) Ltd.

Health Canada. Canadian nutrient file (CNF) , 2007. Accessed June 28, 2010.


Photo courtesty of www.vitaminworld.com

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Nutrition for Runners – Just in Time for the Vancouver Sun Run

female runner

Nutrition for athletes has been researched and explored since the origin of the Olympics. Athletes of this generation benefit from years of scientific explorations and the wisdom and experience of athletes and trainers who have worked hard for their own (and now our) benefit.

Healthy Foods for Runners

There isn’t really a specific diet for runners to follow. The key is to enjoy a balanced diet that includes three meals a day with snacks in between meals if you need them. In this case, ‘balanced’ means having three out of the four food groups present at each meal.

Examples of Balanced Meals

  • Salmon with Roasted Vegetables on Brown Rice
  • Lentil and Vegetable Stew with Whole Grain Roll & Skim Milk
  • Asian Beef and Vegetable Stir-fry over Japanese Noodles
  • Classic Tomato Meat Sauce Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Green Beans

asian-stirfry Nutrition for Runners - Just in Time for the Vancouver Sun Run

Whole grains, lots of vegetables and fruit, and lean protein are preferred to keep the cardiovascular system and gastrointestinal system healthy. Lean protein provides the amino acid building blocks required to build and repair muscle tissues, especially since running involves the largest muscle groups in the body – leg muscles. Healthy fats such as vegetable oil, soft margarine and those from nuts, seeds, and avocado are required as part of a healthy diet.

However, keeping the total amount of fat (from animal and plant sources) to less than thirty percent of your daily calories is best. Runners benefit from maintaining a healthy weight because it improves their efficiency and overall performance. When meal planning, keep in mind that eating foods high in fiber and fat before runs can cause digestive issues or lethargy because they take longer to digest.

Nutrition for Runners Marathon

For those who have or are thinking about signing up for a marathon, half-marathon, 10K or 5K walk or run, you need to be a bit more specific about your food intake than the recreational runner who isn’t training for a planned event.  The following guidelines will help you schedule meals so you minimize undesirable side effects during your runs such as dehydration, cramping, and nausea.

 If Eating Two Hours or More before Running

Balanced meal with grains, vegetables and protein. This can be a lighter meal if you find two hours isn’t long enough for you to digest everything prior to your run.

If Eating One Hour before Running

Liquid meals such as a meal replacement drink or fruit and yogurt smoothie will be best because fluids digest quicker. This will reduce your risks of cramping, and nausea during your run. If you have what I like to call an “iron stomach,” you may tolerate a regular meal of solid food, but don’t leave it until race day to try something new.

If You Run First Thing in the Morning

Have a balanced meal the night before with grains, vegetables and protein. This is very important to help you build some glycogen stores. In the morning, drink either diluted sports drink or fruit juice (or if you prefer, water and an energy gel or shot bloc gummy). This will prevent low blood sugars (even if you’re not diabetic) and keep you from feeling lightheaded during a 30 to 45 minute run.

Hydration for Runners

 water-fountain-1024x768 Nutrition for Runners - Just in Time for the Vancouver Sun Run

The general guideline for fluid intake:

Timing Amount of Fluid
2 hours before running 2 cups
10-15 min before running 1 to 2 cups
Every 15-20 min during run 1/3 – ½ cup
Immediately after training 1 – 3 cups


However, you may require less or more depending on your sweat losses, tolerance for fluid intake and body size. The key is to drink enough, but not too much or too little. Over hydration can cause a condition called hyponatremia, where the salt level in your blood becomes too low, causing symptoms of nausea, fatigue, and muscle cramps. Dehydration increases your body temperature and your overall risk of heat stroke and heart related illness. Rehydration will improve post-exercise recovery so it’s important to drink plenty of fluids after your run, especially after long runs or when running in hot weather.

Vitamins for Runners

If you’re eating balanced meals and snacks and don’t have pre-existing health conditions that require isolated supplements for treatment, you should be fine with just a one-a-day multivitamin/mineral.

Vitamin D supplementation may be useful for runners who live in climates that don’t get much sun exposure or if they wear sunscreen or clothing that covers most skin surfaces when outdoors. Adults generally require 600 IU per day, unless additional therapeutic doses are required to treat a deficiency or osteoporosis.

Calcium will be important if your diet doesn’t provide enough. One convenient way to check whether you need to eat more calcium containing foods or take a supplement is to use the BC Dairy Association’s Interactive Calcium Calculator (see “references”).






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Insanity Nutrition Guide


Ever heard of Insanity? If not, Google “Insanity Workout” and read up on how the workout program promises weight loss and a better looking body in 60 days. That, or stay up late one night and you’re bound to see a television infomercial for it. No matter how many times I’ve seen it pop up on T.V., I’m still oddly captivated by how everyday people get staggering results.

But is it really as “simple” as just doing the workouts, which, to me looks about as easy as lifting a monster truck with my pinky? No. And no insanity workout review would be a fair assessment if it didn’t emphasize the importance of the free insanity nutrition guide download that accompanies the program.

My skepticism melted away as I reviewed the 52 page insanity nutrition guide pdf download. I thought id’ be suggesting that carbohydrates are the enemy, all fats are evil, and taking 500 calories a day for months will do the trick for weight loss. I also thought it wouldn’t be surprising if they threw in a FREE insanity workout calendar with ‘specially formulated’ miracle drinks to promote extreme weight loss IF YOU BUY NOW! (Sorry, those infomercials have an odd grip on my brain.)

Thankfully, I was so, so wrong. Short of going to see a dietitian for expert advice, the insanity nutrition guide printable manual presents safe nutrition advice that’s fairly easy to follow and not too intimidating. It offers a systematic approach to tailoring each person’s unique calorie needs, goals, and emphasizes variety and hydration as key to good health. Honestly? I had to read it a couple times to make sure I wasn’t dreaming or not catching some fine, fine print.

My favorite aspects of the insanity nutrition guide:

  • Uses a predictive equation to estimate resting energy expenditure based on a person’s unique characteristics including gender, height, weight, age
  • Takes into account people’s different activity level and increases caloric requirements
  • Suggests a 500 calorie/day deficit to promote steady weight loss of 1 pound/week, which is safe and sustainable versus dramatic hypo-caloric diets that often result in rebound weight gain
  • Promotes 3 meals and 2 snacks, totaling 5 meals a day spread several hours at a time, with meal ideas that have protein, carbohydrate, and vegetables/fruit
  • Emphasizes lean proteins, low-fat dairy, healthy fat additions, complex carbohydrate food choices over saturated fats and refined sugars

Looking for the insanity nutrition guide printable version?

Go to: http://www.teamunify.com/cast/__doc__/Insanity%20Nutrition%20Guide.pdf

(I want to be sure we’re looking at the same document, in case there are other insanity nutrition guide manuals out there.)


The bottom line is:

  • Nutrition is the foundation of good health, whether or not you do insanity
  • You are unique, so your eating plan needs to match your needs and goals, not ‘that guy in the infomercial ‘ or ‘your cousin Suzie’ or ‘uncle Frank’
  • Follow the insanity nutrition guide if you are doing the insanity workouts. It just makes sense to do the program in its entirety. Is it really realistic to expect 100% results from doing 50% of the work?
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Is it Okay to Use Protein Powder?


Before I answer the question, allow me to start off by saying that I strongly believe in getting our nutrients from natural food sources as much as possible. Our bodies require energy from three macronutrients, namely carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Protein provides both calories and amino acids to help build and repair muscles and is an essential part of our daily nutrition. There are excellent protein food sources including lean chicken, beef, pork, turkey, fish, lentils, beans, nuts, seeds, tofu, soy-based vegetable protein, nut butters, eggs, milk, yogurt, and cheese.


Most people eat way more protein in a day than Canada Food Guide’s recommended 2-3 servings meat and alternatives and 2-3 servings of milk and alternatives for adults aged 19 years and older. However, there are reasons why someone may not being getting enough protein:

  • Too busy to prioritize meal planning and grocery shopping for healthy protein foods
  • Work schedule impacting eating habits causing skipped and missed meals
  • Those struggling with low appetite due to illness or chronic disease
  • Cancer patients dealing with side effects of chemotherapy, radiation therapy or both
  • People who experience low appetite from intense physical training and exercise


In such cases, protein supplements can come in handy because of its versatility. Flavorless protein powders as as Beneprotein can be added to sweet and savory food and drinks both hot and cold, making it a good “Plan B” kind of pantry item for those who struggle to get enough protein from food sources alone. For those who prefer to make smoothies and shakes for a quick “meal on the go,” flavored protein powders may be preferred unless you dislike the conventional choices of chocolate, strawberry or vanilla. This is especially true for you deal hunters out there. Buying bulk protein powder is going to be your best bet since it has a long shelf life when kept in a cool dry location, and it stretches much further than buying meal replacement drinks sold in 4 or 6 packs.


But what is the best protein powder? What’s the difference between cheap protein powder vs expensive? Is cheap protein powder in bulk form okay to use? Forget the price tag of the protein supplement for a second (okay maybe 5 minutes) and just focus on the ingredients to help you make a decision:


Protein Source – Whey versus Soy

Research shows that animal proteins result in greater gains in muscle mass and strength when compared againt protein from plant sources. Whey protein is an animal protein derived from milk. Whey protein is considered a complete protein because it contains all nine of the essential amino acids that our bodies cannot make on its own. It is also fast acting and easily absorbed by the body which may improve muscle recovery post work out.


Soy is the only plant based protein that is considered complete and offers unique benefits including being low in saturated fat, and high in antioxidants. It has cholesterol lowering effects and a positive influence on heart health. It’s also a great alternative to animal protein supplements for vegetarian or vegan athletes.


How Much Protein?

For everyday people who exercise about 30 minutes a day, an adequate amount of protein would be about 0.8-1.0grams/kg body weight/day. (Note: 1 kilogram equals 2.2 pounds) For adults that are very physically active, protein needs are only slightly elevated. Recommended protein intakes for endurance athletes is 1.2.-1.4g/kg/day and for strength/resistance training athletes is 1.5-1.7g/kg/day.


For example: 60 kilogram male or female

30 minutes of exercise per day: 0.8-1.0g/kg body weight equals 48 to 60 grams protein per day

Endurance athlete: 1.2-1.4g/kg body weight equals 72 to 84 grams protein per day

Strength or resistance athlete: 1.5-1.7g/kg body weight equals 90 to 102 grams protein per day


How much protein is in common foods?




Grams of Protein

Animal Sources    
Beef, lamb, pork or veal, or poultry, cooked 3 ounces (90 grams) 25


Eggs, large 2 eggs 12
Canned Fish (170g net weight, 120g drained) ½ can 14
Fish and Shellfish, cooked 3 ounces (90 grams) 18
Vegetarian Sources    
Lentils, beans or peas 1 cup cooked 15
Peanut butter 2 tablespoons (30mL) 10
Tofu (regular curd) ½ cup (125 grams) 10
Soy milk 1 cup (250mL) 7
Nuts (peanuts, almonds, walnuts, cashews, hazelnut, and pistachios) ¼ cup (1 ounce) 6
Seeds (pumpkin, squash, sesame, and sunflower) ¼ cup (1 ounce) 7
Chickpeas (garbanzo beans), cooked 1 cup (250mL) 15
Milk & Alternatives    
Cheese hard 1 ounce (28 grams) 7
Cottage cheese & ricotta ½ cup ( 115 grams) 14
Milk (skim, 1%, 2%, whole or chocolate) 1 cup (250mL) 8
Pudding (made with milk) ½ cup (125mL) 4
Yogurt ¾ cup (175 grams) 6
Skim milk powder 2 tablespoons (30mL) 5
Grain Products    
Cream of wheat 1 cup (250mL) 4
Oatmeal ¾ cup (188mL) 4
Bagel, 3 ½ inch diameter 1 7
Bread 1 slice 2
Pasta, cooked 1 cup (250mL) 7
Pita, 6 ½ inch diameter 1 6
Rice, cooked 1 cup 6


Helpful Hints:

  • 3 ounces (90 grams) of cooked meat is about the size of a deck of cards


Keep in mind that the increased amount of protein for athletes can easily be met through food with careful planning of meals and snacks. For those who struggle with getting enough protein through food, figure out how much protein you’re taking in a typical day, and supplement the difference with protein powder. More protein in not always better, so don’t overdo it unless you have a medical reason to do so.


So the question should no longer be “where can I find cheap protein powder online” or is “wholesale protein powder” okay? Rather, start asking how can I get enough protein through food sources. If not, then ask whether the protein powder you’re buying has the type of protein in the amounts needed to supplement your food intake? If yes, and it’s cheap? GREAT.


Bottom line: Food First, then Supplement if needed.



Top 5 Best Weight Gainer Tips

best weight gain supplements

Believe it or not, not everyone wants to lose weight. In fact, many people struggle to put weight on. I’ve met many adult men who have been skinny their entire lives and would give anything to put on extra pounds. There are also people recovering from an illness where they lost a lot of weight and need to regain some of it in order to be at a healthy BMI. Women dealing with persistent nausea and vomitting may also need assistance putting on weight to stay healthy for themselves and their unborn child. Finally, many seniors lose muscle mass as a result of decreased mobility, appetite, and intake for a variety of health related reasons and need nutrition advice to stop their weight from trending down.

So trust me when I say, the following tips are not just a “best weight gainer for skinny guys strategy,” it’s the top 5 best weight gainer ideas for absolutely anyone wanting (or needing) to put on more pounds:

Tip #1: Eat every 2-3 hours.

Most people have 2-3 main meals per day plus or minus some snacks. For you, plan to have 3 meals, with snacks between each meal, so that your day looks something like this:

Breakfast, Morning Snack, Lunch, Afternoon Snack, Dinner, Evening Snack

Tip #2: Add (mostly) healthy fats to your diet whenever you can.

Add avocado to sandwiches, wraps, salads, shakes, toast, salsa, and dips.

Throw a handful of nuts into your oatmeal, cream of wheat, salads, stirfrys, or enjoy nut butters on toast or crackers.

Use vegetable oil when cooking omelets, stirfrys, steaks and pan fried vegetables.

Adding cream to soups and choosing full fat milk, yogurt and cheeses may increase your saturated fat intake, but if you don’t have heart health problems, then it’s a great way to add calories.

Tip #3: Use supplements when your appetite is low.

The best weight gain supplements would be meal replacement drinks such as Boost, Ensure (as well as their generic store brand counterparts) as well as protein shakes marketed usually for sports and fitness but could be used for weight gain. The best weight gain supplements are made to provide a concentrated source of protein, carbohydrates, fat, multivitamins and minerals for people who just can’t eat enough food to add pounds. My advice is to use supplements only when you need to and for as long as you need to. When your appetite returns or other uncomfortable symptoms associated with eating go away, go back to getting your nutrients from food.

Tip #4: Always have snacks with you.

Leave a jar of raw nuts at your desk, in your purse or car so it’s nice and handy.

Got a work fridge? Stock it with your personal tub of yogurt, hummus, cheese, or fruit.

Buy shelf stable snacks like granola bars in bulk so it takes longer to run out in between grocery store runs.

Tip #5: Enjoy more protein and carbohydrates.

Protein: If you’re planning to use a supplement, then the best weight gainer protein source would be whey protein because research shows it promotes more protein synthesis than casein. Food sources of protein that pack a higher calorie punch would be beef and pork (due to their higher saturated fat content) and poultry (with the skin on) or beans, lentils, tofu, and eggs cooked with fat from butter, oil, and/or cream.

Carbohydrates: Carbs from grains and alternatives such as quinoa are an easy way to add more calories because they’re so readily available. Choosing whole grain varieties are also a great way to promote good gut health. Keep in mind that higher fibre carbs tend to fill you up more, which is great for people trying to lose weight, but not so good for those try to gain weight. Choosing white breads and pastas may enable you to have a larger appetite because there’s less fiber to increase your satiety.

Best Pre Workout Meal

optimal pre workout meal

Proper nutrition is important for everyone who is physically active. Whether you’re attending a weekly community center fitness class or training five days a week for a sporting event, eating well ensures you get the most out of your training. It is especially important for those who exercise for longer than one hour each time and those doing endurance training. Abide by the following basic guidelines so you have more energy to walk/run/swim longer, lift more, and train harder.

The optimal pre workout meal will depend on when your workout is scheduled. Another common question is “if I’m going to have a pre workout meal how long beforehand should I eat?”


Pre Workout Meal Morning

For those who train early in the morning, a pre workout shake would be a quick and convenient breakfast solution.


Blend together frozen blueberries (or any fruit you like), yogurt (Greek yogurt is high in protein), milk and ground flax for an antioxidant and omega-3 rich breakfast that’s got protein and carbohydrate to keep you feeling satisfied and nutritionally ready for working out.


Plan ahead so you have your pre workout shake at least one hour before you work out. Since liquids empty out of the stomach faster than solid food, the smoothie should empty from your stomach into your small bowel in about an hour. This means you won’t experience the discomfort of having liquid sloshing around in your stomach while you do cardio or lift weights.


If you are short on time and cannot wait an hour before you workout, start with weights and save cardio exercises (where your stomach is in motion more) until the end of your session to reduce any risks of nausea and vomiting.


Pre Workout Meal Afternoon or Evening


Plan ahead and have a balanced meal that contains grains, vegetables, and lean protein such as skinless turkey, chicken, tofu, or beans. Have this meal about two to three hours before your workout because solid food takes longer to empty from the stomach. By now you probably get the hint that having food left in your stomach while you exercise can cause nausea, vomitting, cramping, and reflux. Foods high in fat tend to slow down gut emptying and can make you feel more lethargic prior to exercising, so it’s best to choose leaner meats. Those who experience flatulence during exercise (don’t be ashamed, it happens to all of us!) may want to pass on the beans and choose other protein options instead.


Hydrate your body with fluids as well – water is the best choice as high sugar beverages and caffeine containing beverages can dehydrate your body and lead to cramps.


Pre Workout Meal for Weight Loss


Some people think that by not eating prior to exercising, it will stimulate the body to break down its own fat stores for energy during the workout. Now, while there’s truth to that statement, you must weigh out the cons, which include:


During your exercise, it’s more likely you’re not performing at your best and/or you cut your exercise time short because you feel too hungry or tired.


After you exercise, you’re way more likely to overeat because you were hungry to begin with, but now you’re starving after using up calories during your workout, especially after an intense or lengthy training session.


Feeling hungry also impairs your usual good judgment. When we’re hungry, not to mention tired after working out, our brains trigger us to crave higher fat, sugar, and salty foods instead of healthy, balanced meals that you normally can rationalize as a better choice.


Plan ahead and make sure that you’re setting yourself up for sucess when it comes to pre workout nutrition. I guarantee you’ll get better results…as a result. simple-smile Best Pre Workout Meal