Posts Tagged ‘diet’

The Simplest Weight-Loss Diet Ever!

Hardcore dieting can become a mess of food scales, portions, and hunger that very few survive. If you’re looking to lose weight without the stress, this article is for you!

From extreme calorie restriction, to sprawling “off-limit” food lists, to tracking every single morsel of nourishment, strict dieting can be a major turnoff. The so-called “best diet in the world” is useless if you can’t stick to it, and many popular restriction-based diets are downright hard to stick to!

If you want to lose weight without following a complicated rule book that dictates when and what you can eat, this article is for you. If you want to drop fat without feeling like you have to drop your social life, this article is for you. Simply put, if you want to shed excess weight and the stress that usually comes along with it, this article is for you.

Read these eight steps, start living them, train for fat loss a few days per week, and reap the benefits of a healthy diet without having to abandon the fun in your life.


1

Eat Protein and Vegetables at Every Meal

Protein is the key player when it comes to muscle growth and recovery. But outside of its invaluable muscle-building benefits, protein slows down digestion, keeping you fuller for longer, which means you’ll be less likely to stuff yourself silly if you eat an ample amount of it.

Which proteins sources have lean cuts of meat? The fewer legs, the better.

To keep overall calories at bay, choose lean proteins at every meal, ball-parking around 30 grams. If you’re unsure which lean protein options to choose, keep this advice in mind: “The fewer legs, the better.” Think about it: Between fish, two-legged poultry, and the four-legged cow and pig, fat content increases as the number of legs increases. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, but this is a solid starting place when you’re unsure.

Lean protein sources: Chicken or turkey breast (no skin), pork tenderloin, filet mignon, sirloin, tenderloin, egg whites, low-fat Greek yogurt/milk, bison, venison, soy protein, whey protein, casein protein

Vegetables contribute to your fullness because they’re high in both water and fiber. Water fills your stomach, and fiber slows down digestion, both of which can keep you from steering toward extra calories and sweets. Eating veggies is also a surefire way to increase vitamin and mineral intake, which is important for optimal health as well as cognitive and physical performance.

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2

Eat Carbohydrates at Three Meals

Eat direct carbohydrate sources like oats, rice, and potatoes at three meals per day. Make sure that two of these meals include your pre- and post-workout meal. Carbohydrates are your body’s primary energy source, so consuming them at your pre-workout meal will help “top off” your fuel tank. This will help you give 100 percent effort during your training. In your post-workout meal, carbohydrates can enhance recovery and replenish your used fuel, so to speak.

Note: On nontraining days, when your activity is probably much lower, reduce carbohydrate-focused meals to two per day to account for the reduction in energy expenditure.


3

Choose Complex Carbs

Complex carbohydrates take longer to digest than simple carbohydrates, due to their high fiber content. Choose complex carbs over simple, quick-digesting options to enhance fullness and provide your body with longer-lasting energy throughout the day.

Complex carbohydrates are often dark, or browner in color, compared to simple carbohydrates.

A quick way to identify complex carbohydrates is by observing the color of the carbohydrate. The darker, more brown in color, the better the option usually is. For instance, opt for brown rice over white rice, or whole-wheat bread over white bread.

Carbohydrate Comparison

  • Complex carbs: Oats, brown rice, quinoa, whole-wheat bread, whole-wheat pasta, fruits, vegetables.
  • Simple carbs: Cookies, cakes, chips, pretzels, sugar-sweetened beverages, candy.

4

Eat More Healthy Fats

Fat is a (ridiculously delicious) nutrient that promotes fullness because it digests slowly. Fat is very calorie-dense, so the type of fat you choose is critical. Eating primarily “healthy,” unsaturated fats has been suggested to improve blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels, blood pressure, and weight loss.1-6

The Fat Facts

  • Unsaturated Fats: Avocado, fatty fish, olive oil, canola oil, omega-3 fish oil supplements, nuts, seeds, nut butters, flax seed.
  • Saturated Fats: Coconut oil, reduced- and full-fat milk, cheese and yogurt, butter, egg yolks, animal meats.

5

Use Your Hands

Measuring out every morsel of food can be a real pain in the butt. Fortunately, you can absolutely lose weight without weighing all your food. Of course, portion control is still an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but there’s an easier way: Just use your hands!

Get a grip on portions by using your hands to estimate.

Palm of protein: Consume a palm-sized portion of protein each time you eat. Choose complete protein options (animal, soy, or quinoa) for most of your meals to ensure you’re getting all the essential amino acids necessary to optimize muscle growth and recovery.

Fist of carbs: For both vegetables and more starchy carbohydrates like oats, rice, and potatoes, use your fist to eyeball the right portion size. You can always go over on nonstarchy veggies to get more vitamins, minerals, and food in your tummy.

Thumb of fats: For liquid fats such as oils, spreads, and butters, incorporate two thumb-sized portions 3-4 times per day, preferably not too close to your training session. For solid fats such as nuts and seeds, count out one serving according to the package, which typically provides around 15 grams of fat. (For example, 24 almonds is one serving.)


6

Eat More Frequently

Let go of the traditional three-meals-per-day mindset and provide your body with the fuel it needs every 3-4 hours to stay full and maximize protein synthesis (MPS), which is the body’s muscle-building process. Whether you have big meals or small snacks, you should have protein every time you eat! Eating protein every 3-4 hours will help you maintain that precious, hard-earned muscle while on a fat-loss diet.

Around 20-30 grams of complete protein turns on muscle protein synthesis for approximately 90 minutes, and then MPS returns to baseline within three hours. By eating every 3-4 hours, you “turn on” your body’s ability to build muscle as often as possible throughout the day.

Also, keep in mind that the longer you go without food, the more likely you are to indulge in a high-calorie, high-sugar option. This is because your brain recognizes sugar as a rapidly available fuel source. Hello, cravings! Even more, long periods without food will reveal your hangry side, which nobody likes—not even you.


7

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

Staying hydrated is one of the easiest ways to keep hunger under control. Filling up on fluids stretches your stomach, which is a satiety signal in and of itself. Additionally, your brain and muscles prefer to operate in a hydrated state, so you’ll avoid common consequences of dehydration such as increased irritability, decreased focus, and suboptimal strength and power.

Staying hydrated is one of the easiest ways to keep hunger under control.

Make sure you choose calorie-free fluids. A bottle of your favorite soft drink or sweet tea can easily contain over 200 calories! If you’re trying to cut back on calories, there’s no better place to start than with liquid calories, especially alcohol. Stick with water, diet beverages, and calorie-free additions.

If you’re ever feeling randomly hungry, don’t just dive into your candy drawer. First, try consuming 12-16 ounces of fluids before eating, and then re-evaluate your hunger situation 15-20 minutes later. You’ll be surprised how often you feel hungry when you’re actually dehydrated.


8

Cheat Occasionally, but Consciously

Chances are you’re not prepping for a photoshoot anytime soon, so there’s no reason to ramp up restriction or remain glued to your Tupperware every day. Break up your weekly routine with an occasional “free” meal, whether it’s eating dinner at your favorite restaurant or enjoying larger portions than usual.

A weekly indulgence will mentally solidify the idea that this isn’t a diet—it’s a way of eating to feel good and perform well. Enjoying the food should be your top priority, but make sure you still get your protein in at this meal!

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References
  1. Fernandez, M. L., & West, K. L. (2005). Mechanisms by which Dietary Fatty Acids Modulate Plasma Lipids. The Journal of Nutrition, 135(9), 2075-2078.
  2. Riccardi, G., Giacco, R., & Rivellese, A. A. (2004). Dietary fat, insulin sensitivity and the metabolic syndrome. Clinical Nutrition, 23(4), 447-456.
  3. Vaughan, R. A., Garcia-Smith, R., Bisoffi, M., Conn, C. A., & Trujillo, K. A. (2012). Conjugated linoleic acid or omega 3 fatty acids increase mitochondrial biosynthesis and metabolism in skeletal muscle cells. Lipids in Health and Disease, 11(142), 2090-2098.
  4. Maroon, J. C., & Bost, J. W. (2006). Omega-3 Fatty acids (fish oil) as an anti-inflammatory: an alternative to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for discogenic pain. Surgical Neurology, 65(4), 326-331.
  5. Xu, Y., & Qian, S. Y. (2014). Anti-cancer activities of Omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids. Biomedical Journal, 37(3), 112.
  6. Grosso, G., Pajak, A., Marventano, S., Castellano, S., Galvano, F., Bucolo, C., … & Caraci, F. (2014). Role of omega-3 fatty acids in the treatment of depressive disorders: a comprehensive meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. PloS One, 9(5), e96905.


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NEVER BLOW YOUR DIET AGAIN

Traditional dieting often works better on paper than it does in practice. Lose more fat and experience less hunger with calorie cycling!

With every passing year, research shows more definitively that the traditional approach to dieting simply doesn’t work. On average, 1/3 of the weight lost following a standard diet protocol is regained within one year. And all of the weight lost—plus a little extra, in most cases—is regained within 3-5 years.1

While it may be tempting to say traditional dieting—restricting your caloric intake for a prolonged period of time—doesn’t work because people “just don’t stick with it,” it’s not that simple. Many people live in a caloric deficit—even a severe one—for months on end and don’t lose fat. Just as our bodies adapt to a repeated stimulus in the weight room, we also adapt to the repeated stimulus in the kitchen—that is, dieting or bulking.2 Think about it: Performing 10 reps on the bench press at 200 pounds for 20 weeks isn’t optimal, so why would dieting on the same amount of calories for 20 weeks be?

Your body is designed to “survive and adapt,” so when you start to reduce caloric intake, it will do everything possible to slow down the process of weight loss. Calorie cycling—or rotating between a deficit and maintenance level—is a growing area of research that shows the potential to provide sustainable fat-loss throughout the year.

Consequences of Adapting to Your Diet

If you want to combat the problems that accompany traditional dieting, you must first understand what is causing them. Research has highlighted several negative changes that occur within your body when subjected to dieting for a prolonged period of time.

Research has highlighted several negative changes that occur within your body when subjected to dieting for a prolonged period of time.

They include:

  • Reduced sympathetic nervous system activity (Translation: less daily calorie expenditure)
  • Reduced level of the hunger-controlling hormone leptin (translation: hello, hunger!)
  • Reduced thyroid hormone (translation: slower metabolism)

After several weeks of dieting, these alterations create what is known as “adaptive thermogenesis” (AT). I talked about the hormonal side of this condition in my article “Are Hunger Hormones Sabotaging Your Fat Loss?” but here’s the short version: When you provide your body with fewer calories, it adapts by slowing your metabolism down to make sure it can still maintain proper functioning, while also battling to stay near its natural “set point”.3 Put another way, the fewer calories you take in, the fewer you’ll eventually burn.

Calorie Cycling vs. Traditional Dieting

Although the research is relatively new, there is evidence that “cycling” between caloric levels has the potential to help maintain your satiety, hunger-hormone levels, resting metabolic rate, and muscle-building hormones such as testosterone. Calorie cycling may even cause greater fat loss than a typical dieting model.4,5

A study published in the International Journal of Preventive Medicine compared an approach using an 11-day deficit, followed by a 3-day deficit, followed by 3 days with a typical linear calorie deficit.4 This four-week study was followed by a two-week period in which subjects ate maintenance calories so that researchers could observe how people “rebounded” after the dieting period.

While both dieting groups lost weight, the calorie-cycling group lost an average of 3 pounds more. The also regained almost 2 pounds less during the calorie-maintenance phase. While these differences may not seem very significant, keep in mind that this took place over just four weeks. In theory, if these results were extrapolated to reflect a normal dieting or contest-prep phase of 12-20 weeks, they could lead to a 13-pound weight loss and 6.6-pound weight regain difference.

One possible explanation for the difference in weight loss has to do with the changes in subjects’ resting metabolic rate (RMR), a key factor in long-term weight maintenance.6 The traditional dieting group had a greater decline in RMR, meaning they burned about 40 fewer calories each day over the four weeks.

If you were to extend the length of the diet for three or four months, it’s not hard to imagine there being a difference of well over 100 calories between the two groups. Over a prolonged period of time, that calorie surplus can contribute to obesity.7

Deficit vs. Maintenance: How Long?

Calorie cycling may be an excellent approach for anyone who competes or goes through months-long “cutting” and “bulking” periods. Research has shown that some of the negative adaptations from traditional dieting take years to recover from, or may even be effectively permanent.8 This means your 12-week prep can result in years of struggling with a slower metabolism and hunger.

Based on what research is available, it seems that a 2-4 week calorie deficit is long enough to start the cascade of events leading to AT.4,6 Therefore, if you want to cycle calories and limit the adaptions from a deficit, aim to keep the time period during which you reduce calories to four weeks or fewer.

It also seems that the amount of time you spend in a deficit best dictates the time you should spend at or near maintenance during your calorie cycling.4,5 The longer your deficit, the longer your maintenance phase should be, and vice versa.

There is no one-size-fits-all number or schedule I can give you here. What works for you may not work for me or your friends. Factors such as age, body-fat level, metabolic health, and deficit severity may impact adherence and outcome.

Four Ways to Cycle Calories

Here are some example cycles I’ve found success with. Keep in mind that what works for one person, may not work for another, so I recommend you experiment and tailor your approach based on your own preferences.

Keep in mind that what works for one person, may not work for another, so I recommend you experiment and tailor your approach based on your own preferences.
  • The Weekend Cycle: 5-day calorie deficit of around 500 calories, 2 days at maintenance
  • Davoodi’s Cycle: 11-day calorie deficit of around 500 calories, 3 days at maintenance
  • 3 On, 1 Off: 3 Weeks in a 300-500 calorie deficit, 1 week at maintenance
  • Monthly Cycle: 4-5 weeks in a 300-500 calorie deficit, 10-14 days at maintenance

Key Points for Calorie Cycling

Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you determine how to best add calorie cycling into your fat-loss approach.

  • This is not a way to live for years on end; this is a healthy way to cut weight for a period of weeks or a few months, either to meet a goal or for contest prep. Don’t subject yourself to a caloric deficit for longer than that, or you’re asking for trouble.
  • Stick to eating maintenance calories when you’re not in a caloric deficit; this isn’t an excuse to spend a weekend indulging in endless buffets or eating contests.
  • The severity of the deficit period should not be too extreme; somewhere between 300 and 700 calories below maintenance is sufficient. You may be able to shave an extra 100-200 calories due to the shorter duration of the deficit, but don’t push it.
  • Schedule training for your weak muscle groups on a higher-calorie day to provide the fuel you need to see progress in strength and size.
  • There’s no need to change up food sources on your higher days. Keep it simple—stick with the foods that work for you, but up the ante on portions. You’re only eating 300-700 more calories, so keeping a sensible macro intake built around high-protein and nutrient-dense foods is your best approach, rather than using this system as an excuse to eat pizza all day. This isn’t to say you can’t use this time and the extra calories for a few foods you enjoy; just keep it within reason.

Calorie cycling is all about building a healthier approach for the long term, not leaping back and forth between deprivation and excess. That’s the old way, and it’s time to put it to rest once and for all!

References
  1. Anderson, J. W., Konz, E. C., Frederich, R. C., & Wood, C. L. (2001). Long-term weight-loss maintenance: a meta-analysis of US studies. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 74(5), 579-584.
  2. MacLean, P. S., Bergouignan, A., Cornier, M. A., & Jackman, M. R. (2011). Biology’s response to dieting: the impetus for weight regain. American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, 301(3), R581-R600.
  3. Müller, M. J., Enderle, J., Pourhassan, M., Braun, W., Eggeling, B., Lagerpusch, M., … & Bosy-Westphal, A. (2015). Metabolic adaptation to caloric restriction and subsequent refeeding: the Minnesota Starvation Experiment revisited. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 102(4), 807-819.
  4. Davoodi, S. H., Ajami, M., Ayatollahi, S. A., Dowlatshahi, K., Javedan, G., & Pazoki-Toroudi, H. R. (2014). Calorie Shifting Diet Versus Calorie Restriction Diet: A Comparative Clinical Trial Study. International Journal of Preventive Medicine, 5(4), 447.
  5. Friedl, K. E., Moore, R. J., Hoyt, R. W., Marchitelli, L. J., Martinez-Lopez, L. E., & Askew, E. W. (2000). Endocrine markers of semistarvation in healthy lean men in a multistressor environment. Journal of Applied Physiology, 88(5), 1820-1830.
  6. Wing, R. R., & Hill, J. O. (2001). Successful weight loss maintenance. Annual Review of Nutrition, 21(1), 323-341.
  7. Erdman Jr, J. W., MacDonald, I. A., & Zeisel, S. H. (Eds.). (2012). Present Knowledge in Nutrition. John Wiley & Sons.
  8. Knuth, N. D., Johannsen, D. L., Tamboli, R. A., Marks?Shulman, P. A., Huizenga, R., Chen, K. Y., … & Hall, K. D. (2014). Metabolic adaptation following massive weight loss is related to the degree of energy imbalance and changes in circulating leptin. Obesity, 22(12), 2563-2569.


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Are Essential Vitamins Lacking In Your Diet?

Vitamins A and D are crucial for optimal health and performance. Meet the recommended amounts of these fat-soluble vitamins each day with these nutrient-packed foods!

For optimal health and athletic performance, you need to fill your belly with foods that provide not only calories from macronutrients like protein and carbohydrates, but also adequate amounts of certain must-have micronutrients and vitamins.

Sadly, the so-called “standard American diet” (indeed, it is SAD) is replete with processed foods that don’t do a very good job of providing the most important vitamins in optimal amounts. Sure, some vitamins are pumped back into refined foods like white bread, but this is hardly the best way to get what you need. If you buck the trend and focus on consuming nutrient-rich foods, you’ll be supplying your body with many of the raw goods it needs to perform at its best.

Part 1 of this six-part nutrient blast focuses on two of the fat-soluble vitamins, A and D, which provide an abundance of health and performance benefits. Not coincidentally, all of these foods also jive with a macro-focused eating approach, so dig in without reservation!

Vitamin A Why you need it, and how much you need

Humans require vitamin A for proper cell growth, which in turn plays a role in forming and maintaining organs such as the heart, skin, and lungs. Vitamin A is also necessary for vision, immune health, and bone health.

There are two main sources of vitamin A: animal sources, which contain preformed vitamin A in the form of retinol, and plant sources, which contain provitamin A carotenoids that the body converts to retinol. The most important carotenoid is beta-carotene which provides the bright orange color in vegetables like carrots and orange bell peppers.

The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for vitamin A is provided as micrograms (mcg) of retinol activity equivalents (RAE) to account for the different bioactivities of preformed vitamin A and vitamin-A precursors. Yeah, its confusing stuff. Just eat a bunch of the foods below and you’re good to go. Adult men need 900 micrograms RAE daily, while women should obtain 700 micrograms RAE.

Beef Liver

3 ounces = 444% RDA

Perhaps it’s time to start serving liver and onions for dinner more often. Since vitamin A is stored in the liver, it should come as no surprise that this organ meat from beef and other animals is a top-notch source. In fact, liver is more concentrated in a variety of nutrients like vitamin B12 and copper than standard cuts of steak. And not to be overlooked are the 21 grams of muscle-sculpting protein in a small 3 oz. serving.

Since vitamin A is stored in the liver, it should come as no surprise that this organ meat from beef and other animals is a top-notch source.

Nobody craves eating liver with a texture akin to shoe leather, so cook it quickly in a smoking hot skillet so that the outside sears while the interior remains tender and still slightly pink. This usually takes about 3 minutes per side. Soaking liver for up to 8 hours in water spiked with salt and lemon juice before cooking can help reduce its notorious strong flavor as well as tenderize the meat.

Sweet Potato

1 medium potato = 438% RDA

Here’s another good reason to be sweet on this tuber. The vitamin A you’ll obtain from a sweet potato hails from the plethora of beta-carotene it contains. On top of being a source of vitamin A, beta-carotene acts as an antioxidant in the body which has been linked with a lower risk of developing diabetes.1 Other nutritional perks include ample fiber, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and potassium.

Kale

1 cup = 206% RDA

Here’s more proof that this hipster green is worthy of its superfood label. Like sweet potato, the vitamin A in kale is mainly in the form of the orange pigment beta-carotene. The high amount of chlorophyll in the leafy green is why it’s not orange in color. Other nutritional highlights include plenty of vitamin C and vitamin K.

Like sweet potato, the vitamin A in kale is mainly in the form of the orange pigment beta-carotene. Other nutritional highlights include plenty of vitamin C and vitamin K.

If you’re not a fan of kale’s bitter side, a quick steaming or sautéing can mellow its flavor. Also consider stripping the leaves from the stem, which is far more bitter. If that’s too much work, buy frozen kale, which is flash-frozen soon after harvest to lock in the beta-carotene and other nutrients.

Of course, the list doesn’t end there. Other good sources of vitamin A include pumpkin, carrots, butternut squash, milk, cod liver oil, broccoli leaves, Swiss chard, spinach, goat cheese, turkey and chicken giblets, eel, Bluefin tuna, egg yolk.

Vitamin D Why you need it, and how much you need

To maintain bones of steel, it’s essential to get enough vitamin D. This nutrient is necessary for proper calcium absorption, and also impacts the function of compounds called osteoblasts, which are involved in bone formation.

But in recent years, research has shown that vitamin D’s role in the body goes well beyond strengthening your skeleton. Adequate vitamin-D status has been linked to everything from improved heart health and brain function to lowered risks of diabetes and obesity.2,3

Many genes in the body are impacted by vitamin D, which is why it has such a varied resumé. Those who like to spend time working up a sweat should take heed of recent data suggesting that vitamin D may help improve athletic performance and muscular strength, reduce inflammation, and even bolster testosterone production.4 This is most pronounced if you’re vitamin D-deficient, which well over half of the population is.

Similar to vitamin A, there are 2 forms of vitamin D. Vitamin D derived from sunlight is in the form of vitamin D-3, also known as cholecalciferol. When ultraviolet (UV) rays strike the skin, a molecule in the epidermis—7-dehydrocholesterol—is triggered to initiate vitamin-D synthesis. Vitamin D-3 is also found in animal sources, such as egg yolks and fish.

Vitamin D-2, on the other hand, is derived from mold and yeast. D-2, also known as ergocalciferol, can also be found in plant sources such as mushrooms.

Vitamin D-3 has been shown to be the more potent of the two, and most the likely to exert effects within the body.5 It is also the form used most extensively in clinical trials.

Adults who get minimal sun exposure should aim for at least 600 international units (IU) of vitamin D daily.

Herring

1 ounce = 115% RDA

No fish provides more vitamin D than herring; it’s one of the best sandwich meats for building muscle, providing plenty of muscle-friendly protein and vitamin B-12 as well.

No fish provides more vitamin D than herring; it’s one of the best sandwich meats for building muscle, providing plenty of muscle-friendly protein and vitamin B-12 as well.

The availability of fresh herring can be hit or miss, so keep an eye out for pickled or smoked versions, which can instantly up the nutritional ante of your lunch sandwiches.

Canned sockeye salmon

3 ounce = 162% RDA

Here’s more proof that the canned-food aisle is somewhere you should spin your wheels. Canned salmon is a convenient way to load up on vitamin D. Other nutritional perks include protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and even calcium if you eat the softened bones. Less expensive canned pink salmon also supplies notable amounts of vitamin D, just not as much as the richer-tasting sockeye. For the sake of the environment, seek out a brand such as Wild Planet that uses only sustainable wild Alaskan salmon.

Other good sources of vitamin D include cod liver oil, sardines, mackerel, fresh sockeye salmon, shrimp, milk, egg yolks, and fortified foods such as yogurt, nondairy milks, orange juice, and cereals.

Salmon is a convenient way to load up on vitamin D. Other nutritional perks include protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and even calcium if you eat the softened bones.

Very few foods are really packed with vitamin D. Your vitamin-D status is primarily influenced by sun exposure, your location relative to the equator, the amount of time you spend outside, your skin pigmentation, and your use of sunscreen. Have your vitamin-D levels checked by your physician via a simple blood test. If you are deficient, or have suboptimal levels, consult your doctor about supplementing with 2,000-5,000 IU daily of vitamin D-3.

Is there such a thing as too much vitamin A or D?

It’s possible to overconsume vitamin A, but you’d have to make a consistent, prolonged effort to do so. Eating copious amounts of liver, guzzling cod liver oil, or overdoing other high-level animal-based sources may lead to hypervitaminosis A (toxic levels of vitamin A). Consuming large amounts of beta-carotene (from orange and yellow fruits and veggies), however, will not make you sick.6

With vitamin D, the ceiling is far higher, and far less clear. Plenty of individuals deficient in vitamin D take upwards of 5,000 IU daily safely, and there’s been a lot of clamoring in nutritional circles in recent years to raise the RDA from the current piddling 600-800 IU up to around 4000 IU.

References
  1. Sluijs, I., Cadier, E., Beulens, J.W.J., van der A., D.J., Spijkerman, A.M.W. & van der Schouw, Y.T. (2015). Dietary intake of carotenoids and risk of type 2 diabetes. Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases, 25(4), 376-381.
  2. Gonzalez-Molero, I., Rojo-Martinez, G., Morcillo, S., Gutierrez, C., Rubio, E., Perez-Valero, V., Esteva, I., Ruiz de Adana, M.S., Almaraz, M.C., Colomo, N., Olveira, G. & Soriguer, F. (2013). Hypovitaminosis D and incidence of obesity: a prospective study. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 67(6), 680-682.
  3. Munger, K.L., Levin, L.I., Massa, J., Horst, R., Orban, T. & Ascherio, A. (2013). Preclinical serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels and risk of type 1 diabetes in a cohort of US military personnel. American Journal of Epidemiology, 177(5), 411-419.
  4. Dahlquist, D.T., Dieter, B.P. & Koehle, M.S. (2015). Plausible ergogenic effects of vitamin D on athletic performance and recovery. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 12(33), 1-12.
  5. Wolpowitz, D. & Gilchrest, B.A. (2006). The vitamin D questions: how much do you need and how should you get it? Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 54(2), 301-317.
  6. Grune, T., Lietz, G., Palou, A., Ross, A.C., Stahl, W. & Tang, G. (201). Beta-carotene is an important vitamin A source for humans. The Journal of Nutrition, 140(12), 2268-2285.


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