Open Forum: Our Advisors Talk Nutrition & Fitness Pt. 2

Don't have a Cronometer account?
Sign up – it's free.

On March 15th, 2022 we hosted our second live webinar with trusted experts Dr. Gabrielle Lyon and celebrity trainer Don Saladino. Cronometer users were given the floor and asked all sorts of great questions covering everything from changing body composition to handling a caloric deficit and diving deep on protein intake. Tune in below or read on for some eye opening nutrition and fitness advice from the experts! 

If you still have questions that weren’t answered in this webinar reach out to us on Instagram or Facebook!

This webinar is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute the practice of medicine, nursing, or other professional health care services, including the giving of medical advice.  No clinician/patient relationship is formed.  The use of information from this webinar or materials linked from this content, is at the user’s own risk.  The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Users should not disregard or delay in obtaining medical advice for any medical condition and should seek the assistance of their health care professionals for any such conditions.  

Are any specific B vitamins likely to make me aggressive?

Dr. G: I have not actually seen that so much in clinic, but I will tell you that there are some individuals who have a mutation in a gene called MTHFR which makes the utilization of certain B vitamins more challenging. Those individuals actually need a very specific form of B vitamin. You can be tested for that. You would need to look at your homocysteine level. If you have an elevated homocysteine level, you could be an individual who may not be metabolizing B vitamins in the same way.


Are there certain nutrient deficiencies that could cause behavioural problems?

Dr. G: Vitamins and minerals, especially B vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids and iron are really important for cognitive development. Do we know that there are certain nutrients related to say aggression or behavior? I would say that that would be a stretch. Really optimizing for making sure your iron is good and making sure that you do have adequate B vitamins – B6, B12, Folate. The way in which the system works is kind of like an orchestra. So it’s very much a synergy.

Don: There’s so many people who will reach out to me saying “I think this did that”. This isn’t meant to devalue the question. And I think it’s very fascinating because I’d never heard of B vitamins causing any type of aggression. But I have heard people affiliating or thinking that the affiliation of one supplement is giving them a response that something completely different could have. For example, if someone says to me “I’m taking L-glutamine and I just feel great.” but at the same time, this person could also be sleeping an extra 90 minutes per night.

It’s important to take a look at all these other factors and what other changes you may have made as well, like how much coffee you’re drinking. It’s very difficult in a short period of time to be able to pinpoint that it is that one thing. Sometimes it can be very obvious, but other times not and this is why I believe in journaling. Not only journaling what you’re consuming, but journaling thoughts, activities, stresses.

Eliisa: on the Cronometer app we do actually have a charts feature and people can plot different variables against each other. So you can go in there and you can track your mood against sleep or your calorie intake. And I think that that’s obviously like getting into the nitty gritty, but if people are really wanting to dial in their health, it’s, it’s an awesome functionality that I’ve used to find cause and effect. I eat way more when I sleep less and I wouldn’t have known that if I didn’t use our app.

After exercise what should we eat and how long should we wait before eating?

Dr. G: I think that Don and I have similar views on this and I’m going to speak to it from an aging perspective and then Don I think would be phenomenal if he talks about it from a performance perspective.

In the literature, there’s this huge dichotomy debating if there is this anabolic window. How close after training should I eat? I will say that if you are an individual who is older (40 or above), there is a change that happens in skeletal muscle called anabolic resistance. What that means is muscle is actually a nutrient sensing organ and the ability for it to sense nutrients becomes less efficient. Therefore, if an individual is just done training, there is an increase in blood flow, and this is a prime time to take in dietary protein. It can overcome this anabolic resistance response. And if you are a more mature individual, this would be very beneficial.

I think that there is a lot of merit to that you specifically asked how soon after and I would say, why wait, I mean it doesn’t have to be immediately but I think that the sooner you have it after the better. And just to touch on carbohydrates. Protein I think of for muscle recovery and carbohydrates, I think of for glycogen repletion.

Don: The sooner for me, the better. I try to get it within a 30 minute window because if I don’t I feel that in my energy levels for the rest of the day. Over time I really like to maintain blood sugar levels. As Dr. G says, when you’re done with your work out and that furnace is burning, that is a great time for your body to get those nutrients. It’s like a dry sponge that is going to absorb all those nutrients. I don’t think there’s any downside to getting in a meal as quick as possible after a work out.

How would you recommend I eat to my TDEE after being in a deficit for a long time?

Don: I’m a believer that if you’ve been in a deficit for a period of time and you’re feeling like things are becoming stale, what’s the downside in slowly bringing up your calories? The slower, the better so maybe a hundred to 200 calories a week, which is an increase in 25 grams of protein or 25 grams of carbs. That could be 11 grams of fat.

I do think that deficits are great and they work and serve a purpose but if you’re starting to feel like energy levels are depleting, it’s kind of overstayed it’s welcome. If you’re hitting a plateau, can’t drop any more fat, can’t change body composition, then maybe it’s time to reverse diet a little bit. This is a term that Dr. G and I have used for years where we just slowly start bringing those calories up.

It’s common to gain a pound or two but I’ve also seen people who haven’t. And I’ve had people who’ve actually changed body composition when raising calories slowly and they’re almost a little confused or like “how’s this possible?”. And technically, they just haven’t been giving their body the nutrients, the fuel that it needs to run optimally.

Some of the food like Medjool Dates vs. Dates does not display the correct nutrients, like magnesium or potassium. Why is that?

Eliisa: This just comes down to our data sources. If you’re using a branded product like Rice Krispies, for example, it’s going to have less nutrition information than a generic entry from the NCCDB database. Branded products will only include nutrients which are listed on the nutrition label and companies are not required to give the full nutrient profile. Generic NCCDB entries are lab analyzed so will have more accurate information. Check out this blog for more information on how to get the best data.

I keep showing a deficiency in Choline. Anything you recommend?

Dr. G: One of the best sources for Choline is eggs. Great for pregnant moms as well. 

What do total and net carbs mean to a keto diet?

Dr. G: Okay. I might have an unpopular opinion on this. I don’t actually look at net carbs. I just assume carbs are carbs. I think it’s a really safe way to do it. Sometimes when people look at net carbs, it’s really a subtraction of fiber. Again, a ketogenic diet is an extremely low carbohydrate diet (5% or less). So your carb intake will maybe be 20 grams of carbohydrates or less.

Don: I agree with Dr. Gabrielle here. Vegetables are one of the most valuable things we can add to our nutrition and I don’t want people to start devaluing starchy carbs and fiber. I like counting it because it just becomes a way to gamify our nutrition. Like we’re turning around and every meal that we put in Cronometer for me, it becomes fun. It’s like, oh, wow, okay. I don’t want to stop playing the game with one of the most important vegetables that bring in micronutrients.

Dr. G: I think people always have questions about fibers. Why is fiber important? We know that it helps with heart disease. There are some things that would indicate it helps with diabetes and regulating blood sugar, constipation, colon cancer. Two main types of fiber – soluble and insoluble. If you are going to look at your app, the recommendation is 25 to 30 grams of fiber per day.

For macros do you recommend 35/35/35 or 40/40/20?

Don: I typically start people around 35% protein, 35% carbs and 30% fat but I want them to log their food and Cronometer for several days to see some sort of a pattern. And if they’re below those numbers or over those numbers, we’re going to have to adjust accordingly. So I think, yeah, I think the goal is to, to start around that, but we’re always deviating from that number.

Having heard that dairy isn't good for post-menopausal women, what are your suggestions regarding calcium for bone density?

Dr. G: I think that calcium is actually very important for post-menopausal women. The idea that dairy is not necessarily good for post-menopausal women, I don’t agree with that. But if you are having some kind of reaction to dairy, then a calcium supplement, a calcium, vitamin D, K2 supplement is what I recommend.

What is TDEE?

Don: TDEE stands for Total Daily Energy Expenditure, which is the resting energy expenditure added with non-resting energy expenditure. So basically the calories that your body burns at rest, if you were to sit on the couch all day plus what your body burns while doing activity. So going for a run or brushing your teeth.

Any tips for gaining weight?

Don: I get that some people have a hard time with this. I personally think it’s math and once we start understanding your TDEE (Cronometer does a phenomenal job of getting you to that area) hit that number for a week or two weeks and see how your body feels. If after 14 days, you still haven’t gained any weight then we can start increasing those macronutrients, most importantly, protein.

This is where it becomes a little bit of an educated guessing game where we have to now start moving those numbers, but you gotta keep those numbers in a specific place for a period of time.

This is one of the biggest problems I see with weight gain or weight loss. Someone will hit their numbers for three days and then they’ll come off of it which is not allowing the body to make any change. Do things slowly and take your time.

Does peeing deplete magnesium and potassium?

Dr. G: So I will tell you, um, the everyone’s sweat is different, so the amount of sodium that comes out of an individual is actually totally different. I don’t know the baseline recommendation, but I will tell you if an individual is highly active and sweating a lot, adding in an electrolyte, is a great practice (we use LMNT).

I don’t know the amounts of how much you urinate out. We’d have to check into that in terms of a lab value, but I guess the question I think that you’re asking is how do you maintain hydration in a way that doesn’t affect your performance? The way in which I would do that is if you feel the need, I would just add in an easy shake, like an easy scoop or even a little bit of sea salt.

Don: Yeah, that’s been a game changer for me over the last, you know, five, six years. I think salt was something, even when I was prepping for my October cover of Muscle & Fitness, I would literally use a pinch of pink salt on every meal. For my activity level, it allowed me to keep more muscle fullness, I wasn’t waking up as much during the night to go to the bathroom, so it affects sleep quality and brain function, alleviates cramping.

Dr. G: The standard American diet has around 2300 milligrams of sodium. That’s what’s recommended per day and it probably is higher depending on what you’re eating.

Don: I also love a product called Halo Hydration.

Does taking probiotics make you angry?

Dr. G: No. And I would say that actually there’s more good data for prebiotics rather than probiotics. The prebiotics are actually what’s going to feed the good bacteria. You can take a probiotic, but then the probiotic needs to be continued. A lot of the good research is coming out on prebiotics. It can be a scoop (I use 1st Phorm’s Fiber Formula) or you can use anthocyanins, Makia Berry, blue mat, red powders.

Any tips on finding a good provider?

Dr. G: Well, I think a good match is understanding the person’s internal operating system, like what kind of individual they are and how they respond. You know, I’ve been seeing patients for 15 years and I will tell you that there are certain archetypes of patients and they have two. You have to jive well with your provider. And understanding and feeling heard, I think is really important.

Don: From a coaching standpoint, there is an importance in having the training background, the education and understanding of biomechanics but also having a medical team behind them. The coaching end is the harder part to teach. Ie. are they going to be reaching out to you, are they going to connect with you and is their work going to end when the clock is up. A coach is going to want someone to be in front of someone who is right for them and won’t take it personally.

Can you recommend a protein shake?

Don: I like Thorne. I will disclose that I work with them, but I do love it. Dr. G: I work with a different company called First Phorm. They also make a great product. I think if an individual isn’t going to use a whey protein consider a rice pea blend, which I think can be very palatable for other individuals. There’s also a company called Paleo Pro and they make an egg white, animal-based protein blend that is not whey protein that I think is beneficial.

Don: What about beef protein? Are you big on those?

Dr. G: So the majority of beef proteins are just collagen, so they’re deficient in branch chain amino acids.

You recommend 1 gram of protein per pound of body fat. Which is hard to do without increasing carbs or fat. Is there any specific proteins I should be focusing on?

Dr. G: The way in which you get your protein in is very important. For you in particular, I’d recommend at least 30 and up to 50 grams per meal. Try to shoot for two meals where say there’s 50 grams of protein in, and then you could even have a smaller snack is going to be important. And the reason I suggest that is because those two larger bolus meals will maximize muscle protein synthesis. I use a lean red meat from a company called Certified Piedmontese. But it’s really about focusing on sticking within that caloric load and doing so by eating leaner proteins such as chicken, lean cuts of beef or fish. Eggs are also great.

Can you recommend a few core full body weight movements?

Don: The reality is, the more muscle we have on our body, the more of a fat burning furnace our body’s going to be. The easier way to burn fat is to build muscle. turn into it’s like, we need, if we need to build muscle, that’s going to be the easier way to burn fat. Don’t neglect resistance training, I’d recommend 3-4 days a week. As for core movements, a hard style plank and side plank are great ones but make sure you’re creating tension in the body. Hanging knee raises, ab wheels, there’s tons of exercises available to you. Just move and stay consistent.

For workout recommendations, check out these videos from Don.

Is 1-1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight enough to overcome amino acid resistance?

Dr G: Plenty. So what you’re talking about here is how can you improve and overcome that anabolic resistance that happens in skeletal muscles and yes, that amount of protein is great.

What is an ideal blood glucose range?

Dr G: So the definition of diabetes is elevated blood glucose above one 20 over a two-hour period of time, post eating. So you should be able to eat and then your blood sugars should be able to remain anywhere from 75 to 95 but it is different for each individual. I think where this is important to understand and it’s interesting to get to know how your body responds to different foods. And that’s really where the benefit is from using a continuous glucose monitor. I will say that individuals that either eat a higher protein diet, what I’ve seen clinically is their blood glucose tends to run a little bit higher, but again, their insulin levels, if they’re calorie controlled, are within optimal range.

Where to start with your macros?

Dr G: So first off, prioritize protein. Because number one, protein protects lean muscle mass. Protein also has this thing called the Thermic Effect of Feeding (TEF). So what that means is the protein that you ingest, it takes more energy to utilize it. The recommendation I always make is one gram per pound of ideal body weight. If you are an older individual and to optimize blood sugar, you can eat those protein meals in discreet amounts throughout the day, say 30 to 50 grams per meal.

My carbohydrate recommendation, is that carbs should be 50 grams or less per meal, probably more like 40, unless you are training because you will then get a more robust insulin response.

And then fat is whatever is left over.

Is there something that women in their 50's have to be careful of when fasting?

Dr G: Menopause is defined as missing your period for a whole year, and the average woman goes through menopause at 50. During that time we do see a lot of weight gain and one of the reasons is that people are less active. The evidence doesn’t necessarily support that the hormones are what’s causing the weight gain, but the change in activity and the increase in food consumption does.

In your particular situation, having been in a car accident, there’s a certain amount of stress that happens which can really affect cortisol levels. And in addition, now, putting your body through a 36 to 40 hour fast, I wouldn’t do it. I would give yourself a break. I would monitor your calories and move where you can.

Is gelatin the same as collagen?

Dr. G: No. The amino acid profiles are slightly different.Both are incomplete proteins. And collagen is dissolvable in water. Whereas gelatin is something you would typically heat up and then it would solidify. Whether or not you could you use them interchangeably, I’d have to look at the amino acid profile. I think that they’re probably both beneficial, but collagen probably is more robust in the amounts of amino acids, but again, I’d have to look at that.
Products mentioned in this episode
Electrolytes: LMNT, Halo Hydration
Protein powders: 1st Phorm, Thorne
Lean meat: Certified Piedmontese

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon

Dr. Lyon has a doctorate in osteopathic medicine and is board-certified in family medicine. She has studied vitamin and mineral metabolism, chronic disease prevention and management and the physiological effects of diet composition.

She also completed a research/clinical fellowship in Nutritional Science and Geriatrics at Washington University in St. Louis.

She now runs her practice and helps motivated people of any age reach their ideal weight and fullest health potential with the principles of muscle-centric-medicine®.

You can find more details on her website, youtube channel or Instagram.

Don Saladino

Don Saladino is a coach and fitness entrepreneur and has been training actors, athletes and musicians for over 20 years. He has owned and operated several brick and mortar gyms and has expanded to a global online fitness business, coaching over a million clients worldwide.

He has developed a reputation for training some of the biggest names in Hollywood for the big screen. Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Jake Gyllenhaal, John Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Liev Schreiber, Sebastian Stan, Anne Hathaway, Zachary Levi, Hugh Jackman, & David Harbour are among his roster of clients.

You can find more details on his website, youtube channel or Instagram.

Share This Post

Track your food, exercise and health metrics with the Cronometer app.