Natural foods: the optimal way to consume vital energy and nutrients.
You might’ve read an article or two on how to maximize natural testosterone product with a combination of training style, diet, supplements, and every day habits (sleep helps a little bit too). One of the most natural ways to increase your testosterone arsenal is through diet.
You may have heard that the most anabolic substance on the planet is testosterone, which is contrary to the truth. FOOD is the most anabolic substance on the planet. Without food, you have no testosterone, no muscle, no anything. You literally are decaying by the minute without consuming food. Therefore, you must first focus on your nutritional intake from foods before you can begin thinking about other aspects of fitness.
How much protein do you need?
Protein intake is unquestionably essential to any person’s muscle building goals. The typical one-gram-per-pound-body-weight scheme is one that will undoubtedly yield some muscle building results (assuming the carbs and fats are in their proper place as well). For example, I’m 200 pounds, so I need to consume 200 grams of protein per day. Whey protein is a popular way to increase protein intake daily. However, protein from whole foods is the clearly more efficacious than a supplement – though supplements do have their rightful place. Let’s find out how to consume high-quality protein from the best sources.
Here’s the beef – a healthier choice
Beef is a large part of most bodybuilders’ and athletes’ diets. It contains a large amount of protein and tastes great. Believe it or not, there are more advantageous forms of beef than others in terms of health. The difference between grass-fed and grain-fed beef is seemingly marginal at first glance, but after a deeper look into each one, grass-fed beef is the healthier choice.
A recent study showed the antioxidant and fatty acid profile differences of each kind of beef. The study revealed that grass-fed beef contains much higher amounts of vitamin A and vitamin E, both of which are antioxidant vitamins, than grain-fed beef. Grass-fed also contains a higher concentrate of glucathione, a cancer-fighting antioxidant. In terms of optimizing general health, grass-fed beef is the clear cut winner here.
Don’t be fooled by CLA!
It should be noted that grain-fed beef showed a high concentrated amount of CLA in slightly fattier cuts. This can be misleading to the average reader because CLA is purported to induce a higher metabolic rate, and ultimately cut body fat. However, the only way to lose weight is to consume less calories than your basal metabolic rate (burning calories in a sedentary state) allows for you to maintain with.
At 9 calories per gram of fat, more fat can lead to weight gain more easily than either protein or carbs per gram. Though CLA may be somewhat effective at cutting fat, increasing the intake of higher-caloric macronutrients will be counterproductive for that goal. Don’t assume taking in more CLA from beef at the expense of more calories will help you get abs!
Say no to GMOs
Another reason grass-fed beef is more healthful is because 100% of it is antibiotic and steroid free. Genetically modified foods (GMOs) are less beneficial for health than natural ones. An excerpt from our article on natural testosterone boosting says to “…eliminate foods that contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs). A couple examples of GMOs are high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), corn or soybean oil, and most chicken, beef, fish, and pork. A recent study showed potentially harmful infertility effects on males as a result of consumption of GMOs.”
So wait, this stuff beef manufacturers are pumping into my diet could potentially lower testosterone?
Potentially, yes. While the tests were administered on rats, not humans, this usually means there’s a high potential for human physiology detriment. Why take a chance on the hormone that you depend on most for building muscle? Eating the healthier beef can help optimize hormone levels. Don’t be an infertile myrtle!
For those of us who don’t like animals being treated cruelly, there is one aspect to grass-fed beef you’ll find appealing. The New York Times website released an article, which included the statement,
“Advocates of pasture-raised beef say the reasons to switch go beyond nutrition. The animal is raised in a more humane fashion that is also better for the environment.”
Here’s a little physiological idea for you: if an animal is under more stressful conditions, the stress hormone cortisol is released just like in humans. That means more fat is accumulated and less muscle left behind. Though we don’t necessarily suggest pampering cows to the point of letting them sleep in your house and reading your paper in the morning with a full breakfast, having “happy cows” (yes, like the commercials) may be most beneficial for future eaters of those cows.
You want more meat and less fat, right? So pick the cows that you know have been treated at least in a less inhumane way. You never know when those Chick-Fil-A cows may come for revenge for mistreating them…
Improve your General Health
Moving on; grass-finished beef shows the most promise for ideal beef consumption. One article showed a study comparing grass-finished and grain-finished beef, which is slightly different from grass or grain-fed, concluding:
“The results were impressive. Grass-finished eaters saw improved plasma and platelet fatty acid composition: less omega-6, more omega-3. This would presumably lead to a more balanced inflammatory response and, thus, better health.”
Back to the general health aspect, the grass-finished is clearly advantageous over the grain-finished. More omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids means more antioxidant support and lowering bad cholesterol (low density lipoprotein). As aforementioned, it can also help support maximum natural testosterone production and maintenance.
With the many health aspects bodybuilders, athletes, gym junkies, and really everyone else in between has to worry about, fixing the most important aspect of body composition should be at the helm. As we’ve seen here, grass-fed and grass-finished beef is beneficial in many categories. Give your body the best fuel, and the highest quality protein around. Give your body grass-fed beef.
- Switching to Grass-fed beef. Tara Parker-Pope, March 11, 2010. The New York Times.
- A review of fatty acid profiles and antioxidant content in grass-fed and grain-fed beef. Cynthia A Daley, Amber Abbott, Patrick S Doyle, Glenn A Nader, and Stephanie Larson. Nutrition Journal.
- Monday Musings: New Grass-Fed Study. Mark’s Daily Apple.