For years now I have recommended Carlson’s The Very Finest Fish Oil as my fish oil supplement of choice. It is a product that has passed a plethora of third party testing for purity and potency, tastes good and is a reasonable price. Many times on this very website I have sung it’s praises, however a new product has arrived that has displaced Carlson’s as my top fish oil recommendation, but we will get to that in a second.
There is another fish oil product that I have never mentioned on this site that is spectacular, but you certainly pay the price for it. Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega is the market leader when it comes to fish oil, however it costs $20/month compared to Carlson’s $10. In terms of absolute quality this product has stood head and shoulders above the rest.
That has all changed.
Athletic Greens has recently launched their own fish oil, Athletic Greens Omega 3, where their sole aim was to match or exceed Nordic Naturals in all categories, and yet be affordable for the average consumer, and they did so with flying colors!
While much has been made of their Athletic Greens multivitamin/mineral/greens supplement, and I do think it is a good product, I personally still prefer Innate Response One Daily (Men’s and Women’s) due to its vitamin and mineral content actually being derived from food, no synthetics whatsoever. However, this fish oil product is absolutely fantastic and it just blew me away.
It is made from small, wild, sustainably-caught fish, is third-party tested for contaminants, is ultra-concentrated (you only need 2 capsules), has no fishy after-taste and it too will only cost you $10/month!
As a matter of fact I was surprised to see that Carlson’s does not source from wild, sustainably-caught fish. I guess I had just always assumed this was the case. From now on my default fish oil recommendation is going to be Athletic Greens Omega 3. Check it out for yourself and let me know what you think.
The other day during a phone consult with an online client it was mentioned to me that the previous nutritionist this client had worked with (a “diabetes specialist” as this client is pre-diabetic) had recommended the strict avoidance of all orange produce. Yes you read that right, orange produce.
Orange produce – carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, oranges, etc – were all on the Not To Be Eaten list. The rationale was that they are digested too quickly and therefore will exacerbate the pre-diabetes issue. This is such a misunderstanding of the science it is utterly scary.
So this “expert in diabetes” is telling me that if I am pre-diabetic that eating a serving of baby carrots (which we will say is 10 of them, close enough anyway) is going to harm my pancreas/increase my insulin resistance? Does this make any semblance of sense? Do you see the ridiculous of this assertion? I understand carrots have a relatively high GI for a vegetable, but that test requires 50 grams of digestible carbohydrate. That takes 1.5lbs of carrots! No one eats that in a sitting and it is utterly irrelevant to every day intake.
This type of advice is nutritionism at it’s worst. It’s just like telling someone to not eat eggs because they contain cholesterol. Focusing on one aspect of a food to the exclusion of all others is just asinine, and is missing the forest for the trees. Carrots are a lot more than their GI value, just like eggs are a lot more than their cholesterol content.
Do you judge an engagement ring simply on cut? No! You look at size, color, clarity, price, etc. Odd analogy I know, it just popped into my head and I think it works nicely.
The point is that whether or not you eat carrots or sweet potatoes is not in anyway going to affect your diabetes risk. Losing weight, quitting smoking, exercising more, decreasing stress, getting adequate sleep, and eating a nutrient-rich calorically balanced diet are your best weapons against most diseases, including diabetes. Avoiding orange produce is not.
If you are unfamiliar with Rick he is the creator of the Muscle Imbalances Revealed DVD/Seminar Series (Upper Body and Lower Body) featuring the likes of Bill Hartman, Dean Somerset, Tony Gentilcore and more.
This is an absolutely hilarious video from BJ Gaddour. If you work in the fitness industry you will appreciate it even more, but even if you don’t it is fantastic (my wife was laughing out load throughout the video). Enjoy!
I recently received this question from a reader and I thought the answer was worth sharing with all of you.
I wanted to get your expert take on fish oil vs. krill. Which is better in your opinion? I’ve been on the fish oil bandwagon for years . Which is the better of the 2?
Thanks as always for your blog and the great info. It’s appreciated!
A. I think this is a good question, however I am not sure there is a clear cut answer.
In my opinion both are good, but in comparison to fish oil there isn’t nearly as much data on krill oil. The data that is coming out is quite positive, however much of it has been supported by Neptune Technologies, the company that owns the patent on the process of removing the oil from the krill.
Now that isn’t to say the research is invalid, it simply means I would like to see more independently conducted research before I draw any conclusions. Now having said that, people still want answers, and my answer is this:
For now I still recommend fish oil (I like 1 tsp of Carlson’s The Very Finest Fish Oil for most people). It has mountains of data supporting its efficacy in a plethora of capacities. It is cost-effective. And finally, it has been around long enough to have been found to work in real life, not just the lab.
Krill oil is an incredibly promising supplement that may one day supplant fish oil. With it’s phospholipid form of omega-3′s (rather than fish oil’s triglyceride form), astaxanthin (a powerful antioxidant), phosphatidylcholine (a potent source of choline, which I have written more about here), as well as some fat-soluble vitamins it certainly appears to be a wonderful thing. However, in comparison to fish oil it is not cheap. Yes you can allegedly take less to get the same result, but not enough to make up the cost difference.
For now with fish oil’s far longer track record it is my go source for marine lipids, but I am certainly keeping krill oil on my radar. If you choose to take krill oil that is certainly fine, just be willing to pony up a few (up to 5x more) extra bucks!
Something I found interesting was on Tony Gentilcore’s site he asked his readers what they wanted to see more of in 2012, and one of the most common responses was the Stuff You Should Read posts. Now to be honest people such as myself, Eric, Tony and the like have always liked the posts to branch out and connect our readers with other quality writers, but we always wondered if our readers actually like them.
I guess the answer is yes. So with that in mind here is my Stuff You Should Read for today.
Stuff to Read While You’re Pretending to Work: 1/5/12 – by Tony Gentilcore. Thought I would start this off right by giving you guys a link to a bunch of great articles that Tony linked to! Topics include chicks getting good at pullups (works for guys too), a rant against calories, being awesome and the like. Good stuff as usual.
What Causes Insulin Resistance Part IV- by Stephan Guyenet. As usual Stephan provides riveting yet easy-to-read information on the causes of insulin resistance. For those of you not well-versed in science this is probably one of his easiest to understand posts as it’s not too technical.
The 80/20 Principle for Program Design – by Dean Somerset. Dean is a guy who’s stuff I have been meaning to read and just haven’t done enough of it yet. Well I made a decision to read this post and I am glad I did. Simple, to the point and easy to apply. It is quite long though!
I had the fortune of wrapping up my Dietetic Internship on Tuesday of this week, which was definitely a very nice feeling. I certainly learned a ton, especially about nutrition in the Critical Care setting. Tube feeds and IV feeds (whether central or peripheral access) with different conditions and elements involved was intellectually challenging, and some of the doctors were very willing to teach the physiology of things like SIRS & ARDS. It was an enlightening experience to say the least. While I continue to believe that our management of chronic conditions is seriously lacking, our doctors are incredibly well-trained in the acute care setting (which some might argue is part of the problem, because we treat chronic conditions like acute ones!).
In other news I went down to Cressey Performance for the day yesterday, which was a most welcome change of pace. I even gave the staff in-service in the morning before clients arrived, which was aimed mainly at teaching the 6 new interns the basics of working with high school athletes. We also had a Q & A after where Eric, Tony, Chris and others asked questions on different topics. It was more of an impromptu off-the-cuff talk than anything formally prepared, but I think it went really well. We recorded the talk, so I will keep you updated if we do anything with it.
Continuing the CP theme it was good to get back in the trenches and coach people again. Though there are a lot of new faces and plenty of new exercises that I had to ask a few questions on, the coaching aspect was like riding a bike. Coaching trap bar deadlifts, med ball work, core exercises, and my favorite for newbies – Glute Ham Raises was an absolute blast and I hope to do it again sometime soon. It was great to catch up with everybody and marvel at the speed at which Cressey Performance continues to grow.
I also had EC eval me as my left shoulder/trap/upper back area has been cranky as of late and not responding as I would have liked to some of my attempts at treating it. While it has gotten better, it wasn’t great, so I had Eric check me out. He basically concluded that I have downward rotation syndrome and jacked up levator scapulae, essentially my upper traps have been too neglected and I need to work on overhead shrugs and a few other similar exercises.
As we talked he mentioned that he has started to notice this issue more and more with guys when he assesses them, due to a seemingly over-emphasis on the “down-and-back” cue, near total avoidance of using the upper traps in addition to poor upper body posture (mainly anterior scapular tilt and excessive internal rotation – mostly from sitting too much). Looking back I can definitely see how I have not trained by upper traps/uppward rotators to the same degree as my downward rotators, not too mention the fact that I have been sitting a ton more since I left CP. We also both felt there was accumulated wear and tear on the area from years of baseball/lacrosse/hockey/rugby that certainly isn’t doing me any favors, but with some appropriate soft tissue work and corrective strategies I should be good to go.
This really speaks to the fact that the hardest person to train is yourself. As much as I know about appropriate training modalities, proper exercise execution, and corrective strategies, when training yourself it can be easy to continue to work on what you are good at and neglect areas that are weak. Doing a little more research myself I stumbled across a fantastic article by Mike Robertson and Bill Hartman that outlines the downward rotation syndrome and provides some excellent corrective strategies that I will certainly put to use – Push Ups, Face Pull, and Shrugs.
Lastly, I also wanted to mention to keep your eyes peeled for some audio interviews I did for Rick Kaselj of ExercisesForInjuries.com and Medhi of Stronglifts.com recently. They should be going up within the next month or so, and I will let you guys know when they do.
A reader recently sent me a question that I thought many people may have, so I decided to provide my answer for everyone to see.
Q. Hi Brian,
I’ve been meaning to shoot you an email to thank you for a while. I purchased your nutrition information from Eric Cressey’s Show and Go product. It’s some of the most well thought out and realistic nutrition information I’ve ever read. I think you have a real knack for simplifying what others can make very complicated but at the same time educating and providing people with important reasons why their nutrition matters so much.
I wanted to ask you was in your guidelines I know you refute the commonly held belief that saturated fat is bad. In your shopping list though is lean meats. Is that just in case the meat is conventional and there are more antibiotics or hormones stored in the fat?
A. First off, thank you for the kind words, much appreciated. I like to think of that as my skill set as well!
The reason for relatively lean meats is because excess fat and calories is still excess fat and calories. While I don’t think saturated fat is the devil, far from it, the goal isn’t to eat as much of it as possible either! Eating lean meats allows you to decide what fat sources you want with that meal. Do you want olive oil, butter, avocado, nuts, or maybe you want fattier meat? In addition it’s not like I am recommending 99% lean ground meat either (which tastes awful), I think 93% is a good compromise. Eating fattier meat will decrease the protein content and make it harder to hit your macronutrient needs within your caloric needs. Granted, if you know how to fit it in then go for it.
For example lets say you want to make a burger – going with say an 85% lean patty makes it more difficult to add other things to it if you like cheese or avocado with your burger, or you wanted to saute up some veggies in olive oil or something like that. Going with 93% allows for more flexibility without sacrificing much in taste.
Again just general recommendations. If you know what you are doing you can easily consume a higher fat steak, just have something like a sweet potato and some steamed veggies with it. With the lower fat options you just more flexibility to add other components and not be jacking up the calories crazy high. Choosing a higher fat cut of meat is not inherently bad, it just tends to limit your side options is all.
Your point at the end about the hormones and antibiotics is a valid question as well, and if you are choosing conventional meat it might be a wiser idea to go with a leaner option.
I would love to hear your thoughts and comments below.