T Nation

Diet Questions: Tea, Fats, and Dairy

A general outline of my diet for a point of reference. The questions are listed below this paragraph.

My general diet is aimed to maintain and somewhat build muscle mass while avoiding putting on fat. I would estimate my caloric intake comes from approx 50% carbs, 30% fat, 205 protein. I try to avoid all simple sugars, except fructose from fruits and lactose from dairy products, which I try to keep relatively low. I eat about 5 or 6 bowls of oatmeal a day and mix in two prunes, 1 egg white, a big spoonful of mashed up sweet potato, and half a scoop of protein powder.

Usually in 2 or 3 bowls, I’ll put 2 tablespoons or so of peanut butter and in 3 or 4 bowls, I’ll put a small bit of dairy product - fat free cottage cheese, fat free cream cheese or skim milk. I estimate that a non peanut butter bowl doesn’t ever exceed 300 calories and the peanut butter bowls don’t exceed 500 calories. For the rest of my meals - 1 or 2, I just eat generally healthy.

My 4 questions on a broad range of subjects

  1. I try to obstain from regular caffeine use. I’ll only try to drink it if I know that I’m either going to a family meal or going to a restraurant where eating healthy would be hard or it would hurt someone’s feelings by not eating their cooking or if I need to stay up to drive a long ways or stay awake to study. I recently started drinking decaffeinated green tea as an antioxidant.

I read a study that suggested its antoxidant function may be 50,000 times more potent than that of vitamin’s E antioxidant properties. Anyways, my question is concerning flavored, “fruity” or “pepperminty” teas. They say on the package that they are naturally caffeine free. My question is - would drinking these flavored teas regularly be unhealthy in any way? I don’t have a perception that there are any benefits, I’m just making sure that there’s not any detriments.

  1. My primary source of fats from diet is peanut butter. I wish I could afford it to be almonds but I have to be economical. I’m trying to now incorporate avocados in the diet. By doing this, should I cut down on the peanut butter significantly. It leads to another question - how large of a serving of avocados should I eat at a time and per day - just huge general guesstimations, I’m not super legalistic and I don’t measure my food or anything.

I just want to make sure I’m not eating too much fat. I suppose answers to these questions will also depend on one’s philosophy of fat in the diet. Mine is try to get 30 to 40 calories from fat, trying to avoid all saturated fats.

  1. Dairy products… I use them very lightly, but in finishing off Christmas ingrediants, I’ve come across fat free cream cheese. I usually only use fat free cottage cheese in my oatmeal. The fat free cream cheese per serving all it has it 2 grams sugar and 4 grams of protein.

My question is - is this at all healthy, the fat free cream cheese? I wonder where it gets all its volume, with so few calories and nutrients. Probably alot of artificial ad stuff. Someone please enlighten me.

  1. Dairy products… Like I mentioned earlier, I try to avoid or limit simple sugars as much as possible. Could someone please promote/compare the health benefits of fat free cottage cheese, fat free cream cheese, plain yogurt and fat-free yogurt. I would really appreciate some enlightenment in this area. I’m considering starting to incorporate yogurt in my diet but I would like it compared to the two others.

Minutia.

Seriously, none of your points are anything to worry about.

Minutiae except for the fat intake. At the very least I hope you meant 30-40 grams and not calories. 30-40 grams I would think of as the bare minimum for healthy function. You should NOT avoid saturated fats. You want a balance of all three types of fat from good sources. Included in that is dairy (unless you happen to know that it has a negative affect on you). I’m not gonna spell it out for you, do some reading around here, there are plenty of articles on healthy fats.

As for the rest…I don’t know why you’re avoiding caffeine. It’s one thing to guzzle down energy drinks and another to completely remove caffeine from your diet. It’s neuroprotective. Also, I remember reading that the process of removing caffeine from tea introduces carcinogens, which would be ironic if you’re drinking it for the anti-oxidants. My mentality tends to be that the further a way you remove something from its natural state, the worse it’s going to be for you. That includes removing the fat from dairy. So eat your full-fat yogurt.