The Ingredient That Makes Collagen More Effective: Secrets from a Dietician.



Confused as to which protein powder to take? Not sure how much to eat to lose weight? How can your expensive collagen powder be more easily absorbed? Bondi Beauty chats to Amazonia’s head dietician Tara Kaff, to answer your questions.

The field of nutrition can be complicated for anyone, let alone people just starting out on their health and fitness journeys.

From knowing how many calories to consume, what to consume, what to avoid, how to choose supplements, how to lose weight; the questions are endless.

Even more confusing is the plethora of inaccurate information that gets filtered down throughout social media, easily found with a quick google search.

In fact, studies have revealed that only 1 in 9 “health and fitness” influencers give correct advice that can be packed by science.

It’s a worrying statistic, and its why people should instead be speaking to experts in the field – but that in itself leads to a whole other issue. Dieticians and nutritionists can often be expensive, not available in certain areas, or, if covid-19 sticks around, impossible to visit in person.

To solve this dilemma, Bondi Beauty took a range of questions our readers have been desperately asking, and handed them over to Registered Sports Dietician, Tara Kaff.

Now based on the Gold Coast as Amazonia’s Head Dietician and New Product Development Coordinator, Tara is a wealth of knowledge on all thing’s nutrition and diets. 

She’s also no stranger to sports, supplements and athletes, previously working as a Sports Dietician for the Sydney Rabbitohs.

From knowing which protein powder to choose, how to get the most out of your collagen supplements, favourite go-to nutritious recipes, or knowing how much to eat to lose weight, here’s all your questions answered from a source you can trust.

How much do I have to eat to lose weight?

Tara says one of the fundamental things she wishes people knew about nutrition was that they have to eat enough, not necessarily less.

“I know a lot of people who try to lose weight but they’re not actually eating enough,” she says.

“People go on 1200 calories diets, expecting to lose weight, but that’s just not enough, that’s the energy requirements of a two year old.”

“This causes metabolic damage, because as your body adapts to such low calories, weight loss will plateau because people simply can’t eat any lower without it being really detrimental for their health”

“So eating enough of the right foods is really important.”

What is something you wish people knew that would make their nutrition journey’s easier?

“Know about the products you are consuming,” Tara says.

“For example, a lot of people are purchasing collagen nowadays, but not many people know that if you have vitamin C with it, it can allow the collagen to be better absorbed, working better within the body.”

vitamin c drink
Taking collagen with vitamin c can help increase the ease in which it is absorbed.

“Matching other nutrients with their preferred nutrients is really important – like I said before, a lot of people don’t know that opting for a combined pea and rice protein is better.”

Tara is also big on balance. She says that one of the most frustrating things is people cutting out whole sections of their diet, only for it to lead to binging when they can no longer deal with the restriction.

“I find with a lot of people trying to lose weight, their first initial reaction is to restrict all these foods, but then they come to three weeks into their weight loss journey and they’ll be craving that food.”

hand holding ice cream
Don’t restrict the foods that you love. Instead, stick to the right portion sizes and have in moderation.

“Instead of just having one cookie everynight for the past two weeks, they’ll binge and eat a whole box, and that hinders them and they take five steps backward,” she says.

“If you want ice cream, have ice cream every second night, and just make sure you have the correct portion sizes.

“Balance is key.”

Do I need to be taking protein powder? Or other supplements?

Tara stresses that a “food first” approach is always beneficial, with the necessary macro and micronutrients always able to be found from food alone.

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Don’t you think it’s funny that we love food so much but we choose supplements over food in a lot of cases? 🤷🏼‍♀️ Like wouldn’t you want to eat all the fruit and veg over sipping it all in a tiny pill? I know I would 💯 Look, supplements are great BUT they are great when used appropriately. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ They should not be used to cover up a shitty diet with minimal quality foods. This is your first problem. Nailing a top quality whole foods diet is your first mission to complete before entering the game of supplements. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ What are the perks of choosing wholefoods? ✅ You feel full and satisfied ✅ You receive more than one single nutrient ✅ You can enjoy the taste and smell of the food ✅ You don’t have to sell your limbs to get quality ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ What makes me laugh is when companies or people claim they want to sell you a “wholefood supplement with all the vitamins and minerals equivalent to 30 fruits and veg”. Want to know what goes on in my head when I hear this? “Shuuuudup”. No I do not want to buy your stupid hierarchy supplement that would cost me an arm and a leg in the long run when I can get all my nutrients from a good quality diet, fill my belly at the same time and not empty my wallet. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Athletes or the general population for that matter should always have a food first approach. Even when first diagnosed with a deficiency, it’s important to try solve the issue with food first (under professional guidance). Supplements may be used under medical supervision (doctor and dietitian) to treat nutritional deficiencies if necessary (i.e. iron or vitamin D) or when it’s just impossible to reach requirements through a whole food diet. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Choose FOOD FIRST. Its always the best approach. Consult or doctor AND dietitian to discuss what the best options are for you if you require a supplement 😊 #foodfirst

A post shared by Tara Emily Sports Dietitian (@taraemily_sportsdietitian) on

“But the world these days is always go, go, go, and in this day and age people are so busy and require a quick and convenient source of nutrition,” she says.

“That’s where supplements such as protein powder come in.”

“If people are too busy and don’t have time to prioritise good nutrition, then reaching for supplements to get those nutritional benefits can be highly advantageous.”

How do I choose the right protein powder for my body?

Tara says to always consider the ingredients of what you’re consuming.

“The lesser the ingredients, the better, and where possible, reach for certified organic or from a natural whole food source.”

“If you’re taking protein to put on or maintain muscle, then choose the proteins that have a minimum of two grams of leucine per serve.”

Leucine is an essential amino acid that can assist with protein synthesis, regulating blood sugar levels, growth and repair of muscle tissue and growth in hormone production. 

Protein powders should also have between 20-30 grams of protein per serve.

Tara also recommends opting for a plant-based protein over other sources such as whey. 

“The difference between pea, rice or other plant proteins is that it also has the additional benefits of being a plant – so it’s not solely just a protein source, but you’re getting a whole range of micronutrients,” she says.

“But often with plant sources, it will just be either a rice or a pea protein, so you don’t get that full amino acid profile.

“So, where possible, opt for pea and rice combined plant-based protein, then you’re getting all the micronutrients and the full amino acid profile.”

How can people stay motivated during Covid-19 restrictions?

“For me personally, how I’ve stayed motivated during this time is that now is the perfect time to get outdoors and exercise in fresh air,” Tara says.

Two friends working out
Working out with a friend helps keep you both accountable.

“If possible, opt to exercise with a friend. Although restrictions dictate we can only spend time with a certain number of people, if you just have one person to exercise with, it keeps you accountable with both nutrition and exercise.”

“So getting a little buddy is always really motivating from an accountability perspective.”

What does a day on a plate look like for you? Has this changed because of lockdown?

I’ve been able to maintain my training intensity similar to what it was pre gyms closing, so not much in my diet has changed,” Tara says.

For the dietician, this is what a day on a plate often looks like.

Pre-Training snack: 2x fruit toast with a black coffee

Breakfast: porridge and blueberries with  Amazonia’s Raw Slim & Tone protein shake

Snack: protein muesli bar and an apple

Lunch: Breakky wrap. Wholewheat wrap with cheese, egg, tomato, onion, capsicum and spinach

Snack: small tub of high protein yoghurt with fruit free muesli and fresh fruit

Dinner: turkey mince salad with feta cheese and balsamic vinegar dressing either with brown rice or a whole-grain bread roll

What is a good after workout meal?

person holding smoothie bowl in a coconut bowl
Smoothie bowls are a delicious post-workout option.

Post Training Smoothie Bowl:

30g Amazonia Raw Slim & Tone Cacao Macadamia

200ml unsweetened coconut milk (i use vitasoy brand)

1 frozen banana

1/2 sachet Amazonia Frozen Coconut

1 tbsp. almond butter

1 medjool date

Blend all ingredients into a blender and top off with fruit free muesli or granola.

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Zoe Bradbury


Zoe is a self-confessed health and fitness fanatic. She loves working out and being active, almost as much as she loves going out for brunch and eating avo toast.
If she’s not in the gym, you’ll usually find her online shopping, buying something she definitely does not need, or updating her Pinterest board with travel and adventure ideas for the future.
Her other loves include dark chocolate, coffee and cats, all enjoyed while watching bad (or really good?) reality TV

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