Hide

Error message here!

Lost your password? Please enter your email address. You will receive a link to create a new password.

Error message here!

Back to log-in

Close
Nutrition concept in tag cloud

Sports Nutrition Updates

Sports nutrition was a hot topic at this years’ annual Food & Nutrition Conference & Exposition (FNCE), hosted by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the nation’s largest group of nutrition professionals. Here are a few highlights, to keep you up to date with current sports nutrition recommendations.

Performance enhancers

  • Sport supplements that promise improved performance are always tantalizing. If they make as little as 0.5 to 1% improvement, the supplement is deemed to “work.” While scientists want well-controlled research studies to prove effectiveness, athletes respond very quickly to anecdotes—and often spend lots of money on what might be just a glimmer of hope. (In the four months leading up to the Olympics in 2000, one athlete spent $3,480 on supplements!)
  • The Australian Institute of Sport is creating a website for grouping supplements according to effectiveness: Group A (proven to enhance performance), Group B (deserves more research), Group C (little proof of meaningful benefits) and Group D (Banned).  Check it out at www.ais.gov.au/nutrition/supplementsThe helpful information can help guide your supplement choices.

Vitamin Zzz, aka Sleep

  • Sleep is one of the best performance enhancers. Lack of sleep has detrimental effects on performance. Athletes with good sleep quality are able to train harder, recover faster, and perform better. And take note:  if you think you can drink coffee at night and still sleep fine, think again. Brain wave studies suggest otherwise…
  • How much sleep is enough? More than 6 hours a night. Very few athletes can perform well with less than that. Top athletes commonly strive to get 8 to 10 hours of sleep each day, including a nap between 1:00 and 4:00 pm. (A later nap results in poorer sleep that night). Teens should target 8 to 10 hours and adults 7 to 9 hours. Lack of sleep can significantly impact your diet. After two nights with only 4 to 5 hours of sleep, the appetite increases about 20%. You’ll likely find yourself snacking more than usual (on fatty foods), eating fewer fruits and veggies, and consuming ~385 additional calories. Yikes!
  • For good sleep information, visit centreforsleep.com and take the Athletes’ Sleep Screening Questionnaire. Athletes who understand the benefits of sleep tend to sleep about 20 minutes more. I hope this holds true for you!

Muscle building tactics

  • When it comes to building muscle, you want to surround your workout with food, so you can get the most benefits from your efforts. Intermittent Fasters, take note: if you lift weights in a fasted state (without having eaten any pre-exercise fuel), the muscle-building effect of exercise is not enough to out-weigh the muscle breakdown that happens in a fasted state. Eat before you train!
  • Many athletes assume if they fail to eat within 45 minutes of lifting weights, the anabolic  (muscle-building) window slams shut. Wrong. Refueling either 1 or 3 hours post-exercise generates a similar gain in muscle protein synthesis. For the average exerciser, the effect of post-exercise protein timing on muscle growth is relatively small. For competitive body builders, the gain is also small but perhaps meaningful, so most prefer to err on the side of caution.
  • Consuming post-exercise protein stimulates insulin secretion, as does carbohydrate. (Did you know that whey protein stimulates more insulin than white bread?) Insulin reduces muscle breakdown and enhances glycogen replacement. Refueling with a combination of protein + carb is best for athletes who do two-a-day workouts, to optimize glycogen replacement. Athletes who do only one workout and refuel with a sports diet based on grains, starchy vegetables and fruits can replenish depleted glycogen stores over the course of 24 hours.
  • Does eating extra protein build bigger muscles? The body incorporates only a limited amount of protein into new muscle tissue. Spacing out protein intake by consuming 20 grams of protein every 3 hours (four times a day) is preferable to eating 80 grams in one dose. More specifically, athletes want to target 0.2-0.25 g pro/lb. body weight (0.4 to 0.55 g/kg) four times a day. This target varies from person to person. Vegans, for example, will want to consume a higher amount to get adequate leucine, an amino acid that triggers muscle growth.

Eating disorders in male athletes

  • Eating disorders (EDs) are not just a female problem. About 9% of male athletes—as compared to about 21% of female athletes—struggle with food issues and restrict their food intake to lose undesired body fat. The lack of fuel available to support normal bodily functions impacts bone health and reproductive function in men, just as it does in women. In men, low energy availability can lead to low testosterone, poor semen quality, reduced sperm count, and slower sperm motility. In women, it shows up as loss of regular menses (amenorrhea), hence infertility.
  • Compared to female athletes, male athletes can withstand more of a severe deficit before the appearance of symptoms such as low testosterone, bone stress injuries, and reduced bone density/poor bone health (osteoporosis). To reverse the energy deficit, athletes need to boost their energy intake, which can be easier said than done for those struggling with eating issues and fears of “getting fat.” One way to consume the recommended 350 additional calories per day is to break two energy bars into small bites, and nibble on them over the course of several hours. Men seem to be able to reverse the hormonal imbalance within days, while women can take months. Reversibility of bone density is not guaranteed.

Keto diet

  • A ketogenic sports diet (moderate protein, very low carb, very high fat) appeals to some athletes. Yet, we need more research to understand the fine details of adaptation to the keto diet and the role of keto supplements. (Supplement sales vastly exceed the science!) Stay tuned; perhaps we’ll have more answers from next year’s FNCE!

Reprinted with permission from Nancy Clark.


Sports Nutritionist Nancy Clark, MS, RD counsels both casual and competitive athletes at her office in Newton, MA (617-795-1875). The new 6th edition of her best selling Sports Nutrition Guidebook addresses today’s questions and concerns about what to eat. For more information, visit NancyClarkRD.com. For her online workshop, visit NutritionSportsExerciseCEUs.com.

wine-glasses

Alcohol and Your Health – Cheers! or Not?

Depending with whom you speak, alcohol can be a villain or it can be a hero. We have long known that alcohol can help reduce the stress of everyday life, and even relaxes our most tightly wound friends and associates. Recent data also suggests that fairly regular alcohol ingestion is actually good for your heart. This is probably one of the reasons that many European countries, where wine is a normal part of everyday life, have significantly lower rates of heart disease despite relatively high fat diets. The protective effects may come from substances called flavonoids and also antioxidants that are found in alcohol, especially wine. It also can increase HDL levels (the good cholesterol) and lower the risk of blood clots by slightly “thinning” your blood (anti-platelet effect). Red wine also has resveratrol, a compound that has been shown to possibly reduce lung damage in patients with chronic bronchitis and emphysema, by lowering levels of interleukin 8, a chemical that causes lung inflammation. It has also been touted to have life extension (i.e. longevity) and disease fighting capabilities but more research is needed.

Too bad it’s not that easy, i.e. “drink to your heart’s content.” There is a dark side. Even the American Heart Association cautions people NOT to start drinking if they do not already drink alcohol. For many, alcohol can be deadly. It can be a cellular toxin, with brain cells and liver cells particularly susceptible. Alcoholism is a serious disease, with some predisposed from a genetic standpoint. For them, there is no safe amount. It is also never safe or recommended during pregnancy because of the harm it can cause to the developing baby. Alcohol can be dangerous for those with certain medical conditions such as diabetes and liver ailments and also has been implicated in the development of certain cancers. Also many alcoholic beverages pack a significant amount of calories which contribute to obesity risk and much of the obesity epidemic.

Alcohol also kills when mixed with driving. I believe we will see tighter restrictions regarding the legality of drinking and driving especially in terms of acceptable blood-alcohol content. Recent scientific data suggests that we actually loose coordination as well as other important motor and cognitive skills essential for safe driving, even while we are within the legal limits of blood alcohol levels. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in conjunction with The University of Iowa, is doing research on driving under the influence using a three ton, $81 million DUI simulator. This simulator puts the drunk driver in “real life” road situations using high resolution 3-D images, and monitors reaction times and other motorist behaviors. Hopefully studies like this will help provide safer guidelines for us. I am fairly certain that study will have no trouble finding volunteers. There are even commercially available simulators (drunk driving and texting while driving) for educational purposes.

Being an orthopedic surgeon, who has spent plenty of time in the ER, I can state without hesitation that impaired driving kills, and kills many, dramatically changing lives (even innocent ones), be it alcohol, marijuana, or other drugs. Ditto for cell phone distracted driving. All preventable.

So, what is the right answer for you in terms of alcohol? The key, like so many other things in life, is balance and moderation. Weighing risks with rewards and being responsible, not only to yourself, but to those around you.

Poison or potion? It is up to you. Remember, moderation is the key. Check with your doctor to see if there is a place for alcohol in your path to better health.

Originally published on the Huffington Post. Reprinted with permission from Dr. DiNubile.


Nicholas DiNubile, MD is an Orthopedic Surgeon, Sports Medicine Doc, Team Physician & Best Selling Author. He is dedicated to keeping you healthy in body, mind & spirit. Follow him MD on Twitter: twitter.com/drnickUSA

holidays-xmas

Surviving the Holiday Season

The hardest time of year for weight management is from Halloween until Valentine’s Day – temptations are everywhere from home to the workplace and everywhere else you go, people wear more clothes and are more covered up because of the weather, and people tend to exercise less because they are stressed, exhausted, it is cold, and they have very little time. Here are some tips to manage weight during the holiday season:

Plan ahead

  • Eat something before you go out so that you are not inclined to eat everything or anything in sight.
  • Stock your home, office, and/or car with healthy snacks such as fruit in your home, almonds in your office, and a nutrition bar in your car.
  • Plan on making healthy choices for your meals such as mustard instead of mayonnaise or light Italian rather than ranch dressing.

Manage stress

  • Make a list of stress relieving activities that do not include food or eating such as getting a massage, exercising, listening to music, or talking on the phone.

Party responsibly

  • If you are attending a pot-luck party, bring something healthy so you know there will be at least one healthy choice at the party.
  • Eat small portions of your favorite sweets at parties.
  • Try to fill your plate with mostly fruits and veggies at parties.
  • If you want to try new dishes, only take a taster size portion so that you are not tempted to eat more than you should. Then go back and get more of what you like if you are still hungry.
  • Drink a glass of water after each glass of soda or alcoholic beverage in order to cut beverage calories in half.
  • Focus on socializing with other guests rather than eating the food available.

Keep moving

  • If you know you will not have time to exercise, try to fit other small activities into your day such as parking farther away, taking the stairs, and putting the shopping cart away instead of putting it to the side.
  • If you have a stationary bicycle or a treadmill that you haven’t used for a while, take it out and put it in front of the TV, so you can watch TV when you work out.
  • Take a walk alone or with your spouse, kids, or other family and friends after dinner.

Kristy Richardson is a dietitian and exercise physiologist, specializing in sports nutrition and weight management, She is the founder of OC Nutrition and also works as a nutrition professor at Fullerton College.

References

Cleveland Clinic. (2009). 8 Steps to Surviving the Holiday Weight Gain. Retrieved December 22, 2009 from: http://my.clevelandclinic.org/heart/prevention/nutrition/holidayeating12_01.aspx

Zamora, Dulce. (2007). Holiday weight management; Surviving the Feasting Season. Retrieved December 22, 2009 from: http://www.medicinenet.com/holiday_weight_management/article.html

Prescription for good health diet and exercise flat lay overhead with copyspace.

A New Era Begins

The rallying cry is, “Let’s change healthcare!” From all corners of the medical universe, there is agreement that change is necessary. The biggest questions are, “What is the change?” and, “Who will make it happen?”