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Monday, May 18, 2015

Just a Bite: Fasting Cardio and Body Composition, Latest Research

"Well, my trainer wants me to do fasting cardio at least three days a week..." is a common comment I hear frequently.  The theory for the uninitiated is that one would burn fat resulting in greater fat loss versus the typical muscle/fat loss that comes from changing body composition.  

The Journal of the International Sports Society of Sports Nutrition recently published an article to bring additional clarity on the topic.  This article focuses on twenty women who are to follow a reduced calorie diet.  They either do cardio in a fasting or fed state.  

The researchers found that "[b]oth groups showed a significant loss of weight (P = 0.0005) and fat mass (P = 0.02) from baseline, but no significant between-group differences were noted in any outcome measure. These findings indicate that body composition changes associated with aerobic exercise in conjunction with a hypocaloric diet are similar regardless whether or not an individual is fasted prior to training" (Schoenfeld, et al, 2014).  

The takeaway?  Keep encouraging a reduced calorie diet with physical activity to see results.  


Check out the full article here

Gina Volsko RDN, LD is the SCAN Blog Coordinator and writes on her own nutrition blog, Sport2Fork.  E-mail her at glesako@gmail.com if you're interesting in joining the SCAN bloggers.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Just A Bite: #Dessertworthy Campaign

You may have fond memories of a family member who brought a spectacular apple pie to an annual Memorial Day barbeque.  There might be a particular bakery that has a blueberry scone worth the trip across town and  the Calories. All in all, dessert plays an important memory and sensory experience.  It can fit into a healthy lifestyle.  The problem is our “grab-and-go” culture: a croissant and cappuccino at breakfast, a slice of pizza and a cupcake in the break room at work...we can easily go off the sugar deep end. 

Emily Luchetti’s #dessertworthy manifesto is a beautiful slice of moderation of the better parts of eating—dessert.   Luchetti writes:

“Dessert is being consumed by adults and children at an alarming rate, resulting in troubling health issues, including Type 2 diabetes and obesity. Compelled to take action, award­winning pastry chef Emily Luchetti launched #dessertworthy in July 2014 to raise awareness about sugar­laden processed foods and to encourage saving desserts for a treat, not a daily occurrence. Ms. Luchetti, Chief Pastry Officer at Big Night Restaurant Group and Board Chairman of the James Beard Foundation, aims to spread the mission of #dessertworthy nationwide by 2016.”

With strict diet plans such as the Whole30 Diet, dessert seems out of reach for those looking to have better health but want something in moderation.  Luchetti was recently interviewed for Civil Eats here.
I love desserts and I think they really add a lot to our lives. If you’re having a birthday party or any other celebration, there’s a dessert there, and it’s something that makes an event more special. They have the power to give such pleasure, so I don’t want to see anyone giving up sweets completely when that’s not necessary. Let’s put them in their proper place. Let’s start asking which desserts are worthy to eat and which ones aren’t.”


Gina Volsko RDN, LD is the SCAN blog coordinator.  You can reach her at glesako@gmail.com or read more of her work and antics at www.sport2fork.com.




Monday, May 4, 2015

The Dairy Debate, Is the Food Industry Milking It?

Milk.  It’s one of the iconic staples of the American breakfast table.  A bowl of cornflakes, milk, juice, and a banana signified a wholesome nutritious meal to start the day off right...in1953.

Diets such as Whole 30 or Paleo avoid dairy milk (unless in some circumstances where organic whole milk is allowed).  A lot of this confusion comes from competing food politics and it’s not just milk.  

Marion Nestle’s blog, Food Politics, looks at sponsored research conveniently favoring the sponsor’s vested interests periodically.  The link here, actually has one from the Dairy Research Institute through the Whey Protein Research Consortium (Whey Protein Supplementation Preserves Postprandial Myofibrillar Protein Synthesis during Short-Term Energy Restriction in Overweight and Obese Adults). 

For someone “doing their research,” this can be confusing.  What should I do myself?  What do I tell clients?  Just searching “milk and health” generated 351,000,000 results. 

In 2012, Dr. David Katz of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center wrote an article summarizing very valid points regarding dairy, Calcium, osteoporosis, and overall health.  We may not need the old “three servings per day” for bone health or weight loss after all. Here is the link to Dr. Katz’s full post (that has cited evidence for those research junkies such as myself). 

Here are the key takeaways:
  •  Competing claims about dairy take us deep into the curds and whey. There are arguments that dairy is good, but only if raw; pasteurization, so goes the contention, ruins everything by destroying the active "enzymes." There are claims that skimming the fat ruins dairy by removing healthful fatty acids, such as conjugated linoleic acids, and other claims that only low-fat and non-fat dairy are good, while full-fat is bad. There are claims that all dairy is good; that milk is good but cheese is bad; that cheese is good, but milk is not; that milk and cheese are good, but butter is not” (Katz, 2012).
  • Dairy intake is not crucial for the health of adult humans.  There are populations that eat mainly plants and drink ample water while getting exercise and sunlight have strong bones.  Here in the U.S., we have less exercise, sunlight, and more common osteoporosis (with higher protein diets).
  • The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) studies show that the inclusion of low- and non-fat dairy in the diet assists in reducing blood pressure. “Other studies, including large meta-analyses, suggest a modest, net benefit in the areas of all-cause mortality and cardiovascular disease, and no net increase in cancers. But such studies do tend to distinguish low- and non-fat from full-fat dairy; in general, benefits seen with the fat-reduced varieties are not seen, or attenuated, with full-fat varieties” (Katz, 2012). 
  • Animal-rights activists validly argue that animal husbandry comes at an environmental cost and that dairy farming is not very good for the cows involved.   There is another side to the dairy industry.  Smaller scale dairy farms have a different approach such as Snowville Creamery in Ohio.

Dr. Katz concludes, “There are few if any studies comparing optimal plant-based diets with and without dairy, or optimal Paleo diets with and without dairy. Such studies are not even plausible, but in their absence, we can't say that adding dairy to such diets would make them better, or worse. There is no good evidence-based case for healthy vegans to add dairy to their diets. On the other hand, I can find no good evidence that popular dairy substitutes are reliably more nutritious.”

So your evening bowl of ice cream is harmless, but choosing not to consume dairy isn’t bad either.

Everyone wins. 

Extra credit reading:
Marion Nestle’s Dairy posts (from advertising to politics)

Harvard School of Public Health on milk/Calcium


Gina Volsko RDN, LD is the SCAN Blog Coordinator and writes on her own nutrition blog, Sport2Fork.  E-mail her at glesako@gmail.com if you're interesting in joining the SCAN bloggers.  

Monday, April 27, 2015

Simple Sports Nutrition with Real Food

As easy-to-understand as cereal and milk

Many dietitians live by the mantra of, “food first.”  We encourage and prefer that our patients or clients obtain their nutritional needs through food versus supplements because most often, real foods can supply nutritional needs and are safer, more affordable, more accessible and can often be more palatable. Nevertheless, athletes and adults who engage in physical activity and are hoping to optimize training seek out the latest and greatest supplement that will give them “an edge” over competitors. It is important to remind athletes and adults that a solid diet is no match for any sports supplement on the market.  Combine a well-balanced diet with proper pre- and post-workout nutrition and both athletes and adults can meet nutrition needs through real foods and maximize training efforts.  Though they can be convenient, supplements are not necessary, especially for “average” adults (as opposed to elite athletes) and kids who engage in 1 to 3 daily hours of physical activity. 

Athletic training coupled with proper meal and nutrient timing, especially proximal to physical activity, can result in greater strength gains, enhanced performance, improved body composition, better workout recovery and even better mood, post workout1.  Many questions still remain, however, as to the best fueling protocol.  Studies are conflicting and there are many factors to consider, such as whether the individual is an untrained versus trained athlete, is engaging in strength versus endurance activity and whether it is an older versus younger athlete, all of which have unique needs and respond differently to training, fueling and refueling 1, 2.  Additionally, there are mixed results pertaining to complex versus simple (or low glycemic index versus high glycemic index) carbohydrates and pre- versus post-workout timing and even the oft-cited “30-minute post-workout window,” for refueling3.

Despite the many considerations, there are two important nutrients we can agree upon—protein and carbohydrate.  Consumption of protein and carbohydrate foods before and after a workout results in increased protein synthesis, maximum glycogen storage and even improved immunity3.  The International Society of Sports Nutrition recommends 6 to 20 grams of high quality protein and 30 to 40 grams of carbohydrate before and after exercise for maximal benefits 1.

Based on these recommendations and in keeping things simple, affordable and accessible for the average adult, a great pre- and post-workout snack for kids (or adults) is cereal and milk (or yogurt).  In fact, a study from The University of Texas at Austin found that consumption of cereal (the study tested corn flakes) and milk resulted in improved protein synthesis, compared to a carbohydrate-only sports drink when consumed post-workout 4

General Mills just brought back a favorite childhood cereal, French Toast Crunch.  If you remember the sweet, crunchy, cinnamon-maple-packed cereal from your youth, you can rest assured that the delicious taste is back, but this time it comes with an improved nutritional profile!

The new version is made of whole grain corn (10 grams) and actually contains less sugar that most other sugar-sweetened cereal (at only 9 grams per serving).  A favorite way to enjoy French Toast Crunch is in a bowl, paired with a splash of milk and a container of Siggi’s Icelandic Style Pumpkin & Spice Skyr

Skyr is a type of yogurt, similar to Greek yogurt in that it, too, is high in protein and has a thicker consistency than regular yogurt. Siggi’s skyr, however, is even thicker and more rich and indulgent-tasting than Greek yogurt. It also contains more protein (14 grams) in a standard 5.3 ounce cup and less sugar (only 11 grams) than many flavored Greek yogurt varieties.  Looking at the ingredient list, you’ll see it is simply made of skim milk, cream, sugar, cream, pumpkin, cinnamon, vanilla bean, lemon juice, nutmeg and live and active cultures.  As for that dietitian mantra of “food first” to reach nutritional needs through “real” foods, how much more “real” can you get with that nutrition label?

A three-quarter cup serving of General Mills French Toast Crunch cereal with one 5.3-ounce container of Siggi’s Icelandic Style Pumpkin & Spice Skyr and 1/4 cup 1% milk meets nutrition recommendations for both pre- and/or post-workout nutrition, ringing it at 265 calories, 1.5 grams fat, 0 grams saturated fat, 40 grams carbohydrates and 17 grams protein.  Head out to your local grocer and check out these two great, new products, perfect for both child and adult athletes!

1.      Kerksick, Chad et al. “International Society of Sports Nutrition Position Stand: Nutrient Timing.” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 5 (2008): 17. PMC. Web. 31 Mar. 2015.

2.      Hulmi, Juha J, Christopher M Lockwood, and Jeffrey R Stout. “Effect of Protein/essential Amino Acids and Resistance Training on Skeletal Muscle Hypertrophy: A Case for Whey Protein.” Nutrition & Metabolism 7 (2010): 51. PMC. Web. 31 Mar. 2015.

3.      Aragon, Alan Albert, and Brad Jon Schoenfeld. “Nutrient Timing Revisited: Is There a Post-Exercise Anabolic Window?” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 10 (2013): 5. PMC. Web. 31 Mar. 2015.

4.      Kammer, Lynne et al. “Cereal and Nonfat Milk Support Muscle Recovery Following Exercise.” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 6 (2009): 11. PMC. Web. 31 Mar. 2015.

Kym Wroble is an in-store registered dietitian for Hy-Vee (a large, Midwestern grocery store chain).  She completed her undergraduate coursework at Dominican University in River Forest, Illinois and completed her internship with Iowa State University.  She has also worked for Scoot County WIC, prior to Hy-Vee. 

Kym played varsity volleyball at Dominican University and also at Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois. She continues to enjoy a very active lifestyle: playing indoor and outdoor hockey, running, weight lifting, taking exercise classes and training for the JDRF Race to A Cure Diabetes century ride every summer. She is extremely passionate about sports nutrition and hopes to one day be the registered dietitian for the Chicago Blackhawks.  

Monday, April 20, 2015

Gluten-Restricted Athletes: Are They At A Disadvantage?



It is estimated that 1 in 133 people in the United States have celiac disease, and 6% of the population is gluten intolerant. Whether due to a diagnosis of celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS), the gluten-restricted athlete faces possible threats to their performance.

Gluten consumption in the case of a celiac diagnosis will damage the small intestinal villi and interfere with the absorption of nutrients. Failure to comply with a gluten-free diet will result in a lack of energy and diminished performance capacity. Nutrients of primary concern are iron, calcium, vitamin D, folate, zinc, and vitamin B12. Those newly diagnosed with celiac disease may need temporary supplementation as their intestinal lining heals.

Gluten may further impede performance as it can cause abdominal pain, diarrhea, indigestion, and chronic fatigue if not eliminated from the diet when necessary. Long-term complications include anemia, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and bone mineral loss (which can lead to osteoporosis and further bone damage).

The gluten-free athlete must ensure adequate carbohydrate intake to fuel activity. Non-gluten grains include: amaranth, arrowroot, buckwheat, chickpea, lentil, corn, millet, potato, quinoa, rice, and sorghum.

A drawback of gluten-free carbohydrate sources is their lower fiber content. Athletes need ~25-35 g fiber/day, which can be met by incorporating gluten-free fiber sources from other food groups, such as fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts. Fiber should be introduced into the diet slowly, with adequate water consumption and physical activity to support motility.

It is important to maintain an overall balanced diet, including protein, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats. Fresh fruits and vegetables are naturally gluten-free. Canned products are acceptable if packed in water, rather than syrup or other substances, as these products may contain gluten.

Meals and snacks should be planned ahead of training and competition, especially if on the road. It is advised to always have a snack handy. Some convenient options include dried fruit/nut trail mix, rice cakes with peanut butter, a piece of fruit, or gluten-free sports nutrition bars.

Athletes should notify team health care members (dietitian, athletic trainer, physician, etc.) of their dietary restriction. Gluten may be present in sports foods, supplements, and catering at group meals. Alerting the staff can help avoid possible contamination.

It is advisable to check food labels on all sports foods and gels, and to seek out items marked gluten-free. Safe brands and products include: Gatorade, PowerBar Protein Plus Powder, PowerBar Gels, Gu Energy Gels, Ensure, Lara Bar, KIND Bar, PURE Bar, Clif Builder’s Bar, and Odwalla.

With the appropriate planning, support, and education, the gluten-free athlete can meet all of their nutritional needs and avoid any detriment to their performance.


Jessica Pearl, MS, RD, CSSD, CSCS, CLT is a Registered Dietitian and Exercise Physiologist in private practice in New York City. She has a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology from the University of Michigan and a Master of Science in Applied Physiology & Nutrition from Columbia University. For more on Jessica visit jpearlnutrition.com or email her at jessica@jpearlnutrition.com.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Fast Food after a Workout?

Despite everything we know about healthy eating, sometimes it’s nice to enjoy a mouth-watering burger, crispy fries, and an ice-cold carbonated beverage. Even after exercise. That’s right, fast food can actually help you recover from a workout according to a study published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism.



The Details

Researchers compared sports supplements to fast food on glycogen recovery and exercise performance. The subjects were 11 well trained men who performed a 90-minute glycogen depletion ride followed by four hours of recovery. The subjects consumed approximately 230g of carbohydrates, 27g of protein, and 35g of fat as either sports supplements or fast food at zero and two hours. Following muscle biopsies, a 20k (124 mile) time-trial was completed. Tables 2.1 and 2.2 show what the athletes ate.

I’m Lovin’ It

Blood samples were analyzed at seven, 30-minute intervals after exercise for insulin and glucose. The researchers found no differences in the blood glucose or insulin responses. Additionally, the rates of glycogen recovery were similar among both groups and there was no difference in the 20k time-trial performance.

Not So Fast

The results of the study does not mean you should visit your local burger joint after each workout. In fact, this study is of little relevance to the majority of athletes. Few are willing to perform steady-state cardio for 90-minutes and then perform a 20k time-trial. However, in terms of recovery following a long steady-state bicycle ride, the source of your carbohydrates, fats, and proteins does not appear to matter. When analyzing this study, I think it’s also important that you do not combine the idea of health and performance. This study did not look at the effect of long-term fast food consumption on health. It simply looked at the effects of glycogen restoration and performance.
Gavin Van De Walle is an ISSA Certified Fitness Trainer, a freelance writer on topics of fitness and nutrition, and a dietetic student at South Dakota State University. Once Gavin becomes an RDN, he will aim to achieve the distinguished Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD) credential. Gavin can be reached at gavin.vandewalle@jacks.sdstate.edu.  


Cramer MJ, Dumke CL, Hailes WS, Cuddy JS, Ruby BC: Post-exercise Glycogen Recovery and Exercise Performance is Not Signifantly Different Between Fast Food and Sports Supplements. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab 2015.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Gluten-Restricted Athletes: Are They At A Disadvantage?

It is estimated that 1 in 133 people in the United States have celiac disease, and 6% of the population is gluten intolerant. Whether due to a diagnosis of celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS), the gluten-restricted athlete faces possible threats to their performance.

Gluten consumption in the case of a celiac diagnosis will damage the small intestinal villi and interfere with the absorption of nutrients. Failure to comply with a gluten-free diet will result in a lack of energy and diminished performance capacity. Nutrients of primary concern are iron, calcium, vitamin D, folate, zinc, and vitamin B12. Those newly diagnosed with celiac disease may need temporary supplementation as their intestinal lining heals.

Gluten may further impede performance as it can cause abdominal pain, diarrhea, indigestion, and chronic fatigue if not eliminated from the diet when necessary. Long-term complications include anemia, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and bone mineral loss (which can lead to osteoporosis and further bone damage).

The gluten-free athlete must ensure adequate carbohydrate intake to fuel activity. Non-gluten grains include: amaranth, arrowroot, buckwheat, chickpea, lentil, corn, millet, potato, quinoa, rice, and sorghum.

A drawback of gluten-free carbohydrate sources is their lower fiber content. Athletes need ~25-35 g fiber/day, which can be met by incorporating gluten-free fiber sources from other food groups, such as fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts. Fiber should be introduced into the diet slowly, with adequate water consumption and physical activity to support motility.
Source


It is important to maintain an overall balanced diet, including protein, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats. Fresh fruits and vegetables are naturally gluten-free. Canned products are acceptable if packed in water, rather than syrup or other substances, as these products may contain gluten.

Meals and snacks should be planned ahead of training and competition, especially if on the road. It is advised to always have a snack handy. Some convenient options include dried fruit/nut trail mix, rice cakes with peanut butter, a piece of fruit, or gluten-free sports nutrition bars.

Athletes should notify team health care members (dietitian, athletic trainer, physician, etc.) of their dietary restriction. Gluten may be present in sports foods, supplements, and catering at group meals. Alerting the staff can help avoid possible contamination.

It is advisable to check food labels on all sports foods and gels, and to seek out items marked gluten-free. Safe brands and products include: Gatorade, PowerBar Protein Plus Powder, PowerBar Gels, Gu Energy Gels, Ensure, Lara Bar, KIND Bar, PURE Bar, Clif Builder’s Bar, and Odwalla.

With the appropriate planning, support, and education, the gluten-free athlete can meet all of their nutritional needs and avoid any detriment to their performance.



Jessica Pearl, MS, RD, CSSD, CSCS, CLT is a Registered Dietitian and Exercise Physiologist in private practice in New York City. She has a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology from the University of Michigan and a Master of Science in Applied Physiology & Nutrition from Columbia University. For more on Jessica visit jpearlnutrition.com or email her at jessica@jpearlnutrition.com.