Thursday, March 16, 2017

Symposium 2017: Dishing Up Data: Making Science More Digestible for the Public

By its nature, scientific research is not readily accessible and can be difficult to understand. Additionally, media headlines and articles on recent scientific research, regardless of the strength of the scientific study, generate significant "hype" and have direct influence on Americans' perceptions, beliefs, and behaviors about food and health. In response to the current scientific research reporting environment, IFIC Foundation has taken on new initiatives to promote scientific research regarding food and nutrition in a manner that is clear and objective.  This session will highlight a new, dynamic tool that objectively scores and aggregates  scientific research in the areas of food safety, agriculture, and nutrition. In this session, attendees will learn the ins and outs of this tool and how to use this tool in communicating with their patients and clients to help clear confusion and promote scientific accuracy and balanced discussion. 

Learn more about the symposium here

Monday, March 6, 2017

Feed the Beast: Eating for Exercise

Well-balanced nutrition can give you a competitive advantage when it comes to working out and sports. Eating well will give you the proper fuel to help you power through your workout and help you feel your best. It is important to remember that nutrition is not one size fits all and that recommendations will vary based on activity level, sport played, length of activity, weight, and age. Well-planned diets for the recreational athlete and the elite athlete consist of a balance of carbohydrates and protein. Although with sports nutrition the focus is on carbohydrates and protein, it is important not to forget fat. People often fear fat because they think fat will make them fat. Keep reading to learn why we need carbohydrates, protein and fat.


  • Carbohydrates are an important source of fuel and energy for our bodies.
  • When we eat carbohydrates, our bodies store the glucose we are not currently using. As our blood sugar levels fall, the glycogen releases more glucose into our blood to keep our energy levels up.
  • Not getting enough carbohydrates (or calories) while training can cause muscle glycogen levels to decrease and as a result performance will suffer.
  • Sources of carbohydrates to try include whole grain bread, brown rice, faro, quinoa, bananas, raisins, peaches, apples, sweet potatoes, squash, corn, potatoes, oatmeal, cereal, chocolate milk, sports drinks, beans, pasta, and crackers.


  • Protein is necessary to support muscle growth and recovery. Muscle is constantly being broken down during exercise, and adequate protein is important for repair.  
  • Choose lean proteins. Ideas include lean chicken, fish, roasted turkey, lean beef, eggs, low fat dairy, nuts, seeds, nut butters, beans, lentils, tofu, and Greek yogurt.

  • Fat serves many functions in our bodies, which is why it is an important nutrient to include in our diets.
  • Fat is necessary to:
- Absorb the fat-soluble vitamins (Vitamins A, D, E, K)
- Lubricate our joints and build healthy cells
- Give us energy and keep us feeling satisfied
  • Not all fats are the same. Avoid trans fats found in packaged foods and baked goods, and limit saturated fat found in fatty red meats, fried foods and full fat dairy.
  • Choose healthy fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats) including nuts, seeds, nut butters, avocados, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, and salmon.

My favorite pre exercise fuel is whole grain Cinnamon Raisin English Muffins with almond butter and a sliced banana. What is your favorite way to fuel for exercise?

 Linzy Ziegelbaum, MS, RD, CDN has a private practice LNZ Nutrition, LLC ( in New York where she counsels on sports nutrition, food allergies and weight management. She enjoys helping others navigate the science to understand the contradicting information about nutrition through her counseling and writing.

Facebook page: LNZnutrition
Instagram: LNZnutrition     
Twitter: LNZnutrition

Thursday, March 2, 2017

SCAN Symposium 2017: A Team Approach to Transforming Food and Body Shame

Shame has been identified as a contributing and maintaining factor in disordered eating; however, food and body shame are particularly toxic and negatively impact both mental and physical health throughout the eating disorder recovery process. This workshop will provide an in-depth examination of food and body shame from a nutritional and psychological perspective, incorporating a collaborative team approach using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and principles of shame resilience based on Brene Brown's Connections Curriculum. Attendees will learn and experience practical and effective interventions to transform shame into a healthy relationship with food and body. 
Check out more information on the 2017 Symposium here

Is Altitude Training Beneficial?

Athletes and recreational gym heroes are always looking for the next edge to dominate competition or personal records. Recently, a new trend of training like a villain has emerged. Specifically, suiting up like Bane from The Dark Knight Rises with an altitude training mask. However, there has been no clear evidence to support their use, despite investigations in cardiovascular training and resistance training.4,5,9,10 There seems to be no statistical significance or magnitude of improvements in aerobic capacity (VO2 Max), pulmonary function, or hematological variables. Little evidence suggests improved ventilatory thresholds and respiratory compensation thresholds, which is something at least.4 In resistance training activities, there are indications masks will reduce the total volume of training and increase perceived exertion acutely.10 Chronically, this reduction in mechanical stimuli could diminish an overload response or hypertrophic response over time.10 All of which equates to negative or no gains, which no one wants.
If they function, they function as respiratory muscle training devices.4 Furthermore, the specific mechanism of low bodily concentrations of oxygen exhibited in using the masks has been hypothesized to occur due to rebreathing carbon dioxide that accumulates in the mask.5 The benefits of using this specific mechanism in training are not clear, but from previous studies, there is limited significance in the usefulness of elevations masks oppose to a properly periodized training regimens.
When real altitude training is performed, individuals are exposed to hypobaric and hypoxic environments. Different training methods exist such as live low, train high (LLTH), live high, train high (LHTH), and live high, train low (LHTL) models. Therefore, to stimulate physiological adaptations: increased oxygen-carrying capacity via greater erythropoietic response (increased hemoglobin mass) and muscle buffering capacity via intramuscular carnosine levels.1,6 So far, research has suggested LHTL training has enhanced physiological adaptations on performance.7 However, before committing to this training regimen, further considerations should be implemented.
Variability responses among participants in studies have suggested individuals are either “responders” or “non-responders” to adaptations of altitude training.2 When investigating year-to-year changes in hemoglobin mass, Mclean and colleagues (2013) yielded similar increases in the altitude (2,100 m) groups response in increased hemoglobin mass. Except, individual athletes within the group did not exhibit changes from year-to-year. This suggests, there is no “responders” or “non-responders” grouping, but monitoring individual’s incidences of illness and body mass may be more advantageous.2  
Incidences of illness, such as infections may promote the proinflammatory cytokine interleukin 1. The importance of this cytokine is that as this increases, there is a decrease in erythropoietic response.1 Furthermore, a decrease in body mass may also blunt erythropoietic responses due to the mismatch between energy intake and energy expenditure, creating an overall catabolic environment.2
Moreover, for altitude training to be effective, the key factor may be proper nutritional strategies.3 As exposures to higher altitudes promote increased respiratory rates, urinary losses, the rate of perceived exertion, and decreased muscle protein synthesis enzymatic activity and appetite.1,2,3 Proper hydration is vital as men may lose up to 1900 mL and women 850 mL of water per day at moderate altitudes, as well as urinary losses up to 500 mL per day.3 Therefore, careful monitoring of hydration status should take place. Carbohydrates in the diet should be approximately 60% and may need to increase from 7-10 g/kg/day to 12 g/kg/day to compensate for training.
Praz and colleagues (2015) monitored nutritional behaviors of amateur ski-mountaineering athletes prior to competition. Their investigation revealed the athletes did not comply with pre-race carbohydrate, energy, and fluid intakes. Further suggesting, athletes need to be better informed about nutrition and how energy intake and energy expenditure can affect performance.8 However, precise guidelines are difficult due to varying altitudes (2000-3500 m) effect on physiology during training and recovery.3
Therefore, careful planning of training and nutritional periodization may be ideal if altitude training is of interest to an athlete or coach. If altitude training is a potential interest, consulting someone such as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) may be beneficial to assess individual needs for an exercise program. Also, consulting a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) would be equally beneficial to address dietary needs during training.
  1. McLean B, Buttifant D, Gore C, White K, Liess C, & Kemp J. (2013). Physiological and Performance Responses to a Preseason Altitude-Training Camp in Elite Team-Sports. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, 8(4) 391-399.
  2. McLean B, Buttifant D, Gore C, White K, & Kemp J. (2013). Year-to-year variability in hemoglobin mass response to two altitude training camps. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 47, i51-i58.
  3. Michalczyk M, Czuba M, Zydek G, Zajac A, & Langfort J. (2016). Dietary Recommendations for Cyclists During Altitude Training. Nutrients, 8(6), 377; doi:10.3390/nu8060377
  4. Porcari J, Probst L, Forrester K, Doberstein S, Foster C, Cress M, & Schmidt K. (2016). Effect of Wearing the Elevation Training Mask on Aerobic Capacity, Lung Function, and Hematological Variables. Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, 15, 379-386.
  5. Granados J, Jansen L, Harton H, Gillum T, Christmas K, & Kuennen M. (2014). “Elevation Training Mask” Induces Hypoxemia but Utilizes A Novel Feedback Signaling Mechanism. International Journal of Exercise: Conference Proceedings, 2(6), 26.
  6. Mizuno M, Juel C, Bro-Rasmussen T, et al. (1990). Limb skeletal muscle adaptation in athletes after training at altitude. Applied Physiology, 68(2), 496-502.
  7. Ness J. (2015). Is live high/train low the ultimate endurance training model. NSCA Coach, 2(1), 20-24.
  8. Praz C, Granges M, Burtin C, & Kayser B. (2015). Nutritional behavior and beliefs of ski-mountaineers: a semi-quantitative and qualitative study. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 12(46); DOI: 10.1186/s12970-015-0108-5
  9. Maspero M & Smith J. (2016). Effect of an acute bout of exercise using an altitude training mask simulating 12,000 ft on physiological and perceptual variables. International Journal of Exercise Science: Conference Proceedings, 2(8), Article 90.
Andre T, Gann J, Hwang P, et al. (2017). Restrictive breathing mask reduces total repetitions in resistance-trained males: an ongoing study. International Journal of Exercise Science: Conference Proceedings, 2(9), Article 76.

Dan Prenatt studied Exercise Science at Slippery Rock University. During this time, he discovered his passion for exercise and nutrition and their effects on human performance by training individuals at the campus recreation center. Solidifying his knowledge by obtaining credentials such as the Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) from the National Strength and Conditioning Association and Certified Exercise Physiologist (EP-C) from the American College of Sports Medicine. Currently, he is a graduate student at Ohio University studying Nutrition where he serves as a teaching assistant with plans to obtain the RDN credential. Ultimately, Dan aspires to obtain the Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD) credential to further enhance his passion, knowledge, and experiences into helping clients achieve their goals and maintain an active, healthy lifestyle.

Monday, February 27, 2017

A Healthy Relationship with Exercise

If you Google ‘signs of over-exercising”, sites will say the symptoms are exercising for 2+ hours a day, exercising multiple times throughout the day, or skipping social events to stick to your rigid exercise schedule. In addition to these symptoms, I think there are other behaviors and mindsets that put someone at risk for over-exercising. Just because you don’t go to the gym three times a day, or run two and half hours every day of the week, or you aren’t skipping a party to exercise, doesn’t mean you are not overdoing it when you work out. Because what I’m talking about goes deeper into exercise behaviors, like why you do it.
Exercise and the human body are incredible! I love learning about exercise and the body so much I chose to study it for four years earning my bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology – the study of movement. Exercise and movement help keep our bodies healthy. It helps us manage our stress and feel good with the release of endorphins. Many people sleep better when they exercise. Movement keeps our bone strong and our muscles activated. We know there are many benefits to exercise. Our bodies are made to move. But when does exercise become too much for our bodies and unhealthy for our minds?
I am not a psychologist but feel that addressing over-exercising starts with identifying why someone is engaged in over-exercising behaviors. That means asking yourself some challenging questions that can help you dig out the real motive behind wanting to over-exercise. If you find thinking about these questions or the responses is too much, a psychologist can be very helpful.
·       Do you exercise in relation to how much you ate during the day or the day before? For example, does eating a piece of cake at a work function lead to you to work out harder and/or longer to burn off those calories?
·       Is your reason for exercising to burn off calories?
·       Do you exercise, even if you have an injury or are sick?
·       Do you find your mind consumed with negative thoughts if you miss an exercise session?
·       Do you feel exhausted for a few hours after your exercise session? 
·       Does your self-image or your self-worth depend on your exercise habits?
·       Have you lost your period, or has it become irregular?
·       Do you exercise to manage your weight?
If you find that you can relate to these thoughts or these behaviors describe you, it might be time to evaluate your exercise plan. Your mind and body will be happier if there is a healthy balance with exercise. This is a tricky subject because on one hand we are telling you that exercise can help you manage your weight and keep you healthy and then on the other hand we’re telling you that these could be signs of over-exercising. So, which is it?
Unfortunately, there’s not an exact answer for everyone. There’s no magic number that applies to everyone but there are recommendations and suggestions based on research on what a healthy balance looks like for many individuals. For example, for weight management, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends exercising at a moderate intensity for 30 minutes a day, five days a week. And combining this amount of exercise with healthy eating habits. You become at risk for over-exercise injuries when you start to increase this number too fast and your body is giving you signs to slow down but you don’t.
As I mentioned, it might be helpful to explore your over exercising behaviors with a psychologist but here are some suggestions that can help you start to find a healthier balance with exercise.
1.     If you find you are using exercise alone to manage your weight, start to incorporate healthy eating habits. Research shows that when you combine healthy eating and exercise together, it’s much more effective in managing weight. A meta-analysis published in 2014, found that in the long term, weight management programs that combine exercise with diet can lead to a more sustained weight loss over a year than just diet or exercise alone. It even reports that programs based on exercise alone are less effective than combined programs in both the short and long term. That doesn’t mean you won’t see some positive benefits from managing your weight when you exercise, especially if you are lifting weights but remember that you can’t exercise away all the calories you eat.
2.     If you struggle taking a day off from exercise, know that rest days will help you reach your goals faster. It’s the rest days that allows the muscle to heal, recover, and rebuild. The amount of rest and recovery time you need does varies from person to person but I believe that everyone needs at least one rest day per week. From there, determining rest days and time depends on your training schedule and intensity and listening to your body. Some weeks you may need a little more rest than other weeks. If you find that you are experiencing pain in a localized area, like behind the left knee cap or your right shoulder, you may be overtraining. Systemic overtraining affects the entire body and you may feel worn-down, or a lack of energy, or you can’t perform at your normal standards. These are signs that you need to take some rest days.
3.     Over-exercising can cause you to gain weight, or keep you from losing healthy weight. When the body is exhausted from systemic overtraining, it can cause the body to enter a catabolic state and produce an increased amount of cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone that is secreted by the adrenal cortex in response to stress. It can impede muscular repair, synthesis, and function, decrease other hormone productions, inhibit protein synthesis or accelerate protein breakdown, and reduces the body’s ability to use fat as an energy source. If you find that you aren’t losing weight and you are exercising and maintaining a healthy intake of food, you may be over doing it in the gym.
4.     If your mind struggles letting go a missed exercise session, take some time to analyze these thoughts. Instead of thinking about the negatives of missing an exercise session, take some time to think about the fun you had with your family instead. Or if your hectic schedule got in the way, take some time to analyze your schedule and what you are spending your time doing. Letting go and not over-thinking a missed exercise session is probably the hardest for many of us. So this one will take time.
Exercise is an important element to a healthy lifestyle and typically doesn’t happen unless you plan it into your day. The difference between good planning and developing an unhealthy relationship depends on if guilt and negative feelings are associated with exercise, or if you aren’t allowing your body time to rest, or if there is a blurred line between self-image and exercise.
Personally, I admit I had an unhealthy relationship with exercise and over used it for many years. My eating disorder played into how much I exercise and exercise was another way to feel a sense of control. When I was going through treatment, I had to let go of running and weight lifting completely for some time. It was mentally challenging to go from that much exercise to nothing but it allowed me to not only gain healthy weight but also to spend time exploring who I was without exercise. Resting allowed me to find ways of defining me in ways other than as a runner.
A healthy balance with exercise must be something that you explore and you must find your own balance. With a little practice, experimentation, mental exploration, and awareness of your own body, exercise will become something that you enjoy, something that challenges you, and something that brings health and happiness. 
Julie Harris has been working in the corporate fitness and wellness industry for eight years but decided it was time to fulfill her dream of becoming a Registered Dietitian. She is currently a distance dietetics student at the University of Northern Colorado. She owns an online coaching service and blog for women who are ready to make lasting changes, The Healthful Peach.  When she isn't studying or writing, she is spending time with her two year old son and husband, probably on a hike or a run somewhere. You can follow her on instagram,facebook, or sign up to get emails from her blog

Thursday, February 23, 2017

SCAN Symposium 2017: High Fat Diets for Athletes: Time to Abandon High Fat Diets for Athletes - Time to Change Sports Nutrition Guidelines?

During three distinct periods, contemporary sports nutrition guidelines for carbohydrate (CHO)-focused eating for training and competition performance have been challenged by interest in low carbohydrate, high fat (LCHF) diets. Recently, ketogenic (<50 g/d CHO), high fat (80% of energy) diets have been enthusiastically promoted with testimonials of improved sports performance.  Indeed, cross-sectional studies of LCHF ultra-endurance athletes show remarkably high fat oxidation rates during moderate intensity exercise.  Furthermore, AIS research on elite race walkers found 3 weeks of LCHF greatly enhanced fat utilisation even at high intensities. However, penalties included reduced exercise economy and failure to improve performance after intensified training.  Current recommendations for an individualised and periodised approach to CHO availability during training and event- specific optimisation of muscle substrates during competition requires better promotion.  Nevertheless, there may be some scenarios where LCHF diets are of benefit, or at least are not detrimental, for sports performance.
Learn more or register by clicking here

SCAN Symposium 2017: A Play by Play: Helping Youth Athletes Put a Sports Nutrition Plan into Practice

Youth athletes today face incredible demands to succeed, not only from coaches, trainers and peers but also from parents. For many developing athletes, putting the sports training plan together is the easy part; it is putting the plan into practice that is the challenge. Between school, work, homework, practice, training, competitions, social engagements and family obligations, figuring out how to eat right can be a challenge. This presentation will begin with a review the physical, physiological, and psychological development of the adolescent  athlete, including how the developing teenage brain and body impacts their thoughts, actions and motivations. It will also review the extraordinary nutritional needs and social challenges that must be considered when putting a sports nutrition plan into place. The presentation will then dive discuss some of the common obstacles that prevent youth athletes and their families from putting the sports nutrition plan into practice, then provide practical pointers and guidance for helping to overcome those barriers. 

Learn more or register for the symposium here.