Monday, January 25, 2016

Easy Nutrition Tips to Ease into the New Year

Key Points

-You can have the best diet in the world but if it's something that you can't be compliant with its destined to fail
-Make it easier on yourself to eat healthy by having easily accessible meals and snacks.  Focus on progress not perfection.
-When you eat out, embrace your inner kid

1.  Have a go-to meal
If possible have 2 or 3 recipes, a go-to-meal is a quick easy healthy dish that you know you can prepare in under 20 minutes with no more than 8 common ingredients. Often times we deviate from our normal eating patterns because of fatigue and convenience. If you’re someone with a busy schedule it’s a familiar scenario: you arrive home late from work or the gym, very hungry and too tired to make a whole dinner so you reach for the easiest calorie source you can find. Often times these easy packaged sources are low nutrient calorie bombs. This scenario isn’t a problem if it happens every once in a while, since your metabolism is a continuous thing impacted over a sum of choices rather than just one. A high sugar kid’s cereal dinner won’t sabotage your diet, but if it becomes a continuous thing then you can have problematic results. A good go-to-meal will have easy to cook proteins, starches, and vegetables that you can make in one pot or pan.

2. Embrace your inner kid
While you’d much rather prepare lunches at home because you can better control the nutritional quality and save money, fast food lunches are very much a prominent staple in the diet for people with hectic schedules. An easy way to control your calorie amount without having to scan through various menus is to order from the kid’s menu. The portion size for the kid’s menu at the majority of restaurants is often the appropriate serving size for most adults. Many restaurants are also especially more conscientious of the nutritional quality of kid’s menus and as a result have added fruits/vegetables sides that you can’t find on many adult combos. As an added bonus at some fast food places you still get a cool toy too.

3.  Pack snacks
A great way to manage hunger levels is packing nutrient dense snacks. High protein and fat sources rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are the best choices because of their satiating effects. Things like beef jerky and nuts are convenient, easy to pack healthy snacks.

4.  Super smoothies
Have one super smoothie a day as a nutritional insurance policy, it serves as a simple action that you’re committed to a strong and healthy life. The ideal smoothie would have vegetables, protein, and healthy fats. If for whatever reason your schedule makes it difficult to have nutritious meals for the day, have one super smoothie as an anchor you can depend on to meet most your nutritional requirements.

Erick Avila, owner of a company that provides individualized training programs and nutritional consultations for athletic events and weight loss. Erick works as a strength & conditioning coach/nutritionist with a variety of professional boxers including two ranked in the top 50 of their respective weight divisions.  He’s experienced having worked in both sport and clinical settings, with focuses ranging from general weight loss to hormonal optimization.  Erick has bachelor’s degrees in Exercise Science & Nutritional Science.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

SCAN 2016 Portland, Oregon

In Portland, it’s easy to find limitless recreation, fabulous food and drink and flourishing culture. See for yourself, and come early or stay late to enjoy all that Portland has to offer.  With no sales tax, Portland is a haven for shoppers. You’ll find retailers large and small, international and indie within easy reach of downtown hotels. The nearby Pearl District is home to galleries, boutiques, chic restaurants and the legendary Powell’s City of Books.  An award-winning airport, efficient light rail system and pedestrian-friendly city blocks in the central city make getting around town a real pleasure.

CLICK HERE for a map of Portland, OR that includes the airport, downtown, the MAX line, and key attractions.

Learn more at Travel Portland:

Monday, January 18, 2016

Protein Myths and Realities

 Anyone with an interest in nutrition will undoubtedly have heard a rumor about protein. Protein is often depicted as the miracle macronutrient that wondrously aids in muscle growth and weight loss. With the right amount of protein, anyone can have perfectly lean or sculpted muscles, right? Sadly, protein is so sensationalized that it’s hard to decipher the truths from the lies. I hope to clear up some common misconceptions about protein with a little game I call, “Protein: Myth or Reality?”
The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of protein is 0.8g/kg of body weight per day. Myth or Reality?
Reality! Let’s be honest—this number is extremely confusing. The US doesn’t use the metric system, so how is anyone supposed to figure this out? It’s actually really simple math. Take your body weight in pounds and divide by 2.2. That is your weight in kilograms. Times that number by 0.8 and that’s your recommended daily allowance (RDA) of protein. For example, A 160 pound male weighs about 72kg. Multiply that by 0.8g and he should consume about 58g of protein per day, according to the RDA.

An endurance athlete should consume 1.2- 1.4g/kg of protein per day, while a resistance athlete needs 1.6-1.7g/kg of protein per day. Myth or Reality?
Reality! However, the key word here is athlete. These numbers are based off of a male who runs 10 miles per day at a 6-minute mile pace and a strength athlete who expends 14-15% of his daily calories lifting weights. Think a collegiate soccer player and professional weight lifter. For the average person spending an hour at the gym, these numbers are just simply too high. The most protein an average gym goer needs is about 1- 1.2g/kg of body weight. For that same 160-pound male, that’s about 72-87g of protein a day. This leads me to my next point…

Gym goers need to supplement their diet with extra protein. Myth or Reality?
Myth! Most Americans eat more than the recommended daily value of protein in their diet alone, which means that extra protein is just wasted. Let’s go back to our 160-pound male and assume he is eating a healthy diet. Here’s a sample menu and what his protein intake may look like:
Cereal with Milk
~4g of protein
Turkey sandwich (3 oz turkey) on whole wheat bread
27g protein
Grilled fish (6 oz), brown rice, vegetables
50g protein
As you can see, his diet already contains the RDA of protein if he is working out (81g), and that’s without snacks. Why would he need more? As you will learn in my next point, extra protein does not mean extra muscles. It means extra fat.
Protein shakes are a great recovery drink after a tough workout. Myth or Reality?
Myth! Protein is helpful for muscle repair after a tough workout, but there are a few reasons that protein shakes are unnecessary. Protein shakes often contain too much protein. It is widely accepted among Sports Dietitians that an individual can only absorb 20g of protein at one time (Moore, 2009). Two scoops of Muscle Milk with water contains 32g of protein. A 17-ounce carton of pre-made Muscle Milk drink contains 32-34g of protein. So what happens to that extra protein that the body can’t absorb? Well, it gets stored as fat or leaves the body in the urine. Not to mention that those products are expensive and contain many additives, such as maltodextrin, sunflower oil, crystalline fructose, natural and artificial flavors, inulin, soy lecithin, and sucralose just to name a few! Some protein powders have even been shown to contain heavy metals, like arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury!

All of this information begs the question: What is a good source of protein for workout recovery? Well, we’ve already learned that the average gym goer gets enough protein in their everyday diet, so having something small like an 8 ounce glass of milk (8g of protein) or a hard boiled egg (6g of protein) or two slices of turkey (7g of protein) will aid in muscle repair. For athletes and those training for athletic competition, a 16-ounce glass of chocolate milk contains 16g of protein. Don’t like milk by itself? Try making a smoothie with 8 ounces of milk, ½ container of Greek yogurt (about 3 ounces), and your favorite fruits, which will result in 17g of protein. Or a container of Greek yogurt by itself has 18g of protein. And all of these suggestions are much cheaper and omit the additives and harmful metals. 

Moore, D.R., Robinson, M.J., Fry, J.L., Tang, J.E., Glover, E.I., Wilkinson…Phillips, S.M. (2009). Ingested protein dose response of muscle and albumin protein synthesis after resistance exercise in young men. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 89 (1), 161-168. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.2008.26401

Natalie Rizzo, MS, RD is a Registered Dietitian in New York City. Natalie writes for busy, active adults that want to make nutrition and fitness a priority in their lives. Her blog, Nutrition ála Natalie, teaches how to incorporate healthy eating and exercise into everyday life and provides quick and simple healthy recipes. Follow Natalie on Twitter @nutritionalanat.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Multi Sport Athletes Among the Most Elite

Welcome to the 21st century, the age of national obsession with sports of all kinds. Let's face it, high school, collegiate, and professional sports are a integral part of the American society and athletes are always on the hunt to advance to the next level. Gaining a competitive edge may involve higher intensity training or using a certain pill or powder to enhance athletic performance. But is there another way for collegiate and professional athletes to achieve a higher level of athletic ability? Could the answer be as simple as playing multiple sports throughout the early part of the athletic career?

If you know me, there’s one thing you know for certain, and that is I love basketball. If you’ve ever met me, you also know that I don’t look like a basketball player. A natural red head and standing at only five feet two inches on a good day, obviously my position as a player was not the post. With that said, I have coached high school basketball over four years. During my coaching days, multiple times an athlete would quit other sports, to focus on one sport year round[EV1] . I could never comprehend the concept of specifically focusing on one sport, and never understood why other coaches and parents would advocate for it. I think there is a perception among young athletes, as well as some parents and coaches, that concentrating on one sport will automatically create the next Kobe Bryant or Mia Hamm. Unfortunately, that perception could not be more incorrect.

Lets dig deeper to why coaches and parents need to advocate for multi sports athletes. First, specializing in one sport year round can lead to a high rate of burn out and increase injury risk because of repeated use of the same muscle groups. Focusing on multiple sports can lead to greater athletic and creative ability, a lower rate of burn out, decrease injuries, and improve mental toughness. In fact, diversified sports training during early and middle adolescence may be more effective in developing elite-level skills, according to a recent report from the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine.

In high school I played basketball and soccer, followed by AAU basketball in the spring. In retrospect, I wish someone would have pushed me to participate in track.  Track is a great way to increase speed, endurance and plyometric ability (all traits a small basketball player like myself need). Still not convinced? I’ll let the professionals speak for themselves.

·         John Elway: NFL Quarterback Hall of Fame: was an exceptional baseball player.
·         Abby Wambach: "Playing basketball had a significant impact on the way I play the game of soccer," Wambach said. "I am a taller player in soccer, in basketball I was a power forward and I would go up and rebound the ball. So learning the timing of your jump, learning the trajectory of the ball coming off the rim, all those things play a massive role."
·         Kyle Rudphol: Minnesota Vikings tight end was an exceptional multi sport athlete in high school.
·         Urban Meyer: The Ohio State University football coach. Since coaching at OSU 42 of the 47 athletes Meyer recruited were multi sport athletes in high school.
·         Michael Jordan: Arguably the best basketball player to play in the NBA played triple A baseball. Although Michael never excelled in baseball as he did in basketball.
·         Russell Wilson: Played professional baseball for the Texas Rangers before becoming the Seattle Seahawks All-Star Quarterback.
·         Tony Strudwich, Manchester United Performance Coach: “More often than not, the best athletes in the world are able to distinguish themselves from the pack thanks to a range of motor skills beyond what is typically expected in a given sport.”

These are just a few of the many professional athletes and coaches that have played multiple sports throughout their career and continue to advocate it. If you are a coach of any sport, for any age group or parent, I strongly encourage you to promote multiple sports to young athletes, whether it be swimming, soccer, lacrosse, track, dance or gymnastics.

Thanks for reading!
Your intern,
Alli Bokenkotter

For more information:

 [EV1]I would somehow connect your love of coaching to going back to the one vs. multiple sport thing. Or separate the paragraphs. Or something. You’ll figure it out J

Saturday, January 16, 2016


Bill Harris, PhD, FAHA and Marie Spano, MS, RD, CSCS, CSSD discuss omega-3 fatty acids.  Decades of research have uncovered many health benefits of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, specifically eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). EPA and DHA are both essential building blocks for tissue structures and important biological mediators in health and disease, which is why the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, as well as recommendations from health advocacy groups around the globe, recommend eating foods rich in EPA and DHA as part of an overall healthy eating pattern. Yet, there is increasing debate about the cardiovascular benefits of EPA and DHA when taken in supplement form. This webinar reviews the scientific evidence about EPA and DHA and its association with cardiovascular health and disease risk reduction.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Basic Rules for Weight Loss

With the buzz from holiday festivities over, the realization of what we got ourselves into with resolutions has begun to set in.  “Losing weight” is one of the most common resolutions the problem is there’s so much information and misinformation available people don’t know where to start.  To make matters worse there are many “health professionals” that have such polarizing opinions people are left asking questions like “are carbs good?” and “does long distance cardio make you fat?”.  The truth is that we’re all individuals with different metabolisms, lifestyles, and goals, as a result there are a variety of weight loss techniques that can or can’t work for you.  I’m going to share some basic rules for weight loss that are applicable across the board for people.

1)  Start Slow: sometimes our enthusiasm for losing weight can sabotage our goals.  In an effort to prove commitment some may start off with workouts and diets so extreme from their previous ones they burn up.  And when the inevitable slip up occurs they feel like they’ve failed and give up on their weight loss goals.  As an example for someone that’s always had a 3000 calorie a day diet rather than jumping straight into a low calorie 1500 calorie diet (plus adding weekly workouts), start out by reducing 250 to 500 calories instead. 

2)  Be Realistic About Goals: setting essentially unattainable goals will lead you to feeling disappointed even when you’ve made great progress.  For someone that’s never seriously trained and dieted, setting a goal to win the LA marathon is unfair considering you’ll be competing with people that trained their whole lives to run marathons.  It’s fine to be ambitious and bold with your goals but assess where you’re at and the work it’ll take to reach your goals.

3)  Pick One You Can Adhere To: we’ve all seen the books from people praising a certain diet for their weight loss whether it was low carb, low fat, vegetarian, or paleo.  A common denominator was that it was something they stuck to during the duration of their diet.  The best designed diet in the world won’t be effective if we can’t follow it.

4) Be proactive about cravings: if you’re on a low to very low calorie diet it’s normal that at some point you’re going to get cravings.  Rather than binge eating and feeling guilty about it, prepare yourself to deal with this when the moment strikes.  One great way is by following a concept I learned from Dr. Jade Teta, it involves knowing your “buffer” and “trigger” foods.  Trigger foods are ramp up your cravings, they’re the foods that you know you can’t have just one bite.  Buffer foods are foods that you know you have the ability to indulge in with appropriate serving sizes throughout the week.  Often times one person’s buffer food can be another’s trigger food, so it’s important to be honest with yourself and pay attention to your eating habits. 

5) Exercise Inefficiency:   The better you become at an exercise or workout the less calories you burn as you become more efficient.  Just think of how hard a workout is the first time you tried it compared to say the 30th time you’ve done the same workout.  We all adapt at different rates and our learning curves for different exercises all vary but once your workout becomes easy start a new one.

6) Non-Exercise Physical Activity: the most common way we think of getting rid of calories in addition to diet is through exercise.  And it’s understandable exercise is a great tool that can provide us with a multitude of benefits.  But for most people it’s extremely difficult to workout intensely for over an hour.  Killing time at the gym checking your social media feed doesn’t count as time exercising at the gym.  So that leaves you with about 15-18 hours in a day when you account for sleep.  Things like parking further from the store, taking stairs over the elevator, and periodically getting up from your desk at work to move around can add up in a big way to help you burn calories. 

Erick Avila, owner of a company that provides individualized training programs and nutritional consultations for athletic events and weight loss. Erick works as a strength & conditioning coach/nutritionist with a variety of professional boxers including two ranked in the top 50 of their respective weight divisions.  He’s experienced having worked in both sport and clinical settings, with focuses ranging from general weight loss to hormonal optimization.  Erick has bachelor’s degrees in Exercise Science & Nutritional Science.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

SD-USA SCAN Sports Nutrition Fact Sheets

The SD-USA subunit of SCAN is pleased to offer Sports Nutrition Fact Sheets on topics of interest to sports dietitians, exercise professionals, athletes, or the general public. The Fact Sheets are created by SCAN Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) and provide timely, accurate, applied information and guidance.

Fact sheets are FREE to members and $3.95 each to non-members. Please note that, once purchased*, the Fact Sheets may be downloaded, printed and copied for education purposes only. Reproduction for sales purposes is not authorized.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

We Want Your Feedback: Love SCAN? We Want to Know! #SCANStrong

Why do you love SCAN? Share your thoughts & experiences with us in 1-2 sentences for a chance to be featured in SCAN communications & publications.

Rules & Regulations:
- Submission of testimonial does not guarantee featured recognition.
- Submissions will be reviewed and selected throughout the year by the SCAN Communications Committee.
- By providing testimonial you agree and consent that the content may be featured on SCAN’s social media platforms, website, publications and/or other public communications at SCAN’s discretion.
- Content will not be edited or modified and every testimonial featured will recognize the SCAN member.

Check out the link here:

Monday, January 11, 2016

Can Endurance Athletes Benefit from Protein Supplements?

To find the video of this post, check out JJ's YouTube video here.

Today we are going to talk about protein supplementation for endurance athletes. I’m also going to take you inside one of my sport nutrition seminars and go through some of that information with you. Before I do that I want to take a second to thank you for subscribing because without you I wouldn’t be doing this blog thing. My goal for fuel for endurance is to educate athletes and into lower the learning curve if you will by sharing my 20 years of experience out there doing endurance sports. Hopefully you will find some value in this content. I would love you to share this information with others and to try get the word out about fuel for endurance.
I would bet at least half of you are on some type of supplement whether it’s a multivitamin or maybe you’re taking a protein powder (that I will talk about today). Others of you are doing gels during long bikes and runs. By definition that still considered a supplement.
There’s no question about it, the King of all supplements is the protein powder. Protein supplements are the most common dietary supplement used by athletes and active individuals.. There are a number of reasons why athletes would supplement with a protein powder. Some supplement for convenience. Like for me, I used to commute 45 minutes one way. Instead of waking up really early, I would make a breakfast smoothie. In this smoothie I would add a scoop of protein powder. Other reasons people might supplement would be if they were vegetarian or vegan. For some a protein supplement makes sense as an insurance policy. If you have a poor diet and want to make sure that you are taking in adequate amounts of protein, then a supplement makes is justified.
Let’s start with a frame of reference. Cows milk is 80% whey protein and 20% casein. Whey is considered a fast acting protein, meaning it’s broken down very rapidly. The amino acids are then taken up into the muscle more rapidly than the casein and soy. Not that casein and soy aren’t important but because are. All three of these are called complete proteins because they contain all the essential amino acids.
Let’s look at this example from my pantry. This EAS brand is 100% whey protein and in this one scoop you’ve got 30 g of protein with over 7 g of branched-chain amino acids.

Benefits of Protein Supplementation

No question over the last few decades protein supplementation has been demonstrated performance benefits in bodybuilders and strength and power athletes. Protein supplementation works. It increases muscle mass, as well as strength and power. For endurance athletes, like ourselves, we want to focus on recovery from workouts immune function as well as there has been some studies that show improvements in aerobic performance which is interesting.

Guidelines for Protein Powder Use

The ways to use a protein supplement or protein powder is before or after your workout sessions. Typically we do it in combination with carbohydrate. You can do it alone but you probably get a better affect in combination with carbohydrate.
Before a workout, the goal is to reduce protein breakdown during the session, improve your protein balance so you got more onboard and then also to the spare glycogen. Also, those branched-chain amino acids we mentioned previously can be used as fuel which helps us to spare glycogen during a long workout.
Post workout is when your most commonly see supplement use for sure. Supplementation stimulates protein synthesis. In particular, whey protein is broken down very rapidly and help you get those amino acids on board quickly and start repairing tissie before your next workout. Also if you’re supplementing in combination with carbohydrate it helps restore muscle glycogen.
Who’s getting the biggest bang for their buck from protein powders? Those who are in a negative protein balance, i.e. someone who’s not eating enough protein in their diet. Whether that be from a poor diet or maybe a vegetarian athlete. Those not meeting their needs will definitely have an ergogenic or performance enhancing effect. The only way you know if you are consuming enough is if you do a food recall or log. Plug-in your food intake and to see how much protein your getting.
The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for protein is .8 g per kilogram body weight. As endurance athletes, we know we need more. Requirements are 1.2 to 1.5 g/kg of body weight and I’ve even seen up to 2 g/kg during heavy training phases. up to 2 g of protein per kilogram body weight.
So what’s the effective dose? That’s the big question right– about 25 g. We know that there is a limit to the amount of protein your body can use at one time (one meal). There is no reason to consume 100 g of protein at one time when your body can’t use all of it.
So 25 g one hour before exercise and within 30 minutes after your training. You can do a one-to-one ratio of carbohydrates: protein or 2 to 1 ratio carbohydrate:protein during these low intensity or shorter workouts. A 3:1 or 4:1 ratio is used for longer sessions and higher intensity sessions to help replenish and restore glycogen levels.

Contamination: Say What?

You knew his has to come up, so let’s talk about contamination. This does happen with dietary supplements especially if you’re not purchasing from a reputable company. Just to show you this information was from conference I attended last year. The president of consumer labs (consumer does independent testing on different supplements. Consumer Labs tested 16 protein powders and 5 of them failed testing.
Probably shocking to some you guys but they fail for a variety of different reasons. One only contained 32% of the listed protein so instead of 23 g of protein like the label read there were only 7.3 g of protein. Remember, in the last blog post, we talked about potency. Because it says on the labeled 23 g doesn’t mean that there’s necessity 23 g in there. You’ll love this…one was contaminated with lead (12.7 µg), Others had more cholesterol than labeled, one contained more sugar. Realize you must purchase your protein powders come from a reputable source.
Based on the consumer labs report I will give you a couple the protein powders that passed testing. One is the EAS brand that I showed you previously. Another one is the Walmart brand Body Fortress. Again, to prevent contamination purchase your protein supplements from reputable companies. Buying online is okay but you just have to be careful.


In summary, (1) you’ve got to have a reason for supplement use; (2) research supports the protein supplement use for athletes before and after exercise (follow the guidelines presented) and (3) use when your protein needs are high (increased training volume).
This is JJ Mayo for, I look forward to seeing you over the Facebook page ( and on the website. Please be sure to share this with those that might find this valuable. Have a good day and see you next week!

About the Author:
JJ Mayo is an endurance athlete, a registered dietitian, and a sports science professor at the University of Central Arkansas. His blog, Fuel For Endurance, helps endurance athletes achieve better race results through optimal nutrition. He also just released a sports nutrition CEU course at

Friday, January 8, 2016

SCAN Members on Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 2016 Ballot, Show Your Support

SCAN is pleased to have 6 of our members running for the 2016 Academy ballot. The election will occur February 1 through February 22, 2016. This information is also available at  Below is information on each of the SCAN candidates.

Support our members!

Linda Gigliotti, CDR/RDN running for Commission on Dietetic registration (CDR)/ CDR Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN)
Committed to advance our profession and empower the RDN: Strength from experience, engagement in the present, enthusiasm and energy for the future! View Academy Bio

Meghan Windham, At-Large Delegate: 30 Years of Age or Under
Looking for opportunities to elevate nutrition and dietetics while serving members. Listening to concerns of younger members and ensuring representation on the national platform.

Molly Gee, Nominating Committee, Natl. Leader with over 3 decades of volunteer leadership from district, state, DPG and national (HOD, BOD, CDR), will help develop a ballot of individuals who will use the strategic plan of the Academy to position our members to thrive in our ever changing environment.

Bethany Thayer, Nominating Committee, National Leader #Vote in #eatrightPRO election and let me put my > 25 years of experience & #RDN relationships to work 4 you.

Manjushree Karkare, Treasurer-Elect. Broad financial, governance and leadership experience at district, affiliate and national level with the Academy and community non-profits.  Academy Bio

Hope Barkoukis, Director-at-Large. Helping optimize professional empowerment should be the BOD’s highest strategic priority. Vote 4 Hope  #hopeforRDNs  Academy Bio

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Weight Loss Resolutions? Add Sleep to Your Plan.

We hear it all the time. “I didn’t sleep well.” Or, “I’m running on four hours of sleep.” Or we put shame on those who do get enough sleep. We assume a person who gets eight hours each night must not work that much, or be lazy, or not be busy with kids and a family, etc. Most of us view sleep as a luxury instead of a priority. It’s time to reverse the way we think about sleep and make it our top priority.

Yes, I think of sleep as an ergogenic aid (technique or substance used for the purpose of enhancing performance), more important than any nutritional supplement or performance-enhancing drug. It’s something that we must obtain not only if we want to lose weight and keep it off, but for our mental status, hormone function, physiological function, metabolism, and immune system.

I’ll admit, I’m one of those crazy individuals who wakes up at 4:15a.m. every weekday. Yes, you’re correct, that’s not a typo. I said 4:15a.m. I work out from 5a.m.-6a.m. before heading off to my dietetic internship. I always get that crazy look from people as they stutter out the words what, how, why? I usually smile and respond, “You know, I often ask myself those three questions as the alarm blares through my room at 4:15a.m.”But really the answer is quiet simple. You don’t need a pill, a special pillow, or yet another advertisement selling you something, you simply need quality and quantity sleep to be an early riser. I like to think of it as Q2S, quality and quantity sleep. Quality sleep includes both REM and non-REM cycles. Quantity sleep is achieving seven to eight hours of sleep each night. Although there is much we don’t understand about the science of sleep, lets talk about what we do know and some ways we can help increase Q2S.

Sleep is classified into two different categories: REM and non-REM (NREM). NREM consist of four phases. The fourth phase also know as slow wave sleep (SWS) or delta affects how refreshed and awake you feel in the morning (which is especially important if you get up at 4:15a!).  REM sleep occurs several times each night and it is the period where most dreaming occurs. When we consistently deprive our bodies of sleep a snowball effect typically occurs. Stress hormones,, inflammatory factors, including  C-reactive protein (CRP), which is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and diabetes, are released by the body in response to sleep restriction. To make the situation worse, lack of sleep decreases leptin, a hormone that lets you’re brain know you’re not hungry and increases ghrelin, the hormone that stimulates your appetite. Which, you probably already guessed, may lead to poor dietary choices and increase risk for obesity.

I know what you’re thinking, this is no big deal, I can make up for my lack of sleep on the weekends. Wrong. The latest research shows that there is no such thing as “sleep debt” and you can’t simply “pay it off” on the weekends by sleeping in. 

Tips for Q2S:
·         Sleep in a cool, dark, quite room. Yes, that means no TV, computer, radio, cellular device, etc.
·         Avoid high sugar and starchy foods before bedtime.
·         No caffeine after 12pm. I’ll admit, this rule may be hard to follow for me as I have an extreme, unnecessary coffee addition.
·         Keep tract of your sleep! Not one size fits all. Figure out what works best for you and stick to it.

To find more on this topic:

SCAN student blogger Allison Bokenkotter is an intern at the University of Cincinnati.  In addition, she’s the diversity/national nutrition month chair for the Greater Cincinnati Dietetic Association.  You can find her on LinkedIn: Allison Bokenkotter.  

Tuesday, January 5, 2016


With new dietary supplements (DS) flooding the market daily, it is easy to become overwhelmed. In this blog post I provide five tips to help athletes decide if endurance supplement use is right for you.

#1 Always seek the advice of a health care provider.

First it is important to discuss potential use of endurance supplements with a medical professional. This could be a physician or physician assistant, registered dietitian, or a nurse practitioner. It is best if these professionals have a background in sports, such as a sports dietitian. Remember athletes should never attempt to self-diagnose a health condition or to substitute a DS for prescription medicine. A medical provider can evaluate your health history and prevent possible supplement-drug interactions. Also, someone who works with athletes regularly (like a sports dietitian) can evaluate the research on a supplement to establish its efficacy.

#2 What are the goals of supplement use?

The purpose of taking a DS should be to “supplement” an inadequate diet such as with the use of a multi-vitamin. In other words, taking a DS ‘just to see what happens’ is a waste of time and money. DS are not designed to prevent or treat disease, although many supplement users try to do just that. The FDA places a disclaimer on every DS label that contains health claims. It reads, “This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.” This is also found on DS that are promoted to improve athletic performance. In my personal opinion, most endurance athletes have FAR MORE to gain from improving their training and developing a proper nutrition plan than popping a pill or taking a powder.
There are certainly situations where taking a DS is justified. For example, I add protein powder to my breakfast smoothies. This is out of convenience as I commute to work early in the morning. Another example is during exercise, you might plan on taking sports nutrition products or even caffeine to aid your workouts. These are a couple of reasons one might take a DS. Again, the key is that you must have a goal for DS use.

#3 Don’t believe all the hype.

Unfortunately, there are unscrupulous manufacturers that will stop at nothing to sell their products. Don’t go chasing the latest headline. As they say, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” The effectiveness of a product is established by years of quality research not one study.

#4 Is the product worth the money?

Many DS are expensive or may not provide the benefits you want. For example, excessive amounts of water-soluble vitamins (B vitamins and vitamin C) are not used by the body and are excreted in the urine. The same thing occurs with excessive use of protein powders. In many cases all you end up with is expensive urine. In the long run wouldn’t it be cheaper to get these nutrients from real food?

#5 Buy your supplements from reputable companies.

Never try to save money by purchasing DS from a ‘lesser known’ company or sketchy online retailer. These companies usually have greater quality control issues such as product contamination or inaccurate labeling. It happens more often than you might think. Be safe and buy “brand name” products.


DS are everywhere and ultimately it’s up to you to decide if taking supplements are worth the risk. In this article I’ve presented ‘food for thought’ as you try to make an informed decision about endurance supplement use.
Now I’d like to hear from YOU! What DS are you currently taking? Also, I’d love to help answer questions you have about a particular supplement. Shoot me an email or post your questions in the comments section.
Stay tuned to the next few blogs as I dive into some common supplements taken by endurance athletes. First up…protein powders!

About the Author:
JJ Mayo is an endurance athlete, a registered dietitian, and a sports science professor at the University of Central Arkansas. His blog, Fuel For Endurance, helps endurance athletes achieve better race results through optimal nutrition. He also just released a sports nutrition CEU course at

SCAN Graduate Student Research Grant Program Deadline January 8th

Designed to support the research efforts of SCAN members pursuing graduate studies or RD academic requirements, the SCAN Graduate Student Research Grant Program provides funds for research in SCAN practice areas and encourages graduate student involvement in the SCAN Symposium, SCAN’s Pulse, and other SCAN activities.  Students are eligible if they have been a SCAN member since June 1 of membership year during which the application is made.

One $2,500 Award Given Annually

For more information click on the link provided here for application specifications. 

Monday, January 4, 2016

Can Waiting on the Bread Basket Keep Blood Sugars Lower?

We’re frequently told or tell clients to ditch the bread basket, especially people who have diabetes, but research published in Diabetes Care shows that moving the bread basket treat from the beginning of the meal to the end can reduce the increase in blood sugar while also reducing your appetite in the process.
National Public Radio’s The Salt initially reported on the study. 

David Ludwig, director of the Optimal Weight for Life Clinic at Boston Children’s Hospital reported to NPR, “The worst situation is having refined carbohydrates on an empty stomach, because there's nothing to slow down the digestion of that carbohydrate into sugar.”

The researchers looked at the order of how food is consumed and studied 6 women and 5 men with Type II Diabetes (who were treated with the drug Metformin).  The subjects had grilled chicken, steamed vegetables and a salad with vinaigrette.  They did start their meal with a roll from Au Bon Pain.  On another day, the orders were reversed with the bread served last.  

Participants’ peak blood sugar was 30 percent lower when the bread was consumed at the end of the meal.  This is important for people with diabetes who may be able to use less insulin. 

Read the article from NPR here: