Tuesday, March 15, 2011

SCAN Symposium keynote speakers were on fire!

The SCAN Symposium keynote speakers certainly lived up to their top billing.

Louise Burke (far left) opened the 2011 symposium on Friday with her presentation, Fueling Athletes with Carbs: From Research to Practice. What I love about hearing Louise speak is that first and foremost she is evidenced-based. However, so many aspects of sports nutrition have not been studied extensively (or at all). Faced with that void, she gives thought to what we might tell athletes now. No one does research to practice better than Dr. Burke. One take home message: match intake to functionality. A sliding scale for carbohydrate intake based on intensity and duration of training makes sense.

On Saturday, Michael Roizen, MD from the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute gave an interesting presentation that got the audience thinking and talking. One message was that moderation doesn't work. He told the crowd about being in the green room prior to an appearance on a morning TV show in Canada. Another of the show's guests was there and reached for a donut. Dr. Roizen described grabbing his arm, grabbing the donut, throwing it on the floor and stepping on it. It got me to wondering--if dietitians took this approach would we be praised for our passion or be scorned and scolded as being diet police?

The Sunday keynote speaker did not disappoint. Dr. John Hawley gave a brilliant presentation titled, How Low Can You Go? Training-Nutrient Periodization for Endurance Performance. I wish I had the ability to present information so clearly and precisely. The talk was humorous and engaging, particularly appreciated since we'd all lost an hour with the time change. He too suggested the benefit of a sliding scale for carbohydrate intake that is closely matched to the athlete's training and recovery schedule. Dr. Hawley reviewed some of the evidence in support of low carbohydrate availability and the promotion of endurance training adaptations. Of course, more research is needed to determine if these manipulations and adaptations result in improved endurance performance. To translate the research to practice, we'll look to his wife and colleague, Dr. Burke.

If you have a comment about any of the sessions, please feel free to post. Best, Marie

Marie Dunford, PhD, RD
SCAN's volunteer web editor