Saturday, March 19, 2011

Tip of the week by Nancy Clark and Gloria Averbuch – Go nuts and eat “plantifully”

This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending a state-of-the-art sports nutrition conference sponsored by SCAN, the Sports and Cardiovascular Nutrition practice group of the American Dietetic Association. The meeting included an excellent array of speakers who presented information on vegetarian diets, nuts, and the newly released dietary guidelines. Here are a few of the key messages:

• The American Diet has changed dramatically from the 1950s to the present. We now eat more calories— increasing from 1,900 calories in 1950 to 2,660 calories in 2008. Most of those additional calories come from refined grains and fats (such as muffins, donuts, cakes and baked goods).
• less than 1% of Americans consume the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables, and only 60% of Americans consumes adequate calcium.
• The SAD (Standard American Diet) lacks the bioactive phytochemicals and antioxidants found in fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and legumes. These health protective compounds reduce our risk of heart disease.
* Eating a plant-based diet can correct those deficiencies. For example, nuts reduce inflammation, a contributor of heart disease. People who eat nuts more than 5 times a week have 50% less heart disease. Consuming 2 ounces (two big handfuls—or four average handfuls) of nuts a day can reduce blood cholesterol by 5%.
• The more nuts you eat, the better response you will get, as long as you stay within your calorie budget.
• To add years to your life: eat less meat (and more plant protein), exercise more, eat nuts, maintain a good weight, and drink five glasses of water a day.

Eat wisely and stay well,
Nancy Clark
 For more information:
Food Guide for Soccer: Tips and Recipes from the Pros.

Tip of the week by Nancy Clark and Gloria Averbuch – Does a pre-exercise quick fix do any good?

Nancy, if I eat a banana five minutes before I play soccer, will the banana have time to boost my energy and get used for fuel?

Answer: Yes! Despite popular belief, eating a carbohydrate-based snack such as an banana, energy bar, handful of pretzels, or an apple, just 5 minutes before a workout can boost your energy. It might help you be as much as 10% to 20% stronger at the end of a one-hour soccer session. Eating 15 minutes before you exercise has been shown to be as effective as eating an hour beforehand.

Your body can digest food while you exercise and use it to enhance your workout, as long as you are exercising at a pace that you can maintain for more than half an hour. Because soccer is a stop and start sport, digestion will slow while you are sprinting, but will resume during the less active times. Because each person’s body is different, you need to learn what fueling patterns work for you—and what ones don’t.

Most athletes train at a moderate pace, hence they can benefit from a pre-exercise energy booster. If you’ll be doing an intense workout, you might want to eat an hour or two pre-exercise, so the food has more time to empty from your stomach. Your best bet is to experiment with different pre-soccer snacks, to determine when you can eat them without causing distress, and which ones settle best and help you perform at your best.

Eat wisely and be well,
Nancy Clark and Gloria Averbuch
Food Guide for Soccer: Tips and Recipes From the Pros