High-Protein Myth: You may lose some weight by eating a high-protein diet, but don't count on having much energy for running. High-protein diets don't supply your body with enough carbohydrates to fuel your running. These diets often suggest cutting your carbohydrate intake, which forces your body to use protein to make sugar for brain fuel. As a result, you develop what's called ketosis, a partial breakdown of body fats, which ultimately increases fluid loss. Although you lose weight the first week of your diet, it is mostly water weight. A better way to lose 10 to 15 pounds of fat is by increasing your weekly mileage by 5 to 10 miles. Combine that with protein control and cutting back on serving sizes and snacks and you will burn an extra 500 to 1,000 calories a week resulting in a loss of 1 to 2 pounds of body fat.
Chocolate: Dark chocolate contains high levels of catechin, a type of antioxidant believed to prevent heart disease and cancer. A recent study from the Netherlands found dark chocolate contains more of this healthful substance than tea.
Watch Out for Salt: A diet high in sodium may double your risk of developing the most serious type of cataract, say researchers from Australia. Protect your eyes by choosing from the wide variety of clearly-labeled "low sodium" and "no salt added" foods.
Weight Loss Tip: Jot it Down. Having trouble dropping those last few stubborn pounds? Then start a food journal. Many have had a great deal of weight loss success by simply documenting what they eat in a daily food journal.
Benefits of Olive Oil: Research suggests that a diet that emphasizes cooked vegetables and olive oil may reduce the chances of developing rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic disease that results in inflammatory changes to the joints, most often the hands, hips and knees. The research was done among the population of southern Greece by a team led from the University of Athens Medical School.
Fat facts: A study by researchers in New Zealand has found that total body fat, lean tissue mass, and body weight did not change when the athletes ate a high-fat diet. Thirty male and two female cyclists had diets in which 50 percent of their energy intake came from fat for three months. Being engaged in endurance training allowed their bodies to maintain an energy balance and continue to perform at a high level of physical fitness.
More fat = more endurance: According to a new study by the University of Buffalo, a low-fat diet may hamper your endurance. Researchers concluded that a medium or high caloric intake from fat, about 30 to 45 percent of your total caloric intake, is your best bet for improving performance if you run at least 35 miles a week. The reason that some runners simply need more calories. Also, when your body burns fat for energy, it conserves glycogen, which is always in relatively short supply.
Coffee pain: That extra cup of coffee you have in the morning may get you moving now, but later in life it can leave you stiff and in pain. Coffee consumption may be a factor in developing rheumatoid arthritis. This rare form of arthritis causes the immune system to turn on the body and attack the joints causing severe inflammation and stiffness. A Finnish study believes that the amount of coffee you drink can raise your risk for the disease, which has no known causes.
Hydration Station: The National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA) has established new guidelines for hydration. The organization suggests drinking 17 to 20 ounces of water or a sports drink two to three hours before exercise as well as an additional 7 to 10 ounces ten to twenty minutes before exercise. To properly hydrate after exercising, first weigh yourself before working out and then drink 16 ounces for every pound you lose.
Grim Sleeper: Having trouble falling asleep? Take a look at what you've just eaten or drank. Two culprits that can lead to restless sleep include drinking alcohol and eating a big meal too close to bedtime. To ease sleep, you'd do better with a glass of warm milk. If milk doesn't do the trick try eating a small snack, drinking chamomile tea, or taking valerian root.
Caffeine Caution: If you drink coffee and other caffeinated beverages on a regular basis, a little extra caffeine during your run probably won't hurt you. Whereas if you don't drink coffee, taking in a sports drink or energy gel that contains caffeine while running may relax your bowels. So be careful! -Ellen Coleman, R.D., sports nutritionist, and author of Eating for Endurance
Road Hunger: If you're traveling to a race away from home and get the munchies, stop by a grocery store and buy some dried or fresh fruit, bagels, graham crackers or a premade sandwich (make sure it has low-fat or no mayo). If you can only find a fast food joint, stop for some orange juice, pancakes, or a baked potato.
Blueberries: Adding blueberries to your morning cereal could make you smarter. Or at least improve your memory and prevent some age-related changes in mobility, says a recent study by the National Institute of Aging and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Because blueberries are high in antioxidants, they may protect the body from oxidative stress, which exacerbates aging and several neurodegenerative diseases.
Sweet tooth: If you're tired of sweeteners that don't taste much like sugar, a new product from McNeil Specialty Products Company may have your answer. Splenda is a new no-calorie sweetener that is made from sugar. This allows it to taste more like sugar than other sweeteners. Studies have shown that Splenda has no effect on blood glucose or insulin levels, making it safe for diabetics.
Eat Fruit, Feel Better: Brightly colored fruits such as kiwi, berries, and oranges are rich in antioxidants and other phytochemicals. Fruit juice will provide you with these too, but you’ll obtain more cholesterol lowering fiber and other nutrients from whole fruit. Tip: You should eat 3 to 5 servings of fruit daily and at least half of them should be brightly colored antioxidant powerhouses such as mangoes, pineapple, and cantaloupe.
Fiber: A diet high in fiber may help you shed some pounds, according to a study published in the Journal of American Medical Association. Those who ate the most fiber weighed an average of 8 pounds less than those who ate the least amount of fiber. Try to consume about 30 grams a day from whole grain cereals and bread, vegetables, fruit, and beans.
Protein Power: Runners need 80 or more grams of protein a day. The micronutrients in protein help in muscle repair. Good options for protein include soy foods, fish, eggs or lean meat. Be sure to include these foods in your post-workout meals.
Need More Fuel? Try including more grains, beans, and potatoes into your daily diet. These foods supply the carbohydrate you need to fuel your muscles. Grains also contain important B vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin that your muscles need to convert the carbohydrate you eat into energy.
Lean Meat: When you shop for meat, choose the leanest cuts. Good choices include eye of round, sirloin, flank steak and extra lean ground beef. Make sure to cook your steaks and roasts thoroughly, preferably to an internal temperature of at least 145 degrees (equivalent to medium rare). If you prefer your meat well-done, avoid charring the meat. Some studies suggest that cooking meat at very high temperatures, especially on the grill, may produce by products that increase the risk of cancer. -Scott Fisher, R.D., sports nutritionist
Chicken Soup: Mom was right, chicken soup will make you feel better when you have a cold. According to researchers at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, chicken soup partially suppresses the inflammation of nasal passages and inhibits the production of mucus. So, eat up.
Grandma’s Cold Recipe: New research may reveal why chicken soup helps ease cold symptoms. Researchers from the Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Section of the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska developed what they called "grandma's soup," made with chicken, onions, sweet potatoes, turnips, carrots, celery stems, parsley, and salt and pepper. Then they tested the soup's interaction with different markers of immunity. End result: the soup had natural anti-inflammatory properties useful in alleviating a stuffy, runny nose.
Healthier Cooking Oil: The U.S. Department of Agriculture has developed a soybean that yields cooking oil without hydrogenation. Hydrogenation produces the trans fats that are a major culprit in clogged arteries. The new oil could replace as much as 80 percent of home and commercial cooking oil, and result in an important reduction in heart disease.
Juice: If you’re a regular orange juice drinker, you could be healthier than most. Sufficient potassium, about 1,600 milligrams per day, may be all you need to lower your blood pressure. You can easily get that much by starting the day with a glass of orange juice (490 mg of potassium), eating a banana at lunch (450 mg0, and a baked potato at dinner (840 mg).
Salt Safety: Drinking huge amounts of water during exercise actually contributes to a life-threatening condition called hyponatremia by diluting the sodium content of your blood. A recent study, however, has found that hydrating with sports drinks helps replace sodium loss, thus preventing the condition.
Healthier way to cook veggies: If you're boiling vegetables, you're losing key nutrients. There is a better way. Turn up the oven to 425 degrees and roast 'em. High heat seals in the veggies' juices -- and the nutrients, which leech out in boiling water. The flavor is remarkably better, too -- roasting caramelizes veggies' natural sugars, and you won't need a pat of butter or a cheese sauce to dress them up. When roasting, cut the vegetable into evenly sized pieces to ensure even cooking. Spray a baking sheet with heart-healthy canola or olive oil. Spread the veggies evenly out on the sheet, and spray with the oil. Add your favorite seasoning and roast until the veggies are tender on the inside.
Race Nutrition | Vitamins & Minerals | Weight Loss