Monday, January 24, 2011

New Carbohydrate Loading Drink Looks Promising

“Omega-3 Chia loading appears a viable option for enhancing performance for endurance events lasting more than 90 minutes and allows athletes to decrease their dietary intake of sugar while increasing their intake of omega-3 fatty acids but offered no performance advantages,” report researchers led by Travis Illian at the Human Performance Laboratory, Department of Kinesiology, of U of A.

Chia is the edible seed of the desert plant Salvia hispanica, a member of the mint family, which grows in Latin American countries including Mexico, Argentina and Peru. The seeds are said to be a significant source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. They are also rich in fiber (over 5 percent soluble fiber), protein (over 20 percent), amino acids, and a range of nutrients, vitamins and minerals (including calcium, B vitamins, zinc, boron, potassium, copper and phosphorus). They are also said to be a stable source of antioxidants.

The new study suggests that chia may be an option for sports nutrition formulators, given its apparent equivalence to Gatorade for carbohydrate loading in performance athletes. Carbohydrate loading is practiced by athletes prior to competition in order to increase their stores of glycogen in the muscles.

Source: 1/21/2011

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Healthy Kids Foods - Really?

If the foods we ate were actually as healthy as their packages would have us believe, Americans certainly wouldn’t be spending $168 billion a year on obesity-related healthcare costs. So it shouldn’t exactly be shocking to learn that yet another study has found that the front-of-package labels on processed food items are misleading.

Researchers zeroed in on 58 products that were deemed healthy by an industry group and that also made nutritional claims on their front-of-package labels. Among the 58 items were such staples as Campbell’s Tomato Soup, Skippy Super Chunk Peanut Butter and Rice Krispies.

Care to guess how many of the 58 items failed to meet at least one of these criteria and were judged “unhealthy” by the Prevention Institute researchers? Would you believe 49?

Among the other findings:

* 95% of all products in the study contained added sugars, including high fructose corn syrup and healthy-sounding alternatives such as honey and fruit juice concentrate.
* 17% of the items contained “no whole food ingredients.”
* Only one of the 58 products contained a green vegetable (peas).

The study concludes that it’s time to call in the food police -- otherwise known as the Food and Drug Administration -- to create a rational, uniform and honest system for conveying nutritional information on food packages, as is already done in Canada, Sweden and the Netherlands.

Source:Karen Kaplan, 1/19/11

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

If I eat a bigger breakfast will I eat less later in the day?

Breakfast is a very important meal but over-eating at breakfast does not appear to make you less hungry later in the day. Dr. Volker Schusdziarra, a researcher with the Else-Kroner-Fresenius Center of Nutritional Medicine in Munich, surveyed 380 people about their daily diets. Participants included 280 people who were obese and 100 who were of normal weight. Everyone kept track of what they ate over a period of 10 to 14 days.

The investigators found that breakfast habits varied. People sometimes skipping breakfast altogether and other times consuming either a big or small meal, according to the study, published online Jan. 17 in the Nutrition Journal.

However, those who ate a "big" breakfast -- defined as being an average of 400 calories greater than a small breakfast -- ended up with a net gain of 400 calories over the day.

"The results of the study showed that people ate the same at lunch and dinner, regardless of what they had for breakfast," Schusdziarra said in a news release from BioMed Central, the journal's publisher.

Some people skipped a mid-morning snack when they ate a big breakfast, but that didn't offset the extra calories they took in earlier, the study noted.

Source:SOURCE: BioMed Central, news release, Jan. 17, 2011

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Sugary Drinks and Foods Suggest Increase Risk for Heart Disease

Teens whose diets include lots of sugary drinks and foods show physical signs that they are at increased risk for heart disease as adults, researchers from Emory University report.

Among 2,157 teens who took part in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the average amount of added sugar eaten in a day was 119 grams (476 calories), which was 21.4 percent of all the calories these teens consumed daily, the researchers noted.

"We need to be aware of sugar consumption," said lead researcher and postdoctoral fellow Jean Welsh.

"It's a significant contributor of calories to our diet and there are these associations that may prove to be very negative," she said. "Sugar-sweetened soft drinks and sodas are the major contributor of added sugar and are a major source of calories without other important nutrients."

Awareness of the negative effects of added sugar may help people, particularly teens, cut down on the amount of sugar they consume, Welsh added.

Welsh's team found that teens who consumed the most added sugar had 9 percent higher LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels, and 10 percent higher triglyceride levels (another type of blood fat), compared with those who consumed the least added sugar. Teens who took in the highest amount of added sugar also had lower levels of HDL ("good") cholesterol than those who consumed the least amount of added sugar.

In addition, teens who consumed the highest amount of added sugar showed signs of insulin resistance, which can lead to diabetes and its associated risk of heart disease, the researchers found.

Commenting on the study, Dr. David L. Katz, director of the Prevention Research Center at Yale University School of Medicine, said that "this study does not prove that dietary sugar is a cardiac risk factor in this population, but it strongly suggests it."

The paper has three important messages, he said. First, dietary sugar intake in a representative population of teenagers is nearly double the recommended level.

Second, the higher the intake of sugar, the greater the signs of cardiac risk, including elevated LDL ("bad") cholesterol and low HDL ("good") cholesterol. Third, the apparent harms of excess sugar are greater in overweight than in lean adolescents.

"Sugar is by no means the sole dietary threat to the health of adolescents, or adults," Katz said. "But we now have evidence it certainly counts among the important threats to both. Reducing sugar intake by adolescents, to prevent them becoming adults with diabetes or heart disease, is a legitimate priority in public health nutrition," he said.

SOURCES: Jean Welsh, M.P.H., Ph.D., R.N., postdoctoral fellow, Emory University, Atlanta; David L. Katz, M.D., M.P.H., director, Prevention Research Center, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn.; Jan. 10, 2011, Circulation, online

Last Updated: Jan. 10, 2011

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