As the temperature ticks up during summer months, staying hydrated is key for maintaining not optimal athletic performance and basic bodily functions. Stay...19 July 2022 Jenna Amos
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Knowing what's supported by research and what simply isn’t credible can be challenging without sorting through mounds of scientific literature. Who has the time for that?
Here are 3 common nutrition myths and the evidence-based facts:
Myth: Carbohydrates make you fat.
Fact: Carbohydrates are the preferred source of energy for the body and brain. The brain requires 130 grams of glucose (from the breakdown of carbohydrate) per day alone! Carbs fuel moderate to high intensity exercise as well as long duration exercise. Any calorie-providing nutrient consumed in excess beyond what's needed by the body has the potential of causing weight gain. The body can store 300-700 grams of carbohydrate as glycogen in the muscle and up to 160 grams in the liver. The more muscle you have, the more carbohydrates that can be stored as glycogen rather than be converted to fat.
Pro Tip: Consume mostly high-fiber carb sources, choose simple carbohydrates around physical activity, and use moderation with refined carbohydrates.
Myth: Eating after a certain time (i.e. 6PM) causes weight gain.
Fact: While it is true that overeating at any time of day could lead to undesired weight gain, the body doesn’t kick over into fat storage mode after the sun goes down. Your body requires calories all day and night long to fuel not only physical activity and movement, but recovery and repair, growth of new cells and tissues, the immune system, and so much more. Eating later in the evening may actually be optimal for some. For instance if you workout early in the morning, eating carbs before bed can help increase carb energy stores for the next day and may even promote better quality sleep.
Pro-Tip: If you’re craving a bedtime snack, pair a carb with a source of dairy protein like Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, or casein protein powder to stabilize blood sugar levels/insulin response and benefit from muscle recovery overnight. Allow 1-2 hours to digest before bed.
Myth: Dietary supplements are necessary to be healthy or support performance.
Fact: Most people are able to meet their needs for vitamins, minerals, and nutrients through eating a variety of foods and a balanced diet. Supplements are intended to be supplemental, that is, provided in addition to what is already available to complete or enhance it. For those that are vegetarian or vegan, have other food avoidances, allergies, or have a diet that may lack certain essential nutrients, it may be necessary to supplement. There are certain supplements as well that may be beneficial for enhancing performance or recovery, however those that are science-backed only work as advertised if you’re already eating enough of the right things. For instance if you’re supplementing collagen but not getting in enough protein or vitamin C, that collagen supplement isn’t going to work. Conversely if you’re already getting enough of a certain vitamin or mineral, additional supplementation is unnecessary and not likely to yield any additional benefit.
Pro-Tip: Meet your needs with food first and supplement only what you need and can’t consistently get in your diet. Always ensure your supplements are 3rd party tested.
Thanks to our Contributing Dietitian, Jessica Isaacs, Sports Dietitian, for this post.
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