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BUSTING 3 NUTRITION MYTHS (PT. 2)

20 October 2022 Cheribundi Marketing

When it comes to nutrition, the internet is ripe with misinformation and contradicting messages.

 

Knowing what is 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? 


As a Board Certified Sports Dietitian that has worked at Kobe Bryant’s MAMBA Sports Academy, for UCLA Basketball, and currently serves as the Lead Sports Dietitian for the LA Clippers, it’s my job to stay current on sports science, performance nutrition, and supplementation strategies as it relates to high performing athletes.


Here are 3 more common nutrition myths and the evidence-based facts.


Myth: Protein is the MOST important macronutrient for post-exercise recovery.

Fact: While protein is often touted as KING when it comes to post-exercise recovery, research actually shows post-exercise timing of protein is actually LESS important than post-exercise timing of carbohydrate. Protein intake is critical for repair and growth of muscle tissue, however total intake throughout the day is key, whereas the window of opportunity for restoring muscle glycogen (stored carbohydrate) falls within 2 hours post-exercise.


Moderate to high-intensity exercise relies on carbohydrate consumed prior to/during training, as well as muscle glycogen. The longer and harder the training session, the more glycogen is relied on for fuel, and the more that is ultimately depleted. Glucose transporters that help to move carb fuel in and out of muscles are especially active during exercise and return to baseline about 2 hours post-exercise, making the period immediately after training prime time for replacing glycogen by consuming carbohydrates.


Pro Tip: Consume a 3:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio for a post-exercise recovery snack for strength-based training, and a 4:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio for endurance-type training.


For example, 15-20 grams of protein and 45-60 grams (or 60-80 grams for endurance-exercise) carbohydrate consumed within 2 hours post-exercise 


Myth: Plain water is enough to hydrate most athletes and active humans.

Fact: Throughout the day the body loses water through breathing, using the restroom, and through sweat. However, it’s not just water we lose, we also lose electrolytes. If we only replace fluid losses with plain water, we can end up dehydrated (or even overhydrated!) 


Electrolytes are essential minerals that are critical for a number of functions throughout the body, including fluid balance, muscle contraction, and blood pressure regulation. Sodium, chloride, potassium, magnesium, and calcium are electrolytes lost in sweat, in different concentrations. 


The body tightly regulates electrolyte balance and if electrolytes become imbalanced, you may experience fatigue, dehydration, cramping, weakness, tingling, or confusion 


Sweat rate and electrolyte losses vary by individual, type of training, duration of training, intensity of training, environmental conditions, etc., but about 90% of the electrolyte content lost in sweat is sodium.


Pro Tip: If you’re an athlete or active person training at a moderate-to-high intensity for >45 minutes; in a hot/humid environment; and/or are a heavy sweater, you’ll want to replace electrolyte losses through sodium-rich food, beverages, and/or electrolyte products.


Myth: Added sugar is “bad” for you

Fact: Added sugars can fit into anyone’s diet and can be used to help meet an athlete/active human’s high energy demands. 


Glucose is energy and comes from the breakdown of carbohydrates - whether complex or simple. Simple carbohydrate, aka simple sugar (natural or added), is preferred pre- and during exercise as it can be broken down and converted into glucose for energy quickly


Added sugars are sugars that are added during processing and preparation of food, generally to enhance the flavor. Examples of added sugars include brown sugar, cane juice, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, fruit nectars, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, lactose, malt syrup, maltose, maple syrup, molasses, raw sugar, and sucrose.

Foods with added sugars can run the spectrum of being calorie-dense/nutrient-poor or nutrient-rich with health promoting benefits. While diets HIGH in added sugars are associated with weight gain, poor blood sugar control, and development of chronic disease, when timed correctly around physical activity, these sugars are used to fuel exercise. 


Pro-Tip: Choose simple carbohydrates around physical activity (pre-exercise, during longer duration exercise, and immediately post-exercise) and consume mainly complex, fiber-rich carbohydrates outside of physical activity.
 

Thanks to our Contributing Dietitian, Jessica Isaacs, Sports Dietitian, for this post.

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