Fight The Fads

Fight The Fads

In this day and age we have more information than we could ever want. We are informed and rich with knowledge. However, there can be such a thing as too much information.

Nutrition is something that many claim to be an expert on. If someone finds a diet that works for them, such as gluten free or no carbs, they talk about it and sing its praises for its life changing effects. This is great (for them), but many jump on the bandwagon, follow suit and expect the same life changing effects to occur to them. This won’t happen!

Here are some useful things to remember when being faced with the decision to follow suit, or carve your own path!

1. Nutrition is individual

We are all different. Although there is a tonne of science to guide us on what to eat and what’s healthy, remember, we are all individuals and will react differently to food intake.  Nutrition advice should be personalised to each and every one of us, what works for one may not work for you. Just because your friend has lost weight eating a particular diet, does not mean that it will be the healthiest thing for your body and meet your unique activity needs.

2. Nutrition advice should NOT be anecdotal

Is the article you are reading based on a personal journey or proven facts? Although it’s great to hear of wonderful success stories, they aren’t useful. Beware of “anecdotal advice”. This means the advice is based on personal observation, case study reports or random investigations rather than scientific evaluation. Be information savvy!

3. Nutrition advice should not be faddy – it should be life long

If it sounds too good to be true then it normally is!

We are all attracted to things that promise a quick fix. Jumping on the latest fad or craze won’t produce what they promise. Small, considered changes are more likely to be the answer to your problems. Dietary changes should never make you feel deprived and it should never feel like a big effort. Also, maintaining the right nutrition intake for you over time will promote lasting effects, rather than ‘Yo-yo dieting’ between fad diets which can harm your metabolism or cause health issues in the long term.

4. Scientifically proven?

“Scientifically proven” doesn’t mean it’s true. Read articles with an inquisitive eye and ask yourself some questions such as, is it a sponsored article promoting a product? Are they trying to sell you something? Additionally, not all scientific papers produce legitimate results. Is the claim based on a single study or a few? Is the study on animals not humans?

If you are really keen to follow up on the science, look for studies that are randomised, double blinded placebo-controlled trials.

5. What qualifications do they have?

Ensure you listen to those that have the right qualifications. Keep in mind anyone can call themselves a nutritionist as it is a protected title. Look for a Registered Dietitian or Registered Nutritionist affiliated with the nutrition society. If you have particular dietary needs, or are undertaking specific exercise and activities requiring dietary adaptations, it is always wise to go and see a professional so they can best support and inform you further.

Take home fact!

Nutritional education should allow you to change eating behaviours which will be long term and sustainable, rather than short lived fads and reaction to anecdotal advice, which will not provide a holistic approach to your personalised nutrition.

Written by registerd dietician Alex Cook, @thesportsdietician for Amplify Life

7 Ways to Eat Yourself Young

7 Ways to Eat Yourself Young

Expert sports nutritionist Lucy Ann Prideaux has the low down on anti-ageing eating.

  1. Keep it simple Caring for the body comes down to three things – breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you think I’m being rather simplistic here, you’re right, I am. Eating a good diet is simple. In fact, it is the easiest and simplest thing in the world. You can either eat and drink your way to disease, or eat your way to health and wellness. It is your choice. Prepare simple meals using plenty of fresh, colourful, natural foods, and you can’t go far wrong.
  2.  Drink green tea Green tea is full of health-producing, disease-reducing and anti-ageing antioxidants. A cup of green tea provides plenty of natural plant chemicals called polyphenols. Their high anti-oxidant activity protects the body from damaging free radicals (rogue molecules), which can accelerate the ageing process, both inside the body and outside. A daily cup or two of green tea is a great way to get a good dose of helpful antioxidants.
  3.  Eat berries Berries are also full of anti-ageing antioxidants, and disease-fighting vitamin C. They will help provide your body with a powerful arsenal against ageing by flooding your system with vital nutrients. 
  4. Eat like a bird Nuts and seeds are some of the richest sources of many essential fats from the omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9 family of fatty acids. Essential fats are pivotal to the health of the brain, body, hair and skin. The oils from almonds, walnuts and flaxseeds for example can help to alleviate dry skin, reduce inflammation in the body, help control cholesterol levels, and regenerate cells. Nuts and seeds also contain important protein for cellular regeneration, and fibre for colon health.
  5. Opt for healthy fats Healthy superfood fat comes from food such as avocado and olives. Rich in healthy oil for glowing skin, fibre and plant sterols to help control cholesterol, avocado also boasts alkalising minerals such as potassium, and the anti-ageing and protective nutrient vitamin A. Olives and olive oil are particular signatures of the Mediterranean diet, renowned for it’s ability to prevent heart disease and cancer, and promote life longevity.
  6. Eat an apple a day (it keeps the doctor away) One of the most accessible and healthy fruits happens to be the apple. Apples have excellent free-radical scavenging properties, helping to keep you from going ‘rusty’ on the inside. Apple pectin is the main fibre present in this wonder food, perfect for sound intestinal health.
  7. Choose the right colours Green, red, pink and orange are all good natural food choices. Spinach, kale, watercress, broccoli, tomatoes, pink grapefruit and watermelon contain lutein and lycopene, powerful antioxidants that will help keep your eyes looking clear and youthful and help protect against a common eye disease called age-related macular degeneration. Pumpkin and other squash such as butternut, onion or acorn and sweet potato are loaded with minerals and phytonutrients such as beta-carotene, as well as vitamin C that nourish the skin, and keep the insides glowing, too.

 

Marathon – Tapering & amp; amp; Race Fuel

Marathon – Tapering & amp; amp; Race Fuel

As we approach the tail end of your preparation for the marathon, and are gearing up for the big day, here are a few nutritional tips that will give you the confidence to complete the race with a smile on your face.


Eat more carbs – but not more calories

The goal for carbohydrates should be to maintain a daily intake of 3-5 grams per pound of body weight (6-10 g/kg).

So if you weigh 9 stone, that’s up to 630g, which is up to 2500 calories.

You’ll also need protein and fresh/fruit and veg, and you’ll be doing less miles, so don’t be surprised if you put on a few pounds over the next few weeks. Don’t worry – you will burn it off!


Snack well

Fill your fridge with healthy snacks, so when you do get a pang of hunger you can fill up guilt-free and get the reward of taking in your five to 10 a day. Try carrots, celery and humus or tomato salsa dip, fresh fruit slices and cubes of feta cheese (eaten with oat cakes or rice cakes).

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For on the go nutrition keep topped up with tasty Clif Bars, made with wholesome ingredients that deliver on energy – and taste.


Stay hydrated

As well as drinking lots of water, throughout the day, an antioxidant-rich smoothie or juice (made with dark berries and vitamin rich fruit) is the multi-tasker’s way to fill up.

Coconut water is a great alternative fruit blast, and Chi 100% Pure Coconut Water is packed with electrolytes, is fat free and has the lowest natural sugar and calories of all brands. (It does help that a portion of all proceeds go to the One Seed One Life Charity, supplying orphanages across Thailand with basic supplies.)


Beetroot for endurance

Add beetroot to salad, smoothies, or check out a pre-made beetroot juice. If you cannot stomach the taste, a supplement can be a replacement, such as BioCare’s Beetroot Extract.

Beetroot has been extensively shown to help boost endurance because it boosts nitrate levels in the blood, which can lower blood pressure and reduce oxygen consumption during moderate running.


Race day nutrition 

You need to try anything you take during the race  before you race!

Before you get to the start line, consume a 500ml carb drink with electrolytes, and on the run, you’ll need gels/blocks and drinks.  You’ll need between 100 and 150 calories of carbs every hour of the marathon (but check the pack as it will vary according to your weight and the conditions).

Clif Bar Block Shots are easy to digest, but you will need to consume quite a number to keep topped up (around three and hour). Gels, such as High 5 Energy Gel can be thick and gooey, or a lighter consistency. If you opt for a thicker, gooey gel, take it near an aid station so you can wash down with water.

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After the race you might feel a little sick from all those gels, but do try to get a protein: carb mix on board, for example, a 50g sachet of SIS Rego Rapid Recovery or opt for a tasty carbohydrate bar, such as Reload Flapjack Fused Fruit from Grenade.


For more information about eating on race day, check out our piece, 7 Nutrition tweaks for active people.

7 Nutrition Tweaks for Active People

If you exercise and maintain a healthy and active life, it makes sense to ensure you are in the driving seat when it comes to nutrition, too. Here are some easy tips to help you make changes for the better NOW!

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  1. Choose ‘active-friendly’ nutrients

One in five adults and one in six children may have low vitamin levels of the ‘sunshine’ vitamin – an estimated 10 million people across England alone, according to NICE recommendations from 2014. Vitamin D is essential for active people as it’s been shown to help build strong bones and boost muscle health. Other essentials for anyone keeping active include magnesium, which is lost when we sweat, and essential fatty acids for a healthy heart. And take antioxidants to protect against damaging free radicals, which according to studies are produced when we train, particularly if it’s hard enough to feel exhausted. Try sports antioxidants from Reflex to beat oxidative stress.

  1. Eat before exercise

Before a run, cycle or cardio event, endurance athletes should focus on consuming slow release carbs and allow time to digest the fuel (this will vary from person to person, but for most it’s around two hours). If you’re in a hurry grab a carb bar, such as SIS’s Go Energy Bar. If you’re lifting weights opt for lean protein and carbs, for example lean chicken and noodles or for time-pressed gym bunnies try a Promax Bar from Maxi Nutrition.

  1. Fuel up on the move

If you’re working out aerobically for 90 minutes or more you’ll need to top up your glycogen stores and keep on top of electrolytes. The American College of Sports Medicine recommend we fuel every 45-60 minutes during a long workout, taking on board 30-60 grams of carbohydrate (120-240 calories) per hour. For ideas on what to eat during your workout visit the Amplify Shop.

  1. Get Carbs on board after your workout

After a long run or bike ride, or hard session at the gym, you’ll need to boost your carb and protein levels for energy and repair. “Choose a three-to-one ratio, carb:protein if you’ve trained hard and re-fuel within the first hour – the acute phase of recovery,” suggests Dr Justin Roberts from Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge. Unrefined, or liquid sources of carbs are a good choice as they will digest quicker, try SIS Rapid Rego Recovery and for more ideas, check out all our post workout nutrition products.

  1. Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated is vital for total health as well as maintaining good performance in sport and it’s why we’ve included a hydration measure on our dashboard (coming soon!). When you are exercising and active it’s essential to stay on top of hydration levels, particularly as the weather heats up in the summer months. Try Zero Extreme tablets, which have the added benefits of extra vitamins, or Higher Nature’s Performax sachets with added electrolytes, great for post workout rehydration.

  1. Eat for your body type

Precision Nutrition, the world’s largest online nutrition coaching company make the recommendations based on body type. Ectomorphs (longer limbs and skinnier bodies – a typical runner) metabolise carbohydrates better than other body types. The recommendation is for a 55:25:20 diet (carbs: protein: fats). Mesomorphs (stockier, muscular athletic types) need a 40:30:30 diet. And endomorphs (rounder and heavier) are recommended a 25:35:40 combination.

  1. Get rid of refined sugar

Eddie Izzard, the 54 year old comedian who recently ran 27 marathons in 27 days, gave up ‘refined sugar’ three years ago, ‘Once you get yourself off refined sugar, you do get to a much better place,’ he told the BBC. The simplest way to kick-start going sugar-free is to get label savvy. If sugar is in the Red, don’t buy it! Hidden sugar is in most foods, even those we perceive to be healthy. For example, a 100g portion of granola can have around 13g of sugar. Swap sugar-laden cereal for protein, for example, boiled eggs, which will fill you up, and give you energy.

Looking for sugar free fuel for your training – check out the range at the Amplify Shop.