Dietary Mistakes: What Not To Do

Dietary Mistakes: What Not To Do

What sportsman, whether in competition or otherwise, has not suffered at one time or another from cramps, hunger pangs, exhaustion, digestive problems, stitches, a sharp decline in muscular tonus, or desperate thirst?

All these problems can be prevented by a balanced, suitable intake of food, either before, during or after the competition. In fact, good eating habits should be adopted a long time in advance. They play a large part in bringing the athlete gradually up to top form. The opposite is also true-a freak diet during the competition or pre-competition period frequently results in poor performance during exertion.

Among athletes, there are two extremes: some over-sacrifice dietary rules to gastronomy, while some do quite the opposite, building dietetics up into an infallible and miraculous means of helping them win victories. According to the latter, success depends on a so-called “wonder” foodstuff or even nutrient, whether it be raw meat, vitamins, potassium, sugar or glucose, etc. In both cases, the nutritional mistakes or beliefs are numerous. We shall therefore look at the most common dietary mistakes and beliefs which are encountered in the sporting environment.

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Is Greek yogurt really healthier?

Is Greek yogurt really healthier?

There are two reasons nutritionists love the trendy breakfast food even more than regular yogurt.

Move over, regular yogurt. Going Greek is in, and this exotic option has elbowed its way onto refrigerator shelves everywhere. Most give a big thumbs up to its taste—tangier and less sweet, as well as creamier—but is it healthier than its conventional counterpart?

First, to be clear: Both Greek and regular yogurt, in their plain, nonfat or low-fat forms, can be part of a healthful diet. They’re low in calories and packed with calcium and live bacterial cultures. But our Mediterranean friend—which is strained extensively to remove much of the liquid whey, lactose, and sugar, giving it its thick consistency—does have an undeniable edge. In roughly the same amount of calories, it can pack up to double the protein, while cutting sugar content by half.

Those are “two things dietitians love,” says Dawn Jackson Blatner, a registered dietitian and author of The Flexitarian Diet. “For someone who wants the creamier texture, a little bit of a protein edge, and a sugar decrease, going Greek is definitely not all hype.” And it’s really got a following: In the past five years, Greek yogurt sales nationwide have skyrocketed, likely because it satisfies consumers’ needs for health, convenience, and taste, according to Nielsen, a global marketing and advertising research company.

Here’s a closer look at how the two stack up nutrition-wise.

Protein

Greek yogurt is high in protein, which helps promote fullness. A typical 6-ounce serving contains 15 to 20 grams, the amount in 2 to 3 ounces of lean meat. That makes it particularly appealing to vegetarians, who sometimes struggle to get enough of the nutrient. An identical serving of regular yogurt, on the other hand, provides just 9 grams, meaning you may feel hunger pangs sooner.

Carbohydrates

Going Greek is a smart choice for low-carb dieters. It contains roughly half the carbs as the regular kind—5 to 8 grams per serving compared with 13 to 17. Plus, the straining process removes some of the milk sugar, lactose, making Greek yogurt less likely to upset the lactose-intolerant. Remember, however, that “both types of yogurt can contain high amounts of carbs if they’re sweetened with sugar or another sweetening agent,” says Kari Hartel, a Missouri-based registered dietitian. “No matter which type you choose, opt for yogurt with less added sugar.”

Fat

Be wary of Greek yogurt’s fat content. In just 7 ounces, Fage’s full-fat Greek yogurt packs 16 grams of saturated fat—or 80 percent of your total daily allowance if you’re on a 2,000-calorie diet. (That’s more than in three Snickers bars.) Dannon’s regular full-fat yogurt has 5 grams of saturated fat in an 8-ounce serving. Saturated fat raises total and “bad” LDL cholesterol levels, increasing the risk for heart disease. Read nutrition labels carefully. If you’re going Greek, stick to low-fat and fat-free versions.

Sodium

A serving of Greek yogurt averages 50 milligrams of sodium—about half the amount in most brands of the regular kind. (Low-sodium versions of regular yogurt are available.) Too much salt can boost blood pressure and increase the risk of other heart problems. The federal government’s 2010 Dietary Guidelines urge Americans to cap sodium at 2,300 milligrams a day, or 1,500 milligrams if they’re older than 50, African-American, or have hypertension, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease.

Calcium

Regular yogurt provides 30 percent of the federal government’s recommended daily amount. Greek yogurt loses some of its calcium through the straining process, but still packs a wallop. A 6-ounce cup typically supplies about 20 percent of the daily recommendation. If you’re still worried about calcium intake, load up on milk, seeds, and almonds, says Sarah Krieger, a registered dietician and spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association.Still undecided on which team to join? Compare the labels of Dannon’s regular and Greek varieties. (Other popular brands of Greek yogurt include Chobani, and Stonyfield Farm’s Oikos.)

Greek (5.3 ounces, nonfat, plain)

Calories: 80
Total fat: 0 grams
Cholesterol: 10 milligrams
Sodium: 50 milligrams
Sugar: 6 grams
Protein: 15 grams
Calcium: 15 percent on a 2,000-calorie diet

Regular (6 ounces, nonfat, plain)

Calories: 80
Total fat: 0 grams
Cholesterol 5 milligrams
Sodium: 120 milligrams
Sugar: 12 grams
Protein: 9 grams
Calcium: 30 percent on a 2,000-calorie diet.Greek (5.3 ounces, nonfat, plain)

Though most experts agree that Greek yogurt has a nutritional edge, both kinds help you lose weight by keeping you full on fewer calories. The key is sticking to plain, nonfat, or low-fat varieties. In a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Harvard researchers found that yogurt can keep help keep age-related weight gain in check. People tended to lose nearly 1 pound every four years if they added a daily serving of yogurt to their diet, probably because of the way bacterial cultures affect our intestines.

If you do opt for Greek yogurt, take advantage of its versatility. Mix it with seasonings like garlic, dill, and parsley to create a unique dip for carrots, celery sticks, or cucumber slices. Toss in some berries or high-fiber granola. You can also substitute Greek yogurt for sour cream on tacos, for example, or for the eggs and oil in baked goods. It’s an acceptable replacement for fatty ingredients like cream cheese, mayonnaise, and butter. “Its thick texture makes it an excellent swap for mayonnaise on sandwiches, or in dishes like potato salad, egg salad, pasta salad, and coleslaw,” Hartel says. “Since these are comfort foods, it makes it easier to transition to using yogurt in recipes.”

Can drinking water help you lose weight?

Drinking water before meals aids weight loss

Dieters have been encouraged to try this trick for ages, but many wonder if it works.

Late November marks the start of the gluttonous holiday season. But a simple step might help keep food intake in check: a glass of water before meals. Dieters have been encouraged to employ this trick for ages, with the reasoning quite simple: the water fills the stomach, thus reducing hunger. But only in recent years have studies borne this out.

In the most recent, a randomized trial published in the journal Obesity in February, scientists at Virginia Tech followed a group of overweight subjects age 55 and up on low-calorie diets for about three months. Half the people were told to drink two cups of water before every meal. At the end of the study, the water group had lost an average of 15.5 pounds, compared with 11 pounds in the other group.

A 2008 study showed a similar effect, finding a 13 percent reduction in calorie intake in overweight subjects who consumed water before breakfast. But a third study, this one in 2007, had a peculiar finding: drinking water 30 minutes before a meal reduced calorie intake and feelings of hunger in older adults, but had little effect on subjects under 35. It’s not clear why, but the researchers pointed out that because older adults are at increased risk of being overweight and obese, further studies should determine whether this is effective for the aging population.

Studies show the average person gains about a pound between Thanksgiving and January. Most adults gain one to two pounds a year over a lifetime, so staving off the holiday pound can go a long way.

Related Link: Weight Loss, Feel Motivated

Why your workout may be backward

Why your workout may be backward

A common misconception about how exercise can prevent you from burning as much fat as you can.

Having been an athlete for most of my life I thought I knew my way around the gym. On a typical day, I hit the treadmill or elliptical machine for 30 minutes, then move on to weight machines. And that’s what I started when I recently joined a gym. Then I got my assessment – you know, examining your habits of many gyms do. And the review said that I was doing something wrong.

Hit the weights hard, the evaluation said. Then go to the heart. What?

“The body needs to burn through its source of sugar before the draws in the fat,” says Iman Nikzad, who runs the fitness program at my LA Fitness near Irvine, California. “You burn sugar while the weight and burn fat while doing cardio. ”

I did some research and is proving he is right and I was wrong. The best workout is 10 minutes of warmup on a cardio machine low impact, followed by 30 minutes of weights, then 30 minutes of cardio intensity. Yes, really.

“Efficiency is key in structuring any workout, cardio to long term should not be done in the beginning of the session,” says certified strength and conditioning specialist Jim Smith. “The most intensive training should be done first in the workout when you’re at your best.”

Starting with weights, you alert your muscles to trigger protein that churn calories while you train. So even though you’re probably happened after 30 minutes of weight, your body is ready to eat meat more quickly than it would if you started with “tell” the body to attack the sugar.

Many people make mistakes, think weight training decreases the effect of cardio work. Quite the contrary. Remember the phrase: “. Muscle eats fat” If you want to lose fat – and that does not work? – You want your muscles as active as possible. That means starting with the weights.

And if you have only 30 minutes in total, go to the weights instead of cardio. This seems intuitive-cons, because we think sweating is “proof” that we’re losing fat. But you’ll lose much more fat by pushing and pulling weights and then go on a brisk walk in your neighborhood (or even the mall). The guy or girl who runs on the Stairmaster buckets is to get a good workout, but you’re likely to get better by getting hurt and not be soaked.

Seven little instant health boosts

Seven little instant health boosts

1. Giggle

Health boost: Improve blood flow by 21%

A good laugh can be good for your heart. One recent study from the University of Texas at Austin found that those who chuckled while watching a comedy increased the dilation of blood vessels by one-fifth for up to 24 hours; when they watched a serious documentary, the arteries actually constricted by 18%. (Constricted blood vessels can lead to high blood pressure.)

“When you’re happy, your body releases feel-good neurochemicals, which can have numerous favorable effects on the body,” says David Katz, MD, director of the Prevention Research Center at Yale University School of Medicine.

2. Brush and floss

Health boost: Cut risk of head and neck cancer by 400%

Take good care of your smile and you’ll have more than just white teeth to show for it. New research from Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, NY, shows that people with the chronic gum disease periodontitis have a fourfold risk of developing a type of head or neck cancer (which makes up about 5% of all malignancies in the United States), especially in the mouth and throat. The risk was increased even among patients who never used tobacco. Gum disease occurs when the bacteria that live in plaque infect the gums, so brush and floss regularly to prevent plaque buildup.

3. Brew a pot of tea

Health boost: Cut stroke risk by 21%

Sipping tea may help protect you from a life-threatening stroke, according to a study from UCLA School of Medicine. Researchers there examined data from nine studies detailing almost 4,400 strokes among 195,000 people and found that those who drank at least three cups a day had one-fifth the risk of stroke, compared with those who drank less than one cup. It doesn’t matter if you prefer green or black tea—both are made from the same plant, Camellia sinensis, whose powerful antioxidant EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) and amino acid theanine may protect vessels and arteries.

4. Pen a thank-you note

Health boost: Feel 20% happier

Students who wrote letters expressing gratitude to someone special were happier and more satisfied with their lives, researchers at Kent State University found. Other research has shown that expressive writing may improve immune, lung, and liver function; reduce blood pressure; and provide a greater sense of well-being.

But be sincere: “It has to be a heartfelt sentiment showing significant appreciation,” says researcher Steven Toepfer, PhD, an assistant professor of family and consumer studies. Dashing off a quick e-mail or texting a pal might not have the same effect, adds Toepfer, who says taking the time to put pen to paper allowed students to reflect: “Through the process of writing, they had time to think about the links they established between themselves and others and to count their blessings a bit, which made them feel more grateful.”

5. Hide your TV remote

Health boost: Whittle 2 inches from your belly

When switching TV stations, put down the remote, get up, and do it manually. An Australian study found that people who did the greatest amount of light activity during otherwise sedentary behavior, such as watching TV, had 16% smaller waist circumferences than those who were inclined to stay put. Even the simple act of getting up and walking around for a minute or so was enough to make a difference, regardless of whether they had a regular workout schedule.

They also had lower body mass indexes and triglyceride and glucose levels, all of which are associated with a reduced risk of metabolic syndrome. More ways to break up an otherwise inactive day: Stand up every time the phone rings at your desk; take the long way back to your desk after a bathroom break; do some stretches before reading a new e-mail.

6. Doodle during work meetings

Health boost: Improve memory by 29%

People who doodled while listening to a recorded message had nearly one-third better recall of the details than those who didn’t draw, according to a study published in the journal Applied Cognitive Psychology. “Doodling acts as a buffer against daydreaming,” explains researcher Jackie Andrade, PhD, a professor in the School of Psychology at the University of Plymouth in England. “It provides just enough distraction to stop you from drifting off, but you can still focus on what is being said.”

7. Keep your doctor on speed dial

Health boost: Slash medical mistakes up to 25%

Don’t assume that no news is good news when you’ve had a checkup: Physicians fail to inform 1 out of every 14 patients whose abnormal test results are clinically significant, according to a recent study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine; among some doctors, the number of no-calls was as high as 1 in 4. Delayed diagnoses can be linked to thousands of serious injuries and health crises—and even deaths—each year.

“If you are subjecting your vein to a needle, you have a right to know what the test is for and why it matters,” says Katz. Talk with your doctor about when you’ll hear about results, and if she finds something that requires treatment, when you might expect to hear from her again. You can always follow up with her after that date.

Seven ways to look younger in 30 minutes

Seven ways to look younger in 30 minutes

Putting eye cream in the fridge makes it work better — and provides a refreshing side, too.

1. Keep your eye-cream in the fridge for quick under-eye depuffing. The cold constricts blood vessels to help swelling go down- and it feels extra refreshing.

2. An at-home gloss treatment dramatically amps up shine and refreshes your highlights, giving your face a happy boost.

3. Define your eyebrows. A pair of full, arched brows works like an instant eye lift. Pluck errant hairs and fill in sparse areas with a fine-tipped brow pencil.

4. Apply a firming body cream. Toned, taut skin is the age-defying holy grail as Demi Moore.

5. Have your stylist snip you some layers. Hair that moves lifts your features and just looks fun and free.

6. Take a brisk 30 minute walk whenever you can sneak one in. You’ll jump start your metabolism and circulation and it’ll give you a nice rosy glow.

7. Short nails, painted sheer and pink give off a young, fun vibe and make your hands look effortlessly flawless. Try: Essie’s Ballet Slippers, $8.

The best foods to fuel your workouts

The best foods to fuel your workouts

Turkey has more protein and iron than chicken, and kale trumps spinach on vitamin C.

As a health-savvy consumer, you try to toss nutrient-packed foods into your grocery cart. But when you’re deciding between similar-seeming nutritious items (say, turkey or chicken?), you may not know the superior choice. “Food is your fuel,” says Mitzi Dulan, R.D., co-author of The All-Pro Diet. “Selecting the most nutritious options will improve your diet and give you a competitive edge.” While you can’t go wrong eating both quinoa and brown rice, choosing the nutritional champ may give your workout the boost it needs. In a healthy-food smackdown, here are our winning picks.

Strawberries vs. Blueberries

Both are health all-stars, but a study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry reported that blueberries (particularly wild ones) showed the most antioxidant activity of all the fruits tested. “These antioxidants help keep your immune system strong,” says Dulan, “and reduce muscle-tissue damage from exercise.”

Healthy Choice: Mix blueberries into lean ground beef for burgers. The juicy fruit will help keep the meat moist.

Chicken Breast vs. Turkey Breast

Both breast meats are free of saturated fat, but turkey has three additional grams of protein per three-ounce serving, plus more iron (which helps deliver oxygen to muscles) and selenium. “This mineral functions as part of an enzyme called glutathione peroxidase,” says sports dietitian Suzanne Girard Eberle, R.D., author of Endurance Sports Nutrition. This enzyme works as an antioxidant to protect cells from free radicals that may contribute to cancer and heart disease.

Healthy Choice: Make your own lunch meat to avoid the excess sodium in much deli turkey. Bake turkey breasts, slice them thinly, and add to sandwiches.

Read more “The best foods to fuel your workouts”

How long it takes to get out of shape

How long it takes to get out of shape

If you take off two months — or two weeks — are you back to square one?

As we move into the dog days of August, that going-to-get-my-best-body-ever summer motivation starts to wane, and we’re more likely to skip a few days or weeks worth of workouts. This often leaves us wondering just how much damage we’ve done. I mean, if we take two weeks off, are we (gulp) back where we started?

For a little morale boost and a dose of reality, we called on Craig Rasmussen, a fitness coach in Newhall, Calif. Obviously, just how quickly you lose fitness depends on your starting fitness level, as well as other factors such as age and genetics. But Rasmussen’s general take is this:

After two weeks off… “We will probably start to see a decline in general fitness levels,” says Rasmussen. “These can occur at different rates in the muscular and cardiovascular systems.” At this point, it’s probably safe to jump back in at the same intensity you were cranking at before the hiatus.

Secret shortcut: Cardio levels decrease faster than strength–the magic of muscle memory. To take advantage of this phenomenon, during hellish work weeks, do just one set of five strength exercises–studies show that 50 to 90 percent of your strength gains come from your first set (though when your schedule eases up–to build muscle and ward off bone loss–go back to 2 to 3 sets of 8 to 12 exercises 2 or 3 days a week).

After more than two weeks off… “The longer that is taken off, the more you need to scale back,” says Rasmussen. “I would recommend scaling volume and intensity back a bit, but you do not have to start back at square one.” The good news: Assuming you had a solid foundation already in place, “you will regain fitness levels back at a faster rate than someone who has never had them in the first place.” Phew.

Secret shortcut: No time for recommended dose of 5 to 7 days of 20 to 60 minutes of cardio this week? To preserve heart and lung strength and prevent waistline creep, cut that amount in half and seriously ramp up the intensity. We love this simple interval workout.

Could a break actually be good for me? Totally. If you’ve been going all-out, working out HARD for months, you probably deserve and need a training vacay. “For many people who are stuck in the more is always better mentality, they have accumulated so much fatigue that a week off is just what they need,” says Rasmussen. This allows your muscles to recover fully so you can continue making strides whether you’re training for a race or trying to lose those last five (stubborn!) pounds.