Thursday, February 27, 2014

Food First!

A few weeks back, okay, last summer I asked Kristen of Elite Nutrition and Performance on Devine Street, to write a guest post. I held onto it waiting for the right time to post it. I have come to realize there is no right time. Something always comes up weather it's buying a house, getting sick or getting caught up in every day life. 

With that said please welcome Kristen and her helpful insight! 

Food First!
Supplements Second

People often ask me what supplements should I be taking to help me excel in my sport, gain muscle, lose weight or just feel better. What always amazes me is that their diets are usually are filled with fast food, prepackaged foods and “junk” foods! Therefore, they have no business thinking about supplements and should be thinking about how to improve their diet.

What someone eats on a daily basis far more determines how his or her body responds and ultimately produces the results they are looking for. I always remind my clients “garbage in, equals garbage out.” Meaning, if you fill your body with junk food, you will get poor results from your body. Supplements are not meant to be a healthy diet in a pill; they are simply what they say they are…a supplement. They are meant to supplement your diet that is already filled with whole foods that come from the ground.

Eating a diet based on a whole food diet has many benefits, such as:

·         It’s more nutritious
·         Ingest more fiber
·         Food is better digested, absorbed and utilized
·         No hidden sugars, preservatives, chemicals or ingredients we can’t pronounce

Let’s compare eating a real banana versus a Gu Energy Gel during a training session.

Gu Energy Gel
Maltodextrin (Glucose Polymers), Filtered Water, Fructose, GU Amino Blend (Leucine, Valine, Histidine, Isoleucine), Sodium And Potassium Citrate, Natural Peppermint Extract, GU Antioxidant Blend (Natural Vitamin C And Vitamin E), Citric Acid, Calcium Carbonate, Sea Salt, Contains Preservatives [Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate], Fumaric Acid, Gu Herbal Blend [Chamomile, Ginger], Pectin.
Calories per serving
89 calories
100 calories
Sugar content
Total: 12.3g
Glucose: 4g
Fructose: 2.3g
Sucrose: 6g
Total: 5g
Maltodextrin: 70-80% (3.5g)
Fructose: 20-30% (1.5g)
-Contains fiber
      -prevents certain cancers
      -time released energy
-Contains vitamins B6, C
-Contains manganese, an essential mineral
-Contains potassium, an electrolyte
-Contains water (~75% of banana is water)
-Contains some protein (amino acids), which helps to time- release energy from food
-More palatable than Gu
-Research supports bananas as just as good or even better than sports supplements
-Cheap (~ ¼ the price of GU)
-Can buy anywhere
-Contains electrolytes
-Some contain caffeine
     -quick, extra boost of   energy
     -can lead to heart palpitations in those with heart conditions
-Contain some amino acids (protein) for time released energy

This of course is just one example of a sports supplement vs. real food. However, you should always be doing your homework when considering taking a supplement. Things to ask yourself should include:
1.     Is it safe?
a.     A number of supplements are tainted with ingredients they shouldn’t contain, such as prescription drugs and steroids
b.    Check out or for help with this one
2.     Is it effective?
3.     What are the ingredients and can I pronounce them?
4.     Are there any real-food options that are comparable to the product?
a.     Remember, real food will be absorbed and utilized better than supplements!
5.     What is the cost?
6.     Is the manufacturer making to good to be true claims? If so, this is a red flag!

Most athletes get sick of the super-sweet taste of sports supplements and don’t favor the aftertaste and “film” that’s left in their mouth afterwards. If this is you, consider making your own “supplements!” A few favorites of mine are Homemade Sports Drink and Gluten Free Energy Balls!

Kristen Tice-Ziesmer, MS, RD, CSSD, LD
Sports Dietitian, Certified Personal Trainer
Owner of Elite Nutrition & Performance