• Why bodyweight matters in sport
    Blog,  Sports nutrition

    Why bodyweight matters in sport

    In recent years, there has been a tendency away from measuring bodyweight in the general population and within sport. While it is true that obsessing with the number on the scale can be detrimental to mental health and overall health by extension, there are several reasons why bodyweight matters in sport. In this article we will use the terms bodyweight, weight and mass interchangeably, with full knowledge that mass is the correct term. Why bodyweight matters in sport Weight and body fat percentage are not necessarily proxies for exercise performance. However, this does not mean getting on the scales is useless. Below are some of the several aspects of sport…

  • Roasted broccoli, lentil & corn salad with miso dressing
    Blog,  Food,  Recipes,  Salad,  Side dish,  Vegan,  Vegetarian

    Roasted broccoli, lentil & corn salad with miso dressing

    This roasted broccoli, lentil & corn salad with miso dressing is a great salad or side dish for the cooler months. This recipe is gluten-free, dairy free and vegan. It does contain some protein from the lentils but I recommend you add more protein to make it a meal. My personal favourite is eggs, but you can add tofu as a vegan option. Shichimi togarashi is a Japanese condiment that usually contains chilli powder, citrus zest and sesame seeds. If you don’t have it you can sub regular chilli flakes plus sesame seeds, or just sesame seeds if you don’t like spicy food.

  • Optimising vitamin and mineral intake
    Blog,  Diet,  Health,  Nutrition

    Optimising vitamin and mineral intake

    Optimising vitamin and mineral intake is a bit more complicated than just considering nutrient content in foods. Bioavailability, cooking, processing and seasonality are other important factors to keep in mind. Follow the 10 principles below to improve your vitamin and mineral status. 1. Know your requirements While the Nutrient Reference Values are estimated based on the best evidence that was available at the moment of their development, it is useful to know how much of each micronutrient you need for good health. Your requirements depend on your age, gender and pregnancy/lactation status when applicable. The easiest way of finding out is using the NRV calculator. In “Reference values”, select “Show…

  • Mineral overview
    Blog,  Diet,  Health,  Nutrition

    Mineral overview

    If you know minerals are micronutrients that are good for you but struggle to name more than 2 or 3, this mineral overview is for you. In this guide you will find the following information (when applicable or available) for the main minerals: Calcium Sources: dairy foods (e.g. milk, yoghurt, cheese) and in smaller amounts in fish with bones, legumes, dark green leafy vegetables (e.g. kale, spinach), certain nuts, fortified soy beverages and breakfast cereals. Bioavailability: absorption from milk is between 20 and 40%, from vegetables is either in the same range or lower, depending on the vegetable (higher in cruciferous vegetables). Absorption from food can be enhanced by fortification…

  • Vitamin overview
    Blog,  Diet,  Health,  Nutrition

    Vitamin overview

    If you know vitamins are micronutrients that are good for you but struggle to name more than 2 or 3, this vitamin overview is for you. In this guide you will find the following information (when applicable or available) for all vitamins: Vitamin A Forms: preformed and provitamin A carotenoids (e.g. β-carotene, α-carotene and β-cryptoxanthin), which can be converted to vitamin A. Solubility: fat-soluble. Sources: preformed vitamin A is found in animal foods and carotenoids are found in oils, green leafy vegetables (e.g. spinach and kale), carrots, fruits (e.g. mango, papaya, orange). The conversion factor of β-carotene to vitamin A depends on the source. Making 1 ug of vitamin A…

  • What are micronutrients
    Blog,  Diet,  Health,  Nutrition

    What are micronutrients?

    As a dietitian, I always advocate for variety in the diet to increase exposure to micronutrients. But what are micronutrients? Below is a quick overview, more in-depth articles to follow. As seen previously, macronutrients are the “bigger” components of food, namely protein, fat and carbohydrates. Water can be also considered a macronutrient, however it does not contribute any energy. Conversely, alcohol cannot be considered nutritious but does contribute energy. The prefix “macro” comes from the ancient Greek makrós, which means “long”. It is normally used to mean “big” or “large”. Thus, macronutrients are needed in large amounts in the diet (tens or hundreds of grams). The prefix “micro” comes from…

  • How to adjust carbohydrate intake
    Blog,  Diet,  Nutrition,  Sports nutrition

    How to adjust carbohydrate intake

    How to adjust carbohydrate intake is the third article in this short series dedicated to this important source of fuel for physical activity. We have described what are carbohydrates and the use of carbohydrate for sports. In theory, carbohydrate requirements can be calculated knowing a few variables, however in practice there is often a mismatch between estimated and actual requirements. Sources of mismatch Wrong calculations Biological factors These include insulin sensitivity and glucose oxidation rates, which will determine how much carbohydrate the athlete can actually use for fuel. Health conditions Actual vs predicted output In many cases, this is the biggest source of mismatch. Some athletes can predict with a…

  • Carbohydrate for sports
    Blog,  Diet,  Food,  Nutrition,  Sports nutrition

    Carbohydrate for sports

    The use of carbohydrate for sports has been well-known for several decades. The amount and timing of carbohydrate intake depends on many factors, including the duration, intensity and type of exercise. Roles of carbohydrate in sport As seen in the previous article, the main role of carbohydrate in the body is the production of energy. During exercise, this can translate to: In the time between training or competition bouts, carbohydrate intake is important to: The amount of carbohydrate an athlete requires during and around exercise depends on several factors: It is important to mention the fact that the individual factors listed above can change with habits. When it comes to…

  • What are carbohydrates
    Blog,  Diet,  Health,  Nutrition

    What are carbohydrates?

    Carbohydrates are a polarising subject. For some people, carbs are life, while others say they are the devil. In this article we explore what are carbohydrates, their roles, types and sources. What are carbohydrates? Carbohydrates, a.k.a. “carbs” are one of the macronutrients in our food. As the name “carbohydrate” implies, carbs contain carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, hence the sciency abbreviation “CHO”. The word “carbohydrates” is a noun often used to describe carbohydrate-containing foods. Many of these foods are staples in many traditional cuisines, for example rice, bread, pasta, noodles, potatoes, and taro. Roles of carbohydrates The main role of carbohydrate is energy production in the body. The amount of energy…

  • Sodium in sports
    Blog,  Diet,  Fitness,  Nutrition,  Sports nutrition

    Sodium in sports

    At the population level, health authorities recommend limiting sodium intake to prevent chronic conditions. However, the role of sodium in sports is more complicated, as this electrolyte plays important roles related to performance and recovery. Roles of sodium As seen in the article How much salt is too much?, sodium has roles in the maintenance of plasma volume and transmission of nerve impulses. In addition, it is needed for muscle contraction and glucose transport into cells. As a reminder, glucose is essential for energy production during most types of exercise, as well as recovery post-exercise. Sodium in sports How do we lose sodium The main ways we lose sodium is…