• Pre-workout supplements
    Blog,  Nutrition,  Sports nutrition,  Supplements

    Pre-workout supplements

    Pre-workout supplements are among the most heavily-marketed products targeted to recreational and elite athletes. In this article we will discuss if they work and if they are safe. What are pre-workout supplements? Also known as multi-ingredient pre-workout supplements, these are products designed to be taken before exercise to enhance performance. They typically contain several ingredients in various quantities which are sometimes undisclosed and marked as “proprietary blends” (1, 2, 3). Common ingredients Common ingredients in pre-workout supplements include caffeine, creatine and beta-alanine (2, 3), branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), nitrates (2), citrulline, taurine, tyrosine and B vitamins (3). Jagim et al. analysed 100 pre-workout products and found that, in average, they…

  • How to read food labels
    Blog,  Diet,  Food,  Health,  Nutrition

    How to read food labels

    The most common advice I give to people is to read labels before buying packaged foods. There is a lot on information printed on packages, so keep reading for some advice on how to read food labels. What is a food label? Food label is the term that encapsulates all the information printed on a food package. Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) regulates what goes in the label of foods sold in this part of the world. Parts of a food label The information below can be found in FSANZ’s website (see references below). Food identification This includes the name of the food, the name and business address of…

  • Added sugar consumption in Australia
    Blog,  Diet,  Health,  Nutrition

    Added sugar consumption in Australia

    Intake of added sugars has been associated with health issues such as weight gain and dental caries. As it happens with most developed countries, added sugar consumption in Australia exceeds recommended limits. Last week I explained the difference between added, free and total sugars. Briefly, added sugars are those that do not occur naturally in foods and are added before consumption. Free sugars include added sugars and the natural sugars in honey, syrups and fruit juices (1). Regarding recommended intake of added and free sugars, guidelines differ. The Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend limiting the intake of added sugars but do not specify a quantity (2). The World Health Organisation (WHO)…

  • Brown sugar vs white sugar
    Blog,  Diet,  Health,  Nutrition

    Brown sugar vs white sugar

    Have you ever found yourself in the supermarket staring at sugar packets and not knowing which one to buy? Which one is healthier: brown sugar vs white sugar? What about raw sugar? What is sugar? The sugar you buy at the supermarket to put in your coffee is sucrose, a disaccharide (= two sugars) composed of glucose and fructose. Types of sugar White sugar: this is your regular table sugar. Caster sugar: has a smaller crystal size than white sugar. It is used for coating bakery products and confectionery. Brown sugar: is a moist, golden brown, very fine crystal product, made using selected refinery syrups. Raw sugar: is a free…

  • Should you take BCAAs
    Blog,  Diet,  Nutrition,  Sports nutrition,  Supplements

    Should you take BCAAs?

    Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) is the name given to three of the nine essential amino acids. BCAAs are sold as a sports supplement to increase muscle synthesis and recovery. Today we answer the question: Should you take BCAAs? What are BCAAs? BCAAs or branched-chain amino acids are leucine, isoleucine and valine. They are essential amino acids (EAAs), meaning they cannot be made by our bodies and must be taken from the diet. Unlike other amino acids, BCAAs are not metabolised in the liver (1, 2) but in skeletal muscle (2). They can be oxidised and used as energy (2, 3). BCAA supplements are commonly used in athletic populations. Most supplements…

  • Tummify probiotic shots
    Blog,  Health,  Nutrition,  Product reviews

    Product review: Tummify probiotic shots

    Tummify probiotic shots are an alternative to other probiotic products in the market that are higher in sugar. This is a product designed for gut health. Tummify probiotic shots Tummify probiotic shots are 98% sugar free and certified organic. Each shot contains 35 billion colony-forming units (CFU) of a 13 multi-strain formula (see more details in the Nutrition information section below). The product comes in 5 and 20-packs containing single serve (65ml) plastic bottles, which are BPA-free and recyclable. Ingredients Fresh organic milk (99%), monk fruit juice concentrate, prebiotic fibre, kefir cultures and probiotics. For reference, these are the ingredients in the most popular probiotic product, Yakult: Original: Water, skim…

  • Diet and blood pressure
    Blog,  Diet,  Health,  Nutrition

    Diet and blood pressure

    Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a common chronic condition that represents a risk for cardiovascular health. Besides other lifestyle factors, there is a clear link between diet and blood pressure which we’ll discuss in this article. Blood pressure levels In Australia, blood pressure is classified as follows (1): Category Systolic (mmHg) Diastolic (mmHg) Optimal <120 and <80 Normal 120-129 and/or 80-84 High-normal 130-139 and/or 85-89 Mild hypertension 140-159 and/or 90-99 Moderate hypertension 160-179 and/or 100-109 Severe hypertension ≥180 and/or ≥110 Isolated systolic hypertension >140 and <90 Target recommendations vary for individuals that have other health conditions. Dietary factors Sodium In about half of people with hypertension and a quarter…

  • Gluten free sliced bread
    Blog,  Diet,  Gluten-free,  Health,  Nutrition

    Gluten free sliced bread

    If you follow a gluten free diet for health or preference reasons, you might know that good gluten free sliced bread is hard to find. This applies to taste, texture and, most importantly, nutrition. Brands Some of the most popular sliced bread brands offer gluten free options, including the big supermarket brands. Examples include Helgas, Abbott’s Village, Woolworths and Coles. A little harder to find are Genius Gluten Free, Well & Good, Venerdi, Deeks and Naturis. Ingredients While regular bread can be made with 3-4 ingredients (flour, water, salt and yeast – which you can omit as a deliberate ingredient if making sourdough), gluten free bread is not easy to…

  • Vitamin D and athletic performance
    Blog,  Health,  Nutrition,  Sports nutrition,  Supplements

    Vitamin D and athletic performance

    Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, is well known for its role in bone health. Other roles include muscular and immune function, hence the interest for studying vitamin D and athletic performance. What is vitamin D Vitamin D is an essential fat-soluble vitamin (1). The active form of vitamin D is 1,25-dihydroxycholecaciferol (a.k.a. 1,25-dihydroxivitamin D) (2, 3), which interacts with vitamin D receptors (VDRs) (1). Sources of vitamin D Most of the vitamin D we get (80-90%, 4) is synthesised in our bodies from 7-dehydrocholesterol (2) after exposure to ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation from the sun (2, 4). The remaining 10-20% is obtained from the diet (4). Sunshine The actual amount…

  • PBCo protein shakes
    Blog,  Gluten-free,  Low-carb,  Nutrition,  Product reviews,  Sports nutrition

    Product review: PBCo protein shakes

    PBCo, formerly known as The Protein Bread Co, specialises on high protein, low carb products. Their PBCo protein shakes are a good alternative to similar powders in the market that contain sugar or artificial ingredients. PBCo protein shakes These protein shakes come in three flavours (banana, chocolate and vanilla) in 500g resealable bags, which equals 14.3 servings. Each serve contains 23g of protein that come from whey protein concentrate. The shakes are gluten free, low carb and contain vitamins and enzymes making them more digestible. They have no artificial colours, flavours or sweeteners (they’re sweetened with stevia). Ingredients Banana: Australian whey protein concentrate, vitamin blend (calcium carbonate, whey protein isolate,…