• Muscle cramps during exercise
    Blog,  Nutrition,  Sports nutrition

    Muscle cramps during exercise

    Muscle cramps during exercise are relatively common and have been investigated for decades but remain a mystery. Scientists have identified potential risk factors, causes and solutions but evidence is not very solid. Exercise-associated muscle cramps Also known as EAMC, these are cramps that happen during or immediately after exercise (1, 2). Muscle cramps occur in a wide range of athletes participating in a variety of disciplines. These are most commonly reported in endurance-type sports and team sports (1) although this could be due to research bias. EMAC are usually a minor inconvenience but they can vary in intensity and duration, with a very small percentage of the population experiencing severe…

  • Nutriboost
    Blog,  Nutrition,  Product reviews

    Product review: Nutriboost

    Nutriboost is a high protein flavoured milk drink made with no added sugar. It is enriched with fibre and vitamin D and has a 5 health star rating. Nutriboost Nutriboost is made by infamous Coca-Cola Company. Before you stop reading, remember that they also make water, juice and other not-so-bad-for-you beverages. Nutriboost is enriched with milk proteins, polydextrose as a source of fibre, and vitamin D. It is sweetened with an artificial sweetener. The drink comes in 3 flavours: chocolate, vanilla and banana. It is available at Woolworths supermarkets, and often discounted when buying 5 or more. Ingredients Below are the ingredients lists for the current 3 flavours. Note they…

  • Salad dressings
    Blog,  Diet,  Health,  Nutrition

    Salad dressings

    Eating salads is great but some salads are better than others. Beside the actual salad ingredients, salad dressings make a huge difference and can become an issue for people with certain health issues. We have all heard that a salad in a fast food restaurant is “worse for you” than a burger. These “claims” are made on the basis of energy (kilojoules/kilocalories) and/or fat content alone, without taking into account actual nutrient content. To be clear, a “salad” made with pasta, bacon and mayonnaise is not great for you, but a vegetable salad that is high in fat and energy coming from extra virgin olive oil, olives and/or avocado is…

  • Food and migraine
    Blog,  Diet,  Health,  Nutrition

    Food and migraine

    The relationship between food and migraine does exist but it’s not crystal clear. Many foods can act as triggers and certain dietary interventions may decrease the frequency and severity of migraine attacks. What is migraine Migraine is a disabling headache disorder (1) which may present with symptoms such as extreme sensitivity to light, sound and smell, nausea, vomiting and movement sensitivity (1, 2). Both genetic and environmental factors influence migraine (2). Food triggers of migraine Some foods are commonly reported as migraine triggers, including: chocolate (1, 2, 3) citrus fruits (1, 2, 3) some vegetables such as tomatoes (2, 3) and onions (2) nuts (1, 2) dairy products such as…

  • Fibre in food
    Blog,  Diet,  Food,  Nutrition

    Fibre in food

    As seen previously, dietary fibre is generally good for health and can even be useful to athletes wanting to improve body composition. Fibre in food is present in different quantities so it’s good to know which foods have higher contents. Fibre in food As seen previously, fibre is present in many plant foods, including vegetables, legumes (e.g. lentils, beans, chickpeas), fruits, cereals, nuts and seeds. The exact amount of total fibre and the types of fibre contained in each food depend on the actual food. Most food databases and nutrition information panels contain the total amount of fibre rather than the amount per type (e.g. soluble, insoluble, resistant starch). In…

  • Fibre in sports nutrition
    Blog,  Diet,  Nutrition,  Sports nutrition

    Fibre in sports nutrition

    In a previous post, I highlighted the relationship between fibre and health. In general, dietary fibre is good for you. However, the role of fibre in sports nutrition is a little more complex. Fibre in sports nutrition When talking about dietary fibre intake in the context of sports nutrition, we need to think beyond health. It is also important to consider weight and body composition, performance during training and competition, and recovery. As a reminder, the recommended daily intake of dietary fibre is 25 grams per day for most adult women and 30 grams per day for most adult men. Regulation of energy intake Dietary fibre intake increases satiety. Therefore,…

  • Fibre and health
    Blog,  Diet,  Health,  Nutrition

    Fibre and health

    The relationship between fibre and health has been appreciated for centuries, specifically as it relates to digestive health. More recently, scientists have set to investigate the role of fibre in other aspects of health. What is fibre There are multiple definitions of fibre and it’s difficult to write a concise one. Most fibre is carbohydrate, with the exception of lignin (1). Fibre includes non-starch polysaccharides (cellulose, hemicelluloses, pectins, hydrocolloids), resistant oligosaccharides, resistant starch and lignin (2). By other definitions, fibre is a polysaccharide with ten or more monomeric units which is not hydrolysed by endogenous hormones in the small intestine (3). In other words, multiple sugars held together that cannot…

  • How to improve body composition
    Blog,  Diet,  Nutrition,  Sports nutrition,  Supplements

    How to improve body composition

    As seen previously, improving body composition can confer a competitive advantage to some athletes. Hence the interest of athletes and coaches on how to improve body composition. In general, improving body composition means decreasing fat mass and increasing fat-free mass or muscle mass (a.k.a. lean body mass). Besides training protocols and periodisation, there are nutrition approaches that can achieve a favourable change. How to improve body composition Body composition can be improved using a variety of nutrition approaches. Broadly speaking, they can be categorised as dietary manipulation (e.g. tweaking energy intake or macronutrient levels) and supplementation. Note that not all research in this area is done on athletes. Some studies…

  • How to eat more vegetables
    Blog,  Food,  Health,  Nutrition

    How to eat more vegetables

    According to the Australian Dietary Guidelines, adults should eat about 5 serves of vegetables for good health (1). However, only 7.5% of the adult population manage to meet their recommended target (2). Part of the problem is that some people don’t like vegetables, but it’s also true that many people don’t know how to eat more vegetables. How many serves of vegetables For most of the population from the age of 9, the recommended number of serves is around 5 serves per day. This varies based on gender (males need more) and life stage (pregnant and lactating women need more). Likewise, more active individuals, such as athletes, need more. The…

  • What is hormesis
    Blog,  Diet,  Health,  Nutrition

    What is hormesis?

    Hormesis is a concept borrowed from toxicology that explains why certain things that are toxic in high quantities can be beneficial at low doses. What is hormesis? Hormesis is a term that comes from toxicology and refers to the paradoxical beneficial effect experienced by an organism exposed to a low dose of a substance or environmental factor which is toxic at higher doses (1). This is called “biphasic dose response” in scientific lingo, often described as U-shaped or J-shape curve (1, 2, 3). It is believed that the role of hormesis is to restore homeostasis, i.e. a balanced state, when it has been disrupted. This allows organisms to adapt to…