March Newsletter


In This Issue
Fueling Smart with Carbs!
Eggs; The Good, The Bad, The Controversy!
A Note from Lauren...

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Lauren Antonucci, MS, RDN, CSSD, CDE, CDN

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Issue: #101 March 2019

Fueling Smart with Carbs!

Many of you may have wondered why Lauren, owner/director of Nutrition Energy, seems to be eating so many bagels recently, according to her Instagram posts. Perhaps you've questioned whether you, too, should make a bagel with eggs or cream cheese part of your breakfast routine. Upon noticing this bagel bounty, we thought, "what a great newsletter topic!" The Boston Marathon is rapidly approaching, and those from runners to cyclists to triathletes registered for longer races have begun ramping up their training. Lauren herself has increased her training as she prepares for the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon, and has recognized her body's increased craving for carbohydrates; thus, the recent uptick in bagel eating and bagel posts.
Have you ever noticed that you crave carbs when you begin training for a race or sporting event, or simply bump up your exercise routine? The body's main fuel source is carbohydrates, which we are sure you've heard before. In short, the more you exercise, the more energy your body uses (and needs) to fuel your muscle's work. It is totally normal to crave carbohydrate-rich foods after hard physical training sessions; in fact, it's your body's mechanism for helping remind you to replace glycogen stores, which aids in overall health and maintaining homeostasis. Rest assured, there is a time and place for a bagel in your life! A day spent sitting on the couch watching TV or working in front of a computer may not necessitate carb repletion, but a bagel craving post-training session is one to listen to.
The word "carbohydrate" is a loaded word these days, and all too often carries with it a bad connotation. When people think of carbohydrates, they often think of pasta, cake, croissants, donuts, French fries and pizza. Yet carbohydrates are much more than that. Sure, these foods above contain plenty of carbohydrates, but there are a slew of other nutritionally dense carbohydrates we want to explore and enjoy. When we require immediate energy, such as before and during a hard or prolonged physical effort, it's useful to ingest some simple or fast-acting carbohydrates, such as a banana, sports drink or energy gel. Simple carbohydrates are easy to digest, which is important when eating during a hard effort when blood is diverted away from digestion and towards your working muscles. Equally essential is replacing glycogen stores quickly after a long workout, making something like a bagel or pasta (along with some additional protein), a great choice.

While these simpler carbohydrates serve a purpose, and can also taste great ;), we are better off choosing complex carbohydrates, rather than their simpler counterparts, more often during the rest of our day. Complex carbohydrates are so named because they consist of longer and more complex chains of simple carbohydrates; structurally, they take longer to break down. This longer breakdown time means we absorbed these nutrients more slowly, helping us feel fuller for longer and preventing a spike in blood glucose levels. Many complex carbohydrates are also rich in fiber, giving them a heart healthy stamp of approval. They include, but are not limited to, steel cut oats, whole grains (quinoa, bulgar, barley, brown rice, oats), chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils, corn, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, fruits... While these complex carbohydrates are more nutritionally dense and should make up the majority of our daily carb choices, simple carbohydrates are not foods to fear.

For those of you who are wondering exactly how much carbohydrate you need in order to optimally fuel your training, we've provided you with some guidelines here. As far as the numbers go, the Mayo Clinic states that carbohydrates should make up between 45-65% of your daily diet. Athletes in heavy training often need to eat on the higher end of the range in order to effectively fuel workouts and recovery. It's important to note that carbohydrates are not the only important fuel source for exercise and recovery; protein and fat are both vital

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends the following carbohydrate intakes (g of carbohydrates/kg of body weight/day):
  • ~ 3 g/kg/d: Athletes undergoing very low-intensity exercise or skill-based exercise
  • ~ 5 g/kg/d: Athletes performing moderate-intensity exercise (60 minutes/day)
  • 5-10 g/kg/d: Athletes in moderate to high-intensity endurance programs (1-3 h/day)
  • 8-12 g/kg/d: 4-5 h/d of exercise
Athletes typically need to ingest anywhere from 200-450g carbohydrates/day. The amount of carbohydrate ingestion depends heavily on your exercise duration and intensity, as shown in the numbers above. For example, a 145 lb person (65.8 kg) exercising for an hour a day can aim to eat about 330 g carbohydrates/day. What does this increased carbohydrate intake look like on your plate?
Normal: 1 slice whole grain toast with 1-2 Tbs peanut butter (or 2 eggs) + 3/4 cup blueberries
Heavy training makeover: 2 slices whole grain bread or even a bagel (whole grain, spelt or sprouted grain varieties are great choices and delicious!) + PB or 2 eggs + blueberries or a banana
Normal: Main dish salad with mixed vegetables, kidney beans, nuts; apple
Heavy training makeover: Main dish salad with mixed vegetables, kidney beans, sliced chicken breast or tofu, nuts, sweet potato or butternut squash; apple
Normal: Hummus + carrots
Heavy training makeover: Hummus with pita bread + carrots
Normal: Grilled salmon with steamed broccoli and a small baked potato
Heavy training makeover: Grilled salmon with steamed broccoli and quinoa
For those of you who prefer visuals, here are Athlete Plates created by the International Olympic Committee's Sports Dietitians, which show nutrient recommendations for easy, moderate and hard training days:

Our favorite ways to top a bagel:
  • Almond butter, banana & cinnamon
  • Scrambled eggs with sea salt
  • Avocado, spinach & tomato
  • Swiss cheese, arugula, tomato & Dijon mustard
  • Cream cheese topped with sliced strawberries
*Adding fats and protein to a bagel help slow carbohydrate digestion and will keep you feeling full longer
Post workout meal suggestions:
Now that you have the know-how of carbohydrate fueling, why not sign up for a spring sports league or an upcoming race? We are pretty sure you'll be glad you did!

Eggs; The Good, The Bad, The Controversy!

Let's talk about eggs!

For decades there has been confusion as to whether or not we should be eating eggs. One day eggs are touted as the perfect food, and the next they are damned as a cholesterol rising food to be avoided.

JAMA published a new study last week adding to the egg confusion. They reported that US adults who consumed an additional 300 mg of cholesterol per day, (the equivalent of eating 1.5 eggs per day, were at a higher risk for incidence of cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality. Since then, we have again been fielding a ton of egg questions in our Nutrition Energy office. First and foremost, we believe it is important to note that this JAMA study relied on data recall, (their subjects were tasked with remembering how many eggs they ate)-which is always a potential source of error. They also assumed that egg intake was consistent with that individual's recalled amount over the 17 year "study period". While these findings may sound scary, here is some perspective. A hard-boiled egg contains ~187 mg of cholesterol. Eating one egg per day is likely a safe habit, as JAMA's study found increased cardiovascular disease risk when subjects ate an additional 300 mg cholesterol/day, or an additional ~1½ egg/day.

Meanwhile, the daily cholesterol intake limit, (of 300mg/day), was removed from the U.S. government's 2015 Dietary Guidelines for America, after they felt the body of research did not support this recommendation.

While this may seem like just another point of confusion in the constant battle of, "what should I eat?", we believe that practicing moderation in our diets extends to eggs as well. Moderate egg-eaters (~1 egg/day) likely have nothing to fear, and are reeling the benefits of the satisfying protein and B-vitamins that come with eating an egg. Ditching all eggs and eating sugary cereals for breakfast is definitely NOT the answer! It is important to note the that how you cook and eat your eggs may matter more than just how many Yu eat. Consuming eggs along with foods high in saturated fat -think butter, cheese, bacon, sausage and refined grains, will increase blood cholesterol and other health risks. Choosing 1-2 eggs, possibly even with some delicious sautéed veggies, and whole grain toast, can still be a healthy and much enjoyed breakfast for a, and is one that we plan to continue to enjoy as well.
While we are on the topic of eggs, do any of you find egg-peeling a daunting task? Each time we make eggs the bit question is always, how easy (or how difficult) will they be to peel? Try this method and let us know how it turns out.
The easiest to peel hard-boiled eggs:
  1. Boil a pot of water - once the water has come to a boil, add eggs
  2. Boil water + eggs for 10 minutes
  3. Remove eggs and place in a bowl of ice-water - keep in bowl for 5 minutes
  4. Remove, peel and eat!
  5. Place extra eggs in fridge (only peel when ready to eat)

A Note from Lauren...

As many of you know, the nutrition field can be very convoluted - so many trends, super foods, and fad diets popping up all the time, it's hard to keep track!  Don't get me started on the difference between 'nutritionist' and dietitian!  As research advances, sometimes we find previous recommendations become outdated or need to be adjusted.  This doesn't mean new discoveries aren't exciting, but the amount of data (both science-based and fads) can be overwhelming.

The biggest takeaway from this month's articles (other than fueling well with carbs and not being afraid of eating eggs!) is to trust your gut and not believe everything you hear/read.  Use common sense - if something sounds like a crazy nutrition trend, don't follow it!  If you want to know more, do your own research through credible, scientific sources; or even better yet - ask a Registered Dietitian! :)  

If you need help navigating the winding path of nutrition - for weight loss, athletic training, or just life! - the RDNs at Nutrition Energy are educated, dedicated, and motivated to help you through the challenges and successes of change.   As always, find us on Twitter  @NutritionEnergy , Instagram ,  or  Facebook  for fun updates, recipes, and inspiration!
Lauren Antonucci, Director
Nutrition Energy