Prebiotics: Probiotics why is everyone talking about them and do you actually know what they are?!
Probiotics and prebiotics are hot topics in the world of nutrition and all over every magazine and social media article, from suggestions of helping with gut issues, the effect on the gut-lung axis in Covid -19 to the gut-brain axis and mental health.
So what exactly are they?
Probiotics and prebiotics are important for gut health and can contribute to the gut microbiome ( “the collective genetic material of a community of microorganisms in a specific environment”).
It is now widely accepted that our gut microbiome plays a key role in health and performance. Research has shown that our gut microbiome is important for immunity, the production of vitamin K and short-chain fatty acids (SCFA), in particular butyrate, which may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, obesity and heart disease.
Where do we find probiotics in food?
These include fermented dairy...
Can we track and manage blood sugar levels in sport?
Yes; in fact, the way we manage blood glucose levels has improved significantly with the introduction of continuous glucose monitoring (CGM). This has not only been significant in athletes in sport with Type 1 diabetes but it has also started to be accessible to athletes without Diabetes. Perhaps a trend in another way to monitor metrics and data for use of fuel during training sessions and racing.
Can athletes or people with Type 1 Diabetes exercise and compete in sport?
Yes! People or athletes with Type 1 Diabetes or Type 2 Diabetes are absolutely able to not only exercise but compete in sport.
With around 40 million people in the world with type 1 diabetes, there are an increasing number taking up sport both amateurly and competitively (1).
Is it good for people with Type 1 Diabetes to exercise or compete in Sport?
The benefits of exercise are well known and also confer to someone with type...
I have a question for you. Are you getting enough, good quality, sleep?
For most of us, that answer is sadly no. So much to do. So many things on our minds. Sore bodies and stressful routines don’t help too much either- would I be right there?!
Though many of us let our sleep slip when things get busy, it is in fact one of the most important performance drivers we have available to us in our arsenal. Sleep helps our muscle tissue recover after workouts. Along with our bodies, it also recovers and restores our minds.
What you may not know is that sleep and diet are closely interrelated.
Caffeine is notorious for making it more difficult to fall asleep and eating too close to bedtime can lead to sleep disruptions.
Without enough sleep, people tend to overeat and choose unhealthy foods. Sleep deprivation affects the body’s release of ghrelin and leptin, two neurotransmitters that tell our brain when to consume calories. People who are sleep deprived are more drawn towards...
Is milk a good sports drink?
Yes, milk the ideal recovery option we need look no further than the humble glass of milk. Milk is easy to digest and has a nutritional composition that makes it an ideal recovery drink. It is a rich source of high-quality protein contains all the essential amino acids and is particularly rich in Leucine.
Recovery is a vital and often an overlooked aspect of training.
Recovery not only allows us to repair our bodies but also to recover physically and psychologically, so we are ready to give our all in the next training session. Recovery is super important, we simply can’t keep training as recovery is where adaptation happens; increasing strength, aerobic capacity and performance.
Inadequate recovery leads to a decrease in performance and an increased risk of illness and injury. So essentially all that hard work may be lost to poor recovery.
So where does nutrition have a role in our recovery?
We often think of the three Rs when it comes...
Prompted by the systematic review and meta-analysis in the BMJ in 2019 (1); prompted the question about whether we should eat breakfast “like a king” or indeed at all?!
Interestingly, the conclusion from 13 studies into weight change and energy intake was that breakfast may not “be a good strategy for weight loss."
As athletes always looking for extra gains in performance, it is not a surprise that this raised many questions about whether this may be a quick win for some to meet that golden “race weight” more efficiently.
Science and studies should always be questioned, interpreted, and taken in the context in which it is written. Like with all science that hits the headlines - does the science stack up for the context in which we are asking the question?
Breakfast literally to "break fast" of the overnight period of fasting from the night before.
With training and athletes in mind, do we need it?
Well, like a lot of answers...
We have been lucky enough to have some fantastic weather over lockdown and this week is set for more sunshine and soaring temperatures in the UK and Europe.
Sometimes work can get in the way of our busy training schedules (or is it the other way around?!)
So this led me to be out running at midday a few weeks ago in baking heat with little shade; it was a tough run but only in my perception and certainly challenged my body to adapt.
It got me thinking about why we try not to train in the heat; heading out for a run early before the sun really starts to share it’s heat or later in the evening. Whilst in the heat it does challenge our body, and certainly, the perceived rate of exercise may appear higher; we simply can’t avoid training in the heat if we then expect our bodies and mind to be able to cope and feel comfortable racing in some far-flung sunny country. Whilst it is true that there are...
Or do you?!
This is one of the most frequently asked questions in my clinic by athletes and non-athletes alike.
With experience working in both a clinical and sporting environment, I understand the motivations behind the enquiry.. but I do question why so many think that a meal plan will be the ‘answer’.
Athletes like routine, structure and a goal. You have a training plan to follow from your sports coach, why not one from your nutritionist too?!
What could be more perfect than having your weekly or monthly plan drop into your app or inbox to rigidly follow alongside that training set?
BUT imagine this…
So your held up at work or have to get the children somewhere and suddenly your training gets moved and now what happens to that “meal plan”? Do you have the knowledge and flexibility to move your nutrition as you would your training?
I often get asked about having a “diet plan”.
Social media, celebrity diets and crash diets promising weight loss or some sort of magical effects have had such an effect on what athletes and clients believe they need.
I always say, there are plenty of diet plans one can download for free, from literally one day with limited foods which is meant to be followed each day, to weeks of plans for different days. The latter does give a routine and structure, with hopefully some sort of variation.
But, how can these plans possibly meet the needs of an athlete who is an individual, has an individual body composition, individual training and racing goals and day-to-day demands?
Answer: they can’t.
So herein lies my answer to “do we need carbohydrates and protein after training?”: It entirely depends on what your focuses and your needs are.
As a general rule: yes, we do require carbohydrates alongside protein...
It is essential that we are consistent with training- any good coach will agree that performance and results come with consistency over the days, weeks and even years.
With that in mind we also need to make sure that we are fuelling consistently and appropriately around our training. For instance this may mean we concentrate on getting in the appropriate main macronutrients such as quicker release carbohydrates prior to a training session that is less than 2hrs away, or getting in protein plus carbohydrates as soon as possible after training.
However, as athletes sometimes we can also be habitual in your intake patterns - leading to a lack of flexibility with our nutritional intake. We can get stuck into habits of having the same snacks or meals, at the same times regardless of our activity levels. This can lead to a lack of variety in our overall intake patterns and food choices that can compromise your intake of necessary micronutrients.
Trout rarely gets the attention it deserves, but it is a great little option if you are not so keen on salmon and the punchy oily taste.
I love trout as an alternative to salmon and find that it is also a little lighter and slightly sweeter in taste, especially if you struggle with appetite after a really hard session.
Fresh trout from the lake or sea trout are all suitable options; and if purchasing in a supermarket, you can buy as fillets just like salmon we are accustomed to seeing and also as fillets. Trout can also be bought as whole bright, rainbow sheen to their skin. The lake variety are often a little lighter tasting than sea caught varieties. It is often a little cheaper than salmon too.
Many people shy away from cooking fish when actually it is one of the most simple and easy sources of protein to cook, and takes less than 10-20 minutes to cook. Now that’s a super simple quick supper! ...