Most people sit down to 3 standard meals a day, but many active adults chasing fitness and physique goals divide those eating occasions into smaller, more frequent meals. An Australian study published in The Journal of Nutrition looks into associations between meal frequency including snacking and the nutritional quality of your diet.
Analyzing data from 5,242 adults who provided 24-hour food consumption recalls for the 2011–2012 National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey, researchers found that a higher frequency of eating occasions was associated with better food variety along with greater consumption of fruit and dairy options. More frequent snacking was associated with higher consumption of added sugars. Read today’s Performance Blog to see how portion size impacts satiety.
Back in 1963, researchers found that substituting while bread with bread containing 140 grams of rolled oats lowered LDL cholesterol. Now a meta-analysis of 58 controlled trials published online in the British Journal of Nutrition attempts to get more specific on the cardiovascular benefits of eating oat fiber.
Analyzing the diets of 4,000 subjects from around the world, researchers estimated that daily supplementation with 3.5 grams of beta-glucan fiber from oat could lower LDL cholesterol by an average of 4.2%. Working some into your diet isn’t likely to tip the scale too much. One cup of cooked oat bran amounts to just 88 calories.
Insulin sensitivity is a condition where insulin can’t effectively regulate blood levels of the glucose the cells in your body use for energy and other functions. Since a couple hours of moderate intensity exercise actually increase blood sugar levels, a University of Michigan study published in the journal PLOS ONE looks into the impact of diet.
Thirty two healthy women were fed meals where either 30% or 60% of the calories came from carbohydrates. After the 3rd meal, subjects in the low carb group showed a 30% reduction in insulin resistance. There was no reduction in the higher carb group, and the amount of carbs they consumed was within the range of Department of Health and Human Services recommendations…
Low levels of testosterone can lead to fatigue as well as decreased muscle and bone mass. Fortunately, your body’s natural production of this hormone can be altered through diet and exercise. A study presented at the Integrative Biology of Exercise 7 meeting in Phoenix, Arizona measured the effect of 12 weeks of aerobic exercise on 16 normal eight and 28 overweight men.
Researchers had subjects walk or jog for between 40 and 60 minutes per session performed 1 to 3 days per week. At the end of the program, overweight subjects had lost weight and significantly increased testosterone levels. Results were best in subjects who exercised vigorously. Normal weight subjects did not see such a dramatic testosterone increase.
In the weeks leading up to a competition, many athletes reduce their training intensity and volume. When to start and how much to cut back is a matter of debate. A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research offers these tips from open-class Croatian power lifting champions.
Most athletes reduced training volume in steps, reaching a 50% reduction between 8 and 5 days prior to the event. Training frequency was also cut in half in the week before competition, limiting the work to competition specific movements and equipment. This helped competitors maintain strength while reducing fatigue.
Most studies on the performance enhancing benefits of caffeine are done with experienced athletes. A new one published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research uses recreational runners and popular caffeine-containing energy drinks. Let’s see how much time it cut off their 5K effort.
Thirteen men and 8 women in their early 20s consumed a 500 ml energy drink or non-caffeinated sugar-free placebo an hour before running 5 km on a treadmill. Subjects switched drinks and repeated the race 7 days later. There were no differences in rate of perceived effort, but the energy drink helped runners finish an average of 10 seconds faster.
Your body’s preferred fuel source for short bursts of intense effort is muscle glycogen. Consuming carbohydrates after exercise can help replace the glycogen used during a weight training workout, and a study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology provides insight into how you can optimize the process.
During the first 4 hours following exercise, glycogen resynthesis can be stimulated with 1 gram of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight. So the carbohydrate consumption target for a 150 pound athlete would be around 68 grams. How you eat carbohydrates throughout the rest of the day should be geared toward meeting the demands of tomorrow’s training or competition.