Blog

Coconut oil: Good or Bad?

In the past year, my clients have become very curious about coconut oil. “What about coconut oil?” they ask. “Is it good or bad?”

My answer is there is not a good or bad food. That is, an apple is a good (healthful) food but a diet of all apples is a bad diet. The same concept applies to coconut oil. A little bit can fit into a balanced diet—but frequent consumption is likely trending to the dark side.

To date, there is too little research to make a firm health claim about coconut oil. But my question to you is, “Why would you want to swap out olive oil, a mono-unsaturated fat which is known to be health-promoting, and replace it with saturated fat that is known to be health erosive?”

Yes, coconut oil does contain some types of fatty acids that can have positive health attributes.  But it also has a signifiicant amount of the negative saturated fat that contributes to heart disease.

Why has coconut oil become so popular recently? Perhaps because the coconut industry has been busy promoting the positive aspects of coconuts. Quite likely, many food companies want to remove trans fats (a particularly bad saturated fat) from processed foods. Yet, trans fats, like all saturated fats, offer a nice texture to cookies and baked goods. (There’s a reason why cookies are made with butter instead of olive oil!)

If the food industry is stopping the use of trans fats—and consumers are educated enough to avoid saturated fats—the industry needs to come up with a new way to make food appealing. Enter coconut butter, coconut oil—and also a hyped-up by-product called coconut water. (You know, the “all-natural” sports drink…)

The bottom line: Before you invest in a vat of coconut oil, think twice and wait for better research on its long term effect on your health. Perhaps a little dab will do ya?”

For more information on how to choose a heart-healthy diet: Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook, new fifth edition.

Too fat to exercise (or so he says)

“I know I should exercise to lose weight, but I’m so fat. I feel too embarrassed to be seem exercising in public” reported Tom (not his real name), a 35-year-old sports fan who wanted to lose about 50 pounds. He was an avid sports watcher, but he himself had never enjoyed playing sports because of his size. “You know, my knees ache when I walk more than 10 minutes. I’ll never be able to lose weight…” Continue Reading

The Athlete’s Omelet: Not for breakfast only!

Given that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, your chances of eating breakfast improve when you plan a meal that is both yummy and offers nutrients that will help you perform well.  Continue Reading

Upcoming Workshops on Nutrition for Sports, Exercise & Weight Management

NUTRITION for SPORTS, EXERCISE & WEIGHT MANAGEMENT: What Really Works and Why

At this information-filled, 1.5 day workshop, you will enjoy the opportunity to:

–boost your sports nutrition confidence when counseling active clients.

–network with your peers.

–learn from two internationally respected professionals. Continue Reading

Electrolyte replacement: Do you need a sports drink for sodium?

The food industry is again duping many active people. Just today I met with yet-another recreational exerciser who reported buying “electrolyte replacers” to drink after her 10-mile run. The run took her about 90 minutes – way too short to deplete her body of electrolytes. But more critical than that, she had no idea that food – good old-fashioned food – is an excellent source of electrolytes.

Electrolytes are generally referred to as sodium, potassium, and calcium—among other minerals. We all know the typical American Diet offers way too much sodium. That’s why public health messages encourage us to eat less sodium (salt). Even most athletes are unlikely to need extra sodium (unless they are heavy sweaters who are working out for extended periods of time in the heat, like during a tennis tournament, three-hour run, or a 100-mile bike race.)

Rather than needlessly spend your money on a sports drink for extra sodium, just sprinkle some salt on your pre- and/or post-exercise meal. Or have pretzels and a banana for a pre- or post-exercise snack. Or drink chocolate milk instead of a sports drink. You’ll get more sodium (yes, milk contains sodium, as well as potassium and calcium) as well as far more nutrition than in sugar-water (a.k.a sports drink). Or, if you prefer the sports drink, at least buy it as an educated consumer, knowing what it is, and what it is not.

For more information:

Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook

Food Guide for Marathoners

Cyclist’s Food Guide

Super Foods vs Standard Foods: Is one better?

Do you ever get tired of reading yet-another headline about The 10 Best Super Sports Foods, only be instructed to buy exotic fruits, ancient grains, and other unusual items?

Do you really need to spend a lot of money on chia, spelt, and quinoa?

Is anything wrong with old-fashioned peanut butter, broccoli and brown rice?

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Mission Apolo: Built With Chocolate Milk

World-champion short-track speedskater Apolo Ohno has embarked upon training for the IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. That’s a huge switch from doing a short, intense burst of effort in a cold ice rink to enduring hours of grueling work in the hot Hawaiian lava fields!

Apolo accepted the BUILT WITH CHOCOLATE MILK campaign’s challenge (www.gotchocolatemilk.com) and is training like he has never trained before. He has excellent coaches and I have been invited to be one of his food coaches/sports nutritionists.

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If you eat tons of protein, will you gain muscle?

True or False: College athletes who want to bulk up during the summer should eat slabs of roast beef and drink large protein shakes?

False.  Because the body can utilize only about 20 to 25 grams of protein at one dose, you won’t build bigger muscles by eating a slab of beef for dinner or by downing a hefty protein shake for breakfast. Continue Reading

What about high fructose corn syrup…???

High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is a double molecule comprised of 45% glucose, 55% fructose—the same as honey and similar to white sugar (50% glucose, 50% fructose).

Although HFCS is deemed evil and fattening, it is less evil and less fattening than portrayed by the media (1). Ninety percent of 567 media reports on HFCS since 2004 replaced science with opinion and were biased to the erroneous (2).

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Recipe for Skillet Lasagna

Looking for a quick and easy dinner tonight?

Try this family-friendly recipe from my Sports Nutrition Guidebook. It is just one of many yummy sports food recipes that are simple to make and taste great.

 Skillet Lasagna

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