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How to Choose the Best Protein Powder

Oct 17, 2018

We have a food first philosophy here at Dietitian Approved but in some instances, protein powders can have their time and place within a healthy and active lifestyle.

As a supplement, that’s exactly what they should be used as; an addition to a balanced diet when you can’t get enough protein through real food for whatever reason.

Here are some of the reasons we might advise using a protein powder:

  • For convenience. If like us, you have a busy lifestyle and seem to always be on the run!

  • To meet protein needs directly after a heavy strength specific session – where you are trying to maximally stimulate muscle protein synthesis (building new muscle)

  • To make sure your recovery meal ticks all of the boxes when you’re in a location where real food isn’t feasible. E.g. Post-racing where your recovery meal gets delayed while you’re waiting for your medal Or if you struggle to eat post-exercise

  • To bump up the protein of a meal...

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How to Beet Your Best Time and Get the Competitive Edge

Sep 16, 2018


Beetroot juice was the secret sauce for many athletes competing in the London 2012 Olympic Games. Lots of countries were using it, but it wasn’t until afterwards that the news about beetroot juice became public knowledge…

Many athletes are looking for that performance edge over their competitors. Most athletes have heard about it, but don’t know how to use it. If you’ve nailed the fundamentals of basic sports nutrition and are looking at taking your racing to the next level, try adding beetroot juice to your race plan.

 

Why beetroot juice?

What is it about this vegetable that gives you a performance kick? The component responsible for the benefits of beetroot juice is Nitrate. It’s produced within our bodies and is also found in some of the foods we eat, particularly green leafy vegetables, beetroot, processed meats and the water supply.

But the nitrate content varies widely even among the same vegetable variety. Freshness and farming practices...

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Turmeric – the next big sports nutrition supplement?

Feb 16, 2017


As the Turmeric latte surges to the front of the trend list, what is it about this spice that’s causing all the hype? We take a look at what it is, the potential benefits and how to include it in your diet.

Why the hype?

Turmeric is a golden yellow spice that has been used for centuries in Indian cooking. Turmeric contains the bioactive compound Curcumin, which has strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It’s claimed to have a positive effect on heart disease, irritable bowel syndrome, diabetes, arthritis, depression, anxiety, Alzheimer’s disease, colorectal cancer and many other conditions. Be mindful though that research for these benefits has been done in vitro (in a petri dish) or in animal models (mostly rats) which is difficult to extrapolate to humans. The research in humans is limited and more trials are needed.

How much Turmeric and Curcumin may benefit?

It’s not as simple as adding a little turmeric to your latte or smoothie....

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Sports Supplements

Aug 16, 2016


Sports Supplements are everywhere!  I struggle to keep up with the latest products on the market with new brands popping up every week. As many athletes search for that ‘magic bullet’, sports supplements have become a multi-billion dollar industry. In fact, a recent study found that 40-70% of athletes take supplements.

A nutrition supplement, as the name suggests, is designed to supplement the diet and should never replace it. My approach as a dietitian is always “food-first” as your day-to-day nutrition is where you will see the greatest health and performance benefits long term. Supplements are considered the sprinkles, on the icing on the cake. It’s important to get the foundations of a balanced, healthy diet in training right first (the sponge), before adding the icing and even considering the sprinkles.

Supplements typically fall into three main categories: Sports foods and fluids, Medical supplements and Performance supplements.

Sports foods...

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Chocolate & Sports Performance – the next big thing?

Mar 24, 2016


There’s been lots of talk in the media about chocolate being good for you. From lowering blood pressure to increase HDL cholesterol, it’s the new wonder drug (apparently). Dark chocolate, in particular, is rich in cocoa, which is the seed part of the cocoa tree. Cocoa is rich in a compound called flavanols, a potent antioxidant also found in fruits, vegetables, tea and red wine.

Research is emerging in the general population of a positive effect of flavanols on cognitive, visual and brain function. It has also been suggested that flavonoid and polyphenol compounds exhibit anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, improve blood flow and insulin sensitivity. There is however limited research of a performance benefit in the healthy, athletic population.

Chocolate lovers may take solace in a new study out of the UK, the first of its kind in fact.
Researchers found that dark chocolate enhanced performance in a small group of cyclists when compared to white...

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Caffeine and Sports Performance

Jun 24, 2015

 

Caffeine is a widely used, socially acceptable stimulant.

It is found naturally in the leaves, beans and fruits of a variety of plants. The most common dietary sources of caffeine include tea, coffee, cola, energy drinks, chocolate and supplemented sports foods like gels and shots. It is rapidly absorbed and transported to all body tissues and organs where it exhibits a complex range of actions. Effects include the mobilisation of fat from adipose tissue (yes please!) and the muscle cell, changes to muscle contractility, lowering the perceived rate of exertion (how hard you feel you’re working), effects on the heart muscle and stimulation of adrenaline (our fight or flight hormone).

The major benefit of taking caffeine on exercise performance appears to be achieved by central nervous system effects, which can help reduce the perception of effort and fatigue, effectively allowing you to train or race harder and longer.

Who would benefit?

There is a solid body of...

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