Track Talk 1-14-2020

What is the best statement

A)     We should eat a pint of blueberries or drink a small bottle of POM juice daily to get the max benefits from antioxidants.

B)      When we feel the common cold coming on we should immediately take 1000mg of vitamin C

C)      As runners the most important element in our diet is protein which is needed to repair muscle damage  from long runs

D)     A balanced diet should  include in the following order, vegetables, fruit ,complex  carbohydrates, lean protein, fats, and if you must the occasional junk food for the mind

E)      A runner’s diet should have at least 40% of calories from carbs, 35-40% from protein and 20-25% from fat.

F)       Frequent common colds is the result of poor nutrition

If you answered D then you are on the way. Let’s take the statements one by one

A)     We do not have to eat any specific foods WAY out of proportion just to get the benefits of antioxidants, vitamins, protein or any other nutrient. There is NO MAGIC BULLET. I’m certain that you have heard the saying “ Balance is the key to life” and that certainly applies here. More is not necessarily better. Unfortunately there is money to be made by selling supplements so the snake oil salesmen will jump in make you believe that you have to have it. There is more money to be made from selling you POM juice or the latest concoction of mystery fruits than beans and broccoli. Practically every food has some benefit, the less processing the food the more nutrients it has. Even coffee has antioxidants. Scientists have just scratched the surface of how all these nutrients work in synchrony. In addition there are lots of supplements out there that do not contain what is advertised, and worse yet may interact with drugs that you are taking.  Be careful……

B)      Vitamin C is an antioxidant as well as an essential vitamin. The human body is unable to synthesize this vitamin like some animals such as goats and birds. The great chemist, Nobel prize winner Linus Pauling  pushed vitamin C into the stratosphere. He believed that taking mega doses of it will cure everything from cancer to the common cold. One of the reasons why the belief of colds and vitamin C has lingered to this day is that animals who can synthesize  the vitamin, the level goes way up when under stress. There is also a weak association that taking vitamin C at the first sign of a cold can lessen its longevity by about 10%. Really? Did you ever consider what that statement means? How long does a cold really last? Are you really going to accurately calculate that it lasted a day or two less?  Just to sum this up Linus Pauling and his wife both died from cancer. I’m not saying that their excessive intake was the cause it but it certainly didn’t prevent it.

C)      The DRI (Dietary Reference Intake) is 0.36 grams per pound of body weight. This amounts to 56 grams per day or about 2 ozs. for the average sedentary man about 165lbs. Yes this the generally accepted US RDA guideline. Let’s say we double that because we are active runners to 4 ozs per day(112 grams). It is easy to see how in today’s civilized world how easy it is to get more than we need. BUT WAIT. Don’t assume that the raw weight of meat or food directly translates to protein content. For instance,  Four ounces of chicken (or half a cup) has about 22 grams of protein, or four ounces of tuna has 28 grams of protein. An egg has 6 grams.  Bottom line as active runners we should be aiming for 75 – 100 grams of protein daily.

D)     This is the correct answer. More on why next time (if I get feedback)

E)      The percentage of protein to carbs on this diet is too high. Carbs should be in the neighborhood of 60 % protein about 20% – 25 %

F)      The common cold is caused by a virus. Although the secondary infections that you can get like pneumonia and sinusitis is caused by bacteria. For the last 20 years or so you have been told to wash your hands as frequently as possible It’s not that the virus enters your body through your hands, but we tend to rub our eyes and touch our noses instinctively many times an hour. That is the direct means of infection. You can also get it by having someone coughing or sneezing too close to you. If your immune system is weak, possibly  from overtraining you could also be suspect. It’s not impossible that an unusually bad diet could lead to a weakened immune system therefore making you suspect to catching a cold on the slightest whim but you are more likely to get a cold from the aforementioned pathways.

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