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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Carbohydrates, Electrolytes and Fiber

This past weekend I attended GLATA (Great Lakes Athletic Training Association), which has a annual meeting in Wheeling,  just north of Chicago. The weekend was jam packed with seminars related to anything Athletic Training. I went to many different seminars, but a few stood out to me because of their nutrition. One of on the importance of carbohydrates supported by Gatorade, another on electrolytes and cramping and finally I was able to talk and read about the importance of fiber and adding it to our diets. I am really excited to share a couple of the things I learned and maybe it will help you all as the spring weather is finally here and running, biking and outdoor activities will get us all moving after this cold winter. 

(the whole crew and because I like pictures)

Carbohydrates we always hear as being our "fuel" and this has not changed. Most of what I heard, I already knew, which is the importance of carbs to keep us going and how too much is then turned and stored as fat and how carbs are the fastest digested, but stay the longest in our system. Now these things are an important reminder for me personally because all the "diets" now are telling us carbs are bad! I recently picked up my training for spring races and I can definitely feel the difference between a day without many carbs to a day with the right amount. Even if we tell ourselves that we don't need carbs when we are active and moving, we need this right amount of carbs for our body to function. Now, people are worried because if you get too many it will just accumulate as fat, which is true, but thats why we plan our day. The biggest thing from this seminar I will always keep in mind is that finding what makes us feel good and finding the amount we need for our busy days is the trick. Some days I know I don't need as many carbs as another depending on the run or daily activities. Daily recommendations changes depending on YOU! Below, I have put a little guide to carbs even if we have seen this before it is always a good little reminder for us. We need to be aware of what our bodies need. 

Now water and electrolytes, I went to another seminar that talked about cramping and the importance of electrolytes and water to avoid cramps. Let me just say this there isn't anything conclusive about why we cramp because there hasn't been just one thing they say is the cause. Drinking plenty of water and getting the electrolytes you need is helpful though and needed for any person who is active. Something that really made me pay attention in this seminar was that the sport drinks we all consume really don't replenish our bodies like we think they do. Lets say you go running for about 1 hour and its warm so you sweat. The amount of Gatorade we need to replenish would be bottles and bottles of Gatorade. Now I am not saying that drinking Gatorade is bad for us. We just need to be aware and that before, during and after activity is the key to stop dehydration and giving our bodies the electrolytes it needs. 

Finally fiber, I talked to a nutrition rep who was promoting MetaMucil, after talking to her about fiber and other vitamins she gave me some information about fiber and its importance. Fiber is not just something for your digestive tract, which we all know about, but taking a fiber supplement that has husk psyllium in it is good for hunger and our cardiovascular health because it lowers bad cholesterol. People tend to sway from fiber thinking it will just make them have digestive problems. The husk in MetaMucil mix gets thick, if anyone has ever tried it before and this is actually good! This pulls the cholesterol from our body and so it can be actually used and therefore transported out. Lower bad cholesterol is good from out heart in the long run. Like I said earlier it is also good for our hunger, especially for people who are trying to satisfy hunger. We still have to be careful and not take too much, because yes it will cause bloating and an upset stomach, but it just very interesting to me what is good for our digestive track is really good for our total health. 

Sorry this has been a long post, I have been learning a lot and anything nutrition is interesting to me. Hope everyone is enjoying the weather and that this post will make  you think a little more about food and what we put into our bodies that before. If there are any questions feel free to comment and I'll try to answer the best way that I can. 

- Sara : )

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