Sunday, January 25, 2009

Juice: A four letter word?

Mention the word juice around some parents, caregivers, dietitians, doctors, and other professionals (health or otherwise), and you'd think you said a four letter word! So, what's this food cop's take? (I hope you know I'm kidding about the whole food cop thing!)

I do not believe that 100% fruit juice is as evil for kids as it can be made out to be. If you know anything about my philosophy by reading previous blogs, you know that I definitely do not believe in categorizing foods as "good" vs "bad". A parent who provides a child with juice is not "bad" and a parent who does not is not "good". I believe that 100% fruit juice (I'm not talking about the stuff that's 5% juice and the rest water and sugar, i.e., "fruit drink", "cocktail" or "juice beverage") can be a nutritious part of a child's diet. In fact, 100% fruit juice does offer valuable nutrients, such as potassium, vitamin A, C and B6, magnesium, iron, and folate, in addition to flavonoids.

Some people fear fruit juice because of the....aaaak...sugar! Oh no! Guess what? While 100% fruit juice does contain naturally occurring fruit sugar (fructose) along with some other types of naturally occurring sugar, it does not contain added sugar, and again, it's got some important nutrients in it. What it does not contain is a lot of fiber, so that is one knock against it. Interestingly, kiddos who consume 100% fruit juice also take in less total fat, saturated fat, added fat and added sugar than non-juice consumers.

Another big concern over fruit juice is that will make a child overweight. It is true that our hunger is not as satisfied with foods/beverages in liquid vs solid or even semi-solid form, so we can more easily overdo it on calories when consuming liquid sources, such as fruit juice, fruit drinks, sports drinks, and sodas. While there have been a few studies detecting some relationship between fruit juice consumption and childhood overweight, most studies (14 in the last 10 years), found no relationship between fruit juice consumption and overweight in children. There's likely a combination of factors affecting rising rates of obesity in children and fruit juice alone is not the single culprit.

The other beef some people have with fruit juice is that it serves as a substitute for milk. However, recent research shows no significant difference in cow juice consumption between juice consumers and non-juice consumers.

So, what do I suggest? Moderation. What is moderation? I tend to follow the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines for fruit juice consumption.
  • Fruit juice should not be introduced to infants <6 months of age. (Human milk is the the best source of nutrition for children of this age.)
  • For children 1-6 years old, fruit juice intake should be limited to 4-6 oz/d.
  • For children 7-18 years old, fruit juice intake should be limited to 8-12 oz/d.
  • Children should be encouraged to consume whole fruits to meet their daily fruit intake.
Here are a few things I do to moderate juice consumption:
  • Offer water or milk (non-fat or 1% for kids ages 2+) first.
  • Dilute the juice with water.
  • Offer "icy juice". Fill a cup full of ice, then pour 100% fruit juice over it.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Get your drink on...

...and off the course that is! I recently answered a question regarding fluid intake during exercise. This is a question that I'm often asked, so I thought I would address it here. As an athlete, I know that there are a few typical things that many athletes (beginner or experienced) tend to forgo during workout or competition, and one of those is FLUID. People do without hydration during activity for many reasons. Here are some that I've heard: "It's too annoying to stop for a drink or carry a water bottle around with you." "I'll have to go to the bathroom if I drink anything during my workout." "I don't get thirsty." "I'm not working out long enough to need anything." "I can't tolerate fluids during my workout." I hate to break the news, but fluid intake during exercise is advised for optimal training and competition whether you're a casual exerciser or a pro.

Water is an essential and often overlooked nutrient, especially during activity. About 60-70% of the body is composed of water and it serves many important functions. During exercise water is necessary for transporting nutrients and oxygen to the muscles, removing waste products, and eliminating heat from the body. Even a water loss of 1-2% of body weight can hinder exercise performance. Just think about it...without adequate fluid in the blood, the heart has to beat faster to pump all the oxygen and nutrients to those hard-working muscles. With the heart working harder and the body temp rising, a person can become more easily fatigued, and endurance and power can suffer in a very short time. In addition, with the intensity of the exercise seeming more difficult, imagine what that does for one's mental stamina?

Some people say, "Simple. I'll just drink when I'm thirsty." While that is one of the first signs of dehydration and typically a good indicator of the need for fluid intake, it's not so reliable during exercise. Why? Fluid needs during exercise can be greater than what our thirst can gauge. So, while one might take a sip or two of water and no longer feel thirsty, his/her body actually has the need for more fluid.

I'm no perfect angel here. I've tried this both ways...without consuming any or adequate fluid during workouts/competition and with. Believe me, it makes a huge difference for me personally when I make sure I'm adequately hydrated before, during, and after a workout/competition.

So, how much does one need? Drink about 5-10 oz every 15-20 minutes during exercise. One gulp is about 1 oz. Water is a perfect choice for light to moderate activity in moderate conditions lasting <90 activities="" high="" intensity="" minutes.="" moderate="" nbsp="" or="" to="">90 minutes or in hot/humid conditions, a sports drink is appropriate to replenish fluid, electrolytes, and carbohydrate stores in the body. These are general guidelines, so there may be some individual differences. A Registered Dietitian may be able to help develop a fluid plan for training and competition that meets your individual needs. If you are training for an event, make sure that you train with whatever you plan to use during the event. You really don't want any surprises come race day. And no, pouring the fluid over the head does not help meet your fluid needs during activity.

Drink up!

Monday, January 5, 2009

The C word....

Cravings? Ever have 'em? Nah, never, right? If you have, you're not alone as over 50 to almost 100% of people studied have experienced food cravings or an intense desire to eat a specific food. Did you know that the top 3 most craved foods are: carrots, celery, and broccoli? I'm kidding here. What do you think they are? Based on recent research findings, craved foods tend to be rich in calories, fat, and carbohydrate. So, chocolate, ice cream, cookies, potato chips all fit into this category. People also tend to crave salty foods, too! The underlying cause of cravings is still not well understood though recent research points at different factors such as learned behaviors (i.e., habits) given certain situations or stimuli, short-term calorie restriction, and the release of feel-good chemicals in the brain in response to eating certain foods among other things. Regardless of the reason they exist, the fact of the matter is that many of us have cravings, and cravings can wreak havoc on one's mind and efforts at weight management.

Did you know that the average craving can last anywhere between 5 seconds to 15 minutes? Seriously. I know. It doesn't seem likely because when we're in that craving moment, it can feel like an ETERNITY, and that's why many of us typically raise the white flag to them swiftly. The good news is that these things can actually pass pretty quickly. If we actually take the time to allow ourselves to make an informed decision, we will better manage our cravings. Get rid of them? Not necessarily, but managing them, now that's realistic! So, what do you do?

1) STOP! - The first step in managing cravings is to take notice! Put yourself on guard. Realize that you are experiencing a craving. Imagine a huge STOP sign or a red light or a whistle going off giving you the warning signal.

2) relax... Now's the time to take a deep breath or two.

3) Ask - In order to make an informed decision, you need information. So begin to ask yourself a few questions. What is it that I'm craving? Am I hungry? What happened when I consumed this food before? What will happen if I do it now? What do I really want?

4) Decide - Your decision can go either way. After pausing long enough to consider the options, you allow yourself to make a more informed decision. You can choose to go ahead and fulfill that urge and eat the food. Or you can choose not to. You are not {good} if you don't eat it or {bad} if you do. It's not a moral issue! It's a decision, and it can be a simple one. It just takes time to develop the habit of becoming more aware of the cravings and making more informed choices about whether or not to satisfy them.

Based on my experience with many clients, I've found that following these steps has helped many better manage their cravings. It doesn't make them go away. No, I'm not sure there's a cure for them...yet! But it can make the situation much less stressful and allow enough time for the person to reflect on the decision while the craving actually either subsides or a final informed decision is made not to consume the food. All I can say is practice, practice, practice!

Now about that chocolate...
Related Posts with Thumbnails