Archive | July, 2012

There’s An Athlete In All of Us!

By:  Susan K. Wilkerson, RD, LD

Clinical Dietitian, Lexington Medical Center

The 2012 Summer Olympics in London start this month.  Many of us will be sitting in front of the TV for hours watching in amazement as these athletic specimens perform their feats.  Let’s take a peek at what the athletes eat.

From the beginning, food played a big part in an athlete’s life.  During Ancient Greek times most people ate breads, vegetables and fruits.  The meat source was fish for the people who lived near the sea.  The earliest records point to a cheese and fruit-based diet for the first Olympic athletes.  Ancient Olympians came from the upper class since wealthy families could feed their children more protein-rich legumes, cheeses and meats to build strong muscle.

A study of the diet of athletes in Berlin in 1936 (Schenk, 1936) based on the analysis of the diets of 4,700 competitors from forty-two nations, determined an average in-take of 320g of protein, 270g of fat and 850g of carbohydrates, which is 7,110 kcal/day.  The majority of the calories came from carbohydrates (48%).

Today, what you eat while you train and perform during your event makes a difference at the finish line.  With advance research and new technology, athletes today have specific needs for a specific task.  It’s all specialized, but it comes down to eating healthy fruits and vegetables, complex carbohydrates, and lean meats.  Highly processed refined foods are avoided.

So as we get inspired to get off the couch and walk around the block, let’s think about what we eat to fuel our bodies to complete the tasks of the day.  There is an athlete in all of us!  As it is today, food has always played an important part in the life of athletes.  In fact, at the first recorded Olympics in 776 BC, the winning runner was a cook, Koroibos from Elis.

  1. National Geographic News Ancient Olympians follow Adkins diet Scolar says  
  2. Grivetti, L. E. and Applegate, E. A. (1997) From Olympia to Atlanta: A Cultural-Historical Perspective on Diet and Athletic Training, The Journal of Nutrition Vol. 127 No. 5, pp. 860S-868S.
  3. Olympic diet in pictures, the Guardian The Observer.
  4. Schenk, P. (1936). Munch. med. Wschr. 83, 1535.


Weight Loss Strategies that Work

by Donna Quirk, RD LD MBA, Lexington Medical Center

A study published this month in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics highlights three effective strategies to practice that can lead to greater weight loss.

The study, from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, followed 123 overweight and obese middle aged women who were all part of a larger trial looking at the effect of diet and exercise on hormones. The women who lost the most weight (approximately 19 lbs. in a year) consistently –

• Ate breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Why? Skipping meals may lead to overeating and snacking because of hunger. Eating breakfast may actually jump start the body’s metabolism and provide important energy to start the day.
• Kept detailed food journals. Why? Writing down everything you eat increases your level of accountability and responsibility. You can see in black and white what you have eaten and learn more about your eating habits. When journaling it is a good idea to record the times you eat, your hunger level, and portion sizes along with what you eat.
• Avoided restaurant or carry out meals at lunch. Why? Probably because large portion sizes and higher calorie foods are the norm when eating out. Taking some time to plan and pack a lunch from home helps with calorie control and keeps weight loss on track.

Whether you’re starting out or looking to jump start your weight loss, using these three strategies can help you achieve success!

Planning and packing a lunch can be tough. To give you an idea, this is what I’m eating this week for lunch. I’ll enjoy great flavor while getting 2 to 3 fruit and veggie servings, 1/3 of my daily fiber, antioxidants, and heart healthy oil. I plan to eat the salad like salsa with baked tortilla chips and use it as the filling in a whole wheat tortilla. Might add some avocado, too!

Mango Black Bean Salad

Black Bean and Mango Salad
Prep: 20 Minutes, Cook: 0 Minutes, Total: 20 Minutes
Servings: 4

1 (15.8 ounce) can Black Beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups diced mango
1 cup diced sweet red bell pepper
6 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 seeded jalapeno pepper, minced
Salt to taste

1. Combine ingredients in bowl. Toss and serve.

Nutrition: Calories: 194 kcal; Total Fat: 4g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Sodium: 502mg; Carbohydrates: 37g; Dietary Fiber: 9g; Protein: 7g

Recipe and Photo from Bush’s Beans®