Posts Tagged With: calories

Congrats to Jordan Burroughs (& his diet)!

It happens every 4 years…the summer Olympics! I, like many Americans, find myself glued to the TV in the evenings watching the highlights in swimming, diving, track and field, gymnastics, volleyball, basketball and more. Today was cause for celebration, as fellow Husker Jordan Burroughs made Nebraska & America proud by winning gold in the 74-kg men’s wrestling! Go Big Red! Go USA!

Courtesy of USA Wrestling’s Facebook Page

Wrestling is a weight- and body-focused sport, which is one that emphasizes strength, conditioning, and body shape to achieve the goals of the sport.  Wrestling requires a combination of mental and physical skills – anaerobic power, aerobic power, muscular strength, endurance, flexibility, speed, agility, explosiveness, and concentration.  Nutrition has a major impact on the outcome of the wrestler, both during training and closer to competition.  During training, a wrestler such as Burroughs may eat quite a bit of food while maintaining a weight 10-20 pounds higher than their weight class. However as the time of the meet draws closer, the same wrestler will cut calories in order to “make weight” prior to the meet.  When making weight, the goal is to maximize the amount of lean body tissue and minimize body fat and total body weight.

Keeping this in mind, when cutting weight down before a meet, it’s important to use safe calorie-cutting techniques rather than taking drastic measures.  Serious illness or even death can occur through intentional dehydration or starvation, which are sometimes combined with fluid restriction, saunas, sweat suits (although banned), and diuretics.

The Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics Sports Nutrition Manual provides these general nutrition guidelines for wrestlers:

  • Energy: Individualize based on body composition and weight goals
  • Carbohydrates: 5-8 g/kg/day (so for 74 kg Burroughs, that’s 370-572 g/day)
  • Protein: 1.2-1.7 g/kg/day (protein requirements may increase to 2 g/kg/day during periods of lowest energy intake to achieve weight loss)
  • Fat: Remainder of kcal with an emphasis on heart healthy fats

So for 74 kg Burroughs, that’s about 370-572 g carbohydrates/day and 89-148 g protein/day, with the remainder of his calories coming from heart-healthy fats such as olive oil, canola oil, and omega-3s found in fish.  Here’s a video that shows how Jordan Burroughs eats during training season. Notice how he pays attention to his fluid, sodium, carbohydrate, and protein intake.  Notice also how his diet changes when he’s trying to cut weight in order to make his weight class for an upcoming meet.

As you can see, the energy needs of a wrestler are going to vary depending on whether the wrestler is trying to maintain weight or lose weight quickly.  Therefore calorie needs can vary from 1500 per day to over 3000 per day.  Regardless of the total energy intake, wrestlers should make sure to consume nutrient-dense foods, as sufficient macro and micro-nutrients are needed in order to support training, performance, and overall health.  Fluid intake should also be balanced with fluid loss, and if dehydration is used as a weight loss method it is recommended that immediately after the weigh-in is completed, fluids and electrolytes are restored.

Interested in eating like an Olympic champion? While you may not have the same fitness and nutrition goals as Burroughs and other Olympic wrestlers, you can certainly try out Burroughs’ favorite omlette combination at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado: 3 eggs, diced chicken, mushrooms, and jalapenos! Sounds like a flavorful, high-protein meal that can definitely fuel your day, whether that’s winning an Olympic gold medal, or conquering another 8-5 day at work.

Photo courtesy of USA Wrestling Facebook Page

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Categories: Current News, Sports Nutrition | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Healthiest Vending Machine Options

When choosing a snack from a vending machine, you’re faced with a few options….chips, popcorn, chocolate bars, candy, cookies, trail mix, and more.  The average person may not think twice about the nutritional content of these items.  However for the person who is trying to keep an eye on their health or waistline, deciding what to purchase can be a tougher decision.  Now, if vending machines dispensed fruits and vegetables, every option would be a healthy choice.

Fresh fruits & veggies from Fresh Healthy Vending

However, most vending machines today still look like the one found in the Agricultural Sciences Building at West Virginia University.

Chips, and Snacks, and Candy, Oh My!

It’s really too bad, considering that West Virginia has one of the highest rates of obesity and diabetes in the country.  But in order for behavior change to occur, people have to have the right tools and skill set in order to make healthier and educated choices.  I wanted to create some kind of sign or educational material that grouped these vending machine choices into “green, yellow, red” for a “yes, sometimes, rarely” type of rating system that will let consumers know how each snack ranks nutrition-wise, when compared with the rest of the available options.  After analyzing the calorie and fat content of each package, I decided the most reasonable criteria to use was 240 calories or less and 20% DV of total fat or less for the “green” rating. A yellow rating meant it only met one of the two previous criteria, and a red rating meant the snack didn’t meet either of the criteria, as it was above 240 calories and above 20% DV of total fat.

Here is a PDF file showing the snacks grouped into each stoplight color, which I hope to have as a poster next to the vending machine:

Guide to Vending Machine Snacks

And here is another flyer highlighting the 3-4 best vending machine choices:

Best Vending Machine Choices

While doing this project, there’s one main lesson I learned and that others should take notice of as well.  Portion size is everything! Many of these snacks are not single serving sizes.  For example, the bags of chips were 1.125-2 ounces, while a serving of chips is 1 ounce.  So naturally, if you eat the whole bag, you have to nearly double the calories, fat grams, carbohydrates, etc. in order to accurately depict what is in the entire bag.  This is especially key to take note of if you choose the Kar’s Roasted Salted Peanuts.  Peanuts are a great snack to have– they contain 8 grams of protein and nearly 3 grams of fiber per serving, not to mention they contain the heart-healthy unsaturated fats. But this bag is two ounces, and an ounce of peanuts is one serving.  If you eat the full two ounces in one afternoon, you’ve just ate 29 grams of fat, or 45% of your DV for the day.  So it’s definitely best to eat half of the package, and save the other half in your desk drawer for later in the week.

Ok, so “what can I eat?”  The answer, is anything! Just eat half of the bag of chips or half of the candy bar, and you’ll be just fine. Everything will be less than 170 calories that way, and less than 17% DV of total fat, or 11 grams.  But if you want to eat an entire package, here’s the best option from each category:

BEST CHIP: Baked Ruffles, Cheddar & Sour Cream
Due to its smaller portion size (1.125oz), this bag contains just 135 calories and 4 grams of fat (only 0.5g of that is saturated). Go for it!

BEST SNACK ITEM: Chex Mix, Cheddar
This 1.75-oz bag contains 210 calories and 6.5g of fat (10% DV). A better choice than Cheez-Its which have more than double the fat.

BEST CANDY: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
Due to its smaller portion size, these 2 peanut butter cups are the lowest calorie candy bar you’re going to find in this vending machine. While Reese’s does have 13g of fat (20% DV), 8.5g of these are unsaturated fats, and there’s also 5g of protein, which isn’t too bad!

HONORABLE MENTION: Kar’s Original Trail Mix
While it did receive a “yellow” rating due to its higher fat content (22% DV), trail mix is still a good choice. This 1.5-oz bag is 200 calories, has 3g of fiber, 7.5g of protein, and 12.5g of the 14g of fat are unsaturated (“healthy”) fats.

Remember, the healthiest choice to make would be to bring a snack from home, such as fruit, whole wheat crackers, yogurt, a cheese stick, or fresh veggies.  But if you find yourself in front of a vending machine with a dollar in your pocket, it’s also important to know what vending machine options are the healthiest for you.

Categories: Community Nutrition, Education in the Community | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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