- Kuwait Times Extra
KUWAIT: Most of us know that a good diet and physical activity is what we need to be healthy. But what about the little sports nutrition facts we pick up from friends, family, and our infamous “know-it-all” buddies at the gym?
“They can definitely be misleading,” says Sarah Dimashkieh, expert dietitian at Diet Care. “Our gym buddies who have fabulous bodies and an assertive tone can make you believe that the sports nutrition information they’re giving you is correct.” Not anymore! Dimashkieh sheds some light on the five most common sports nutrition misconceptions.
1: “Work out on an empty stomach, it helps you burn more fat and lose weight faster.”
On the contrary, you are likely to lose muscle by exercising on an empty stomach because you actually need energy to aid the workout. Energy is obtained by a healthy meal. To add, studies have shown that the body burns roughly the same amount of fat regardless of whether you eat before a workout or not. Exercise intensity and overall calorie burn will be reduced.
Dimashkieh says a pre-exercise meal is vital for good performance during workouts. Consume a main meal three to four hours before your workout, and a snack one to two hours before your workout. These meals should contain a combination of proteins, carbohydrates, and fibers to ensure they give you energy. “The bottom line: exercising on an empty stomach does not help you burn more fat.” Dimashkieh says. “When you’re low on energy, you’re likely lowering your endurance levels and shortening your exercise time causing you to burn less amount of fat.”
Here’s the breakdown: Low energy = lower endurance = shorter exercise period = lower fat burn + less calorie burnt
2: “Eat a high protein diet, and avoid all sources of carbs if you are exercising.”
Both proteins and carbohydrates are crucial elements of our daily intake. You need adequate amounts of protein to feed your muscles in order for them grow, and carbohydrates to give you energy for exercise. According to Dimashkieh, research indicates that it is important to consume carbs such as fruits 15 minutes after exercising to help restore muscle glycogen. “Have a cup of milk, a smoothie or even a whole wheat turkey sandwich within a window of 30 minutes to two hours after your workout. This is important because it helps improve your ability to train consistently,” Dimashkieh adds.
3: “Pineapple, kiwi, grapefruit, and other herbal mixes such as green tea help your body burn fat.”
“It’s a shocker,” reveals Dimashkieh. “But that is false, false, false.” This misconception has been vastly spread and believed, but in reality these foods and drinks don’t help you burn fat. So how do we know what’s right? Dimashkieh does a little experiment. “Spread some butter on pealed and slicked kiwi or pineapple pieces. Does the butter disappear?” The butter will melt, but not disappear. “This indicates that these fruits and others do not help burn body fat,” explains Dimashkieh. You can try it yourself.
4: “Drinking a lot of water will cause water retention and will increase your abdominal fat.”
Water is extremely important when you’re exercising. “Without proper hydration, your muscles and ligaments will likely become stiff during exercise,” explains Dimashkieh. “Also remember that sodas, coffee, tea, and other beverages are not a substitute for water,” Dimashkieh says. “Sugar and caffeine actually cause the body to lose fluid, instead of hydrating our body.”
5: “Exercise prevents you from losing weight.”
“That’s false,” Dimashkieh assures. “Losing weight depends on the amount of calories you consume and burn each day. Eating more calories than you burn during exercise can lead to weight gain, while burning more calories than you eat can help you lose weight.” Physical activity, especially aerobic exercise is crucial if you are trying to lose or maintain your weight. “Increasing the rate at which you burn calories actually increases your chances of losing weight,” Dimashkieh says.
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