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Cheat's Chicken Paella
Great option to get 3-4 serves veg in and vary the carbs based on needs
Thanks CSIRO Gut Health cookbook. Though why do my pictures never look as good as yours?
#centrednutritionau #guthealth #paella
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Low carb beer:

Food and beverage companies are particularly astute at jumping or initiating trends. One such trend is the increase in low-carb beer products and consumption in recent years. The idea being that reducing the carbohydrate in beer is seen as a healthier choice. Is it really making that much difference? One study showed that people who drink low carb beer usually drink more of it. Thinking back to my prior post on the energy in alcohol: you are just taking in more alcohol energy by drinking more. Because the predominant source of energy in a drink (excluding mixers) is the alcohol content.

The other misconception is that beer is full of sugar or carbohydrate. That simply isn’t the case. Beer only contains ~2.7g carbohydrate per 100mL (stouts = more). Looking this time at equal serving sizes (for easier comparison of carbohydrate content); we see the following:
375mL mid strength beer (3.5% ABV), 450kJ, ~7.5g carbohydrate, ~10g alcohol
375mL low carb mid (3.5% ABV), 375kJ, ~2.6g carbohydrate, ~10g alcohol
375mL heavy beer (5% ABV), 560kJ, ~10g carbohydrate, ~15g alcohol
375mL heavy low carb (4.6% ABV), 470kJ, ~2.6g carbohydrate, ~14g alcohol

While you do cut out some carbohydrate and energy with a lower carb beer, your better bet is going with a lower alcohol beer or simply drinking less of them.

As I’ve said previously: I enjoy beer too. My tip is to choose the beer you like and drink it in moderation.

Centred Nutrition: Peter Herzig Dietetics and Sports Nutrition #beer #lowcarbbeer

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Carbohydrate in beer references were taken from:
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Mixers and alcohol

In yesterday’s post I discussed the energy content from alcohol in different beverages. But what about the mixers we have with them?

Absolutely any sweetened mixer (excluding artificially sweetened, soda water or unflavoured mineral water) will add more energy to an alcoholic drink. As a comparison to the alcohol energy I discussed yesterday; to obtain the same amount of energy from a sweetened mixer (290kJ or 70kcal) we would need the following serves:
Red Bull or Juice: 150mL
Coca-cola: 170mL
Ginger ale (dry)/Most flavoured mineral waters: 180mL
Tonic water: 200mL

As you can see these aren’t large serve sizes, so quickly add up if we are having alcohol and a sweetened mixer together. Thus, for those people choosing spirits and a mixer, your energy intake may be double that of a wine drinker (if consuming the same standard 10g of alcohol). Something to consider if you are keeping an eye on energy and sugar intake. As each serve above contains ~19g of sugar. Other options are using soda water, mineral water with a little fruit juice or artificially sweetened beverages.

More for beer lovers in the next post

Centred Nutrition: Peter Herzig Dietetics and Sports Nutrition #alcohol #mixers

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What is the best alcoholic drink?

Around this time of year someone always asks me what alcoholic drink they should have at Christmas. While it is absolutely a loaded question, my usually answer is: what ever you enjoy (in moderation). Delving deeper; what most are usually asking is: what drink has the lowest energy (kilojoules/calories)?

While whatever additions (mixers etc) play a role, the energye energy contained in alcohol itself plays a large role it its calorific value. Every gram of alcohol has ~29kJ or ~7kcal. One standard drink in Australia has 10g of alcohol (equals 290kJ or 70kcal energy). As a reference, you would find 10g of alcohol (on average) in:

105mL white wine/champagne
90mL red wine
375mL mid strength beer (3.5% (ABV)
250mL heavy beer (5% ABV)
30mL spirit (40% ABV)

But yes some mixers do play a role. Some drinks have additional energy and what about low-carb beer? Stay tuned

Centred Nutrition: Peter Herzig Dietetics and Sports Nutrition #alcohol #energy #christmasdrinks

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2 years ago

Centred Nutrition: Peter Herzig Dietetics and Sports Nutrition

Power to weight ratio: is it really so important?

As a Sports Dietitian I am often asked about maximising power to weight. Power (the amount of work completed in a certain time) to weight or watts per kilogram is a measure that allows us to compare individuals or improvements following training in (particularly) cycling performance. Though we need to know what power we are talking about: is it the maximum power you can sprint at, your functional threshold power (FTP) or power for the duration of an IM bike leg? Andy Coggan has a nice article on Power Profiling on TrainingPeaks if you want more information.

Why is it important?
Bragging rights between you and your training buddies of course… Power to weight in cycling has traditionally been used to compare the abilities of climbers. When the gradient increases, power to weight becomes more important as we are working harder against gravity. Thus heavier riders need to produce more power to keep up. It is also beneficial to have a higher power to weight ratio if your sport depends on accelerating, decelerating or changing direction quickly (I know engineers, they are all forms of acceleration).

Why isn’t it important?
I hear you; you don’t participate in hilly road cycling and you aren’t planning on doing Embrun Man anytime soon. While power to weight is important up a hill, on a flat course it makes much less difference. For two riders: Mike (80kg and FTP 300W or 3.75W/kg) can average 37.3kph* on the flat, while Amanda (60kg and FTP 250W or 4.2W/kg) can only manage 36.9kph* (*theoretically). Even though Amanda’s power to weight is greater, it is Mike’s greater power (300W) that is more important.

But what about aerodynamics, doesn’t a bigger body push more air?
Yes that is true, in fact overcoming aerodynamic resistance is responsible for 90% of the energy used in a time trial over 40kph. Though Amanda’s lower drag isn’t enough to counteract her lower power compared to Mike. A more recent study showed just this in the real world: the best predictor of time trial performance was average power during a time trial normalised to a cyclist’s drag area (Peterman et al, 2015). Or more basically: better performances were those individuals that could produce more power in an aerodynamic position.

Considerations when maximising power to weight.
For most athletes it is more important to maximise training gains (power), focus on fuelling during training and competition and healthy eating for recovery. For those who have ticked all the boxes, then you may benefit from some fat loss (improved power to weight), particularly if riding over hilly terrain or involving acceleration. Though we then need to make sure that you actually have some body fat to lose and can do so safely. I would always recommend discussing any weight loss goals with your coach to make sure it fits in with your training plan. A sports dietitian can work with you to map out a realistic, individually structured plan for you to maximise training adaptions and potentially power to weight.

Peterman, J. E., Lim, A. C., Ignatz, R. I., Edwards, A. G., & Byrnes, W. C. (2015). Field-measured drag area is a key correlate of level cycling time trial performance. PeerJ, 3, e1144. doi: 10.7717/peerj.1144

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Ketogenic or Low Carb High Fat (LCHF): Is it appropriate for your sport?

The concept of LCHF has been explored in waves over the past 50 years and has recently jumped back into life via expert opinion, social media and anecdotal evidence. The focus of the current LCHF movement involves limiting carbs to <30g or <50g per day and providing 75-80% energy from fat. Consuming these levels of fat usually requires a diet based on a significant amount of cheese, cream, nuts, ‘grass-fed’ meat fat, nuts and oils. With the aim of this diet being to increase ketone levels to achieve “ketosis” (not to be confused with ketoacidosis). Hence the ‘keto diet’ or ‘ketogenic diet’.

There is no question that by following a LCHF diet you will be able, in as short as 5 days, to burn more energy from fat in your muscles. Sounds good so far. Within three weeks you can achieve ketosis and reduce reliance on carbohydrate for fuel. However, the ability to perform high intensity exercise is compromised by not having the stores of carbohydrate or the ability to readily access it. Furthermore, the body is more efficient at burning glucose than other energy sources. Based on recent research, your perceived effort will increase for a given high intensity workload on a LCHF diet, meaning that it will feel like you are working harder to perform at the same level.

You may be thinking that most of your exercise is at lower intensities, however anytime we call upon a higher intensity: be it running up a hill, accelerating out of a turn or performing multiple reps, we will call upon higher energy states. If you were performing ultra-distance exercise at sub-maximal intensities or where access to carbs or any food is an issue, then a LCHF approach may be of benefit to you. Though the long term health effects by following such a diet are unknown.

For most sports, there is no question that carbohydrate intake, individually prescribed will facilitate faster times, better training responses and less effort at higher intensities. While it is easy to get caught up with the hype of trying something new, sometimes we need to step back and look at the evidence. For more information or to discuss eating around training, consult with a Sports Dietitian.

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