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Friday, 23 June 2017 22:39

Bread for Runners: Good, Bad—or Yummy?

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BY NANCY CLARK, MS, RD, CSSD

Many runners are staying away from bread these days: It’s a waste of calories. … It’s fattening. … It’s inflammatory. These active people often struggle with denying themselves of this pleasurable food: I tell the waiter to remove the breadbasket so I don’t devour the whole thing. … No more sandwiches for me; I eat just salads. … On Sundays I cheat and eat a bagel! …

Perhaps you are feeling confused about the role of bread in your sports diet? After all, eating (white) bread these days is commonly viewed as nutritionally incorrect. Here are some facts to resolve some of the bread confusion.

 

Myth: Bread is fattening.

     Any food can be fattening when eaten in excess. You “get fat” when you repeatedly overeat total calories for the day. The calories can be from avocado, yogurt, grilled chicken, potato chips, Oreos, M&Ms—or bread (white, whole wheat, sour dough, or multi-grain). The myth that bread is fattening; carbs are fattening is just that, a myth. You have my permission to enjoy bagels, sandwiches, and garlic bread alongside pasta for dinner. As long as the portions fit within your calorie budget for the day, you will not gain undesired weight by eating bread.

    “But when I eat pasta and bread for dinner, I always gain 2 or 3 pounds by the next morning” whined a weight-conscious runner. She didn't realize when runners load-up on carbohydrates, they store in their muscles about three ounces of water with each one ounce of carb (glycogen). The scale does go up due to water-weight—and performance also goes up! You will have a far better run after a pasta/bread meal than, let’s say, a no-carb chicken Caesar salad. 

     Now, if you eat too much bread—such as the whole breadbasket within a few minutes of settling into a restaurant, you can indeed consume excess calories. The problem is not with the bread, but with your relationship with bread. If you feel as though you have no control over, let’s say, the warm, crusty rolls in front of you and you quickly devour them, you may believe that bread is “addicting.” Next time, you might wonder if you should ban the waiter from even bringing the crusty rolls to your table—but that would be a shortsighted solution.

    The smarter solution is to eat bread daily. Obviously, you really like bread; that’s why you want to eat all of it. Depriving yourself of this little pleasure leads to “last chance eating.” You know, “This is my last chance to eat bread so I’d better eat it all.” You’d be better off taking the power away from bread by eating it more often. 

 

Myth: White bread is a bad food, a nutritional zero.

In general, the less processed a food is, the more nutrients it has. Hence, whole wheat breads (and pasta) are preferable to the refined versions. But white bread is not poison nor a nutritional zero. Before you cast stones at white bread, you need to look at the whole day’s diet: Is it balanced or unbalanced?Today’s Dietary Guidelines suggest half of your grain-foods should be whole grains; the other half can be refined, enriched grains (bread, rice, pasta, etc.).  

While some nutrients (fiber, magnesium and zinc) get lost in the milling of whole wheat into white flour, other nutrients have been added back. Since 1941, white flour has been enriched with thiamin, riboflavin, iron, and niacin in amounts equal to whole-wheat flour. Your job is to eat a variety of foods (vegetables, fruits, nuts yogurt) so you consume nutrients that might have been processed out of the whole wheat. 

No grain—not whole wheat nor quinoa—is a powerhouse food. When you enjoy bread (or wrap) with hummus, turkey, cheese, lettuce and tomato, you’ll get more nutrients from the filling than from the bread, regardless if it is whole wheat or white. Bread is better known for fueling the muscles, than for being a source of nutrients. If your diet is 85-90% nutrient-dense you won’t be risking your health by selecting white bread or wrap. 

In general, no breads or grain-foods are as nutrient-rich as green leafy vegetables, berries, lean meats, or dairy foods. Enjoy grains for their carbohydrates that help fuel muscles. The carbohydrate (starch) in bread ends up as muscle glycogen (fuel) or blood glucose (brain food).  Yes, you can also fuel your body with a lunchtime salad, but you will have to eat a mighty big salad to get enough carbs. If you are on a food budget or don't have time to munch through a pile of veggies, you could far more easily fuel yourself with a sandwich made with whole wheat bread, peanut butter & banana. 

If you exercise for about one hour a day at moderate intensity and want to fuel your muscles adequately, you should target about 2.25 g carb/lb. body weight. For a runner who weighs 150 pounds, this comes to ~340 g carb a day. By dividing that into three meals (with 100 g carb/meal) + 1 snack (with 40 g Carb) you can see that a PB & J sandwich (70 g carb) easily beats a salad with chickpeas (25 g carb)!

 

Myth: Wheat is inflammatory.

If you are among the 1% of Americans who have celiac disease, or the 6% who have gluten sensitivities, you should stay away from bread and other forms of wheat. But for most of us, bread can be a positive part of a sports diet, not a trigger for inflammation. A crossover study with athletes who ate a gluten-filled or gluten-free diet showed no increase in markers of inflammation when the athletes consumed wheat. (Lis, Med Sci Sports Exer 2015) 

 

Myth: White bread, like sugar, spikes blood glucose.

Surprising, the average blood glucose response to commercial white bread vs. artisan whole-wheat sourdough bread is similar. In fact, half the subjects had a higher rise in blood glucose with whole-wheat bread. (Korem, Cell Metab 2017). 

 

The bottom line

White bread can be included an overall balanced sports diet. While minimally processed foods are always better than highly processed foods, you want to look at the whole diet and not vilify a slice of white bread. Just balance it with whole grains at the other meals—and enjoy it, guilt-free..  

 

Sports nutritionist Nancy Clark MS RD CSSD has a private practice in the Boston-area (Newton; 617-795-1875), where she counsels both fitness exercisers and competitive athletes, teaching them how to eat to win. Her popular Sports Nutrition Guidebook, and food guides for marathoners, cyclists and soccer are available at nancyclarkrd.com. For workshops, see www.NutritionSportsExerciseCEUs.com.

 

Huddle and Mead winning 10k, Coleman sub 10 in heats - SACRAMENTO (USA, Jun 22): The 2017 USATF Outdoor Championships kicked off at Sacramento State University with upset heats and riveting finals in high temperatures, informs USATF. The first senior championship title went to Alex Young in the men’s hammer throw with 73.50 PB. In the women’s javelin throw, American record holder Kara Winger secured her spot on Team USATF by taking the title with a first throw of 62.80m. Keturah Orji dominated the women’s triple jump to qualify for London. The 2016 Olympian and NCAA Outdoors Champion won with a jump of 14.26 followed by Tori Franklin at 13.80 PB
Bolt for Herculis - MONACO (MON): Fastest man on earth confirmed his last one day meet appearance. Usain Bolt will run at the Herculis EBS Diamond League on July 21. It will be at the 30th anniversary of the meeting and in the 100 m. After that he plans to run at the World Championships as his last competition ever.

Van Niekerk 9.94 PB, Perkovic 69.58 - VELENJE (SLO, Jun 20): Olympic gold medalist and World record holder at 400 m Wayde Van Niekerk showed top speed at the 22nd Velenje International Meet (EA Classic) on a brand new track. He won the 100 m and improved his PB from last year by 0.04 to 9.94 (+0.9). It is also 6th fastest time of 2017. His teammates clocked also good times, 2nd Emile Erasmus 10.12 and third Henricho Bruintjies 10.14. Another highlight was the discus by Olympic winner Sandra Perkovic who achieved 69.58 (2nd best of the season) along with 69.53 and 68.74. She said afterwards it was confirmation of her real shape in comparison to last DL in Stockholm. World medalist Amel Tuka won the 800 m in 1:45.34 over Antoine Gakeme 1:46.08.

Van Niekerk 100 m in Slovenia - VELENJE (SLO): World record holder Wayde Van Niekerk will run the 100 m at the Tuesday´s 22nd edition of Velenje Meeting (EA Classic). He will be testing his speed before next week´s 300 m race in Ostrava. Another Olympic winner Sandra Perkovic is entered in discus. Piotr Lisek is the star of men pole vault, men 800 m will see Amel Tuka and Antoine Gakeme. Top names in javelin competition are Australian Hamish Peacock and Turkish record holder Eda Tugsuz. Marusa Cernjul in high jump and Tina Sutej in pole vault are the local star. Isaac Makwala from Botswana runs the 400 m.
Cheruiyot 1500 m WL, Perkovic winning streak ended - STOCKHOLM (SWE, Jun 18): BauhausGalan ended the June part of IAAF Diamond League as the 6th meet of the year. World lead in men 1500 m was the highlight, also first Jamaican discus and Swiss overall Diamond League win (pole vault). De Grasse was supersonic with lot of wind, Lasitskene continues with her winning streak, but Perkovic´s ended after 16 wins. Now a break comes in the series with next meet in Paris on July 1. The legendary Olympic Stadium had some empty places, unusual for this historical event.

Fajdek 82.40 WL - TURKU (FIN, Jun 13): World and European hammer champion Pawel Fajdek extended his world-lead at the Paavo Nurmi Games in cold weather to 82.40m and had two more throws over 80m: 81.85m and 80.59m. Fajdek won by nearly six metres while Olympic champion Dilshod Nazarov finished fifth with 75.69m. Thomas Rohler went out to 88.26m to win a high quality javelin from teammate Johannes Vetter (87.88m), Keshorn Walcott (86.48m) and Qatar’s Ahmed Bader Magour 85.23 NR while world champion Julius Yego only finished seventh despite improving his season’s best of 82.60m.

The Brooks Big Endorsement Invites All Runners to Become Endorsed Athletes - SEATTLE – June 7, 2017 – In celebration of Global Running Day today, Brooks Running is making childhood dreams come true by inviting all runners to become a Brooks endorsed athlete with the Brooks Big Endorsement.

Friday, 02 June 2017 19:18

The Top 20 Running Routes in America

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Where is your favorite place to run? We’ve calculated the 20 most popular routes in the United States, according to MapMyRun data, to see where runners like you are hitting the pavement. See if your route made the list.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017 20:40

Big Sur Marathon Promotes Global Running Day

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Past participants and volunteers encouraged to wear event shirts on June 7; Discounts offered for Big Sur Marathon events - In honor of Global Running Day, June 7, the Big Sur International Marathon organization is encouraging all former participants and volunteers from any of its annual events to proudly wear their Big Sur race event or volunteer shirt on Wednesday, June 7, 2017, and join the millions of people around the globe who have pledged to run on that day. They are also offering one-day discounts on upcoming BSIM races throughout the year.

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