Physical Performance

Nutrition is an important aspect in athletic performance. Download these shareable videos, graphics, handouts and recipes to help promote the power of protein and eggs.

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Nutrition Close-Up, Summer 2014

Nutrition Close-Up, Summer 2014 (pdf, 1.5 MB)

Articles in this Issue…

The role of the brain, ‘food cues,’ in overeating

By Kerri Boutelle, PhD

Obesity is a serious and refractory problem that is associated with multiple medical and psychological comorbities and risks. Recent data suggest that in the United States, two out of every three adults are overweight or obese, and one out of three children is overweight or obese. Obesity is associated with cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, osteoarthritis, psychological impairment, poor quality of life, and all-cause mortality.

Vitamin D: a stronger link to health

By Taylor C. Wallace, PhD, CFS, FACN

Getting adequate vitamin D and calcium is essential for children, who need to grow strong bones, and for adults, who need to maintain strong bones and prevent bone loss. New findings
from the Women’s Health Initiative, the largest clinical trial of >36,000 postmenopausal women, confirm the safety and synergistic benefits of these two nutrients, showing a 35-38 % reduction
in hip fracture incidence 1. If you don’t get enough vitamin D, you are less likely to efficiently absorb calcium in the gut and may lose bone as you age. The development of low bone density
and/or osteoporosis later in life, which affects approximately 54 million Americans over the age of 50 years 2, is highly linked to suboptimal nutrition and physical activity patterns during young adulthood. After the age of 20-25 years, when bone growth reaches its full genetic potential, bone “withdrawals” can begin to exceed “deposits” (except in the skull, which increases in mass throughout the lifespan).

Complexity of individual variability in nutrition

By Tia M. Rains, PhD

One size does not fit all when it comes to health. Be it diet, exercise, or prescription medications, what works wonderfully for one person may produce little effect or even the opposite
effect in others. This is not surprising given metabolic differences between individuals. I remember observing this first-hand as an undergraduate student in a clinical chemistry course. Each
student underwent some basic blood tests and we compared results across the class. For some tests (e.g., liver enzymes), there was little variability among the students. But in others, there was quite a bit of diversity in results. For example, the blood glucose and insulin responses to an oral glucose tolerance test varied dramatically student to student.

New research in fight against childhood obesity

By Jamie I. Baum, PhD

The prevalence of obesity in the United States has more than doubled in adults and more than tripled in children and adolescents since the 1970s. Roughly one in three children ages 2-19 years is overweight or obese. Obese individuals have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), hypertension, and dyslipidemia. Once restricted to adults, these metabolic diseases are now being diagnosed in children. Increasing protein in the diet has been linked to improvements in glucose and insulin control, blood cholesterol, body composition, energy metabolism, as well as increased weight loss in adults. However, very little research has been focused on determining if increasing protein in the diet of school-aged children has comparable health benefits.

Low-carb training getting mileage with endurance athletes

By Dave Ellis, RD, CSCS

Training low” has nothing to do with altitude and everything to do with intentionally training with low glycogen stores to enhance fat metabolism. It is the latest craze for endurance athletes who seek to preserve glycogen stores by optimizing utilization of fat stores through an adaptive process during their training. This is typically accomplished by lowering carb feed rates to <3 g / kg / d for five days or more 1. Fat intake is increased to compensate for lower carb calories with the idea that intramuscular triglyceride stores go up along with enzymes necessary for fat oxidation.

CPE Webinar Opportunity – Building an “Optimal Diet”: Putting Protein into Practice


ENC has partnered with Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ SCAN (Sports, Cardiovascular, and Wellness Nutrition) Dietary Practice Group to offer a continuing education webinar titled Building an “Optimal Diet”: Putting Protein into Practice, presented by Dr. Stuart Phillips.

Dr. Phillips is a professor at McMaster University and one of the leading investigators in the field of exercise metabolism. His work focuses on the impact of nutrition and exercise on human skeletal muscle protein turnover. During the webinar, he discusses protein needs and timing of intake for maximum muscle growth and maintenance for athletes and the aging population. Additionally, he elaborates on how protein quality plays a major role in muscle anabolism. To close his talk, Dr. Phillips shares suggestions for practical applications of the latest protein research, including recommending natural protein sources with high biological value, such as eggs and milk, to help health professionals to make up-to-date diet recommendations to their clients and patients.

The webinar is approved by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) for 1 CPEU and is free of charge throughout the month of July. To receive the CPEU, SCAN members and non-members must log into the SCAN website to order and view the webinar.

Protein Requirements for Athletes and Active Individuals

Dr.-Taylor-C.-WallaceToday’s post comes from Taylor Wallace, PhD, CFS, FACN. Dr. Wallace is an accomplished food and nutrition expert, residing in the Washington, DC area.  He has published numerous peer-reviewed articles in addition to three academic textbooks.  Dr. Wallace has a doctorate degree in Food Science & Nutrition from The Ohio State University and frequently serves as a media spokesperson on hot topic nutrition, food safety and food technology issues.  Visit Dr. Taylor Wallace’s blog at


A few decades ago, sports nutrition science was in its early infancy; however, today many science-based solutions are available in the form of functional foods and dietary supplements. Many populations of active individuals, such as combat personnel, first responders, athletes and frequent gym goers have greater nutritional requirements as compared to the general population. Optimal nutrition, and the appropriate selection of foods and fluids, timing of intake, and supplemental choices enhance performance and recovery from exercise (1). Energy needs, especially protein and carbohydrate intakes, must be met during times of intense activity to help maintain body weight, replenish glycogen stores and in the case of protein, help build and repair muscle tissue.

Muscle growth happens as a result of combined exercise and proper nutrition. To attain peak levels of performance, active individuals clearly need to be aware of their dietary intake of protein; a large body of evidence supports that appropriate intakes of protein/amino acids can help support increased rates of muscle repair and formation (2). National and international dietary guidelines have traditionally recommend that adults need no more than 0.8-0.9 grams per kilogram body weight per day of protein (3-4). That’s equivalent to about 56 grams for men and 46 grams for women daily. However, a number of recent reviews, including a position stand by the American College of Sports Medicine (5), scrutinize the use of current dietary recommendations for protein among active individuals, such as athletes. There is general consensus that protein needs of active individuals are higher than those of sedentary persons. Intake of 1.2-1.4 grams per kilogram of body weight for endurance athletes (e.g. runners) and 1.2-1.7 grams per kilogram of body weight for power athletes (i.e. weight lifters) has been suggested as an appropriate requirement for active individuals (5).  ­That’s equivalent to approximately 84-119 grams for men and 66-94 grams for women daily. Consuming high quality protein (egg, dairy and/or soy) through either food or supplements immediately following exercise enhances muscle creation. While is not difficult to obtain sufficient protein intakes from natural foods, protein shakes, bars, powders and/or amino acid supplements may be advantageous in situations such as when an athlete does not have time for a full meal post-workout. Be cautious on what products you consume, especially if you are an athlete, as many tainted products and banned substances exist. If you are considering a sports nutrition product, choose a national brand or one that is third party certified to avoid any of these potential predicaments.

  1. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Dieticians of Canada, and American College of Sports Medicine: Nutrition and athletic performance. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2009;109(3):509-527.
  2. Burd NA, Tang JE, Moore DR. Exercise training and protein metabolism: influences of contraction, protein intake, and sex-based differnces. J Appl Physiol. 2009; 106:1692-1701.
  3. Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein and Amino Acids. Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 2005.
  4. WHO Technical Report Series 935. Protein and Amino Acid Requirements in Human Nutrition: report of a joint FAO/WHO/UNU expert consultation.  Report of a Joint WHO/FAO/UNU Expert Consultation. 2011.
  5. Rodriguez NR, Di Marco NM, Langley S. American College of Sports Medicine position stand. Nutrition and athletic performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2009; 41:709-731.

Is Breakfast Really the Most Important Meal of the Day?


From the time we were kids, we’ve all been told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But is it? Breakfast influences more than you might think. Consider the latest research findings:

  • Breakfast consumption among adolescents on weekends is associated with greater engagement in moderate and vigorous physical activity on weekends.1
  • Frequency of skipping breakfast is a risk factor for lower hip bone mineral density in women. Moreover, hip bone mineral density in women who skip breakfast is three or more times lower than in women who do not skip breakfast.2
  • Consuming a high-calorie breakfast results in significantly more weight loss than consuming a high-calorie dinner.3
  • Breakfast consumption is associated with aerobic fitness and lower limb muscle power in children.4
  • A low-calorie diet, with a higher amount of calories at breakfast, can establish a greater reduction in fat mass and improved insulin sensitivity than a typical daily diet.5
  • Compared with breakfast consumers, women who rarely or never eat breakfast tend to have poorer self-rated health and less nutrition knowledge, be smokers, pay less attention to their health and not prioritize their own healthy eating when busy looking after their family.6

Thus, it seems our parents were right—given how closely it is linked to involvement in physical activity and to meeting daily nutrient needs, breakfast may indeed be the most important meal of the day. In order to take advantage of this age-old adage, encourage your patients and clients to start each day with a nutrient-rich, satisfying breakfast. Achieving a better state of health, including improvements in weight control, bone health and development of other healthful lifestyle habits, can be as simple as that.



  1. Corder K, van Sluijs EM, Ridgway CL, Steele RM, Prynne CJ, Stephen AM, Bamber DJ, Dunn VJ, Goodyer IM, Ekelund U. (2014). Breakfast consumption and physical activity in adolescents: daily associations and hourly patterns. Am J Clin Nutr. 99(2):361-368.
  2. Kuroda T, Onoe Y, Yoshikata R, Ohta H. (2013). Relationship between skipping breakfast and bone mineral density in young Japanese women. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 22(4):583-589.
  3. Garaulet M, Gómez-Abellán P. (2014). Timing of food intake and obesity: A novel association. Physiol Behav. Jan 24.
  4. Thivel D, Aucouturier J, Isacco L, Lazaar N, Ratel S, Doré E, Meyer M, Duché P. (2013). Are eating habits associated with physical fitness in primary school children? Eat Behav. 14(1):83-86.
  5. Lombardo M, Bellia A, Padua E, Annino G, Guglielmi V, D’Adamo M, Iellamo F, Sbraccia P. (2014). Morning Meal More Efficient for Fat Loss in a 3-Month Lifestyle Intervention. J Am Coll Nutr. 8:1-8.
  6. Smith KJ, McNaughton SA, Cleland VJ, Crawford D, Ball K. (2013). Health, behavioral, cognitive, and social correlates of breakfast skipping among women living in socioeconomically disadvantaged neighborhoods. J Nutr. 143(11):1774-1784.

Brief Protein Research Round Up

Here’s what we’ve been reading here at ENC regarding protein the past couple of weeks! Check the articles out!

Protein/Macronutrient Composition
“Myofibrillar muscle protein synthesis rates subsequent to a meal in response to increasing doses of whey protein at rest and after resistance exercise”  (Witard et al. Am J Clin Nutr. E-pub ahead of print)This randomized controlled trial in resistance-trained young men (N=48) showed that 20 and 40 g of whey protein isolate (WPI) consumed immediately after exercise increased myofibrillar muscle protein synthesis by ~50%, whereas no stimulation was observed with 10 g WPI.Both Dietary Protein and Fat Increase Postprandial Glucose Excursions in Children With Type 1 Diabetes, and the Effect Is Additive” (Smart et al. Diab Care. 2013;36:3897-3902)This randomized controlled crossover trial in children with type 1 diabetes (N=33) showed that breakfast meals containing 40 g protein or 35 g fat resulted in greater postprandial glucose excursions; the higher protein meal had a protective effect on the development of hypoglycemia. 

“Protein leverage and energy intake” (Gosby et al. Obes Rev. 2013;E-pub ahead of print)

This analysis of data collected from 38 published experimental trials measuring ad libitum intake in subjects confined to menus differing in macronutrient composition showed that percent dietary protein was negatively associated with total energy intake irrespective of whether carbohydrate or fat were the diluents of protein.

Tell us any interesting protein research that you have recently read.