Study Finds Diverse Diet as Effective as Sports Supplements for Female Athletes

The edge. Every athlete, from the professional to the weekend warrior, strives to obtain that ever-elusive element that leads to victory – sometimes sparing no expense to get there.

A lighter bike, a better training regimen, the newest shoes.

A recently released study from the University of Montana, however, has discovered that common “edge,” sports nutrition products, are no more effective at promoting recovery in female athletes as regular, carbohydrate-rich, often less-expensive potato-based foods.

“Athletes are vulnerable to strategic marketing. We are easily swayed,” said UM Research Professor Brent Ruby, a veteran endurance athlete who knows all too well the allure of sports powders and gels.

As director of UM’s Montana Center for Work Physiology and Exercise Metabolism, Ruby and his team have done extensive work in the field of athletic performance and examining the role that post-exercise carbohydrate nutrition plays in the replenishing of spent muscle mass. The center’s 2015 study that showed a McDonald’s Happy Meal is just as effective for exercise recovery as commercial nutrition products garnered national attention.

Again, always the edge.

The difference in the latest study is the inclusion and focus on female recreational athletes.

“There’s been a great deal of research into what sets the stage for muscle recovery after exercise,” Ruby said. “But women have been poorly represented in these studies. It is common to only study men and then make broad recommendations, which is wrong.”

With funding from the Alliance for Potato Research & Education, Ruby’s team established and employed a study similar to the McDonald’s research, this time looking at muscle recovery between male and female recreational athletes using potato products and sports supplements.

Eight men and eight women participated in the study, which involved 90 minutes of intense cycling followed by rest, recovery and refueling and a 20-kilometer time trial. After a lot of sweat was spent, blood drawn and muscles biopsied, the results showed that muscles in both men and women replenish carbohydrate stores similarly – and just as well with regular foods as with sports supplements.

Ruby hopes these new results – published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology – will help female athletes, as well as male, make better-informed choices about their refueling programs. This article is online at https://rdcu.be/b3zkg.

“Endurance athletes love to talk about how hard they train and how special their diet is,” Ruby said. “But we need to take a deep breath. It doesn’t have to be complicated. As long as you are getting adequate carbohydrates, your diet can be as diverse as you want it to be.”

Source: University of Montana


Today’s Comic

Need to Control Blood Sugar? There’s a Drink for That

With more people with diabetes and pre-diabetes looking for novel strategies to help control blood sugar, new research from UBC’s Okanagan campus suggests that ketone monoester drinks—a popular new food supplement—may help do exactly that.

“There has been a lot of excitement and interest in ketone drinks and supplements, which have really only been on the market and available to consumers for the last couple of years,” says Jonathan Little, associate professor at UBC Okanagan’s School of Health and Exercise Sciences and study lead author. “Because they’re so new, there’s very little research on how they can influence metabolism and we’re among the first to look at their use in non-athletes.”

Little says that Type 2 diabetes is a disease whereby the body is unable to control the level of sugar in the blood because defects in the functioning of a hormone called insulin.

“It’s a disease that’s becoming alarmingly common in Canada and approaching what many would consider epidemic levels,” he says. “While Type 2 diabetes can be controlled with medications or injectable insulin, many people are looking to options that don’t require taking pills every day or that are less invasive.”

Ketone supplements are proving fertile ground for research into Type 2 diabetes because, according to Little, ketones are the natural fuel source of the body when it’s in ketosis—the metabolic byproduct of consuming a low carbohydrate, ketogenic diet.

“There is mounting evidence that a low carbohydrate ketogenic diet is very effective in controlling blood sugar and even reversing Type 2 diabetes,” says Little. “We wanted to know what would happen if artificial ketones were given to those with obesity and at risk for Type 2 diabetes but who haven’t been dieting.”

To test the idea, Little and his team asked 15 people to consume a ketone drink after fasting overnight. After 30 minutes, they were then asked to drink a fluid containing 75 grams of sugar while blood samples were taken.

“It turns out that the ketone drink seemed to launch participants into a sort of pseudo-ketogenic state where they were better able to control their blood sugar levels with no changes to their insulin,” explains Little. “It demonstrates that these supplements may have real potential as a valuable tool for those with Type 2 diabetes.”

Little is quick to point out that ketone supplements are not a magic bullet in managing the disease.

“There are a number of problems that we still have to work out, including the fact that we still don’t know what the long-term effects of consuming ketones are,” he says. “And not to mention that the drink itself tastes absolutely terrible.”

“But for those that aren’t able to follow a strict and challenging ketogenic diet or for those that are looking for a new way to control blood sugars, this may be another strategy in helping to manage Type 2 diabetes.”

The study was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Source: UBC’s Okanagan campus

Fish Oil Supplements Have No Effect on Anxiety and Depression

Omega-3 fats have little or no effect on anxiety and depression according to new research from the University of East Anglia.

Increased consumption of omega 3 fats is widely promoted globally because of a common belief that it will protect against, or even reverse, conditions such as anxiety and depression.

But a systematic review published today in the British Journal of Psychiatry, finds that omega 3 supplements offer no benefit.

Omega 3 is a type of fat. Small amounts are essential for good health and can be found in the food that we eat including nuts and seeds and fatty fish, such as salmon.

Omega 3 fats are also readily available as over-the-counter supplements and they are widely bought and used.

The research team looked at 31 trials of adults with and without depression or anxiety. More than 41,470 participants were randomised to consume more long-chain omega-3 fats (fish oils), or maintain their usual intake, for at least six months

They found that the supplements had little or no effect in preventing depression or anxiety symptoms.

Lead author Dr Lee Hooper, from UEA’s Norwich Medical School, said: “Our previous research has shown that long-chain omega 3 supplements, including fish oils, do not protect against conditions such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes or death.

“This large systematic review included information from many thousands of people over long periods. Despite all this information, we don’t see protective effects.

“The most trustworthy studies consistently showed little or no effect of long-chain omega 3 fats on depression or anxiety, and they should not be encouraged as a treatment.”

Dr Katherine Deane, from UEA’s School of Health Sciences, said “Oily fish can be a very nutritious food as part of a balanced diet.

“But we found that there is no demonstrable value in people taking omega 3 oil supplements for the prevention or treatment of depression and anxiety.

“Considering the environmental concerns about industrial fishing and the impact it is having on fish stocks and plastic pollution in the oceans, it seems unhelpful to continue to swallow fish oil tablets that give no benefit.”

Source: University of East Anglia


Today’s Comic

Study: Taking Fish Oil Supplements Does Not Protect Against Diabetes

Serena Gordon wrote . . . . . . . . .

It would be welcome news to millions if fish oil supplements were proven to help prevent diabetes. But new research delivers very disappointing data on the prospect.

Previous research has hinted that fish oil supplements — which contain omega-3 fatty acids — might improve blood sugar metabolism and possibly stave off type 2 diabetes. But this latest research found no evidence that popping a daily fish oil pill could keep diabetes at bay.

“This large systematic review included information from many thousands of people over long periods. Despite all this information, we don’t see protective effects, and the most trustworthy studies consistently showed little or no effect of long-chain omega-3 fats on diabetes,” said study author Lee Hooper.

Additionally, she said that her group’s previous research has shown that these types of supplements also don’t protect against heart disease, stroke or early death. Hooper is a reader in research synthesis, nutrition and hydration at Norwich Medical School at the University of East Anglia, in England.

Fish oil supplements can help reduce high levels of triglycerides (a type of blood fat that contributes to heart disease), Hooper noted. She said the supplements are generally considered safe to take, but added that this review found that larger doses — above four or five grams per day — of fish oil supplements might actually lead to worse blood sugar metabolism.

So if people do take fish oil supplements, she noted, they should take doses that are less than 4.4 grams a day to avoid any potentially negative effects.

The review included 83 randomized, controlled clinical trials with more than 120,000 participants in total. Most assessed the effects of long-chain omega-3 fatty acid. The effects of alpha-linolenic acid, omega-6 fatty acid and total polyunsaturated fats were also included in some of the studies, but Hooper said there wasn’t enough information on these fats to include in the review.

Omega-3 fats are typically found in fatty fish like salmon. They are also available as over-the-counter supplements.

The studies in the review lasted 24 weeks or longer. The study participants were mostly from Europe, but also from North America, South America, Australia and Asia. The studies were published from the 1960s until 2018.

The researchers looked at the effects of omega-3 fats taken as supplements or in foods.

After finding no benefit for diabetes prevention from these fats, the researchers double-checked the data in different ways. In one re-analysis, they looked only at the studies considered to be the highest quality. They also re-checked to see if different dosages or longer studies might have led to different outcomes.

The investigators still found no benefit. Hooper said the results of this review are very definitive: “Taking fish oil supplements does not protect against diabetes.”

Hooper said the researchers weren’t able to assess the effects of eating oily fish on diabetes, because there wasn’t enough published evidence. They also didn’t have enough information from the studies to see if omega-3 supplements might be helpful for people who start off with a low level of this nutrient.

Dr. Joel Zonszein, director of the clinical diabetes center at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City, said this study clearly showed that fish oil supplements won’t prevent diabetes.

“It’s the same story again — first it was vitamin E, green tea, chromium, cinnamon and then fish oil. Everyone wants a pill to cure or prevent diabetes, but it’s not there. And people are spending a lot of money on these supplements,” he said.

Zonszein said fish like salmon can be a good option as part of a healthy, balanced diet, but that there’s no evidence that fish oil supplements alone can help diabetes.

“Diabetes is a serious disease that can lead to a number of complications. Once you have diabetes, you need to treat it properly,” he explained.

The review was published in the BMJ.

Source: HealthDay


Today’s Comic

Vitamin D Supplementation May Slow Diabetes Progression

Vitamin D supplementation may slow the progression of type 2 diabetes in newly diagnosed patients and those with prediabetes, according to a study published in the European Journal of Endocrinology. The study findings suggest that high-dose supplementation of vitamin D can improve glucose metabolism to help prevent the development and progression of diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is an increasingly prevalent disease that places a huge burden on patients and society and can lead to serious health problems including nerve damage, blindness and kidney failure. People at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes (prediabetes) can be identified by several risk factors including obesity or a family history of the disease. Although low vitamin D levels have previously been associated with an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, some studies have reported no improvement in metabolic function. However, these often had a low number of participants or included individuals with normal vitamin D levels at the start who were metabolically healthy, or who had long-standing type 2 diabetes. Whether vitamin D supplementation has any beneficial effect in patients with prediabetes or with newly diagnosed diabetes, especially in those who have low vitamin D levels, remains uncertain.

In this study, Dr Claudia Gagnon, and colleagues from Université Laval in Quebec, examined the effect of vitamin D supplementation on glucose metabolism in patients newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes or identified as at high risk of developing the condition. Markers of insulin function and glucose metabolism were measured before and after six months of high-dose vitamin D supplementation (approximately 5-10 times the recommended dose). Although only 46% of study participants were determined to have low vitamin D levels at the start of the study, supplementation with vitamin D significantly improved the action of insulin in muscle tissue of participants after six months.

Dr Claudia Gagnon comments, “The reason we saw improvements in glucose metabolism following vitamin D supplementation in those at high risk of diabetes, or with newly diagnosed diabetes, while other studies failed to demonstrate an effect in people with long-standing type 2 diabetes is unclear. This could be due to the fact that improvements in metabolic function are harder to detect in those with longer-term disease or that a longer treatment time is needed to see the benefits.”

Dr Gagnon suggests future studies should evaluate whether there are individual clinical or genetic factors that affect how different people respond to vitamin D supplementation and if the positive effect on metabolism is maintained in the longer term.

Dr Claudia Gagnon adds, “Type 2 diabetes and prediabetes are a growing public health concern and although our results are promising, further studies are required to confirm our findings, to identify whether some people may benefit more from this intervention, and to evaluate the safety of high-dose vitamin D supplementation in the long term. Until then I would suggest that current vitamin D supplementation recommendations be followed.”

Source: European Society of Endocrinology