Facts on Snacks

Hello All, 

Today I want to post about a recent webinar I saw about Snacking Trends in America. Below is a review. Enjoy!! IMG_0009

The Nutrition of Snacking; and Snacking Behavioral Trends

Snacking has increased in the past years where adults are snacking up to 4x a day; and an increase snacking among kids. The trends, people snack more often, and in different situations such as when at lunch, or at events; but also people snack when bored, lonely, hungry, for fun, and in social situations. One very interesting dynamic is snacking has progressed to include traditional meals as snacks, such as a slice of pizza or a smaller (slider) burger now constitutes a “snack”…this made me gasp!

Nutritionally, there is a lack of evidence that frequent snacking is a healthy eating practice.

Chips, and salty snacks tops the list of food items most snacked, but fruits are not far behind. A report cited by the presenters showed that people seek snacks that are high in fiber, low in sugar, high in protein, and an absence of HFCS.

For kids and adults, there is a snacking paradox. A child gets 27% (500 calories) from snacks, and this is actually correlated with a lower BMI, meaning kids who snacked more often was associated with healthy BMI; whereas, adults who snacked more increase their risk of an unhealthy BMI. There were also no positive correlation with frequent snacking and lower risk of diabetes, this was partly due to the very low sample size of studies that showed otherwise.

One positive aspect is that snacking could fill nutritional gaps in a person’s diet, eating fruit as snacks can fill those nutrient holes; this is most essential in the older population that need to increase their daily caloric intake.

The more interesting aspect was the consumer behavior portion. A PHd professor of psychology at Cornell presented this topic. The highlight was this concept/theory of “Hot” and Cold Decisions”, where people tend to make unhealthy food decisions/purchases when: stressed, hungry, angry, or craving food; also if crunched for time. The opposite being of the “Cold” decisions was being calm, cool, taking the time to choose, and considering price.

This is another topic brought up: when to stop snacking. Visibility was one aspect; for example, seeing bones of chicken wings pile up tells a person to stop eating. When there is a appearance of a lot of food, people tend to eat more.  


Runners Nutrition: Running Against the Grain

Did you all catch that awesome nutrition/running pun? It will make sense soon…

Happy Sunday!! (If you want, you can skip to the Nutrition Section below)

I was treated to some great running weather here in NYC Saturday morning as I completed a 15K (9 mile + some change) race in central park. Aside from the occasional horse poop smell, the race was smooth. I ran a good pace of 7:25, and knees held up pretty good. I say a good pace because I accumulate no mileage per week…I DON’T RUN…at all for these races, which is 9 total since the summer. I run the races as part of the New York Road Runners 9 + 1 program to earn guarantee entrance into the NYC 2016 Marathon…and Saturday marked my completion of the program ans


Now, the reason I said all of that is because I have trained in the realm of strength and power for years, as I competed and trained in wrestling, and more recently MMA. I ran decent times considering the training I have been doing for those months have been based on strength and hypertrophy…basically being built like a fire hydrant. As I make my transition to be a runner, the training will switch to a more endurance based training, which traditionally includes using higher set and rep schemes, and lower weight(intensity). I plan to train differently…more on that in a later post.

Nutrition for runners has been, traditionally high carbs…so eating grains. There is an upcoming trend that runs against this traditional diet.

That trend is eating a diet compromised mostly of fats; healthy fats such as monounsaturated fats, or even polyunsaturated to a lesser extent. Side note: POLY-fats are associated (not cause and effect) to the progression of heart diseases via plaque formation in blood vessels i.e. canola oil.  The idea behind consuming a diet largely based on fats is that it fuels the energy demands of long distance running. The energy being used is mostly fats; carbs and protein are being used too but, to a lesser extent. So the theory goes: consuming more fat can increase the energy substrate needed for improved running. The Actual Science points otherwise. Studies show switching from a high carb to a low carb/high fat diet did not improve performance, it actually decreased performance numbers, and athletes fatigued quicker. Darn! But…

There is other new research looking into the possibility of going super low carb i.e. ketogenic. That study looked at short term explosive athletes. This study looked at the long term affects for obese patients. Long term use of ketogenic diets, which is consuming carbs below 50 grams, in order to produce ketones which the body can use for energy. The process can take 1 week to 3 weeks to “fat adapt” where the body becomes more efficient at converting fat to energy. And…that’s the key: the adaption for some can be easy but for others it can take a while, with plenty of hangry pains.

Because we are all different, certain people can thrive on a high carb diet, others will get fat, same goes for high protein, or high fat.

Here is where come in: I plan to follow a very low, not technically keto, diet when I begin marathon training in the new year…details to come. I am interested to know if I perform better on a traditional high carb or high fat/very low carb diet.

Insect Protein: The Future of Gainz

Tis’ the Season of Gainz!!

This is my first official blog post!! I have been using my Facebook profile  to post nutrition and fitness related content that I come across in either my nutrition work as a dietetic intern, or what I come across as a personal trainer and coach. I felt creating an actual blog was needed to better spread the great nutrition and fitness information I research.  My goal structurally is to keep my blogs short and concise, I’d rather not “intimidate” anyone with any long reads. So lets begin!

cricket-protein-bar-maker-seeks-to-normalize-the-consumption-of-insects_strict_xxlI came across this article in the New York Times researching for a paper for class. The article talks about insect protein as a sustainable novel (new) protein. The sustainable aspect comes from the premise that in order to raise crickets for protein, than can feed off waste products, such as crop residue after a harvest. And the insects emit far fewer greenhouse gases “aka” less of a carbon footprint; and can survive a nuclear explosion (doubt anything would survive that). Unfortunately, the amount of protein you would get from feeding crickets, for example, is very little. In order to have the same amount of protein yield, insects would have to be feed the same grain based feed as domestic animals, like cows and chickens. 

But what about the GAINZ??? Yes, the protein content in insects is comparable to that of our traditional protein rich food stables: Fish, Beef, Turkey and Chicken. At 40–75 g/100g dry weight, and a high digestibility, insect protein could be the protein of the next generation. The issue is really the YUCK FACTOR. Are you willing to snack on a baked cricket for a afternoon snack to pair with that apple?…most likely only the most extreme foodie would venture that far. But HEY…there are many countries that are eating insects, it is part of their culture, and we should respect their preference of GAINZ. There is another option for those of us willing to try something new, but can’t stay a bug in the face and think YUM. There are food companies that made , that incorporates insect protein powder into their supplemental bars. 

What a sight that would be…seeing farmers raising not cattle, but crickets in the barns of the future. 

Verkerk MC, Tramper J, van Trijp JCM, Martens DE. Insect cells for human food. Biotechnol Adv. 2007;25(2):198-202.