Pros and Cons of Protein Powder

Pros and Cons of Protein Powder

Body Composition
Protein powder is one of the most commonly utilised sports supplements. While it has a wide range of potential applications, it’s typically used by people aiming to improve their body composition through increasing muscle mass and/or decreasing body fat. It isn’t necessary, but it can have some utility if used well. Pros Convenience In some cases it can be difficult to obtain the optimal amount of protein through food. Protein powder can be a tool to help reach this target. It also can be useful for times when you want to consume protein, but it would be inconvenient due to schedule or appetite. For example, if you are on the go, a protein shake is going to be more convenient than a meal. Or if you have just finished a…
Read More
Beta-Alanine: A Dietitian’s Guide

Beta-Alanine: A Dietitian’s Guide

Sports
Beta-Alanine has slowly become one of the few supplements that have developed a good reputation for consistently producing positive outcomes for performance, up there with the likes of creatine and caffeine. It is used as a performance aid mostly because of its ability to improve muscular endurance. What is Beta-Alanine? Beta-alanine is an amino acid that is not used in the production of protein. It is naturally produced by the liver. The benefits from beta-alanine supplementation mostly don’t come from the Beta-Alanine directly; they come from the increase in muscle carnosine that occurs. When beta-alanine is consumed it is converted into carnosine by joining histidine. How Does Carnosine Work? The main function of interest for carnosine is that it helps to maintain the acid base equilibrium. It helps prevent pH…
Read More
Supplements for PCOS: A Dietitian’s Guide

Supplements for PCOS: A Dietitian’s Guide

Health
When it comes to PCOS, there are quite a few supplements that can help. Prioritising your overall nutrition will help far more than what any individual supplement can do, but supplements can certainly provide some value. When it comes to supplements, often they are only beneficial whenever there is a deficiency or inadequate intake. Adding the supplement in addition to an already optimal intake likely won’t provide any additional benefit. So, keep that in mind since a lot of these needs can be met through food as well. Supplements are just the icing on the cake. If you would like to learn more about nutrition in general for PCOS, I recommend reading this post. PCOS can't be cured but these might help reduce symptoms related to menstruation, ovulation, fertility, testosterone,…
Read More
Ketone Bodies as an Ergogenic Aid

Ketone Bodies as an Ergogenic Aid

Other
You’ve probably already heard of BCAA’s, glutamine, creatine, B-alanine, carnitine and nitric oxide. The world of sports supplements is diverse, controversial and at times, confusing. Now, introducing the newest, latest and greatest supplement to hit the market- Ketones. The Ketogenic Diet If you’re interested in nutrition (you probably are since you’re reading this article), you’ve probably heard of the ketogenic diet. You may have even tried it yourself. The ketogenic diet and ketone bodies are intimately related (if you couldn’t already guess that from the name). The purpose of the ketogenic diet is to starve the body of carbohydrate, increasing its reliance on fat and ketone bodies as a primary fuel. There is some evidence to suggest that ketosis (the state of using ketones as a primary fuel) is beneficial…
Read More
Performance Enhancement in Team Sports, Without Extra Training

Performance Enhancement in Team Sports, Without Extra Training

Sports
For some, team sports were left behind before high school. For others, team sport is carried through to adulthood, serving as a platform for socialisation and fitness. For few, team sport is a career. Whether you’re a professional athlete, or wanting to be, it’s good to understand the effect performance enhancing (ergogenic) aids can have on your performance. Before getting too deep, it is important to define what sort of exercise constitutes team sport. For example, the physiological demands on a soccer player are different to those on a volleyball player. Not only do we see marked differences between sports, but also within sports. For example, a rugby forward and back needing different skills sets and types of fitness. The extremely diverse nature of team sport is what makes it…
Read More
Iron Deficiency – are you at risk?

Iron Deficiency – are you at risk?

Health
Nutrient deficiencies are not often thought to be big issues in developed countries such as Australia, with access to fresh food and water it can be easy for us to get adequate nutrients from a balanced diet. However Iron deficiency is one of the most common deficiencies in the world, affecting more than 25% people worldwide. Young women are at particular risk, with higher requirements for iron during child bearing age. Iron is a mineral required for a number of functions within the body including making red blood cells and transporting oxygen around the body. It is also important for producing energy, optimal immune function and storing oxygen in our muscles. Iron is an essential mineral meaning you must get it from food. The symptoms of iron deficiency include general…
Read More
The Price We Pay for Supplements

The Price We Pay for Supplements

Health
Vitamin and mineral supplements are marketed as an investment in your health, but, dig a little deeper and you might find they are actually a waste of your hard earned money. Companies such as Blackmore’s, Nature’s Way, Centrum and Swisse use celebrity endorsements to make millions each year selling vitamin and mineral supplements that claim to improve everything from hair, skin and nails to memory and focus. However, rarely do you see a dietitian’s tick of approval on these products. Turns out, there is a good reason for this. Research shows, that unless an individual is deficient in a particular nutrient, supplementation is unnecessary and, in some cases, can be harmful to health. Nutrient deficiency can come about in a variety of ways. For example, in the case of restrictive…
Read More
Should You Take Vitamin D Supplements to Reduce Your Risk of Fractures?

Should You Take Vitamin D Supplements to Reduce Your Risk of Fractures?

Health
  To follow up on my previous post on calcium supplementation, this post will be on the effect that vitamin D supplementation has on fractures risk. The majority of our vitamin D comes from the sun and a small amount comes from our diet. Surprisingly, even though Australia is known for its sunny weather, approximately one third of Australians are deficient in vitamin D. With the knowledge that vitamin D increases the effect of calcium, it is common sense to assume that it would reduce the risk of fractures. To make the assumption even stronger, vitamin D supplementation also leads to an increase in bone mineral density. Although in theory vitamin D supplementation should reduce fractures risk, after going through every study in the past 20 years on the subject,…
Read More
Do Calcium Supplements Reduce the Risk of Fractures?

Do Calcium Supplements Reduce the Risk of Fractures?

Health
While I was contemplating what I could write for my first blog post, I was trying to think what I could offer that nobody else in the nutrition world was already providing. The conclusion that I came to was the findings of my systematic review that I did in my final year at university, on the topic of whether calcium and vitamin D supplements reduce the risk of fractures in people 50+ years old. I never published the results and I chose this subject because there had been no clear answer in the research, so I figured that it’s something that I could share that nobody else could. The body of research has had results suggesting that calcium supplementation reduces the risk of fractures and other results showing that it does…
Read More