Nutrition Unscrambled

Balance-Exercise and Life

By Anna Shlachter, MS, RD, LDN
March 13th, 2012

Coach Nicole gave me inspiration for the next post because it really applies to me. About six months ago I made it a priority to get my health back. I had put it on the back burner for too long-between medication, life issues and overall feeling crummy. Even health professionals can go through this and many have-we are not exempt.

For me the thing that seemed to do the trick was upping the exercise. I have been consistently working out for about two hours most days of the week- a mix of cardio, strength and interval type exercises. I started to feel better right away and noticed results soon after. It is something I do not intend to give up again-I’ll remember how I feel during and after a workout, compared to how I felt previously. One thing that is great is that I have made new “gym friends” to help keep motivated and it is always nice to spark a new friendship.

That being said-two hours is a pretty big commitment and it has taken a lot of time. As I have approached my goals, I’ve modified my workout plan and this article gave me some great tips. This will be one more idea for balancing “my own plate”.

Combating Obesity: Schools Monitoring Physical Activity and More

By Anna Shlachter, MS, RD, LDN
January 17th, 2012

An article from Latino Fox News discusses program that a New York school district (and those in St Louis and South Orange, N.J.) is implementing to combat obesity. They have purchased monitors that track heart rate, activity and even sleep. The students wear these and the information is uploaded for the teachers to use (for long term tracking). Do you think this make kids/parents more aware of the need for activity? Will having a tracking device make a difference in habits? What about eating habits?

Alone, I am not sure this tool will do much except show us that children do not get enough activity or sleep. If used as a teaching tool with math, science or nutrition curriculum, I could see it being beneficial for the students. It could really tie in the calories in/calories out as far as high calorie/low nutrient dense foods in fun way for students.

So thoughts?
Will this improve health of students?
Is it a matter or privacy (some groups feel so)?

Recess Returning to Chicago Public Schools (CPS)

By Anna Shlachter, MS, RD, LDN
October 26th, 2011

Some of the CPS schools are preparing to implement an important part of the school day that has been abandoned, recess (activity). Although I am happy to hear about this, at the same time it is a mere 20 minutes for the entire 7.5 hour school day. I do feel this is a step in the right direction, but of course more could be done. Think of how you would feel if you only got a 20 minute break during a daylong workshop!

What can a child do in 20 minutes? A LOT!! I have been to seminars recently where they have been discussing recess before lunch. I am not sure when CPS is considering their 20 minute break, but I think they would appreciate better attention spans , better behavior and expected less plate waste.

CPS is taking this seriously with many roadblocks including space, equipment, getting children to be active during the time and more. The first year may be challenging, but I believe it will overall improve the school environment. I am happy they are being creative with small spaces and equipment. Kids will play if you give them the ability (more so time and approval to be active).

One thing I was very pleased to see is that parents had an impact on this decision. They felt unruly children were a result of silent lunches and no recess. The parents and community organizations like Community Organizing and Family Issues started advocating for recess in 2004. It is great to see parents taking a role in the health and education of their children

*Photo Credit: Playworks

Refueling After Exercise

By Mitch Kanter, Ph.D.
May 2nd, 2011

In a recent blog post, I mentioned the growing acknowledgement of the importance of protein for physical performance. Much research published in recent years suggests that protein, long downplayed as a key nutrient for better performance, may play a larger role than previously thought.

 But what about post-exercise? What should an active person consume after a hard workout to re-load and replenish, to minimize tissue damage, and to restore energy stores for the next workout? Once again, newer research is pointing to protein (as a part of a carbohydrate/protein blend of nutrients) as a key to recovery.  Much of the research performed in the 1970s through the 1990s pointed to carbohydrate as the principle nutrient for exercise recovery, and I don’t mean to minimize the benefits of carbs for active folks. However, many studies now indicate that a mixture of carbs and proteins (some say a 3:1 mixture of carb:protein is best, though the exact ratio is still open to debate) can more quickly convert an individual from the catabolic (or tissue breakdown) state that occurs during exercise to an anabolic (or tissue build-up and repair) state that is preferred during exercise recovery.  High protein shakes and products of that nature are preferred by many athletes after a hard workout. They are convenient and they will provide carbs and protein. But one shouldn’t forget “real” food either. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, chocolate milk and hard-cooked eggs are starting to gain favor with athletes as well. Products like these taste great, they’re familiar to most folks, and they deliver additional micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) that can aid in tissue recovery.

Some food for thought whether you’re a seasoned athlete or a new exerciser seeking to make fitness gains while minimizing risk of injury and overuse.


Protein for Peak Performance

By Mitch Kanter, Ph.D.
April 21st, 2011

For many years, athletes were advised to consume very high levels of carbohydrates, with little attention placed on the amount and timing of the protein they consumed. Personally I was very much a proponent of this sort of regimen for athletes. I worked in the sports nutrition arena for years, and provided diet and exercise advice to many professional and college athletes.

 But times change, and the science supporting carbohydrate as the near-exclusive domain of athletes has changed as well. I’m not suggesting that carbs are no longer considered a key substrate for athletes; quite the contrary, carbohydrates provide the quick energy that athletes need, and they allow athletes to use their other energy substrates (fats and proteins) effectively. But newer research indicates that athletes need more protein than previously believed; about 1.5 to 2 times as much. As we learn more about the role of amino acids as messengers in various metabolic pathways, we’ve come to appreciate the need for protein to provide ample levels of these amino acids to promote, among other things, optimal muscle growth and repair. And newer studies suggest we won’t achieve ample amounts of particular amino acids (e.g., leucine) on RDA-levels of protein. Further, on  a more applied note, studies such as those by John Ivy at the University of Texas and others have indicated that an appropriate ratio of carbohydrate to protein (somewhere in the neighborhood of 3:1 carb:protein) may be better at enhancing post exercise recovery than consuming carbohydrate alone.

 Here is an article that serves as a basic primer on some of the newer research on protein and exercise. While some of this work is in preliminary stages, and we still have more to learn about the effects of various substrates on exercise performance, suggesting that athletes increase their protein intake a bit (largely through food) is sound advice. Carbohydrates are still important, but the role of protein in physical activity should not be underestimated.

Program helps obese kids keep weight off long-term

By Mitch Kanter, Ph.D.
February 18th, 2011

Childhood obesity continues to be a major problem that afflicts many children in the US. According to the CDC, over 20% of the kids in America are considered obese, based on BMI. In spite of various high profile weight control programs recently developed to combat the epidemic, the sad fact is that overweight children tend to become overweight adults, and overweight adults are more prone to chronic disease conditions including CHD and Type 2 diabetes.

 A recent study conducted at Yale University (MedlinePlus) offers some hope. In this long term project, overweight children participated in an intensive weight control program that included physical activity and frequent nutrition education. Initially, the children met twice per week to perform physical activity and attend classes on proper eating. After six months, they met twice per month. After two years, long after the activity and nutrition classes were curtailed, many of the kids who participated in the program maintained BMI. Control subjects who did not participate in the program continued to gain weight and increase their BMI. The moral of the story- -educational intervention in young, susceptible children may pay dividends. A cure for the epidemic? Hardly. But a step in the right direction. Certainly.

 The recent Dietary Guidelines stressed nutrient density, among other things, as a way to eat healthier while consuming fewer calories. Relatively simple advise that by no means is a cure for the obesity epidemic. But it is sound advice. The Yale study is a good reminder that looking for foods and snacks that provide good nutrition without a lot of calories is the right thing to do for our kids. As parents, we’d do anything to protect our children’s health. Seeking nutrient dense food options is a form of health protection that is often overlooked.


Nutrition Unscrambled  is written by nutrition experts with the Egg Nutrition Center, which is funded by the American Egg Board. It is monitored and maintained by the public relations agency of record. The mission of the Egg Nutrition Center is to be a credible source of nutrition and health science information and the acknowledged leader in research and education related to eggs. For more information, click here.

About the Bloggers

Mitch Kanter, Ph.D. is the Executive Director of the Egg Nutrition Center. For more information about
Mitch, click here.
Marcia Greenblum, MS, RD is the Senior Director, Nutrition Education at the Egg Nutrition Center. For more information about Marcia, click here.
Anna Shlachter, MS, RD, LDN is the Program Manager, Nutrition Research and Communications at the Egg Nutrition Center. For more information about Anna, click here.

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All information provided within this blog is for informational and educational purposes only and it is not to be construed as medical advice or instruction. Please consult your physician or a qualified health professional on any matters regarding your health or before making changes to your diet or health behaviors.