Simple Strategies for Better Eating Habits



If you debate whether or not to buy organic milk, note that "organic" refers to farming practices, not to the milk itself. According to the research presented by Gary Rogers, PhD, there is no difference between organic and conventional milk in terms of nutrition, antibiotics and hormone content. Strict government guidelines ensure that both organic and conventional milk are safe and nutritious.

  • All milk that enters dairy processors gets tested for antibiotics, to be sure they are kept out of the food supply. Less than one milk tanker in 1,000 tests positive for any drug, including antibiotics. Any tainted milk gets tossed.
  • The hormone bST that helps cows produce more milk has been extensively studied. Results indicate no difference in milk from cows given bST and those who did not get any.
  • Pesticides are also not a concern; milk ranks among the lowest of all agricultural products in detectable residues. Extremely low levels of pesticides can be found in all foods, both organic and conventional, because pesticides are found in all water and soil.
  • One "problem" is organic milk often gets transported for long distances to areas where local organic dairy farms are not found.

The bottom line: Whenever possible, buy milk and produce from local farmers.

Simple Strategy for Eating Better

If you want to improve the quality of your diet, think about one thing you could do each day to contribute to a healthier intake. Write down your goal for the day, then assess your level of confidence in achieving that goal. For example, your goal might be to eat fruit with lunch.

If you are very confident you can do that, go for it. But if you are not at all confident, take a look at the barriers, and perhaps figure out another way to boost your fruit intake. Banana on cereal for breakfast?  Fruit smoothie for a post-exercise recovery drink?

The bottom line: Set yourself up for success by developing sustainable eating habits. Stop making resolutions--dietary "shoulds"--that repeatedly fail.

Nutrition Myths

Atlanta sports dietitian Chris Rosenbloom PhD RD CSSD addressed the following common nutrition myths:

  • Is protein the most important nutrient for athletes?
    No; the best sports diet offers a foundation of carbs (for fuel) and an accompaniment of protein (for building muscles).
  • Are whole grains always healthier than refined grains?
    No. Enriched refined grains are a good source of iron, to prevent anemia, as well as folic acid, to reduce a woman's risk of having a baby with birth defects.
  • Does drinking extra water help you lose weight?
    No, but eating watery foods (soup) can help reduce total calories.
  • The less fat you eat, the better?
    No. The type of fat is the issue. A diet with monounsaturated fat (olive oil) reduces the risk of diabetes and heart disease. The fat also enhances absorption of health-protective vitamins A, D, E and K.

Want Food Help?

The best dietary advice comes with a one-on-one consultation with a sports dietitian. To find your local expert, check out the referral network at www.SCANdpg.org.

Reference:
1 . Mcnamara DJ. The impact of egg limitations on coronary heart disease risk; Do the numbers add up? J Am Coll Nutr  2000; 19:5405

Nancy Clark, MS RD CSSD (Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics) counsels casual and competitive athletes in her private practice at Healthworks, the premier fitness center in Chestnut Hill MA (617-383-6100). Her Sports Nutrition Guidebook, new Food Guide for Marathoners, and Cyclist’s Food Guide are available at www.nancyclarkrd.com. Also see www.sportsnutritionworkshop.com for information about her online workshop.

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