New Year’s Nutrition


In spite of the fact that runners are generally very health-conscious, many have a few bad nutritional habits, so check out these tips and make your own list of resolutions to kick-start 2017 on the right nutritional note. – BY CHRISTINE PETERS, REGISTERED DIETICIAN

Before I get into the actual resolutions, let’s consider who makes the nutritional decisions in most households. The main caregiver in a family, usually the mother, needs to be energetic and organised to make healthy eating happen consistently within the family. Therefore, the impact of a mother’s health on the household diet cannot be overstated, according to research. When the main caregiver is sick, tired or unmotivated, the household diet tends to slide.

Secondly, older people who sleep for less than five hours each night are more likely to gain 5kg or more over a two-year period, according to a study done in Spain. The researchers analysed the sleeping patterns and body measurements of over 3500 people aged 60 and older, and found the optimal sleep duration for weight maintenance in this group appeared to be seven hours. So don’t compromise on your sleep! Right, now let’s get to a few basic nutritional tips that you can turn into resolutions:

Research has found if you replace your morning juice with a glass of fat-free milk, you will manage your weight better. The study found that a glass of skim milk with your toast or breakfast cereal reduces mid-morning munchies more than a glass of juice. In fact, milk-drinkers ate 10% less food four hours after breakfast than those who drank juice for breakfast.

If you tend to be a convenience connoisseur, try keeping these three easy tips in mind:
• Sauces are dangerous: A single squirt from a tartar sauce bottle contains about 500kJ. You would need to run at full pace for about 15 minutes to burn this off. On top of this, a take-away burger and chips will often have two or more sauces. You do the maths!
• Portion size: One large portion of chips is too much food for any one person. Half this amount is much more reasonable and half the fat and calories.
• Preparation is important: Sweet and sour pork is prepared by coating high-fat pork in batter, then deep frying it in oil and finally boiling it in sugar (the ‘sweet’ bit). That’s why it’s so energy-dense. Always ask how your food is cooked so you know where the hidden energy is.

If a food product is ‘low-fat,’ you probably eat more. Various studies have shown that when people see a food labelled ‘low-fat’, they tend to dish up around 25% to 30% more, usually because they often assume the energy (kilojoules) content of a food is much less in foods labelled ‘low-fat. So be careful of making that mistake this year!