Doc’s Talk 08-21-11

Dr. Scaff did his final talk on Nutrition. Running magazines and supplement merchants recommend that in order to run you need to take vitamin supplements. A 30-day supply of supplements can cost you up to $100.

So with all this different advice, what do you actually need to eat?

Your diet should include a mixture of fats, not just vegetable oil. It should include some animal fats, which contain stearic acid. Stearic acid is good for you, it lowers cholesterol. Animal fats also contain trans omega 3s in a better form than you can get in the pills. The bottom line is that animal fats are not bad for you and work, in some cases, just as effectively as vegetable oil (and in some cases work even more effectively at lowering cholesterol). So you should eat a mixed-fat diet.What do real athletes eat?

Dr. Scaff cited research from 2 exercise physiologists. According to their study, thinking that what you eat will make a difference in your running is wishful thinking. And as for the advice on carbohydrate loading: It is not necessary. There is no need to go into that ritual, just eat real foods at regular meals.

But will people still take supplements? Probably. So here is Dr. Scaff’s “nutraceutical” advice. Each day, take:

– A multivitamin

– Magnesium, 400 mg per day (helps with wound healing)

– Zinc

– Vitamin D (other vitamins contain D, but take it anyway)

– Calcium carbonate (no need to take Fosamax if you are drinking an ale each day – pale ales, IPAs are the best for increasing bone strength and reducing the incidence of Alzheimer’s Disease and cataracts)

– And as we get older Vitamin B12 is essential.

All of these can be taken for the total price of about 45¢ per day. If you do more than this you are taking too many vitamins and spending too much money on them.

What about the gels we take when we’re running?

The gels are hypertonic, meaning they take fluid out of the bloodstream before it goes back in and dehydrate you. This is not a real problem but it makes your stomach work a little harder when you are running. Honey is just as good. Also, instead of gels, consider pretzels (known in the Honolulu Marathon Clinic as “power pretzels”). They contain carbohydrates and salt, are carried easily in a plastic bag in your pocket or pouch, and cost much less than the gels.

So as we reach the conclusion of these talks on nutrition, what do you need? Not much it turns out. Eat a good breakfast, a good dinner, and drink a bottle of ale every day. That should be sufficient.

For further reading on nutrition, Dr. Scaff recommends everyone check out the daily postings on Dr. Alan Titchenal’s “Got Nutrients?” web site:

Here are a few related and recent postings from the “Got Nutrients?” web site: