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Sports Nutrition: Beets, Chocolate Milk, and Caffeine.

Well my post is coming a bit later than I promised, but sure enough, here she is…

Beet juice has been proven to help athletic performance. Beets are a nitrate rich food, and nitrate rich foods improve blood flow. So one study that was done on exercise endurance showed that people who were fed 500 mls of beets on a daily basis – so beet juice on a daily basis for 6 days – were tested for cycling endurance, they compared it to a group that just got a juice cocktail. The people got the beets had a lower blood pressure and 2% better time for covering the specific distance they covered during that cycling study. So you get the lower blood pressure as well as the enhanced exercise endurance. 500 mls of beets is about 16 oz. so that’s a lot of beet juice. You’re definitely going to be slightly concerned or perhaps concern others if your urine and your stool is as bright red as it’s going to be when you’re consuming that amount of beet juice. But ultimately, there’s evidence that shows that it could actually help you out your endurance.

Next is chocolate milk as a recovery drink. The idea is that chocolate milk has had a pretty strong run in the research in terms of its applications to sports. It performs really well for re-hydration, for carbohydrate re-synthesis and for synthesizing muscle protein or helping with muscle recovery after exercise. There’s one study that compared chocolate milk, Gatorade and something called Endurox R4 and chocolate milk was as effective as Gatorade for enhancing the total work output and prolonging the time to exhaustion and both chocolate milk and Gatorade outperformed this other supplement called Endurox R4. And what the researchers speculated was that was because a maltodextrin was used as the carbohydrate source in R4 versus sucrose as one of the sources in the milk and the Gatorade. The other thing about chocolate milk is of course your full protein spectrum in it, because it’s basically about 80% casein and 20% whey. This kind of gives it the advantage of having one of the types of protein that’s more of a slow release protein and one of the type of proteins that gives amino acids into your body a little bit more quickly. So you’ve got two different types of protein sources in the chocolate milk. You of course have the carbohydrate in it and specifically the sweet carbohydrate from the chocolate and the sweet carbohydrate can amp up the insulin a little bit better and enhance the deliverability of the amino acids from the casein and the whey in chocolate milk. Some people get concerned because a lot of brands of chocolate milk use high fructose corn syrup, but especially post-exercise, high fructose corn syrup is not going to be that big of an issue. So all in all, it’s a total winner!

With that paragraph comes this weeks poll:

Lastly I’d like to touch on caffeine as an ergogenic aid (anything that can improve performance). Most of the studies find that the amount of caffeine that’s necessary to really stimulate you enough to have a better sports performance enhancing response range from 3 to 5 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. That’s a lot of caffeine. For example, for some of the average guys who weigh 70 kilograms (150 lbs), if you’re looking at 3 milligrams per kilogram, that’s 210 kilograms of caffeine. That’s a few cups of coffee. If you look at a lot of these sports gels, many of them contain 30 milligrams or 40 milligrams of caffeine. You’re not going to feel it too much by just taking a few of those gels. But the idea is that if you are taking say 300 calories an hour and each of those 300 calories is coming from a gel-based source and the gel has 40 milligrams of caffeine for every 100 calories, well suddenly you’re getting 120 milligrams per hour and that begins to take effect. Especially if you’re taking in this caffeine during a long event like a five hour event or a 10 hour event. You end up dumping a lot of caffeine into your body. Now while caffeine does have an ergogenic sports performance enhancing effect, it can do things like draw water into your colon and over-stimulate your central nervous system. And chronic caffeine loads over a period of 10 hours even to the range of 120 milligrams per hour will leave you with things like diarrhea halfway through and the jitters. Eventually what happens is the central nervous system stimulation almost causes you to “wig out”. You start to feel really jittery and very moody, almost in the same way as you would get if you experienced low blood sugar. So just think about what would happen if you sat there during the day and drank eight cups of black coffee. You kind of start to feel the same way when you’re exercising. And that’s where you need to use caution. A lot of these studies that have been done on caffeine have been done on people exercising for 60 minutes or 90 minutes and not out doing 10 hour Ironman events.

I hope my information has helped you readers out there…I like to share my thoughts and information I come across a few different websites to bring together the best posts possible! Any questions, leave them in the comment area below and I’ll get back to you ASAP! 

Posted by ryanlevander on November 7, 2011
1 Comment Post a comment
  1. 11/7/2011

    hey, great blog! love it 🙂


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