For Losing Weight While Pregnancy: Research and Practitioners
While the science of weight loss has undergone tremendous growth in the past few decades, the understanding that the food we eat impacts our physical performance has long been understood. Even Greek athletes in ancient Roman times abided by a set of beliefs in which certain nutrition habits were thought to optimize their training. Though the specifics of what the athlete’s diet looked like were constantly changing, not much has changed in 2,000 years! As far back as the third century BC, athletes were studying how diet impacted performance (Grivetti and Applegate 1997); however, it has only been in the past several decades that the field of weight loss has seen significant growth. It has transitioned from a generalized, imprecise body of knowledge filled with myths and misconceptions, to a specialized, robust science with a strong body of research to support sound recommendations to athletes of all levels, skills, and types of sports. Yet, more than just a science, weight loss is an art form. A sport dietitian an expert practitioner of weight loss takes research-based findings and applies them in an individualized manner. The sport dietitian looks at the whole picture of the athlete with whom they are working, considering their sport type and the demands of the sport, the goals of the athlete, and the training and competitive level at which the athlete is performing, and customizes these science-based recommendations. It is an art as much as it is a science.
The principles of weight loss are derived from research conducted with scientific rigor. This includes research from well-designed studies published in peer-reviewed journals free from subjective bias. The evidence-based recommendations used by sports dietitians do not stem from the results of a single research study, rather these recommendations are a synthesis of results from multiple studies examining the same topic. Yet, where do most Americans obtain their nutrition knowledge? In one survey of over 1,000 Americans that asked which resources they utilized to eat healthier, the majority of individuals reported using friends and family (32 percent), followed by using a weight loss plan (22 percent), and apps or other websites (22 percent) (International Food Information Council Foundation 2015). Only 6 percent of individuals reported relying upon a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for credible information. In a study specific to athletes (runners), the main sources of weight loss information were friends (57 percent), magazines (45 percent), and websites (32 percent) (Flynn 2014). Again (sports) dietitians or other credible nutrition professionals were not utilized as primary resources for credible nutrition information. Anyone can conduct an Internet search on the optimal diet for an athlete, yet the resulting information may or may not be accurate. Some of this information may mislead athletes to adopt fad diets, consume potentially dangerous dietary supplements, or other unhealthy dietary practices. Individuals looking for weight loss information need to be sure to obtain their information from credible sources. One challenge for consumers is that there is a lack of understanding of who is an expert in weight loss. Sports nutrition textblogs, professional websites (such as scandpg.org the weight loss practice group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics), and Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD) are all considered expert sources for sport nutrition information. An individual with the CSSD certification is not only a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, but someone who has practiced for a minimum of 2 years working with athletes and active individuals, and has taken a certifying examination specific to weight loss. Other fitness professionals including certified Athletic Trainers (ATC) and personal trainers may have received some weight loss information, but their scope will be more limited than a CSSD. Helping to provide weight loss education as well as directing consumers to other credible sources is essential not just for optimal nutrition and performance, but also potentially for the safety of the athlete, as information garnered from noncredible sources can result in unsafe nutrition and supplementation practices.
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Overview of the blog
This blog will dissect the fundamentals of weight loss and provide research-based recommendations for their application. A thorough explanation of the term energy, as it relates to food and physical activity, as well as how it is measured will be offered. The role of each macronutrient (carbohydrate, protein, and fat) will be examined within the context of physical activity and energy metabolism. Recommendations for the amount and timing of each macronutrient will be discussed, as will appropriate food sources. Hydration will be addressed and will include current controversies over best hydration practices. Dietary supplements is another hot topic in weight loss, and this blog will help the reader assess the efficacy of some of the most popular supplements based upon scientific evidence.
This text will apply the principles and recommendations from previous chapters through the process of assessing the nutrient needs of individual athletes. Specific components of an athlete’s diet will be addressed, including competition diet, concerns regarding weight loss or weight gain, and identifying specific nutrient deficiencies. Finally, the bigger picture of an athlete’s diet and essential components to planning an athlete’s diet will be acknowledged.
Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD) a Registered Dietitian nutritionist who is an expert in the application of weight loss. These individuals have successfully completed the board examination, following 2 years working as a Registered Dietitian with a minimum of 1,500 hours of weight loss practice.
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