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water or sport drinks?

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ValleyGymMom

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Every time my daughter brings a gatorade or even one of those new flavored waters, her coach check the label. I know water is probably the best but that can get boring for her. Also snacks are a big question at our gym. I think I send healthy snacks, but she often comes home and says "Coach says I can't have that anymore". She usually takes fruit, yogurt, applesauce, cheese, fruit cups. These are all fine. The problem has been with Nutragrain fruit bars, special K cereal bars, protein bars, and pretzels. These have been labeled "not good". How do I know what is good and what is not?:confused:
 

Dr.Coach Psy.D

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Feb 23, 2009
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This might help...








Carbs Are a Source of Easily Obtained Energy

The principal benefit of carbs is easily-obtained energy in the form of glucose. When we eat foods containing carbohydrate, digestive enzymes in the mouth (saliva), stomach and intestine rapidly break it down into simple sugars and ultimately glucose. The glucose is then absorbed through the walls of the intestine into the bloodstream, and then either distributed to cells and muscles with the help of insulin for immediate use, or retained as an energy reserve in the liver and muscles in the form of glycogen, or stored as body fat. Although protein gives us glucose too, it takes much longer. Furthermore, some cell tissues (eg. in the brain) depend upon glucose from carbohydrate, which is why one of the side-effects of low-carb diets is a reduction in brain function. The ease and speed with which the body can convert glucose from simple carbs into energy, is illustrated by the fact that diabetics suffering an episode of hypoglycemia (very low blood glucose levels) can make an almost instant recovery after eating a couple of cubes of sugar, or equivalent.
Carbs Benefit Muscle Tissue

When our body needs energy it first looks for glucose from carbohydrates. If insufficient carb glucose is available from food (eg. because your diet is very low carb, or because you have metabolic disorders preventing normal use of available glucose), the body helps itself to glucose stored as glycogen in fatty tissue. If more energy is needed, the body then burns protein tissue in the muscles. In short, the availability of carbohydrate energy prevents the body from breaking down muscle tissue for fuel.
Very Complex Carbohydrates (Fiber) Benefits Digestion

Dietary fiber is classified into 2 types: insoluble and soluble. Both types of fiber are composed of dense indigestible polysaccharide carbs whose structure cannot be converted into glucose by human digestive enzymes. Paradoxically, the indigestibility of fiber makes it a very healthy addition to our daily diet.
Insoluble fiber (eg. cellulose, a few hemicelluloses and lignin in plants and whole grains) benefits digestion by stimulating peristalsis - the muscle movements that propel food along the colon. Being bulky, the fiber allows the colonic muscles to get a better "grip". Point is, if food moves faster through the large intestine, the risk of digestive disorders (eg. constipation, diverticulitis, even colon cancer) is reduced.
Soluble fiber (eg. pectin from apples, beta-glucans from oats) appears to reduce cholesterol levels and may reduce the risk of atherosclerotic heart disease.
Both insoluble and soluble fiber helps to make us feel full after a meal, and keeps us full for longer. This extra satiety-effect reduces the risk of overeating and consequent excess calorie-intake, which benefits obesity and weight management.
Very Complex Carbohydrate Benefits Blood Sugar Levels

Sometimes, eating too many high GI carbs (the ones that are very quickly broken down into glucose in the stomach) can trigger a very rapid rise in blood sugar. This "sugar-spike" can cause food cravings, appetite swings and, over time, impaired glucose tolerance or insulin insensitivity. However, the presence of dietary fiber in the digestive tract can help to slow down this conversion of carbs to glucose. Result? Blood sugar levels rise at a more normal speed thus avoiding the above health problems.
Other Benefits of Carbohydrates

Certain carbs benefit digestion by providing nutrients for healthy bacteria in the gut. In addition, carbs may benefit calcium levels by increasing calcium absorption from food.






It concerns me that the coaches are labeling things as "good" and "bad"...Growing bodies need grains for energy...so that their bodies will function...grains are the body's main source of energy...the human body needs grains for energy....if it can't get it's energy from grains it eventually obtains energy from it's protein stores (or to put it this way: the body eats itself)...


All I'm saying is that the kids need to be learning proper nutrition to keep their bodies healthy...not being warped into which food the coach thinks is good or bad...ALL food is fine as long as it's eaten in moderation...




and, yes, water is optimal for hydration before during and after workout...but sports drinks are okay as well...
 

sportyspice

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Jan 10, 2009
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I especially like sports drinks for 4 hour training sessions for my DD and DS as they sometimes will not eat much for a snack and the glucose in the water gives them a much needed energy boost. Our coach is also fussy about snacks and only likes them to have fruit. They crave "grainy foods" though and I sometimes give them chocolate dipped corn thins in the car on the way home so they don't have a "melt down" before dinner!
 
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ValleyGymMom

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My DD enjoys a chocolate covered protein bar in the car on the way to gym. Her coach kinda frowns upon those. I guess because of the chocolate. She is really big on fruit and insists they all have some kind of fruit for break. I like to leave a bunch of cheese sticks in the fridge at gym for her, and she can share it if someone forgets a snack. yo-go's are pretty good too. Yogurt covered fruit bits.
 

bogwoppit

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I send a big reusable bottle of water. PB sandwiches, fruit, veg and dip, yogourt, pretzels etc. Our coach has no issues except with real junk food, like soft drinks or Mickey D's. She does not allow the girls to bring anything but water into the gym area though, anything else is nasty if it spills.

I am not big on sports drinks or the choc granola bars, my kids think I am a health freak. Ah well one day they will leave home and buy their own food!
 

Geoffrey Taucer

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Great post, Dr. Coach! I have a hunch I'll be comming to you for info frequently.

I find I generally do best with fruit juice, preferably apple juice. When I can, I bring a big bottle of applejuice to the gym when I go in to work out, and often go through almost the whole bottle through the course of the day. Great for hydration, very healthy, and tastes great!
 
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MilaElizabeth

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Hi! I'm a Level 5 coach, and my girls always get a 10-minute "snack break" during their 4-hour workouts.

I do not question or criticize their choice of snacks, unless a parent or child asks me for input. I want them to "be kids" and swap their Goldfish crackers for Cheezits, etc. I also do not want them to develop body-image issues at the age of 8. So again, I do not comment on food or drink choices unless someone ASKS me.

That said, I recommend WATER as the beverage of choice. Sports drinks contain way too much sugar, which has no real nutritional value and just gives kids a temporary burst of energy, followed by a crash. If you want to make water more "fun," I recommend Smartwater, which contains the electrolytes found in Gatorade, but without the extra calories. Vitaminwater is also very popular with my gymnasts. I don't know much about this, but having some extra Vitamin C, etc., in the winter can't be all bad ... and Vitaminwater is low-calorie when compared to Gatorade, for example.

Although I don't tell them what to bring, many of my girls bring fresh fruit: strawberries, watermelon (even in the winter!), pineapple, apple slices, etc. I strongly endorse fruit, especially if you can add protein, such as apple slices with peanut butter.

Other snacks I recommend include almonds, yogurt, string cheese, granola bars that are low-fat and low-sugar, 1/2 a bagel with peanut butter, healthy trail mixes, raisins, etc.

Parents, please make sure your gymnasts are eating three meals a day, especially breakfast. They need the calories ... they're burning a TON during work-outs. But make sure they are getting those calories from meals rich in whole grains, high in protein, low in fat and sugar. (The worst "food" is non-diet soda and fast food, in my opinion. Try to limit those as much as possible).

Also, a great birthday treat: Angelfood cake topped with fresh strawberries!
 

Aussie_coach

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It's great that you have a coach that cares about the kids health and nutrition, kids these days can have a terrible diet. And there are so many unhealthy choices available that kids need a lot of help to understand what it can do to their bodies. This will only work, of course, if it is done in a positive way. If kids are talked to about fuelling their bodies with the right things, rather than about weight.

I would also be worried about kids so young drinking those sports drjinks. Kids need a lot less salt in their diets than adults and there can be far too much salt and sugar in these drinks. Also the fact that they are so brightly colors. Both artificial and natural colors can be very bad for a child and many are affected negatively by them.

Water is the best drink.
 
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gracefulone

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I'll add my $.02. Sports drinks, gatorade in particular, has this reputation for being great for all sports because it contains electroylytes, which replenish yout body. The truth is that electroylytes aren't really needed until you're doin heavy duty long distance type things, so water is actually good. That being said, I like flavored waters like fruit 2 o because they don't really add anything except flavor.
 
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ValleyGymMom

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Thank you all for your comments. My daughter likes the Fruit 2o also and the vitamin water as well. Lately she has been craving peaches (packed in water, not heavy syrup) with banana slices and apple chunks. This fruit salad fills her up and makes a good quick meal as well.
 

kacoach

New Member
Feb 21, 2009
7
Valleygymmom,
Having a MS in Exercise Physiology I'd rec. the water instead of sports drink. As commented previously sports drinks do tend to have too much sugar and lead to a spike in blood sugar and then a crash.

As for the snacks at practice....I'm assuming the coach is going in the direction of focusing on high carb foods since they are the primary source of energy for the body. While the protein bars are great I would only rec. those post work out and if you feel your daughter isn't getting an adequate intake. Nutigrain bars do have a few grams of fat and pretzels with the sodium, but those are the only issues I can think she may have with those choices. I'd stick with the fresh fruit and try tossing in some dry honey nut cheerios.

While we're talking nutrition make sure to have your daughter avoid soda since it inhibits calcium absortion into bones. Find a good multi-vitamin too. Good luck!
 
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ValleyGymMom

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Thanks for the advice. She rarely has soda, maybe once a month or so, if that. And she does take a vitamin. I never thought of the cheerios, great idea mixed with some raisins or dried fruit.
 

gym law mom

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I'll add my no to sports drinks for gymnasts. Too much sugar and way too much sodium for these kids. The gatorade type drinks are much more appropriate for kids out playing soccer, track, football etc.

All kids involved in sports do need fluid to keep hydrated. Yes, I agree water is best, but can be boring after awhile. Try squeezing 1/2 a lemon, orange or lime into the water bottle and then putting a few slices of the fruit in there. It does add some flavor. Overall, I don't think the Vitamin water is all that bad so that is an option also. Biggie is to make sure they are drinking on days when not in gym.
 

sheplaysinthechalk

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Valleygymmom,
Having a MS in Exercise Physiology I'd rec. the water instead of sports drink. As commented previously sports drinks do tend to have too much sugar and lead to a spike in blood sugar and then a crash.

As for the snacks at practice....I'm assuming the coach is going in the direction of focusing on high carb foods since they are the primary source of energy for the body. While the protein bars are great I would only rec. those post work out and if you feel your daughter isn't getting an adequate intake. Nutigrain bars do have a few grams of fat and pretzels with the sodium, but those are the only issues I can think she may have with those choices. I'd stick with the fresh fruit and try tossing in some dry honey nut cheerios.

While we're talking nutrition make sure to have your daughter avoid soda since it inhibits calcium absortion into bones. Find a good multi-vitamin too. Good luck!


yes. you are SO right! I also love what Dr.Coach, Psy.D posted.

One of my very closest friends is a Dietitian. She swears that sports drinks are a big "no-no" unless it's being used for something like distance running...and that they should be avioded during dehydration and that water is the single best thing that you can do for your body, no matter if you are an athlete or not...She says that the sodium and sugar in sports drinks are way too potent to effectively re-hydrate...and says that they can actually cause dehydration in some people because of the potency of sodium and the sodium/sugar ratio to water in them: like if someone drinks nothing but sports drink one day, they will likely show dehydration on a blood test because there isn't enough water in the body to counteract the ingredients...the dehydration can then be reversed by drinking water, or if necessary through IV fluids - but those are obviously in extreme cases...

and Dr.Coach....
She also swears by a lot of what you said. All food is "good food" as long as it's eaten in moderation. There are no "bad foods" per se...there are foods that are more nutritive than others, but all food provides nutrition.

I do have to comment that I feel that it is a HUGE shame when coaches do this type of thing. I feel that unless the coach has the right certifications, they really should leave the nutritional advice to dietetic professionals - and here's why:

you never know when your kind act or word will be the thing that lifts someone else's day...I believe that it is also true that you never know if what you say or do (especially to a child) will affect her/him for the rest of their life.

There are many reason why people develop a negative attitue toward food/weight/body image.

I feel it MOST IMPORTANT to encourage proper nutrition and emphasize that exercising is fun...and that each body (there are many types and we are all different) is beautiful. The human body works very hard to keep itself healthy - which I feel is a miracle in and of itself. I strongly feel that gymnastics has nothing to do with body type or weight. Good nutrition and exercise is essential to the long-term wellness of all people. As long as gymnastics is fun, and educational, the children are getting what they need out of it (i feel)...

sorry if I completely went off on a tangent...when coaches (or anyone else for that matter) do this kind of stuff, i get really emotional and have very strong feelings regarding this. Children need to be protected, they don't need to have unhealthy ideas being quietly planted in their big-little minds.
 
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Hattie

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sheplaysinthechalk i agree with everything you've said! We were never explicitly told by our coach that we couldn't bring certain foods to training but we were taught from a very young age at primary school about food groups and what we should be eating more of when we did exercise, when we were growing etc and my parents made sure we ate healthily anyway. My sister and I always used to have a very small chocolate bar or some sort of little treat after practise which did us no harm at all-at my cousin's gym at the start of the year they get a letter telling them what they're allowed to bring with regards to snacks and drinks and which foods are 'banned', which for 7 year olds doesn't seem quite right :(

my little sister loves high juice (50% fruit juice) for training but made quite weak so you can still taste the fruityness, as at the age of 12 she still moans about boring water! :eek::p
 
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