Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving

The modified grocery guide for runners

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A friend and fellow runner recently shared this grocery guide for runners with me asking for my thoughts. While for the most part I think that it’s good advice for anyone not just for runners, there are a few things that I wasn’t totally down with. Here are my revisions:

STOP 1: THE PRODUCE SECTION

“If you’re going to eat the exterior (apples, peaches, bell peppers), buying organic will limit your pesticide exposure.”

While peeling or washing vegetables and fruit will remove some pesticide residue, some pesticide residue will remain and certain pesticides can exist within the vegetable or fruit. Organic produce may have fewer pesticides applied than conventional but research has shown that they often still have pesticide residue. In addition, just because a food is organic doesn’t mean that pesticides weren’t used on it. There are pesticides which are approved for organic use. Don’t be fooled into a false sense of security by purchasing organic produce. You should still always wash fruit and vegetables to remove dirt and bacteria.

STOP 2: THE MEAT, FISH & DELI COUNTERS

“Organic meat costs more but limits your exposure to the antibiotics and growth hormones used in conventionally raised livestock”

In Canada, growth hormones are only permitted for use in beef cows. Antibiotics are permitted for use in all non-organic farming. The amounts present in the meat that you purchase are very low but if you are concerned about their presence in your food you may wish to choose organic meat.

Farmed Atlantic salmon
Ocean pens can pollute surrounding waterways, and contamination from PCBs may be a concern. Splurge on wild.”

All Atlantic salmon is now farmed. It is possible to find ethically farmed Atlantic salmon. However, at this point, you’re probably better off going with wild Pacific salmon.

Toss out Multigrain bread
Toss in 100% whole grain
Multigrain bread is often made of enriched flour or wheat flour—which lacks the fiber and vitamins of 100 percent whole-grain flour.”

Just check the ingredients if you’re buying bread at the grocery store. Go for ones that list whole grain flour as the first ingredient. If you avoid mass-produced commercially available bread and go for preservative-free locally made bread you should be able to find multigrain bread that is also whole grain. Keep it in the freezer to keep it fresh.

Salted nuts and seeds Eating too many will put you into calorie and sodium overload.”

While I’m generally not one to recommend salted nuts I’m definitely a big fan of nuts. Runners usually need more calories than the average person and don’t need to worry quite as much about the calorie content. They may also be able to afford to have a sodium-containing snack such as salted nuts, especially if they’re sweating a lot during workouts (like me on my runs lately).

Sweeteners
Good Honey The easily-digestible carbs contain antioxidants and antibacterial properties. Stash a honey packet in your running shorts for midrun fueling.
Better Maple syrup It has about 20 percent fewer calories than honey, plus a wider array of antioxidants that may help muscle recovery. Use it to lightly sweeten plain yogurt and oatmeal.”

Still use these sweeteners sparingly as when it comes down to it they’re still sugar.

Flaxseeds
These tiny seeds brim with omega fats and fiber and can help lower cholesterol.”

Just remember that your body can’t digest whole flaxseeds. Make sure you buy cracked or ground or grind your own (I use my coffee grinder). Keep flaxseed (any other nuts and seeds) in the fridge or freezer to maintain freshness. Remember that the omega-3 in flaxseed is not the same as the omega-3 found in fish and doesn’t have the same health benefits.

Cinnamon
Studies show regular consumption can help reduce type 2 diabetes risk.”

I just found this to be a very bizarre entry in a grocery list aimed at runners who aren’t necessarily at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Also, while it may help to regulate blood sugar cinnamon has not been proven to reduce risk of developing diabetes.

Chocolate milk “The combination of protein and quick-digesting carbs helps repair exercise-induced muscle damage and refuel tired muscles,” says Sumbal. But it’s high in calories, so “choose low-fat varieties.””

Just frig off with the chocolate milk would ya.

On the whole, not a terrible article, if a bit lengthy. I wasn’t overjoyed to see the canned soup and frozen meal suggestions as I’m an advocate for preparing your own meals using basic ingredients. The specific product suggestions also made me uncomfortable. It’s always best to read the labels and decide which product best meets your needs yourself.

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Author: Diana

I'm a registered dietitian from Nova Scotia, living and working in Ontario, Canada. My goal is to help people relearn how to have a healthy relationship with food.

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