Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving


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Follow Friday: Vitamin D

I’m not going to lie; when I clicked on the link in the tweet from @fitocracy I was hoping to find some fodder for a blog rant. The tweet read: “Vitamin D: 3 Things You Probably Know, 3 Things You Probably Didn’t”. Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised by a seemingly accurate article about vitamin D written by the founders of the website examine.ca which is a science-based site about supplements and nutrition.

If you’re interested in learning more about vitamin D, or just curious to find out if you already know it all, you should check out this article.


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Fitocracy and Redbull

To carry on with the tirade against energy drinks I started yesterday I wanted to bring up something that’s been bothering me for a little while. The relationship between Fitocracy and Redbull.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love Fitocracy. I just don’t like the association it has with Redbull. There are “Redbull challenges” on Fitocracy. By completing certain activities, members can earn extra points for these challenges. I think it’s a shame that an otherwise amazing fitness site/app promotes Redbull in this manner. It’s also unfortunate that a fitness community needs the financial support of such an unhealthy beverage. Te me, it’s akin to Dietitians of Canada accepting sponsorship from the food industry. Is there truly not a better way to get funding than by advertising unhealthy products? Hopefully members are intelligent enough to realise that Redbull is not going to aid them in their fitness goals.


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The true weight of alcohol

As much as I love fitocracy I was annoyed when they tweeted the link to this blog post: 20 Nutrition Myths I Used to Believe Were True. Come on fito! Couldn’t you tweet a link to an article posted by someone with some sort of credibility and nutrition education? I know that there are lots of dietitians using your site and app and following you on twitter. Why tweet a post by someone who has just managed to lose weight? Sure, some of what he has to say is true but not all of it and just because it worked for him doesn’t mean it’s going to work for everyone.

I’m not going to go through all 20 “myths” because that’s way too much work. And as I mentioned, there is a bit of truth in there. Unfortunately, it just had to be the first one that pissed me off the most. The myth: Alcohol makes you fat. According to the author this is untrue because alcohol is absorbed first over other nutrients and “if your macronutrient for your drinking day is almost purely protein and you keep pounding shots of tequila (not chugging beer or cocktails), then you will not gain that much fat at all”. Huh? Yes, alcohol is more readily absorbed than other nutrients. That doesn’t mean that you won’t gain weight if you eat your poutine and pizza or whatever after you’ve been out drinking.

Alcohol itself has more calories (about 7) per gram than carbs and protein (both about 4). Just having two glasses of wine a night can lead to about 30 pounds of weight gain in a year. Unless your exercising lots to compensate for those calories, you will gain weight. Also, alcohol tends to reduce your inhibition and cloud your judgement. You’re much more likely to over eat after consuming a few glasses of alcohol than you are in a sober state.

I’m also sorry to report that alcohol does not contain all of the nutrients that your body needs. You can’t just replace food with booze. Did you know that alcoholics are actually the group most likely to be at risk of nutrient deficiencies? This is for two reasons: 1. alcohol interferes with the absorption of many essential nutrients, 2. alcohol often displaces nutritious foods.
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Follow Friday: Fitocracy

So… My latest addiction is Fitocracy. It’s kind of like twitter for fitness junkies plus a great way to keep track of your workouts. It’s free (unless you decide to become a hero” which is still only a few dollars a month) and easy to set-up an account at http://www.fitocracy.com. They also have a great app available in the app store and you can follow them on twitter: @fitocracy If you just want to use it to track your workouts you can simply keep everything on private but the interaction with others is one of the best parts of the site. You get points for all your physical activities and advance to the next level once you’ve accumulated a certain number of points. You can join groups depending on your fitness interests (e.g. long distance runners, cat-lovers, book worms…). You can follow your friends and compete in challenges. It’s a great motivator to keep up with your exercise goals and even to get you trying new exercises. No matter what your level of athleticism, I wholeheartedly recommend this community for you.

If you do decide to join please follow me: dichard.