Mostrando entradas con la etiqueta Deporte. Mostrar todas las entradas
Mostrando entradas con la etiqueta Deporte. Mostrar todas las entradas

miércoles, 13 de noviembre de 2019

Has the Game Really Changed?

You know a nutrition documentary is making a big splash when your friends start texting you to ask for your opinion. As most nutritionist/dietitians will agree, generally, your friend's interest in nutritional science will end at what is going to help them look good on the beach that summer or make them stronger/faster in their chosen sport.
 We had originally planned to give the documentary The Game Changers a miss, not because we have anything against vegetarianism or veganism, or to use the new trendy term "being plant based", in fact, quite the opposite. We often promote on our social media "meat free" days and are constantly badgering our patients to reduce their animal products in favour of vegetables and legumes. No, we didn't want to watch the movie because we suspected it would be a series of anecdotes passed off as "proof" that a plant based lifestyle is the ONLY way, and that if you don't convert right now you are evil and you will die when you're 50, if you're lucky.
 However, when a friend is asking your professional opinion you can't reply "sorry mate, I couldn't be bothered to watch it", and then be expected to be taken seriously at a later date.
 Before we get stuck in, I would like to point out that this review will not be an in-depth look at the studies and evidence that were put forward during the documentary. That has already been done quite extensively and so there's not much point in repeating ourselves. Further more, most people, who only have a passing interest in nutrition, are not going to want to hear all about research and statistical analysis. It is our job as nutritionists/dietitians to take that information and put it into "normal" language.
 With that in mind, if you do in fact want to look at the science in a more in-depth way, I would recommend going to Asker Jeukendrup's site https://www.mysportscience.com/ where you will find a great critique of the evidence featured in the documentary.
 This review will be more of an overview of the documentary as a piece of film and the reason why, as someone who works in sport nutrition, I found it so infuriating.

The documentary taken purely at face value is brilliant. It is entertaining, emotive, thought provoking and motivational. It is really well shot and the narrator's journey from injury to recovery is fascinating. The athletes featured are all really interesting and to choose sports such as Strongman or American football, as opposed to Yoga, the stereotypical domain of the "whimpy vegan", was a very clever move from the directors of the film. And to top it all off, Arnie is in the movie! Who doesn't love Arnie???

 Where the wheels started to come off was when the coaches and Drs said things like "sport nutritionists say we have to eat meat" or "sport nutritionists say we need protein for energy". I was immediately confused because both of those statements were totally false. Anyone with even the most basic knowledge of nutrition would know that protein is not our primary energy source. And nor I, nor any nutritionist I know, have ever told anyone that they must eat meat.
 As the movie progressed it started to appear that it was advocates of the plant based lifestyle Vs sports nutrition of 30+ years ago. It didn't surprise me in the slightest when Arnie, a 72 year old man, described how he thought that he had to eat meat to hit his protein targets. Let's not forget that his pro bodybuliding career was from 1968 to 1980. You would hope science had moved on a fair bit in 40 years.
 The film makers then reveal that carbohydrate from plants and not protein from animals is the main fuel source for athletic performance as if they have just revealed the biggest kept secret in human history. Again, this puzzled me because this was nothing new, a quick browse through any sport nutrition literature would tell you exactly the same. But the film makers don't mention up to date sport nutrition. Instead they quote some German bloke from the 19th century who said vegetarians could never be athletes. A shocking statement yes, but also one that has nothing to do with modern sport nutrition. Pick any topic in science and compare it to what people thought 200 years ago and yes it's interesting and quite probably shocking but it has little to do with science in the 21st century.
 And then if going back 200 years wasn't enough, we do the inevitable trip back 100,000 years to our Paleo ancestors. And guess what? Turns out we didn't eat that much meat after all.
 It is fairly logical that when we had to spend time and energy to catch, kill and butcher our meat instead of just going down the shops, we wouldn't have eaten that much of it. Instead we relied more on fruits, vegetables and nuts for our energy source. That doesn't mean we didn't eat any meat at all. If we never ate meat we wouldn't have evolved the ability to eat meat. Next time you're down the park have a chew on some grass and see what happens. That is what happens when you eat something you're not supposed to.
 Apart from having little if anything to do with modern humans, no one in the sport nutrition world, at least nobody credible, is saying that human beings are carnivores.
 This leads nicely to the next point which, as infuriating as I find it, I must admit, this film is not the only one guilty of this. The constant comparison between a human and either the lion or gorilla to make a point about what we should or shouldn't eat is plainly ridiculous! You may as well compare us to trees and suggest we just stand in the sun all day. We are humans, not lions, not dogs, not gorillas, not sharks. We have all evolved on very different paths and so making comparisons is just a waste of time.

Moving away from the attack on outdated nutritional science onto the athletes themselves and things are not much better. This is probably the part of the movie that shocked me the most. No, not the fact we see plant based athletes exist, because again, we all knew that. What really shocked me was how appalling most of the diets of the featured (non-plant based) pro athletes were. I couldn't believe it when one of those pro American footballers was describing how his diet basically consisted of KFC. Or when the Titans guys were saying their pre-game meal was mountains of steak. As mentioned before, a big dollop of protein pre game is neither what is needed nor what is recommended, so I was totally flabbergasted that a sport as rich as American football had such poor sport nutrition support. Its not surprising at all that once you take somebody off a junk food diet they feel better. Hardly groundbreaking stuff that one.
 We see the same story with the firefighters, who were mostly overweight and pretty unhealthy looking, they were taken off their dreadful diets and shock horror, they felt better. 
Returning to steak, we got a little snap shot of everybody's favourite pantomime villain, Connor Mcgregor, and how his pre fight diet of 3 steaks a day backfired (who saw that coming?) and his plant based opponent, Nate Diaz, had more energy in the tank and eventually beat him. While it is not directly mentioned, it is heavily implied that because Diaz is plant based he won that fight. Again, what the standout message for me here was not Diaz being plant based but how Mcgregor was allowed or advised to eat nothing but steak before a fight. Yes, it sounds good in the press conference but in reality it is not going to help you much when your muscles are screaming for energy and you've hindered their ability to utilise glycogen through going low-carb. If McGregor had a sport nutritionist for that fight, something I doubt, I hope he fired him/her afterwards.
 Then we move on to Dotsie Bausch, the Olympic track cyclist, and we are told how she went through a transformation after leaving meat out of her diet. We see images of her smashing it in the gym and speeding round the track, whilst she describes how proud she felt "stood on the podium with a medal round her neck" at the 2012 Olympics. Now, to the majority of the viewers of this documentary they will probably think that she came away as Olympic champion. The choice of words and the editing of the clips from the race certainly gave that impression. I remember as I was watching the movie I was thinking "hang on a minute USA didn't win the women's team pursuit in 2012". I know next to nothing about American football, and little more about MMA but cycling is my sport, so I knew something fishy was going off here. I paused the movie and double checked online for the result, and sure enough, USA were beaten in the final by Britain (1). By quite a margin as well, nearly 5 seconds. I'm not for one second saying Bausch didn't win because she was plant based, I'm saying the omission of the fact her medal was silver, still an unbelievable achievement, was a very strange decision by the film makers, especially after the song and dance they made about Diaz beating McGregor.. A silver medal at the Olympic games is something to be very proud of and a clear demonstration that yes you can be plant based and get to the very top. There was no need to edit it in such fashion to lead you to falsely believe she won. Of course they will argue they never said she won, but they didn't say she came second either.
 They also heavily imply that the sudden turn around of the Titans' fortunes is down to a load of their players moving to a plant based diet. At the risk of sounding like a stuck record, I would argue it is probably more to do with them moving away from a junk food diet.
An important point to remember whenever elite athletes are concerned, there is always an elephant in the room when it comes to their diet and/or training plans which renders their comparison to mere mortals like us utterly pointless. I'm sure you know what I mean, but if you don't have a quick read about about else Arine was taking bucket loads of, spoiler alert, it wasn't soy.

Putting to one side the smoke and mirrors of the movie makers, these stories of athletes are nothing more than anecdotes. They are the movie equivalent of "this worked for me so it must work for you", which, as powerful as these anecdotes are, and watching a vegan athlete lift 550kg is certainly powerful, they are nothing more than a demonstration that in those cases those particular athletes can achieve amazing feats whilst being plant based. That's it. Nothing more. They are not proof that every athlete on Earth should become a plant based one.
This is where I was really disappointed with the film. I felt like the film makers were more interested in attacking the Low-Carb (LCHF) movement and the American meat industry rather than putting together a really great, scientifically sound documentary. If instead of attacking the sport nutrition sector with 30 year old data they invited some of the top sport nutrition minds on the movie, such as Asker Jeukendrup or Louise Burke or even my old lecturer Nigel Mitchel, a sports nutritionist for EF cycling team and (wait for it) a vegan, they would have got a more up to date view that wouldn't have altered greatly an important message from the film, eat more plants! But instead, they decided to go full conspiracy theory and started comparing meat to tobacco with the end result of not only ruffling the feathers of most sport nutritionists worldwide, but also damaging the value of the documentary. What I can never understand about these nutrition zealots is, if their chosen diet or lifestyle is unquestionably "the right way", why don't they just let the science speak for itself instead of resorting to dodgy tactics? for example, it's funny how the film mentions "industry sponsored science" but fails to mention the director is a major share holder in a vegetable protein supplement company. I'm sure they just forgot.
 If as a consequence of this movie people reduce their meat intake and increase their vegetable intake then fantastic! There's very little argument to be had when it comes to the fact that we eat too much meat and not enough veg. But that doesn't mean we all have to go full vegan! Even the guest Drs on the film say "predominantly plant based", which is a fancy way of saying balanced diet. This evangelical approach that food documentaries are currently taking is exhausting. It was the same with the low-carb movies, it's the same with the vegan ones and I'm sure it will be same with the fasting ones. Be it with our food or our politics, we appear to be living in a time where we must be A or B, black or white, yes or no, fat or thin. We slap a label on ourselves and we won't even entertain the idea of taking a bit from column A and a bit from column B. All that these documentaries achieve with their cherry picked, one sided science is to create further mistrust and confusion between the general public and the nutritional science industry, which, in turn, leaves the door open for the real con artists and quaks, of which there are plenty.

So finally, has the "game" really changed thanks to this film? The answer is a resounding NO I'm afraid. The film did not show us anything that wasn't already known in the current world of sport nutrition. We know plant based athletes can make it to the very top, we know a diet of red meat is not good for athletic performance (or health) and we know most of the developed world eats too much meat. Their decisions to portray sport nutrition as an outdated meat obsessed cartel, to cherry pick data and stretch the truth with clever editing has utterly diminished the credibility of the film, which I think is a great shame.
The one ray of hope from this film is that many athletes still eat like teenage boys and so we sport nutritionists are still very much in need.


1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cycling_at_the_2012_Summer_Olympics_%E2%80%93_Women%27s_team_pursuit

viernes, 25 de octubre de 2019

Dietas bajas en carbohidratos y altas en grasa en deportes de resistencia: un repaso a la evidencia

No es sencillo informarse sobre las dietas bajas en carbohidratos y no perderse en un montón de anécdotas o peor, encontrarte en medio de una pelea de Twitter. Hay pocos temas en el mundo de la nutrición que causen tanto revuelo.

Mi interés personal en las dietas bajas en carbohidratos y altas en grasa (LCHF) se debe a su aplicación en deportes de resistencia.

Sería un sueño hecho realidad el poder utilizar las más de 100.000 kcal de grasa que están almacenadas en nuestro cuerpo. Pero como casi con todo lo relacionado con la nutrición, no es tan simple como nos gustaría.

Antes de que examinemos la evidencia, quiero aclarar que no estoy hablando sobre “LCHF” y composición corporal o sensibilidad a la insulina, sino solo examinando si una dieta baja en carbohidratos y alta en grasa te hace un mejor corredor, ciclista o triatleta.

En este post voy a resumir un artículo de Louise Burke que se llama “Re-examining High-Fat Diets for Sports Performance: Did We Call the "Nail in the Coffin" Too Soon?". El artículo original es en inglés, te recomiendo que lo leas. Lo puedes encontrar aquí. Abajo he traducido los puntos claves.

Es globalmente aceptado que una dieta LCHF de corta duración (menos de 3 días) es perjudicial para el rendimiento debido al agotamiento de glucógeno de los músculos y del hígado, y que no se produce un aumento de oxidación de grasa. Sin embargo, existen resultados interesantes si se sigue una dieta LCHF durante mucho tiempo.

Después de un repaso extenso de los artículos existentes desde 1980 hasta 2006, los resultados claves del autor son:

  • Seguir una dieta LCHF sin cetosis puede causar adaptaciones claves en los músculos en tan solo 5 días. Esto incluye un aumento de triglicéridos intramusculares y de la actividad de la enzima lipasa hormono sensible (LHS) que moviliza los triglicéridos de los músculos y el tejido adiposo. Con estas adaptaciones el/la atleta puede aumentar su oxidación de grasa. 
  • Estas adaptaciones persistirían a pesar de realizar 1-3 días de carga de carbohidratos. Aunque la velocidad de utilización de grasa sería menor en comparación con una dieta LCHF, sería más alta que con una dieta alta en carbohidratos.
  • La exposición crónica a una dieta LCHF causa una regulación a la baja en la utilización de los carbohidratos, específicamente del glucógeno de los músculos, durante ejercicio. Esta regulación a la baja persiste durante el ejercicio de alta intensidad, incluso en estudios con una dieta LCHF seguido por una carga de carbohidratos.
  • A pesar del aumento en la capacidad de utilizar esta fuente de combustible, las estrategias de LCHF no han dado lugar a una mejora del rendimiento en deportes de resistencia. Las mejoras se han limitado a estudios con protocolos de ejercicio sub-máximo, que no son un fiel reflejo de los deporte de resistencia.
  • Es posible que las estrategias LCHF puedan perjudicar rendimiento, específicamente deportes que tienen intervalos cortos de esfuerzas de alta intensidad. Esto es probablemente debido a una disfunción en la utilización del glucógeno por parte del músculo.

La autora escribió que debido al reciente aumento de popularidad de las dietas LCHF, había vuelto a examinar la evidencia disponible. Sin embargo no pudo encontrar estudios recientes que justificaran la avalancha de popularidad. De hecho sólo encontró dos estudios con atletas, desde 2006, y ninguno mostró una mejora del rendimiento. Sin embargo lo que sí que mostraron fue un pequeño pero favorable cambio en la composición del cuerpo debido a una reducción de grasa corporal.

La autora afirma que la mayor parte del apoyo a las dietas LCHF se encuentra en los medios de comunicación social, como por ejemplo, Twitter. También que en general está relacionado con atletas que no son de elite y que son historias de tipo anecdótico.
La conclusión de la autora es que en lugar de un “pensamiento en blanco y negro”, los investigadores y profesionales deberían moverse hacia protocolos individualizados cuando trabajen con atletas.


Mis pensamientos


Creo que Louise Burke ha escrito un artículo muy interesante y lleno de sentido; estoy de acuerdo con que deberíamos mantener una actitud más flexible y que el dogma no ayuda a nadie.

En el pasado se pensaba que las dietas altas en carbohidratos eran la única dieta que se podía seguir si querías participar en los deportes de resistencia. Ahora, sin embargo, parece que algunos se han ido al extremo opuesto y defienden que sólo se debe seguir una dieta LCHF.
Personalmente veo los beneficios de limitar de vez en cuando la ingesta de carbohidratos, especialmente si quieres reducir la grasa corporal. Pero lo cierto es que la evidencia demuestra que si quieres rendir bien en un ejercicio de alta intensidad, seguir una dieta crónicamente baja en carbohidratos sería perjudicial.



Si quieres que te ayude a planificar tu entrenamiento deportivo, escríbeme a wayne@gabinetederueda.es

jueves, 30 de mayo de 2019

Nueva legislación sobre el pan

¡Albricias! 

Tenemos una nueva normativa sobre la calidad del #pan, aprobada en el consejo de ministros hace un par de semanas. 👏👏👏👏 

¿Y qué significa esto? Pues que ya no vamos a tener que ser detectives🕵️‍♂️ cuando vayamos a comprar pan y que, por irónico que parezca, cuando en la etiqueta ponga "pan integral", el pan ¡estará hecho con harina integral 100%! 


Hasta ahora, no había un % mínimo para llamarse integral 🙈, con los que panes con 0% harina integral podían llamarse integrales. 


También van a ampliar el IVA reducido del "pan común" a panes elaborados con otras harinas distintas a las de trigo, como los elaborados con harinas integrales, con salvados o bajo contenido en sal que solían tener un 10% de IVA.

Además los "panes multicereales" ahora van a tener que tener un 10% mínimo del cereal en cuestión mencionado en la etiqueta y al menos elaborado con 3 harinas diferentes. Otro cambio es que si compramos por ejemplo, "pan de #espelta", ese pan deberá contener al menos un 50% de espelta, se acabaron esos panes de X, con un 1% de X. 


Hay otros cambios de los que ya hablaremos en nuestro blog próximamente.


lunes, 8 de abril de 2019

Thin Privilege: An Update

After another lively debate on Facebook regarding this topic I spent most of the other night thinking about it and my reaction to it. 
Is this where I suddenly repent and accept my thin privilege? No, it isn't. I still don't like the term, the concept and everything it entails and here is why.
When I read the original article and the comments associated with it it made me angry because deep down I didn't think I was getting any kind of privilege for being thin. Yes as a man, and although I really didn't want to bring race into it, a white man, I fully acknowledge the society we live in has been constructed in my favour. I accept that, and if it will change anything, which I doubt it will, I acknowledge that privilege. 

The comments I received mostly seemed to indicate that I was denying that "weight bias" "body diversity" "Sizeism" and so on existed, which was not the case. What I didn't like was first the assumption that people are "naturally thin", and that my life is easy because I am thin, You have no idea about my life just as I don't about yours, any assumption based on appearance is wrong. 
This point didn't seem to be accepted and I continued to receive anecdotes about people's lives and how they struggle with discrimination, which, at the risk of sounding like a stuck record I didn't deny existed.

After being directed towards research around weight bias and wages, a couple of points jumped out at me and made me rethink why I am reacting this way. 
In an article in the Journal of Applied Psychology (1) it was demonstrated that thinner women get paid more, not surprising, but the opposite was true for men. In fact, larger men get paid more up until the point of obesity. And a quote lifted from an article on Forbes (2) based on the study said. "Skinny men, indeed, are often regarded as nervous, sneaky, afraid, sad, weak, and sick, where men of well-proportioned build are associated with traits such as having lots of friends, being happy, polite, helpful, brave, smart, and neat." 

So is this really "Fat Vs Thin"? Or is it just another example of different rules for men and women?

I started thinking through my experiences in work and the times I've had to say "yes I do eat" or "no I am not addicted to heroin", did me being a thin man (as opposed to just thin) have something to do with this? 
Or the times I felt I wasn't taken seriously in staff meetings. I had always assumed it was because I was one of the youngest in the room (sadly no longer the case) but maybe it was because I was thin? 
While I can still find clothes that fit me in most shops I have noticed that I have had to drop down a size from M to S with no major change in body weight. It appears that provisions are being made to spare men's feelings by simply shifting everything up one size which is not happening for women. So is this really "thin privilege" or just plain old sexism? 
Is it possible that as a man "thin privilege" doesn't extend to me? Or at least not as much as it does for women? 

Rethinking where I stand on this topic I still reject the term thin privilege because I think it diverts away from the real issue which is what society expects of women. It looks like as a man I can put on a few kilos and not suffer any negative consequences, up to a point, whereas women cannot. And to me that is sexism not thin privilege. 

1.  2011 Jan;96(1):95-112. doi: 10.1037/a0020860.
2. https://www.forbes.com/sites/freekvermeulen/2011/03/22/the-price-of-obesity-how-your-salary-depends-on-your-weight/#29a06bbb3d9a

viernes, 5 de abril de 2019

No, we don’t need to talk about thin privilege

 Update: I have modified slightly my opinion on the term thin privilege which can be read here

This is an opinion piece by Wayne Bradley and does not reflect anybody else's views associated with this blog.

Recently I found myself in a debate with fellow nutritionists and dietitians on the Build Up Dietitians Facebook page regarding the concept of thin privilege. Thin privilege is as follows, we “thin” people live in a world where we don’t experience the stigma and prejudices that overweight people experience. We can find clothes easily, we don’t get stared at when we eat in public and so on. 

Ok, so far so good, nobody would argue with that fact. But I have several issues with labelling it “thin privilege”, firstly the word privilege and the tone of the articles I have read regarding this topic indicate that being thin, or “skinny” which gets thrown around lightly but no-one will dare say fat, is something that has been gifted to us, we haven’t earned it and we should thank our lucky stars that we’re in this position. 
Most people, especially those in the health & nutrition industry know only too well how hard maintaining/losing weight is and to hint that normal weight people are somehow blessed or “privileged” is quite insulting, but sadly nothing new. Now of course because I said I eat well and do a lot of exercise that also means I think every large person is bone idle and just eats pizzas all day long! No, it doesn’t! It means making ANY assumption about a person’s body shape is wrong. 

I feel very proud of myself when I see those scales going down, or when I get up 8am on a Sunday to go riding even though the sun is shining and I’d much rather have a few beers with my wife and friends. To suggest I should somehow feel privileged for that completely undermines the hard work and effort I (or anyone) does to maintain their healthy lifestyle. That doesn’t make me unaware of the battles large people go through, in fact, what I do with my life has nothing to do with what my patients do with theirs, which leads me on to my second issue.  

My second issue is also to do with the term “thin privilege”. It is a nonsense term and completely unnecessary. When our patients come to visit us, they will discuss with us the problems they face, not only with their food choices but with self -esteem, health issues and so on. We will listen to them and if we do not share the same problems we will use empathy to understand them and guide our patients through their journey. 
We already have the word, it is empathy, we do not need a new Insta-trendy, buzzword. If as a healthcare professional you are unable to empathise with your patients then may I suggest a career change? Politics perhaps. 

To repeat a previous point, what I do with my life has no bearing on my patient's lives and has no place in a consultation. They are there to talk about their lives not mine. If the boot was on the other foot and my coach was "acknowledging" their superior athletic ability or shall we say "athletic privilege", I would feel extremely patronised and would probably sever ties with that coach very quickly. 

Perhaps I am being too pedantic around terminologies and the use of words. However, I worry that we are going down a particular path where we will not be able to openly discuss weight, obesity and it's related health problems. Body size and shape should not be attributed to attractiveness, I will vigorously defend that there is not one "perfect" type of body in terms of what is "hot" or "sexy". We all have our own tastes and that is what makes the human race so amazing! However, obesity is not healthy, it just isn't. Many co-morbidities exist with obesity, we all know it and not discussing them does not make them go away. 

Saying "you're fat therefore ugly" is disgusting and should be stamped out immediately. But saying "you are overweight and need to make a change to improve your life" is not the same thing and should be what we are saying, but I fear we are becoming too scared of being labelled as "fat shamers". 

To repeat, I acknowledge that larger people have a tough time in regards to the society we live in, but as nutritionists/dietitians we are there to help them and we owe it to them to be honest. What use is saying "yeah I know I'm thin and my life is easier than yours"? 

During the debate, the topic of the genetic influence on body weight continued to appear, while it was beside my original point I will address it here.Yes genetics plays a large role in a person's size. The size of that role varies. However, does that mean we all just give up and say "its the genetics"? Because if that is the case then dietetics is dead!! I don't believe that is the case, some of us have been dealt a good hand in genetics, some haven't. That doesn't mean we can't make the best with what we've got. We can still strive to be the best version of ourselves and I strongly believe that externalising ourselves to the genetically thin and fat does us all a huge disservice. 

Wayne Bradley BSc (hons) MSc PG cert

lunes, 18 de junio de 2018

¿La grasa saturada no obstruye las arterias?

Editorial BJSM, BMJ

La grasa saturada no obstruye las arterias: la enfermedad coronaria es una enfermedad inflamatoria crónica, cuyo riesgo puede reducirse de manera efectiva a partir de intervenciones de estilo de vida saludable. 

"A pesar de la creencia popular de médicos y el público en general, el modelo en el que la grasa saturada proveniente de la dieta produce la obstrucción de
las arterias es simplemente incorrecta. Esta revisión sistemática y metanálisis de los estudios observacionales no mostraron asociación entre el consumo de grasas saturadas y mortalidad por cualquier causa, enfermedad coronaria cardíaca (CHD), mortalidad por CHD, accidente cerebrovascular isquémico o diabetes tipo 2 en adultos sanos." 


http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/51/15/1111 

Siempre es bueno valorar objetivamente la evidencia que sustenta ciertas recomendaciones dietéticas y hay pocos temas tan controvertidos como el de la grasa saturada. Aunque parece escrito en piedra, lo cierto es que los estudios en los que se basan la recomendación de reducir la grasa saturada son mediocres (al igual que los que demuestran lo contrario) y aunque no defiendo ni un lado ni otro, siempre es bueno una sana dosis de escepticismo e investigar intereses comerciales (como los de la American Heart Association, por poner un ejemplo).


miércoles, 28 de marzo de 2018

La homeopatía sale cara

Desde hoy estamos colaborando con Build Up Dietitians, una red global de dietistas que incluye tanto dietistas americanos como británicos, australianos, etc. que intentan compartir nutrición basada en la evidencia.

Como vamos a estar compartiendo y escribiendo posts para ellos, iremos dejando los enlaces por aquí para que los podáis leer en su página de FB, abierta a todos los públicos No necesitáis tener una cuenta en FB para acceder.

Nuestro primer post va sobre la homeopatía (que es distinto a la suplementación con plantas medicinales, no lo confundamos). Vale la pena investigar un poco nuestra Ley del Medicamento en España, los decretos están disponibles online aquí

Link al post

Parece que la FDA va a endurecer la legislación relativa a los productos homeopáticos, especialmente para aquellos que son publicitados para tratar enfermedades graves. En España, según la Ley del Medicamento, para venderse no tienen que demostrar que son efectivos sino que son inocuos. Sí, lo has leído bien. Deben ser inocuos, lo cual no es difícil ya que, según la ley, deben estar disueltos en 1 parte del sustrato madre por cada 10 000.
“A veces el peligro de los productos homeopáticos es que las personas que los toman dejan de tomar aquellos medicamentos que han sido estudiados y que son, en realidad, seguros y efectivos.”

https://tonic.vice.com/…/evmm…/are-homeopathic-remedies-safe

¿Cómo se regula la homepopatía en tu país? (LR)



miércoles, 24 de enero de 2018

El gran error que tienes que evitar en Enero


Aquí estamos otra vez: un año nuevo, hace frío y nos sentimos gordos y feos porque hemos comido y bebido demasiado en Navidad. Internet está lleno de artículos, consejos y curas milagrosas para perder grasa, ganar músculo y arreglar todo.

No vamos a añadir nada a estas listas de curas pero te vamos a ofrecer un único consejo para tener en cuenta si quieres empezar una dieta o un régimen de ejercicio.

Si estás en dieta no empieces un bloque de entrenamiento duro o alta intensidad  
Es un error que comete mucha gente y (en nuestra humilde opinión) la principal razón por la que la mayoría de los “quiero ponerme en forma” fallan en febrero. Mucha gente ha pasado las Navidades bebiendo, comiendo y no haciendo casi nada de ejercicio,  y cuando llega al año nuevo empiezan una dieta muy estricta y se castigan en el gimnasio, todo a la vez. Normalmente estas rutinas tan duras ocasionan lesiones y enfermedades y no se pueden mantener más allá de unas semanas. 
 
Como hemos dicho anteriormente, tu nutrición tiene que estar adaptada a tu plan de ejercicio, es decir, si vas a empezar una rutina muy dura, tu cuerpo necesita los nutrientes necesarios para proporcionarte energía y hacer las adaptaciones necesarias, como aumentar el tejido muscular. Si tu cuerpo no tiene suficiente energía porque estás siguiendo una dieta muy estricta, no podrás hacer los ejercicios bien porque no tienes sustento y eso aumentará el riesgo de lesiones; tu sistema inmunitario tampoco podrá funcionar de manera óptima y te pondrás enferm@.  

Si quieres empezar una dieta, aquí tienes algunos puntos clave

  • Asegúrate de que mantienes una ingesta adecuada de proteína: 1,5 – 2g/kg de peso corporal 
  • Haz ejercicio de esfuerzo para mantener la masa muscular pero recuerda, nada de alta intensidad
  •  Si haces ejercicio de resistencia, que no sean de larga duración (más de una hora) o de alta intensidad (mayor que zona 3 - pulsaciones/vatios). 

Cuando hayas llegado a tu peso objetivo puedes aumentar la intensidad y empezar a entrenar más duro, pero siempre adaptando tu dieta a ello.

martes, 23 de enero de 2018

Musaka

Hoy te traemos una receta de Musaka, versión vegetariana. 

Es un plato de origen árabe (o griego) hecho a base de berenjenas, con carne de cordero especiada, con tomate y salsa blanca. La nuestra es una versión un poquito más sana, ya que en vez de carne de cordero vamos a usar soja texturizada y en vez de usar queso en la bechamel, lo vamos a poner solo encima.

Ingredientes
  •  2 berenjenas
  •  90gr de soja texturizada
  • 1 cebolla
  • 1 bote de tomate natural triturado sin azúcar
  •  2 ajos
  • 1 cucharadita de orégano, de canela y de pimienta.
  • 1/2 cucharadita de sal 
  • Mozarella light
  • Aceite de oliva
Para la salsa blanca: 50gr de harina de trigo integral, 200ml de leche desnatada y un poco de nuez moscada rallada


Método
  • Hidratamos la soja texturizada durante 10 minutos, con una cucharada de tomate natural triturado, un pellizco de sal y pimienta. Tras 10 minutos, escurrimos la soja en un colador y la ponemos a dorarse en una sartén con aceite de oliva. 
  • Mientras se dora, cortamos la berenjenas en rodajas de 2 cm de espesor y las doramos en otra sartén. Como son bastantes tiras, continuamos haciendo el relleno de soja mientras se van haciendo las berenjenas.
  • Picamos la cebolla finamente y la añadimos a la sartén con la soja. Cuando la cebolla esté ablandada, añadimos los ajos bien picados.
  • Añadimos la canela, el orégano, sal, y pimienta a la mezcla. Añadimos el tomate natural triturado y lo dejamos que se mezcle a fuego medio.
  • En un cazo añadimos la leche y la llevamos a hervir.
  • En otro cazo, salteamos la harina con un poco de aceite de oliva. Cuando esté dorada lo echamos en la leche que ya está hirviendo.
  • Batimos hasta que se deshagan los grumos y echamos un poco de nuez moscada y pimienta.
  • Calentamos el horno a 200º y engrasamos un molde para horno. 
  • Montamos nuestro plato: capa de berenjenas, capa de soja con tomate, capa de salsa blanca. 
  • Montamos capas hasta que nos quedemos sin materia prima y sobre la última capa ponemos 30gr de mozarella light. Lo metemos al horno 10 minutos y ¡voilá! Un plato completísimo y una nueva manera de tomar las legumbres!

viernes, 12 de enero de 2018

The number one mistake to avoid when you start your January fitness regime

 Here we are again, its January, it’s cold and miserable and we all feel fat and ugly! After overindulging over the Christmas period we are all determined to get back in shape. 
The internet is currently awash with detox plans and miracle regimes to get everyone thin, fit and strong. 
We’re not going to add to the list but we are going to offer you a piece of advice that you should always take into account when deciding if you going to try to lose weight.

Do not start a block of hard training if you are dieting

This is a mistake people make over and over again and (in our opinion) why many “I must get fit” New Year’s resolutions fail around mid to late February. 
People will have spent most of December drinking and eating and probably not doing much exercise, and when January arrives they go on a strict diet and flog themselves in the gym. 
The usual result is they become either sick or injured and then the new regime falls by the wayside. 
As we have said previously you have to match your nutrition to your training needs. If you are going to start a very hard exercise regime, depriving your body of the necessary nutrients to provide energy and make the adaptations will result in, at best poor training sessions and at worst, getting sick and/or injured.

If you want to go on a diet some key points to remember are
  • Make sure you maintain an adequate intake of protein, 1.5-2g/kg of bodyweight
  • Make sure you do resistance training in the gym to maintain muscle mass (remember nothing crazy)
  • Keep any cardio work to a moderate intensity and duration
Once you have reached you goal weight you can start to increase the intensity of you fitness regime.

For any more questions regarding diet and exercise email info@gabinetederueda.es 

jueves, 16 de noviembre de 2017

La vitamina del sol

Seguro que todos hemos oído hablar de la vitamina D. Nuestro cuerpo la fabrica cuando exponemos nuestra piel directamente a la luz solar, fuera de casa y sin crema protectora, durante unos 10-15 minutos, al menos los brazos. Tenemos que tener cuidado de no quemarnos y ¡de no exponernos más de este tiempo sin crema solar! 

También podemos obtener Vitamina D a partir de ciertos alimentos como pescado azul, carne roja, hígado, huevo y alimentos enriquecidos como la leche, pero en cantidades tan bajas que la luz solar se ha convertido en nuestra principal fuente para llegar a las cantidades adecuadas.

La vitamina D, además de ayudarnos a absorber calcio para mantener unos huesos y dientes fuertes, fortalece el sistema inmunitario, participa en el desarrollo del cerebro y en la función muscular y cardíaca. También parece que juega un papel importante en la prevención de caídas en ancianos (1) y el la aparición del Alzheimer (2). 

Varios factores ambientales, como la latitud o las condiciones meteorológicas, determinan si el sol puede estimular la conversión en la piel de 7-dehidrocolesterol a pre-colecalciferol. Los atributos personales, como la pigmentación de la piel, edad, vestimenta, protector solar, entorno de trabajo y la actividad física también pueden dificultar la síntesis de vitamina D.

Por lo general, en España, tendemos a no preocuparnos de la vitamina D, ya que difícilmente podemos encontrar un país en Europa tan soleado como el nuestro! Pero la realidad es que la deficiencia de Vitamina D que se extiende por nuestros países vecinos también nos afecta a nosotros. Varios estudios han presentado datos que demuestran que en España tenemos alrededor de un 33% de deficiencia de vitamina D (3, 4, 5). 

Existe en la actualidad el Projecto ODIN, que aspira a poder enriquecer los alimentos de uso diario con vitamina D para asegurar un aporte satisfactorio en la población. En ODIN defienden que suplementar la dieta con pastillas de Vitamina D no es una medida a largo plazo ni tampoco sostenible, ya que no toda la población se lo va poder permitir.  

Sin embargo, hasta que lo consigan, parece que la única solución es la suplementación en los meses de Noviembre a Febrero (si vivimos en España). 

He sacado esta figura de la izquierda de los datos del proyecto ODIN, concretamente de este documento. En la parte de arriba podemos ver la producción de pre-vitamina D a partir de la luz solar en Junio y en la parte de abajo en Diciembre. 

Fuentes

Las fuentes son por 100gr y las he sacado de un documento oficial publicado en Julio de 2016 "The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) recommendations on vitamin D".
  • Arenque - 16,1 mcg; 644UI
  • Salmón al vapor - 9,3 mcg; 372 UI
  • Salmón en lata - 13,4 mcg, 544 UI
  • Caballa - 8.5 mcg; 340 UI
  • Atún en lata - 1,1 mcg, 44UI
  • Huevo - 3,2 mcg; 128 UI
  • Hígado - 0,9 mcg; 36 UI
  • Cereales enriquecidos - 4,2 mcg; 168 UI.
Como veis puede ser complicado llegar a la dosis adecuada de vitamina D a partir de la solo dieta : podríamos tomar 200gr de salmón diarios, pero no es aconsejable por su contenido en mercurio, porque nuestra dieta sería aburrida y además porque desplazaríamos a otros nutrientes de la dieta.

Es decir, que parece que de momento la única solución es la suplementación, ¿y cómo suplementamos?

Existen dos suplementos disponibles: Vitamina D2 o ergocalciferool y Vitamina D3.  La mayoría de los expertos coinciden en que la vitamina D3 o colecalciferol es la mejor opción (6).

Las recomendaciones de Vitamina D para adultos rondan las 600 UI, estableciéndose su toxicidad en 10,000 UI al día durante 3 meses o 30,000 UI en un día.

Existen varios suplementos en el mercado: en herbolarios y farmacias, que rondan de las 400 UI a las 5000 UI.

Una dosis de 600 UI debería ser suficiente para mantener nuestros niveles de vitamina D en los meses de invierno - hay veces que más no significa mejor!! Si no encontráis un suplemento con una dosis baja, simplemente no lo toméis todos los días, es decir, que si el suplemento que hemos comprado tiene 1,200 UI lo podemos tomar día sí, día no. De esta manera tendríamos nuestras 600 UI.

O nos podríamos ir los meses más fríos al Caribe para recargar nuestros niveles!


References
1. Short-Term Oral Nutritional Intervention with Protein and Vitamin D Decreases Falls in Malnourished Older Adults. Floor Neelemaat, MSc, RD,*†‡ Paul Lips, MD, PhD,§‡ Judith E. Bosmans, PhD,∥‡Abel Thijs, MD, PhD,† Jaap C. Seidell, PhD,∥‡ and Marian A. E. van Bokhorst-de-van der Schueren, PhD, RD*†‡

2. Vitamin D and the risk of dementia and Alzheimer disease. Thomas J. Littlejohns, William E. Henley, Iain A. Lang, et al. Neurology 83 September 2, 2014
3. Vitamin D deficiency in Spain: a population-based cohort study.I González-Moler, S Morcillo, S Valdés, V Pérez-Valero, P Botas, E Delgado, D Hernández, G Olveira, G Rojo, C Gutierrez-Repiso, E Rubio-Martín, E Menéndez and F Soriguer. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2011) 65, 321–328; doi:10.1038/ejcn.2010.265; published online 22 December 2010
4. High prevalence of hypovitaminosis D in Medical Students in Gran Canaria. Canary Islands (Spain). Esther González-Padilla, Adela Soria López, Elisa González-Rodríguez, Sabrina García-Santana, Ana Mirallave-Pescador, María del Val Groba Marco, Pedro Saavedra, José Manuel Quesada Gómez, Manuel Sosa HenríquezEndocrinología y Nutrición (English Edition). Volume 58, Issue 6, 2011, Pages 267-273
5. High prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in postmenopausal women in a outpatient rheumatological clinic from Madrid area (Spain). Evaluation of two forms of vitamin D prescription. Pilar Aguado, M.a Victoria Garcés, M.a Luisa González Casaús, M.a Teresa del Campo, Patricia Richi, Juan Coya, Antonio Torrijos, Juan Gijón, Emilio Martín Mola, M.a Eugenia Martínez. Medicina Clínica. Volume 114, Issue 9, 2000, Pages 326-330.
6. Wolpowitz D, Gilchrest BA. The vitamin D questions: how much do you need and how should you get it? J Am Acad Dermatol. 2006;54:301-17.

jueves, 19 de octubre de 2017

¡¡Cuidado con las cañas después de entrenar!!

Todos nosotros, los atletas no profesionales (y algunos pros también), disfrutamos de una cerveza después de entrenar y sabemos que consumir alcohol en exceso es perjudicial para la salud. Pero ¿puede ser también perjudicial para nuestra recuperación? 

En este estudio de la universidad de North
Texas investigaron el efecto del alcohol después de una sesión de entrenamiento con pesas. Contaban 10 hombres y 9 mujeres, todos bien entrenados que hicieron 6 series de sentadillas y después tomaron alcohol o un placebo. Todos los participantes hicieron ambos: ejercicio y alcohol y en otro momento ejercicio + placebo. Los investigadores tomaron biopsias musculares antes del entrenamiento y tras 3 y 5 horas. Los investigadores esperaban encontrar proteínas asociados con el crecimiento celular y diferencias entre el grupo alcohol y el de placebo.


El principal hallazgo fue que en los hombres la fosforilación de la proteína mTORC1 (una proteína que está involucrado con el crecimiento celular muscular) fue atenuada con alcohol.


Los autores concluyeron que el consumo de alcohol puede influir negativamente en la recuperación, inhibiendo la proteína que permite que el músculo aumente de tamaño tras el entrenamiento con pesas (al menos en hombres).

Este es un artículo muy interesante. Nos advierte de que tomar esa cervecita tras el ejercicio, aunque apetecible, nos puede alejar de ese objetivo para el que hemos estado trabajando tan duro. Desde aquí nos preguntamos si el efecto sería el mismo tras realizar un ejercicio de resistencia. 


jueves, 28 de septiembre de 2017

Aguacates light

Han llegado recientemente a nuestros supermercados una versión de los aguacates de los más rara.... aguacates light, aguacates con un 30% menos de grasa.

Muchos de vosotros nos habéis preguntado si son mejores que los normales y si deberíamos reemplazarlos en nuestro día a día. 

Y la respuesta es no.

¿Y por qué es no? Como decimos muchas veces en la consulta, nuestro cuerpo necesita grasas y éstas deben estar presentes en nuestra dieta a diario, tanto saturadas como insaturadas. Las grasas son la manera que tiene nuestro cuerpo de asimilar las vitaminas liposolubles, como A, E, D K y son además la única fuente de ácidos grasos esenciales, que nuestro cuerpo no puede obtener de otra manera. 

El aguacate "normal" es rico en grasa monoinsaturada (como el aceite de oliva), que en la actualidad recomendamos en las dietas cardioprotectoras para reducir el colesterol LDL y aumentar el HDL. Además, la grasa presente en el aguacate nos produce saciedad, lo que nos ayudará a picar menos más tarde. 

En resumen

Come aguacate cuando te apetezca, 100% grasa y españoles. No esos de Isla Bonita que nos han traído recientemente que ni sabemos de dónde vienen. Cómelo en sándwich (integral sin azúcar, claro), con tomate, con huevo, con salmón, machacado, con pollo... Las grasas no son malas y ¡son necesarias! Así que ¡dísfrutalas!


miércoles, 20 de septiembre de 2017

An Introduction to Periodised Nutrition

If you regularly read articles about training or subscribe to any of the millions of training magazines, you will almost certainly be familiar with the term “periodised training”. Basically, it means instead of doing the same thing day in day out, you plan your training sessions to ensure you reach your optimal state of fitness for your given sport at the right time. As with most ideas regarding training it has been tweaked over the years and now we have versions such as, inverse periodisation, block periodisation so on and so on, but the idea remains the same, plan your training.

When people ask me how much carbs/protein/fat they should eat I always answer, “it depends on your training”. Initially they think I have given them a rather vague and unhelpful answer, but once I explain that their nutrition should match their training and go into detail they understand why I gave that answer.
This is the concept of periodised nutrition, depending on the type/duration/intensity of your training regime determines what you should eat. This is one of my main arguments against the LCHF craze, if during your training regime you have any periods of high intensity training or races, then chronically following a low carb diet will not be of much help. Of course, the opposite is true. If you are not doing any kind of intense or long duration training then a high carbohydrate diet is not necessary.

A good example would be somebody training for an Ironman, whilst the event is still several months away and they are wanting to optimise their fat utilisation capacity, they will most likely be doing sessions of fasted training or sessions of fairly low intensity. At this point, I would recommend a diet low in carbs with higher fat. Once they got nearer to race day and the intensity of training increased, I would increase the amount of carbohydrate in their diet. And of course, for the event itself, ensuring they take on plenty of carbohydrate will be vital.
In summary, your diet should provide fuel for your training and your recovery, the more intense your training is the more you will need carbohydrate in your diet.

Over the next few months we will be looking in-depth at different strategies of periodised nutrition, but in the meantime any questions or comments leave below or contact www.gabinetederueda.es

lunes, 18 de septiembre de 2017

Amino Acidos Ramificados: ¿Merecen la pena?

Los aminoácidos ramificados (también conocidos como BCAAs) son uno de los suplementos más populares, quizá más que la creatina. Siempre se ha dicho que los BCAAs son imprescindibles para los aficionados de entrenamiento de fuerza y resistencia, porque al parecer los BCAAs provocan un estado de anabolismo o impiden un estado de catabolismo.
Mientras la creatina tiene décadas de apoyo científico, ¿podemos decir lo mismo sobre los BCAAs?
En este post resumimos el artículo de Robert Wolfe de la publicación Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. Te dejamos el original aquí (en inglés), te recomendamos que leas, aquí abajo tienes los puntos claves. 

Antes de que empecemos a repasar la evidencia, vamos a repasar brevemente qué son los aminoácidos. Hay en total 20 aminoácidos, 9 son esenciales y 11 no esenciales. Esencial quiere decir que nuestro cuerpo no los puede construir y tenemos que obtenerlos través de la dieta. De los 9 aminoácidos esenciales (AAE) 3 de ellos se llaman los amino ácidos ramificados o “branched chain” (BCAAs) son: leucina, isoleucina y valina. Las proteínas musculares están en un estado continuo de rotación, es decir, que siempre hay síntesis de proteínas musculares (SPM) y descomposición de proteínas musculares (DPM). Hay un estado de anabolismo cuando hay más síntesis que descomposición, y cuando pasa lo contrario lo llamamos estado de catabolismo. Se puede alcanzar un estado de anabolismo al aumentar SPM o al inhibir DPM, pero para la SPM hacen falta todos los aminoácidos.


La evidencia

  • En los estudios que demuestran un efecto positivo de la SPM los sujetos son ratas. Los estudios de músculos en ratas tienen casi ninguna relación con los estudios de músculos de los humanos.
  • En estos estudios, los BCAAs que les dieron a las ratas fue por la vía intravenosa, no vía oral, un método poco práctico en realidad.
  • En los estudios con sujetos humanos, también les dieron los BCAA por la vía intravenosa, pero esta vez hubo una disminución de la SPM.
  • En los estudios de humanos hubo también una disminución de descomposición (DPM) pero los sujetos se quedaron en un estado de catabolismo.  

Actualmente la evidencia sugiere que los BCAAs solos (sin otras proteínas, carbohidratos etc.) reducen la rotación de las proteínas musculares (síntesis y descomposición). El autor nos advierte que una reducción en la rotación de las proteínas musculares puede tener un efecto negativo en el esfuerzo del músculo debido a una reducción en la construcción de nuevas fibras musculares.
La evidencia actual indica que los BCAA (particularmente leucina) aumentan la señal de SPM, sin embargo, una señal más potente no significa más SPM si todos los AAE no están presente. Es como intentar arrancar un coche sin combustible.
Para conseguir la SPM necesitamos todos los aminoácidos. Después de una comida con proteínas, nuestro cuerpo puede utilizar los AAE de la comida, pero entre comidas, en el estado post-absortivo, la única fuente de AAE es a partir de la descomposición de las proteínas musculares, por eso la proteína del músculo está siempre en un estado de rotación.
Si tomamos una dosis de BCAA muy grande sí reducimos DPM, pero eso significa que estamos reduciendo la cantidad disponible de AAE, por lo que como resultado también reducimos la SPM.


El lado bueno (más o menos)

Con una señal de SPM aumentada gracias a los BCAA puede que, en combinación con una comida rica en proteína, el efecto de la proteína resulte aumentado. Un estudio ha demostrado que una dosis de 5g de BCAA en combinación con 6.25g de proteína de suero tenían el mismo efecto en la SPM que 25g de proteína de suero solo.  
Aunque esto es interesante, si pensamos en el precio de los BCAA en comparación con el precio de proteína de suero o mejor todavía, COMIDA, ¿merecen la pena los BCAA? Recuerda que más no es necesariamente mejor, si añades más BCAA a tu batido de proteínas no significa aún más SPM.
Otro punto a recordar, como decimos en nuestro blog de BCAA e inmunidad, es que los BCAA compiten por el mismo sitio de absorción y normalmente el aminoácido en mayor cantidad (casi siempre leucina) es absorbido a costa de los otros dos. 

Conclusión

No solo hay una falta de evidencia que demuestra un efecto anabólico de los BCAA solos. El autor concluye que sin la presencia de una fuente de AAE (a través la comida o de la DPM), no es posible para los BCAA aumentar la síntesis de las proteínas de musculares. Nuestro consejo es: olvídate de los BCAA y asegúrate de que tu dieta tiene una buena cantidad de proteínas de fuentes animales y vegetales.     

Si quieres saber más sobre nutrición deportiva visita nuestra web. www.gabinetederueda.es   

lunes, 11 de septiembre de 2017

BCAAs: Are they really worth it?

Branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) are in some way the creatine of the 21st century, what I mean by that is, that they have become the “go to” supplement for every gym goer. Strength and endurance enthusiasts alike are sold the idea that BCAAs are an essential component of their nutrition regime because they supposedly induce an anabolic/avoid a catabolic state in humans.
Whereas creatine now has decades of convincing research behind it, can we really say the same about BCAAs?
This post will summarise the recent review by Robert Wolfe in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. I strongly recommend that you read the full paper (link here) after you have read the main points below.

First, a quick recap on amino acids. There are 20 amino acids in total, 9 are essential and 11 are non-essential. The term “essential” means that the body cannot synthesise these amino acids so we must obtain them from food. Of the 9 essential amino acids (EEAs) 3 of these are called the branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) these are, leucine, isoleucine and valine. 
Muscle protein is in a continued state of turnover, meaning proteins are constantly being broken down and synthesised (built up). The term anabolic state refers to when muscle protein synthesis (MPS) is greater than muscle protein breakdown (MPB), in other words, our muscle tissue is being built up as opposed to being broken down. When muscle protein breakdown is greater than synthesis this is known as a catabolic state. The anabolic state can be achieved by either increasing muscle protein synthesis or by reducing muscle protein breakdown. For MPS to be greater than MPB all 20 amino acids must be present.

We are sold BCAAs under the premise that they stimulate muscle protein synthesis and so we can avoid the dreaded catabolic state. But what does the actual evidence say?


The Evidence 

  • The studies that show an increase in MPS after ingestion BCAAs were conducted on rats. Muscle protein studies on rats have little if any relevance to humans.
  • These studies also administered the BCAAs intravenously as opposed to orally
  • Studies on humans, (who also administered the BCAAs intravenously), actually showed a decrease in MPS
  • The human studies also demonstrated a decrease in muscle protein breakdown but overall net effect was that the subjects remained in a catabolic state. 

When all the evidence is considered, it appears that taking BCAAs alone reduces protein turnover (synthesis and breakdown). The author points out that this may have a negative effect on muscle strength due to a reduction in new muscle fibre construction.
Current evidence suggests that BCAAs (in particular leucine) increase the “signal” for MPS, however an increased signal will not lead to increased MPS if the other EAAs are not available. Think of it as turning the key in the ignition, without fuel the engine won’t start.
In order for MPS to occur all amino acids must be available. After a meal containing sufficient protein, MPS is achievable because the EAAs will be taken from the ingested food. However, in the post-absorptive state (in between meals) the only source of EEAs is from the breakdown of muscle protein. This is why muscle is in a constant state of turn over.
If we take a huge dose of BCAAs we reduce MPB, however, by reducing MPB we reduce the amount of EEAs available for MPS so in turn, both MPS and MPB are reduced.

The Good News (kind of) 

With an increase in anabolic signalling through BCAAs, it appears that it can increase the effect of a protein meal. One study demonstrated that 5g of BCAAs added to 6.25g of whey protein had the same effect on MPS as 25g of whey protein alone.
While this may seem interesting, when you weigh up the cost of BCAAs against the cost of whey protein or (shock horror) real food, are they really worth it? Remember the golden rule, more is not always better, so adding even more BCAAs to your shake will not have a greater effect on MPS.
Another point to remember is, as we mentioned in our amino acids and immune system post, the BCAAs compete for the same site of absorption so when taken in a large dose the amino acid in the greatest concentration (usually leucine) will be absorbed at the expense of the others. 

Conclusion 

Not only is there a lack firm evidence to demonstrate an anabolic effect of taking BCAAs alone, the author concludes that without a supply of essential amino acids (either through food or muscle protein breakdown) it is not possible for BCAAs alone to increase muscle protein synthesis. Our advice as always is ensure you have a diet rich in high quality protein before starting to consider supplements. 

For more info please see www.gabinetederueda.es