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Pensacola, Florida, United States
Husband. *Dog Dad.* Instructional Systems Specialist. Runner. (Swim-challenged) Triathlete (on hiatus). USATF LDR Surveyor. USAT (Elite Rules) CRO/2, NTO/1. RRCA Rep., FL (North). Observer Of The Human Condition.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Ask Coach: Pre-Workout Snacking

What is a good pre-workout snack? I tried some Raisinets before a recent workout, but wanted to get your opinion.

Take this as a do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do; nutrition is one of my weaker areas, & something which I constantly strive to improve. I think something a little less “simple sugary” – a banana or a slice of whole-grain or rye (see the article below!) toast with peanut butter & jelly (or honey!) – will stave off hunger, provide beneficial fats/protein, & not die out on you at 7 p.m.

Through the spring & early summer I had a serious fling with the mini Clif Bars, they have 100 calories per bar, & are loaded with fiber & good (natural) nuts, grains/soy, fruit. But they were so good I probably took in too many calories - a couple of hundred calories of snacking a day is fine; a couple of hundred calories of snacking three or four times a day on top of meals can do some damage. I probably took in more calories than I thought I was burning in my workouts.

Without looking at the nutritional data – if you’re looking at nutritional data to justify your snack, it’s probably not worth putting in your body, anyway - there are natural sugars in the raisins, caffeine in the chocolate…and God knows what other chemicals from the processing. So, two out of three are not bad; better than Little Debbie cakes. There was a time I would scarf on one or two of them (Oatmeal, Devils’ Food, Raisin…all evil!) a couple of hours before a track workout. Most of the time I found the short-term sugar rush was NOT worth the crash which occurred on the last set of the workout.

While I'm in the mood to talk about hunger suppression and bread, I saw this article the other day (Isaksson H, Fredriksson H, Andersson R, Olsson J and ├ůman P (2009), Effect of rye bread breakfasts on subjective hunger and satiety: a randomized controlled trial. Nutrition Journal 2009, 8:39, August) and thought it rather interesting:

Several studies report that dietary fiber promotes the feeling of satiety & suppresses hunger. However, results for cereal fiber from rye are essentially lacking. The researchers investigated subjective appetite during eight hours after intake of iso-caloric rye bread breakfasts varying in rye dietary fiber composition & content.

The first part of the study compared the satiating effect of iso-caloric bread breakfasts including different milling fractions of rye (bran, intermediate fraction (B4) & sifted flour). The second part investigated the dose-response effect of rye bran & intermediate rye fraction, each providing 5 or 8 grams of dietary fiber per iso-caloric bread breakfast. Both study parts used a wheat bread breakfast as reference & a randomised, within-subject comparison design. Appetite (hunger, satiety & desire to eat) was rated regularly from just before breakfast at 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Amount, type & timing of food & drink intake were standardized during the study period.

The milling fractions study showed each of the rye breakfasts resulted in a suppressed appetite during the time period before lunch (8:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.) compared with the wheat reference bread breakfast. At a comparison between the rye bread breakfasts the one with rye bran induced the strongest effect on satiety. In the afternoon the effect from all three rye bread breakfasts could still be seen as a decreased hunger & desire to eat compared to the wheat reference bread breakfast.

In the dose-response study both levels of rye bran & the lower level of intermediate rye fraction resulted in an increased satiety before lunch compared with the wheat reference bread breakfast. Neither the variation in composition between the milling fractions nor the different doses resulted in significant differences in any of the appetite ratings when compared with one another.

The results show rye bread can be used to decrease hunger feelings both before & after lunch when included in a breakfast meal. Rye bran induces a stronger effect on satiety than the other two rye fractions used when served in iso-caloric portions.

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