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Parents need a strong strategy to feed their young athletes

Moms know it’s a fulltime job feeding a growing child, be it breast or bottle, baby food or Big Macs.

From the moment her baby is born, Mom is a major player deciding when, how much and how nutritious the food her child eats. And that responsibility is even greater when the tyke is an athlete with an eye on competing in the Olympics or the National Football League.

“Food can make a great athlete good, and a good athlete great …,” says Noaa Bujanover, an outpatient dietitian at All Children’s Hospital. “Nutrition plays a pivotal role in performance.”

There’s little research on youth athlete nutrition, but in general, active kids need 2,000 to 5,000 more calories a day than their sedentary peers, depending on the sport, age and gender, says KidsHealth.org, the website run by the Nemours Center for Children’s Health Media.

That’s because growing bodies aren’t as efficient using muscles, sweating or burning calories. Children 10 and younger and adolescents grow differently, but anyone exercising for an hour or more at a time needs to boost lean proteins, fluids and carbohydrate intake, Bujanover says.

That doesn’t mean all kids need to adopt Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps’ infamous 12,000-calorie-a-day diet, which included a five-egg omelet, three chocolate-chip pancakes, three fried eggs sandwiches and grits — for breakfast.

Instead, Moms can use the following as a general guide: Shoot for 55 percent carbohydrates, such as whole-grain pastas, cereals and fruits; 15 percent protein, such as lean meat and chicken, dairy or beans; and 30 percent unsaturated fats from nuts, vegetable and fish oils.

But don’t fall into the trap that piling on the proteins or carbs will bulk up kids faster, says Anita Bean, author of “Sports Nutrition for Young Athletes” ($24.95, Firefly Books).

In general, a 132-pound youth athlete should consume 72 to 84 grams of protein a day; and 360 to 420 grams of carbs if training for one to two hours daily. Excessive “carb loading” before an event can result in energy levels peaking and crashing sooner, and too much protein won’t boost a teen’s power or speed, Bean says.

“Protein over and above a young athlete’s requirements will be used as fuel or excreted, not converted into muscle,” she says.

The best food choices are simple, non-processed and appealing to the pickiest eaters, Bujanover says. And don’t be too uptight, as every parent knows restrictions can backfire.

“They’re children. I don’t expect them to not have sugar or candy,” Bujanover says. “It just needs to be in moderation.”

That’s a rule Tampa Preparatory School swimmer Emma Siewert, 18, started applying more than three years ago, when a coach suggested she incorporate a better diet into her high school and club swimming workout routine.

An admitted ice cream and cookie junkie, Siewert tweaked her food choices and the times at which she ate. Now when her friends take a lunch break at a fast food restaurant, she tags along with her Vera Bradley lunchbox, packed with meals like black beans and yellow rice, a Clif Bar and banana.

“I was less tired at practice and I wasn’t crashing,” she says of the changes that helped her earn a spot on the University of Pennsylvania swim team this fall.

Roughly 25 percent of Tampa Prep’s student athletes actively adhere to diets designed to maximize performance, says Andrew Sufficool, a teacher and athletic trainer at the private secondary school. More often, the teens are like their peers, scarfing down pizza and fast food.

“Everyone hears about it,” he says. “You think they would do the right things.”

The teenage tendency to skip meals, choose junk food or worry about personal appearance can be real problems for young athletes, Bujanover says. Also, teens competing in sports such as wrestling, swimming and gymnastics are more likely to be self-conscious about their bodies, she says.

Siewert says she finds a lot of support from fellow swimmers, many of whom have grown up practicing four and five days a week. As a group, they eat well leading up to competition, and then celebrate afterward with a trip for ice cream at Cold Stone Creamery.

It’s not impossible for young athletes to balance good nutrition and splurges, she says, even though the bad stuff is always beckoning.

“It’s definitely tempting,” she says and smiles. “I’m not going to lie.”

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Is Tim Tebow’s Diet Healthy? Fan’s View

Like most men across the country, I have been jealous of Tim Tebow‘s chiseled physique since the photos of him in a “Gator Charity Challenge” tank top popped up on the internet in 2009.

In those pictures from three years back, his muscular shoulders, tight abs and rippling biceps are clear for all to see, and I hoped to work for a similar body frame for myself.

Obviously one of the main reasons why he has such a big, mobile body is because he has a vigorous workout routine, but I felt like his diet was an equally important component.

I found myself constantly searching online for diet tips that would help me have Tebow’s body, and it wasn’t until an ABC News report on May 10 that I was able to find my answer.

I always imagined in the past that Tebow just lived on a low-carb diet of lean meats and organic juices, as he hadn’t really divulged his daily regimen until the ABC News report came out.

In the past, he has provided fairly generic answers to dieting questions, like his response in a muscleprodigy.com interview where he said “It all starts with your diet, so I always eat a great breakfast because that’s giving your body fuel.”

In the ABC News report, Tebow finally revealed what gave him all that muscle, all that mass and all that strength: “pizza pie” and “ice cream pie.”

Not the answer you were expecting? I was shocked, myself.

“I just like normal food. I mean, you have to go to so many, like, rubber chicken dinners and you put on the face and you’re like, ‘Oh, thank you, it’s so good,’ and you’re like, ‘Man, I just can’t wait to go home … and have pizza pie,'” he said.

Pizza pie includes fairly unhealthy ingredients like ground beef, baking powder biscuits and fattening mozzarella cheese.

Apparently, Tebow also loves ice cream. “When we got home from church, you know, we’d take off our shirt and we’d have our undershirt and we’d … be watching football and I mean you’d have like chocolate sauce all down it. Me and my brothers and my dad,” he said.

The ice cream pie made by Tebow’s mom includes delicious belly-bombing ingredients like butter, Rice Krispies, corn syrup, hot fudge topping, peanut butter and vanilla ice cream. With those kinds of ingredients, I have no idea how Tebow stayed so diesel all these years.

But in all seriousness, Tebow obviously kept the carb intake from his mom’s tasty home-cooked treats under control. For breakfast, he revealed that he eats a lot of egg whites, a Myoplex shake, and then oatmeal or grits or something like that for carbs.

“Tim Tebow is approximately 240 pounds, so his daily calorie needs lie in the 4,000-5,000 range,” said Coach Joseph Potts, Director of Sports Performance Training at TopSpeed Strength Conditioning. “Of those calories, 50-60% should come from complex carbohydrates, 15-20% from protein and 20-30% from fat.”

“For an athlete of Tebow’s approximate size that would be a range of 190-250 grams of protein per day,” Potts added. “Therefore the diet should consist of the above mentioned foods; plenty of whole grain carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables, lowfat dairy and lean meats. To reach the protein intake requirement many athletes will use protein supplements, the two most popular being whey and casein protein powders.”

Eric Holden is a lifelong New York Jets fan. Follow him on Twitter @ericholden.

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NO: ‘Bad-food’ taxes will clog nation’s economic arteries

Talk about it

    Proponents of an American Nanny State have a plan to improve your health: Tax sugar and “junk” food so you will eat less of it. Subsidies for broccoli and beets are close behind. These plans for bureaucrats and politicians to remake your diet are bad news for four reasons.

    First, it is no one’s business but yours what you eat. The freedom to eat a slice of apple pie might not sound quite as stirring as freedom of speech, but the ability to choose how to live our lives is the most fundamental freedom. What you eat is no one’s business but yours.

    Second, even if the government has a role to play in guiding our dietary choices, efforts at restructuring Americans’ lives via the tax code are fundamentally flawed.

    This strategy has given us a tax system of unimaginable complexity.

    Taxes need to be simple and easy to administer. As tax laws get fatter, they clog our economic arteries and stifle economic growth. Trying to fine-tune Americans’ diets via a “junk food” tax will further fatten the tax laws, and the wallets of accountants and tax lawyers. If there are any Americans unaware that sugar and potato chips are fattening, we don’t need a tax to enlighten them, just some public service announcements.

    Third, the government’s record on dietary control is problematic. The federal government has been involved in the sugar market since the War of 1812. Nanny Staters promise that this time they’ll get things right, but if they haven’t managed to do so in 200 years, why should we believe them now?

    For sugar, that’s the manufacturers of high fructose corn syrup and the 17 domestic sugar cane producers who reap millions of dollars annually under our current agricultural subsidies and sugar tariffs — not you and me.

    Finally, the Nanny State brigade promises to spend the extra tax money on subsidies for “healthy” foods and lifestyles. New York Times columnist Matt Bittman enthuses about money for “gyms, pools, jogging and bike trails,” “Meals on Wheels” for the elderly, “Head Start” programs for children, and “supermarkets and farmers’ markets.”

    If we examine the government’s record in spending the billions of dollars from state governments’ lawsuits against tobacco companies, we can see that this is pure fantasy.

    States promised to spend vast sums on anti-smoking programs. The reality is different. The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids tracks state tobacco prevention spending and tobacco revenue, and found that over the first ten years of the settlement, states spent just 3.2 percent of the money on tobacco prevention and cessation programs.

    Nanny Staters promise the sun, moon and stars to get new taxes on the books, but deliver little else.

    Andrew Morriss is a professor of law and business at the University of Alabama. He can be reached at amorriss@ law.ua.edu.

    opinion, editorials, columns, columnists, politics, business

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    Pneumonia on the rise, docs advice healthy diet

    Fluctuating temperatures and high levels of humidity in the city have resulted in a rise of pneumonia and other respiratory ailments over the past couple of weeks, say doctors. After a sultry April, temperatures in the first week of May have been normal , sometimes even dipping below normal.

    Humidity levels however have been consistently high with the MET department recording 60-90 per cent of moisture in the air over the past few days.

    “Summer is the time when people do not complain of respiratory ailments.

    However, high levels of humidity are strongly correlated to the spread in infection which has led to an increase in lung-related ailments. Patients have been coming in with complaints of fever, cold and cough and body aches. If not treated on time, they are getting compounded into serious issues with some of them even needing the ventilator to support breathing,” said Dr Shahid Barmare, physician at Kohinoor Hospital.

    BMC hospitals have also seen a sudden spurt of children queuing up for treatment of respiratory infections. “There has been at least a 15-25 rise in cases of pneumonia and similar cases in the past two weeks,” said Dr A Aboli, physician at KEM hospital.

    Children, elderly people and those with underlying immuno -compromised problems such as diabetes and asthma are the most susceptible to infection. “Bacterial pneumonia is quite prevalent among young children especially when such sudden seasonal changes are observed. It is important to treat the child on time before his condition gets aggravated,” said Dr Rohit Agarwal, president of the Indian Academy of Pediatrics (IAP).

    … contd.



    Tags: MET department, Dr Shahid Barmare, Dr A Aboli, KEM hospital

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