Entries in Foods (5)


They Eat What? Food Secrets of Olympic Athletes

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- It takes more than just practice to become an Olympian; gold medal performances require some serious nutrition.  So what do these elite athletes eat to stay in peak shape?

Keri Glassman, a registered dietitian and founder of Nutritious Life Meals, appeared on ABC's Good Morning America Monday to give you a glimpse into the diets of some top athletes.  Some of their meals could surprise you.

Crazy Calorie Count

Glassman said Olympians eat a lot of food -- quantities that for ordinary people would constitute pigging out.  One secret of swimmer Michael Phelps’ astonishing performance in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing was consuming as many as 12,000 calories in one day.

Other athletes fuel up on some of the following foods: A pound of pasta drizzled with olive oil (about 800 calories), a dozen eggs (about 840 calories), a pint of Ben & Jerry’s cheesecake brownie ice cream (about 1,000 calories) and pizza (about 2,000 calories).

Athletes can eat like this and not gain any weight because their workouts are intense.  According to Glassman, Phelps’ workouts can burn 4,000 to 6,000 calories in a day, and those calories must be replenished in order to train the following day.

The body needs carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins, minerals and fluid in order to be properly fueled for exercise.  Eating right allows athletes to delay fatigue, work harder -- possibly giving them the edge they need to set a personal record -- and recover faster, Glassman said.

Snacking Secrets

Some athletes eat wacky foods that they swear improve their performance.

Yohan Blake, the Jamaica sprinter and 100-meter world champion, has been making waves for stealing champion sprinter Usain Bolt’s thunder on the track during the Olympic trials.  When asked how he gets his stamina, Blake answered that he eats 16 bananas per day, Glassman said.

Jonathan Horton, the lead gymnast on the U.S. team, has a blood sugar problem.  His solution is honey.  When he starts to feel shaky at the gym, he takes swigs of honey to boost his energy, Glassman said.  According to Horton, the sugar rushes to his blood right away and he feels amazing for the next hour or so, she added.

Kerry Walsh, the two-time American Olympic medalist and beach volleyball player, eats lots of almond butter and honey sandwiches throughout the day, especially before she competes, Glassman said.

Almond butter is packed with endurance-boosting nutrients including protein, plus healthy fats.  Protein helps prevent muscle wasting during exercise and prevents you from feeling hungry during exercise.  The healthy fats in almond butter are rich in calories and provide energy for hours.

Foods for Recovery

What are the best foods to help the body recover after rigorous competition?

U.S. gymnast Aly Raisman swears by chocolate milk because of its high carbohydrate and protein content, Glassman said.

For Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte, the recovery meal is grilled chicken breasts with Alfredo sauce, whole-grain spaghetti and a salad with lemon juice and olive oil.  Lochte, who recently cut out junk food, candy and soda, has undertaken a rigorous strength-training regimen that involves flipping tractor tires, dragging shipyard chains and tossing beer kegs, Glassman said.

Lochte’s recovery meal has all the important macronutrients necessary for recovery.

Other recovery foods Glassman mentioned:

  • Pickle juice.  The salty-yet-savory juice has high doses of all-important sodium, potassium and magnesium.  Sodium prevents muscle cramps.
  • Sweet tart cherries.  Pack these in your gym back.  The antioxidants in cherry juice may suppress the enzymes that cause inflammation of the body from the stress of exercise.
  • Beet juice.  The blood-red elixir of the beet is apparently the hottest thing for Olympic athletes looking for a legal performance boost, Glassman said.  Beet juice is rich in nitrates, which help muscles use oxygen more efficiently.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


5 Lucky Foods for New Year’s Day

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Are you hoping that 2012 will be a year of good fortune?  Try some of these foods that some believe bring good luck in the New Year.

Black-Eyed Peas:  A common food on American tables, black-eyed peas look like little coins and are thought to bring good luck those who eat them.  Another belief is that as the beans grow when they cook, those who eat them will “grow” with good fortune.

Try:  Emeril’s Stewed Black-Eyed Peas

Long Noodles:  Eating long noodles for the new year is thought to bring a long life in Asian cultures.  It’s considered bad luck to break the noodle once it’s in your mouth, so eat quickly!

Try:  ‘Hungry Girl’ Lisa Lillien’s 200 Calorie or Less So Low Mein With Chicken

Cooked Greens:  Cooked greens, which look like folded dollar bills, are believed to bring money and prosperity for the New Year.  Cabbage is made into sauerkraut and served alongside pork in German cultures.

Try:  Emeril’s Wilted Kale with Walnut Butter

Pork:  In addition to eating sauerkraut, eating pork on New Year’s Day is another German tradition.  Pork signifies abundance and plenty of food.  Pigs also root forward into the ground, which symbolizes progress.

Try:  Michael Symon’s Pork Roast with Warm Cabbage, Mustard and Champagne

Fish:  For years, many different cultures ate fish for the New Year because it could be easily preserved.  The silver skin of the fish is thought to bring good fortune.

Try:  Disney Dream’s Baked Salmon Royale

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Canned Foods Linked to High BPA Levels

George Doyle/Stockbyte(BOSTON) -- People who eat a good deal of canned foods often have higher levels of the chemical BPA in their blood, according to a new study from the Harvard School of Public Health.

BPA, a chemical used in the linings of cans, has been linked to -- but not a proven cause of -- serious health problems including cancer, heart disease and early puberty in children of women who have high BPA levels while pregnant.

“They took a group of 75 people and they gave them canned soup once a day for five days,” ABC News senior health and medical editor Dr. Richard Besser, who was not directly involved with the study, explained. “What they found was, after five days, the level of BPA in their body went up more than ten-fold -- a big rise in BPA.”

After two days, Besser says, BPA levels were back to normal.

“The more food that you can eat that’s fresh or frozen -- that will eliminate the BPA from the can-liners,” Besser said. “If you're buying food in plastic, don't heat it in the plastic material because that heating can actually release some of the BPA into your food.”

The study was paid for by the nutrition research advocacy group, the Allen Foundation. The findings were published in the Nov. 22 edition of the Journal of the Medical Association.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Report Urges FDA to Ban BPA in Food, Beverage Containers

Hemera Technologies/Thinkstock(SAN FRANCISCO) -- An advocacy group committed to exposing and eliminating environmental risks for breast cancer has taken aim at canned foods popular among kids, reheating the debate on bisphenol A.

A new report from the Breast Cancer Fund reveals 12 canned soups and pastas found to contain BPA -- an estrogen-like chemical -- raising concern among experts for its potential health effects in children, infants and fetuses.

Topping the list was Campbell's Disney Princess Cool Shapes with 148 parts per billion.  The average level across all 12 cans was 49 parts per billion.

"The findings of this report outline the urgent need to remove BPA from food packaging -- a major source of exposure to this toxic hormone disruptor -- especially in foods marketed to children," the report states.

BPA, a key ingredient in hard plastics and resins used to coat metal cans, made headlines in 2008 when it was shown to leach out of plastic when heated.  The Canadian government responded by banning the chemical from baby bottles.  In the United States, the federal government has not followed suit, but several local governments have and leading U.S. baby bottle manufacturers went BPA-free voluntarily.  But the chemical continues to line the country's cans.

"I think they're definitely right in trying to get this chemical out of canned foods," said Dr. John Spangler, professor of family and community medicine at Wake Forest School of Medicine.  "We can't do anything about past exposures but we can do something about current exposures."

When it comes to the health effects of BPA, the jury's still out, according to the World Health Organization.  Laboratory studies in cells and animals have linked the chemical to cancer, infertility, diabetes and obesity.  But the consequences of chronic exposure in humans remain unclear.  Nevertheless, many experts and parents err on the side of caution.

"There are things we can do to minimize our exposure to BPA," Spangler said.  "We can use fresh or dried pasta and sauce in jars.  We can eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and fewer canned foods."

Spangler said he hopes the Breast Cancer Fund report persuades canned food manufacturers to look for alternatives to BPA.

But Campbell Soup Company spokesman Anthony Sanzio said the company is confident in the safety of its products.

"The overwhelming weight of scientific evidence shows that the use of BPA in can lining poses no threat to human health," he said.  "That being said, we understand that consumers may have concerns about it.  We're very aware of the debate and we're watching it intently."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Tasty Trumps Nutritious: Deep-Fried Butter 

ABC News Radio's Steven Portnoy is at the Iowa State Fair. Yes, he ate that stick of butter. ABC News Radio(DES MOINES, Iowa) -- It's one thing to seek solace in comfort food, but Americans seem irresistibly drawn this summer to a new artery-clogging snack: deep-fried, batter-coated butter on a stick.

The political buzz this week at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines was nearly overshadowed by the sight of hungry reporters and fair-goers biting into crunchy sticks of fried dough -- at $4 apiece -- as liquefied butter oozed down their chins and fingers. Deep Fried Butter contains frozen butter that's dipped into a sticky cinnamon-honey batter, submerged in bubbling oil until browned, then drizzled with a confectioner's sugar glaze. Ben Ginsburg, legal adviser for GOP presidential aspirant Mitt Romney, described the flavor to ABC News as "like a cinnamon roll, but buttery-er."


Texans may do things bigger than folks in other states, but Deep Fried Butter has been supersized since Abel Gonzales Jr. of Dallas rolled out his batter-dipped balls of frozen, whipped butter at the 2009 State Fair of Texas, an event nicknamed "Big Tex," and bagged the Most Creative food prize. This summer's Iowa variation, which debuted as the fair marked the 100th anniversary of the butter cow -- a life-size cow sculpted from 600 pounds of firm butter -- starts with halving a 4-ounce stick of butter lengthwise. Those 2 ounces come in at approximately 400 calories and 45 grams of fat, before factoring in the batter, oil absorbed during the frying process and the glaze.

The recipe plays into our unbridled love of fat, sugar and salt, said Barbara J. Rolls, a professor of nutritional sciences at Penn State University. "You combine them and you've got the perfect storm. We are not a species with much willpower. So, why not? It's there. You deserve it, right?"

Asked about the psychology behind our attraction to such off-the-caloric-chart snacks when we're struggling with the twin plagues of obesity and diabetes, she pointed to psyches battered by such events as a plummeting stock market and high unemployment. "We're stressed-out and want to reward ourselves and think of it as a treat," said Rolls, a specialist in eating behavior and obesity. "Trying to get people concerned about what's going to happen to them down the road when often they don't know where their next paycheck is going to come from is a really hard sell right now."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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