2010 Sports Nutrition News from the American College of Sports Medicine

by Nancy Clark MS RD CSSD


The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) is the world’s largest sports medicine and exercise science organization. At ACSM's annual meeting in Baltimore, June 1-5, 2010, over 6,000 exercise scientists, sports dietitians, physicians and health professionals gathered to share their research. Here are a few of the nutrition highlights. More highlights are available at the ACSM media page.

  • Is marathon training a good way to lose weight? Likely not, at least among 64 participants in a three month marathon training program. Only 11% lost weight. Eleven percent gained weight and the rest remained stable. Of the 7 who gained weight, 6 were women. In general, 74% of the women reported eating more while training, as compared to only 48% of the men. The goal of running should be to improve performance, not to lose weight.
  • What are four keys to weight loss success? In a study with 65 overweight or obese men, the keys were choosing smaller portions, cutting back on sugary soft drinks, eating fewer high fat snack foods, and consuming less alcohol.
  • Fatigue is associated with not just depleted muscles but also a tired mind. Inhibitory mechanisms in the brain can contribute to a 25% reduction in muscle contraction. Caffeine might be able to help counter that fatigue. During rest, caffeinated drinks (with or without sugar) contribute to 12% greater ratings for mental energy compared to plain water.
  • Walking up stairs can burn about 10 calories per minute; taking the elevator burns only about 1.5 cals/min. Motivational signs that encouraged people to take the stairs instead of the elevator increased stair usage from 51% to 60%. More signs, please!
  • Consuming protein before lifting weights may enhance recovery better than consuming a protein recovery drink afterwards. Enjoy that pre-exercise yogurt as a part of your recovery plan!
  • Cyclists and triathletes who consumed 60 to 80 grams of carbohydrate per hour (240-320 calories/hour) performed better than those who consumed 10-50 g or 90-120 g carb/hour. By experimenting with different doses of carbs during training, you can learn the right amount for your body.
  • Sports Nutrition Guidebook Fat-free chocolate milk is an excellent recovery drink. It stimulates muscle-building and reduces muscle breakdown. Chocolate milk also replaces glycogen faster than a protein-free drink.
  • When compared to a placebo, anti-oxidant-rich pomegranate juice improves recovery and decreases muscle soreness after muscle-damaging exercise in trained men. The same likely holds true for other colorful, anti-oxidant-rich juices such as grape, blueberry and cherry.


Nancy Clark, MS, RD, CSSD (Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics) counsels both casual and competitive athletes in her practice at Healthworks, the premier fitness center in Chestnut Hill MA (617-383-6100). Her Sports Nutrition Guidebook and food guides for new runners, marathoners and cyclists are available via nancyclarkrd.com.See also sportsnutritionworkshop.com.

Copyright: December 2009