Bone Health

So, I mentioned last week that I broke my foot. I actually broke my 5th metatarsal. It is a good thing that my bone didn’t get displaced though. It just cracked. I probably would have needed surgery if it was displaced. I broke it from running in heels and my foot just twisted in. Ladies (and some guys), please be careful when wearing heels!

Anyway, having broken my foot got me thinking about bone health. What caused my bone to be more susceptible to breaking? After all, my foot has turned in like that before and it didn’t break. However, it did this time. Is it because I haven’t been taking care of my bone health? Or is it because that particular bone is easier to break?


To give a brief overview of my diet, I ate whatever I wanted until I was in high school. Once I was in high school, I wanted to lose weight and I severely restricted my eating. I wasn’t even drinking as much milk (which contains calcium and is fortified with Vitamin D) since I didn’t want to gain any weight. I thought milk was fattening. Imagine a growing adolescent body, needing more energy, and only getting about 1,200 calories. Of course I would be deficient in many vitamins and minerals. I did, however, exercise and did a lot of weight bearing exercises.

Anyway, let’s get back to the real nutrition of having healthy bones.

The first thing I want to say is, think of your bone as a savings account for calcium. You reach your peak bone density before age 30. After that, your body tends to break down bone faster than body is building bone. The most optimal time to build your savings account is during the adolescent years, when calcium absorption is at one of the highest, besides during infancy and childhood. After that, the body absorbs calcium less efficiently. I emphasize this because adolescents tend to become more independent during this time and make more of their own food choices.

This is important because adolescents are still growing at this time and are still trying to reach their optimal height. If they don’t consume enough calcium during this time, it may affect their skeletal (bone) health in the future and make bones more prone to fracture. Osteoporosis is a possibility in the future, especially if one is maintaining poor bone health.


What is the most important function of calcium in the body besides maintaining skeletal health? Conducting nerve impulses! If your blood calcium levels are very low, Vitamin D (a hormone/vitamin) senses it and will tell your bones to break down and release calcium into the blood stream. It also tells your small intestine and kidneys to absorb (or reabsorb from the kidneys) more calcium. Your CNS (Central Nervous System) is your top priority when calcium levels are extremely low. Although 99% of calcium’s function is to maintain skeletal health, the 1% (nerve impulses, making sure your heart beats, etc) takes priority.

Adolescents should be consuming 1,300 mg of calcium (the RDA, Recommended Dietary Allowance). Females tend to consume less than the RDA (948 mg) while males tend to be pretty close to the RDA (1260 mg) for calcium. The RDA for Vitamin D (hormone/vitamin) is 15 micrograms (mcg) or 600 International Units (IU). The RDA for calcium for adults is 1,000 mg. The RDA for Vitamin D is the same for adults. Vitamin D is important for blood calcium homeostasis, as mentioned earlier.

There are other vitamins that play a role in bone health, including Vitamin C (for development of bone collagen) and Vitamin K (assists osteoblast cells in building bone). However, Vitamin D and Calcium are very important for bone health. Also, weight bearing exercises are also great for your bone health.

Remember that I am not a medical professional and it is best to speak with a Registered Dietitian or doctor to assess whether or not you are consuming enough calcium and to assess your bone health. I do, however, have a Bachelor’s of Science in Family and Consumer Science with a concentration in Nutrition and Food. I am able to give general nutrition advice. 

That is it for now!

What is your favorite sources of food for calcium? 

AMDR Calculations


Today’s nutrition post will involve MATH. Do you know why? We will be using the Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Ranges (AMDR), 1 example of a 2000 calorie diet to calculate the grams of carbohydrates, fat, and protein.

So, here it goes!

Here’s the basic thing to know:

Carbohydrates: 4 calories per 1 gram

Protein: 4 calories per 1 gram

Fat: 9 calories per 1 gram

AMDR for Adults  (from the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines)

  • 45-65% Carbohydrates
  • 10-35 % Protein
  • 20-30% Fat

Here’s the standard 2,000 calorie diet. Let’s start the calculations.

  1. You first find the percentage of calories for each macronutrient based on the AMDR. For example, let’s say that the percentage of calories of carbohydrates is 50% based on the 2000 calorie diet. Convert the percentge to decimals for the calculations.                                                    2000 x 0.50 = 1000 calories
  2. The next step is to divide the calories by the calories in each gram of the macronutrient. There are 4 grams in 1 calorie of carbohydrates. The calories of carbohydrate is 1000 calories.                                                                                                                                                             1000/4= 250 grams of carbohydrates

Let’s calculate the ranges based on the AMDR on a 2,000 calorie diet:

Carbohydrates: 900- 1300 calories

2000 x 0.45 = 900 calories

2000 x 0.65 = 1300 calories

That would be 225-325 grams of carbohydrates. Divide each calorie range by 4 since 1 gram of carbohydrates contain 4 calories.

Protein: 200-700 calories

2000 x 0.10 = 200 calories

2000 x 0.35 = 700 calories

That would be 50-175 grams of protein. Divide each calorie range by 4 since 1 gram of protein contains 4 calories.

Fat: 400-600 calories

2000 x 0.20 = 400 calories

2000 x 0.30 = 600 calories

That would be approximately 44.5 -66.7 grams of fat. Divide each calorie range by 9 since 1 gram of fat contains 9 calories.

It is best to consult with a Registered Dietitian to figure out how much to eat of what nutrient.

That’s it for now.

Did you learn anything new from this post? 

Do you see calorie counting different now that you know this information?

Carbs Carbs Carbs: Friend or Foe?

How many times have you heard your friends say things like:

“Carbs make you fat.” or “Carbs are bad for you.” or “I’m on a low-carb diet” or “I’m on the paleo OR Atkins diet.”

All of these statements essentially say that carbohydrates (carbs) are not healthy for you. However, the fact is, carbohydrates are your friend! You need them in your diet. And yes, vegetables are forms of carbohydrates.


So, why are carbohydrates your friend?

#1 thing: Glucose is your body’s main source of energy.  Guess where glucose come from. That’s right. Carbohydrates.

Bananas, apples, whole wheat bread, brown rice, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cookies. Yes, all of these foods contain carbohydrates (yes, broccoli has carbs). All plant based foods contain carbs.

So, why is it so important to consume carbohydrates? Well, your brain can only use glucose as a form of energy (think of your Central Nervous System!). Because of the constant need of glucose for the brain, the body stores some glucose as glycogen in your liver and muscle cells.

When someone decides to consume a diet low in carbohydrates, the body will turn to glycogen so that there is enough glucose in the blood stream to feed to the brain. The body can only store so much glycogen that the body will run out and start converting fat and amino acids into glucose, called gluconeogenesis. The end product of this process are ketones and  they are acidic. A build up of too much ketones in the body can damage tissues in the body. It can lead to coma and death.

#2 thing: I’m NOT saying that you can consume all the cake and cookies in the world. All I am saying is that carbohydrates is your body’s preferred energy source. It is better to consume carbohydrates that contain fiber. For example: brown rice, whole wheat/grain bread, sweet potato, vegetables. Basically, whole foods are good sources of carbohydrates.

fruits and veggies

45-65% (the Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Range, AMDR) of your calories should be carbohydrates. There is some math involved with this and each individual person is different when it comes to how much carbohydrates an individual person needs (activity level, diabetes mellitus, etc). It is best to consult with a Registered Dietitian for a more individualized plan.

So, don’t be scared of carbs. Your body needs it for energy. The USDA MyPlate recommends consuming at least half of your grains as whole grains. So, try incorporating whole grain into your diet. Mix white and brown rice together or use one slice of white bread and one slice of whole wheat bread for sandwiches.

What’s your favorite type of carbohydrate to consume?

P.S. My next nutrition related post will give examples on how to calculate grams of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats based on caloric need and the AMDR.

Sports Nutrition Workshops

Sports Nutrition is very important and it does impact athletic performance. There is a saying that says:

“Nutrition and Training go hand in hand.”

It is true. If you do not fuel yourself and recover properly with nutrition, then your workouts will deteriorate. One reason is due to glycogen. Not fueling and recovering properly will deplete your glycogen stores, thus you will not have the energy to complete your workouts. Do not be the athlete who performs worse and worse as the season goes on. You want to keep improving and improving. After all, the biggest game is at the end of the season. You want to be at your best.

So, that’s my little talk about Sports Nutrition before I talk about the workshops. I am so lucky to be able to take a Sports Nutrition class AND be able to work with the athletic teams at school.

I am guessing what you guys are wondering is, “What is the layout of the workshop?”. Well, here are the components of the workshop.

  • Pre-test
  • Cooking Demo
  • Body Composition
    • Height, weight, body fat (using calipers)
  • Demonstrations
  • Nutrition Game
  • Training Table (a pre or post competition meal to serve to the athletes at the end. It should be the same recipe as the cooking demo)
  • Jeopardy Game or a game to consolidate everything
  • Post-test
  • Slide-show presentation covering all nutrition topics covered during the workshop
  • Take-A-Ways

The team comes in and takes a pre-test. The pre-test asks questions about nutrition that will be covered throughout the workshop.

Then, the team is split into three groups:

  • Body Composition
  • Cooking Demo
  • Nutrition Game

There has to be a lot of coordination to know when to switch the groups to the next “station”. The people running the workshop have to be able to communicate with one another to know when it is time to switch.

Body Composition

For the body composition, there are two parts to it. The height, weight, and body fat measurements are taken. The body fat measurements are measured with calipers and measurements are entered into a formula. While people are waiting to have their measurements taking, they will be watching a demonstration. The demonstration will be on any nutrition topic that may be important to the athletes or specific problems the coach is noticing.

Some examples include:

  • Hydration
  • Serving Size
  • Healthier Fast Food Options (most teams eat on the road during competition)

Cooking Demo

During the cooking demo, a basic nutrition lesson can be given. It is usually based on what is important to athletes. Talk about why glycogen is important with athletes. If they are in college, maybe talk about the effects of alcohol on athletic performance. Saying that they cannot drink alcohol will not go well with athletes. They will listen if they know that it will effect their performance.

After the quick lesson, do a cooking demo. The recipe you cook up in the kitchen should be related to pre-workout nutrition or post-workout nutrition.

Remember these ratios:

Pre-workout: 4:1 Carbohydrates:Protein

Post-workout:3:1 Carbohydrate:Protein

As a Sports Nutritionist/Dietitian, you will find or create a recipe that will either fuel the athlete’s workouts or help them recover.

Nutrition Game

This is where you can have fun with the workshop. Create a small game where the athletes are able to learn nutrition as well. Have them draw vegetables. Get them involved and thinking.

Training Table

After the athletes have gone through all three stations, it is time for them to eat. Feed them the meal that was shown in the cooking demo. As they are eating with each other, have the slideshow presentation running. It will help reinforce everything they learned throughout the workshop. The slideshow will have all the answers to the jeopardy game that will be played after the athletes are done eating.

After playing jeopardy, the workshop is essentially over.  They will take a post-test, which is the same test as the pre-test. This will measure if they learned anything during the workshop.

As they leave, they will have a Take-A-Way to take home with them. This will cover the essential topics covered throughout the workshop. It can be the recipe the athletes take home to cook. It can be a urine color coder for athletes to help them determine their hydration. It can be anything that will help them remember what they learned in the workshop. Be creative. Make sure it is something that the athletes will find useful, not something that they’ll throw away.

There are many different ways to do a workshop but this is how we did it. There are also other components you have that are more behind the scenes kind of things before even conducting the workshop. This is just the gist of it but there are a lot more that goes into preparing for a workshop.

What is your take on Sports Nutrition?

Drink it Up – Hydration

Did you know that for the average adult, 60% of our body weight is water? It’s crazy to think how we are not just puddles of water.

Anyway, I say that number to put some things into perspective. It is crazy to think that nearly two-thirds of your body is basically water. So, imagine how much water you need to drink/eat in order keep yourself adequately hydrated (also known as euhydration). Another thing to put into perspective is this:

For every pound lost during exercise, drink about 2.5 cups of water. 

We lose water through:

  • sweating
  • feces (poop)
  • urine
  • respiration

The first three are quite obvious. You can feel yourself losing water. Respiration, on the other hand, we cannot feel. If we are in a cold climate and take a breath, you can see it.

Before I get more into this, let’s define some terms.

Hyperhydration– having more water than is needed

Euhydration– the body is adequately hydrated to perform basic bodily functions

Hypohydration– your body does not have enough water to function properly

Dehydration– the process of becoming hypohydrated 

You read correctly. Dehydration is the process of losing water until you reach the state of hypohydration. It’s funny how we use the wrong term for it in our daily lives! Let’s start using the correct terminology.

There is so much about hydration I want to talk about. I guess I should split up the topic into different posts.

In this post, I will talk about:

  1. Sources of Water
  2. Effects of Alcohol On Hydration
  3. What Can Happen When You Are Hypohydrated


Sources of Water

Drinking plain old water is a great way to be in the state of euhydration.  However, there is only so much the body can use from drinking plain water.

Did you know that consuming carbohydrates is another way to consume water? Many people forget the hydrate part of the carb. There is water in whole wheat bread, fruits, and vegetables. You won’t believe some of the water content in these foods. Keep that in mind.

Colorful fresh group of fruits and vegetables for a balanced diet. White background. Look at my gallery for more fresh fruits and vegetables.

Effect of Alcohol On Hydration

Alcohol is not good for hydration. It creates the diuresis effect. Simple point being, you pee out more liquid than you consumed. This is not good, especially if you are an athlete. I will talk more about the effects of alcohol on athletic performance in another post (I just love sports nutrition).

The process of metabolizing alcohol creates a lot of free radicals, especially if one is binge drinking. The kidney tries to filter these out and your cells release water in order to get it out of the body. This also causes your cells to shrink, which makes it hard to function properly.

alcohol effect diuresis

Effects of Hypohydration

 Have you heard the story of the woman who went into coma and died after trying to complete a Spartan Race? It is crazy what being hypohydrated can do to your body. Her state of hypohydration was so severe that it affected her nerve cells and her ability to even walk. Some effects of hypohydration include:

  1. Thermoregulation being affected. Your body is unable to keep your body at its normal temperature, thus making your cells unable to function properly. Your body is unable to tolerate heat as well as it could if you were in the state of euhydration.
  2. Heart Failure
  3. Brain Dysfunction
  4. Coma
  5. Death

The last four are severe consequences of being hypohydrated. At that point, an IV  is needed in order to get the person back into euhydration. Once your cells are unable to function properly, your bodily functions are affected.

I don’t mean to scare you guys about the consequences of being hypohydrated but it is important to know that being hypo and hyper hydrated have negative consequences. Yes, the last of four consequences are the same for hyperhydration.

I hope this gives you more information on hydration.

Do you guys love drinking water?

Do you think you’re drinking enough water everyday?