Ask Theresa

Jamie DiCesare.jpegWhat are the benefits/ differences/drawbacks if any to a meat based vs. plant based diet while training regarding protein consumption?  Jamie DiCesare

Adequate protein can be obtained from both meat based and plant based diets.  If consuming a plant based diet it is important to consume a variety of protein sources as most plant based protein sources do not have all 20 essential amino acids.  Soy and hemp are two exceptions to this however.  Meat sources of protein do contain all of the essential amino acids and typically more protein per serving than plant based sources.  More is not necessarily better when it comes to most nutrients and protein is no exception.  A few nutrients of concern in regards to plant based diets include Vitamin B12, which is only obtained from animal sources.  Taking a supplement or using fortified nutritional yeast daily can mitigate the dangers of this deficiency which if it develops can cause permanent nerve damage. 

Stephanie Popovich.jpegWhat are the best foods to incorporate for bone health?  Stephanie Popovitch

Good bone health is obtained from a variety of nutrients including calcium, magnesium, phosphorous vitamin D.  Dairy foods provide an excellent source of all of these nutrients.  Other sources include beans such as chickpeas and lentils, chia seeds, hemp seeds as well as cooked broccoli and spinach.  The broccoli and spinach have to be cooked because the calcium (as well as the iron) is bound to fibers called phytates and oxalates rendering the calcium unabsorbable.  Once cooked this bond is released.  Additionally, the presence of vitamin C enhances the absorption of calcium.  Peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, berries, oranges and lemons can be eaten with calcium rich foods to enhance it’s absorption. 

Vitamin D is not readily available from our food supply.  Sources include fortified milk and other dairy products, shiitake mushrooms and a small amount from meat and eggs.  We synthesize vitamin D from the sun but between October and March we are too far away to obtain any.  Therefore, although I don’t recommend a lot of supplements, Vitamin D is one that is beneficial.  In addition to bone health, vitamin D helps decrease our bodies level of inflammation, therefore decreasing our risk for all chronic illnesses.

Do you utilize any commercial sports food for training and races like gels, supplements, electrolyte tablets or fluids? If so, which ones do you find work best and why?

When training or racing over an hour it is important to take fuel in to prevent your glycogen stores from becoming depleted.  There are numerous gels and gu’s available with various amounts of carbohydrates and carbohydrate sources.  The best rule of thumb is to trial many to find which one works best for you.  I personally like Maurten’s and have trouble tolerating many of the other options.  It is ideal to take in 45 grams per hour or 25 grams per 45 minutes.  It works best to obtain carbohydrates from a variety of sources to delay how quickly you burn through them.  For example, make sure your gel has more than just glucose.  I prefer one with glucose and fructose as the fructose requires liver involvement and therefore has a delayed release, allowing the effects of your gel to last longer. 

In addition to carbohydrates, electrolyte intake is important, especially during the summer months. S Caps can be an effective way to replace sodium losses.  Hydration drinks used before, during and after such as Hydrate and Nuun can help prevent electrolyte depletion which can lead to cramping.

Theresa.jpgDr. DeLorenzo has been a Registered Dietitian (RD) since 2001.  She received her BS in Food Science and Dietetics from the University of Rhode Island and her MS and Clinical Nutrition from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of NJ.  She currently is the Program Director for the MS in Nutrition and Human Performance Logan University and serves as the team dietitian for USA Para Powerlifting at Logan. 

In addition to dietetics, Dr. DeLorenzo is a 200-hour trained yoga teacher and teaches online yin yoga and power yoga and provides yoga therapy for clients with anxiety, body dysmorphia, and pain.  

Dr. DeLorenzo specializes in working with athletes.

Click here for more information about Dr. DeLorenzo

If you have a question for Dr. DeLorenzo, please click here!

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