Lauren Link is a Registered Dietitian and Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics. She earned her bachelor's degree in dietetics and in nutrition, fitness, and health and her master's in health & kinesiology, both from Purdue University, where she played soccer and was a four-time Academic All B1G honoree and a member of the 2007 Big Ten Tournament championship team. In January 2014, she returned to her alma mater as Purdue's first full-time sports dietitian and is presently the Director of Sports Nutrition. In addition to promoting optimal performance during their athletic career, she also is passionate about helping her athletes successfully navigate the transition into the real world. Beyond publishing her book, The Healthy Former Athlete, she has led multiple initiatives to this end, founding a student-athlete community garden and spearheading a transitional program called BLAST (Boiler Life After SporT).
I would get a turkey sandwich with lettuce, tomato, and cheese. Sub shops can be a good way to get a balanced meal with carbs, proteins, and veggies. Transcript: "Personally, if I was getting Subway, I would get a turkey sandwich with lettuce and tomato and cheese. I'm not a big condiment person, especially on subs. So I'm kind of a boring sub-eater. But I would point out that Subway or Jimmy John's or any kind of sub shop is a good way to get some kind of on-the-go, balanced meal option because bread is going to be a carbohydrate. Meat, especially a lean meat like turkey or ham or chicken breast, roast beef, any of those are going to be a lean protein. And then if you can throw some veggies on there, awesome. And you can probably even sneak in some healthy fats with avocado or maybe an olive-oil-based dressing or sauce. So can definitely be a balanced choice and handy when you're on the go and need a quick option."
Eating sugar and/or carbohydrates in moderation can help reduce cravings and "sugar addiction." If someone feels like they are truly out of control and binge eating, they should work with a psychologist and dietician to help them. Transcript: "This is a big question, and my answer might surprise some people. But the best way to stop "sugar addiction" is to eat sugar, and/or carbohydrates, they go hand-in-hand. Our body breaks down carbohydrates to simple sugars. And oftentimes, people who feel like they are addicted to sugar or can't control themselves around sugar are people who are restricting carbohydrate pretty severely. There's a lot of misinformation out in the media about this premise of addiction to sugar, and there's really not research to show that we can be addicted to sugar like we can a narcotic, or other drug, or alcohol even. What we can be though we can have the physiological drive or need for carbohydrate, because it fuels much of what we do, our brain prefers glucose, a simple sugar as its primary fuel source. So absolutely when we restrict sugar, our bodies nature is to say I need that. It wants that, it craves that, and that's what sometimes gets skewed as addiction. That whole idea of that kind of lack of control when we restrict really heavily can then lead to this compulsive overeating and this gets a little bit deeper, but then you start to get into maybe some binge eating type behavior. Because again, it's that physiological drive to make up for restriction. I want to stress, if you're struggling with this to an extent of feeling like you're bingeing or truly out of control, one of the best steps you can take is to work with a psychologist, and dietician to help work through that. But from a more basic standpoint, if you're someone who just feels like, man, I just am craving sugar a lot and I can't control myself. Again, it might surprise you but the best thing to do would include those foods. And break down that stigma of that those foods are bad, and you'll find oftentimes that if you just include them in moderation and take away that stigma, that craving, that addiction kind of goes away."
The best snacks for recovery purposes are snacks that contain both carbohydrates and proteins. Examples include chocolate milk, a protein shake, lunch meat sandwich, yoghurt with fruit and granola, and a protein bar with some fruit. Transcript: "Best snacks for recovery purposes, are going to be snacks that have carbohydrate, and protein. A lot of times athletes get really focused on protein, post-workout, when they're trying to recover. And we absolutely need protein, you want 20, to 40 grams, give or take somewhere in that range is a really good goal. But you also want carbohydrate, because you've depleted your glycogen stores, and you want to get those back up before the next workout. So, something that has a nice combo should be your goal. And that can be all kinds of stuff. Whatever you like or whatever is realistic to keep with you, so that you can grab it pretty quickly within finishing your workout, would be ideal. So maybe it's chocolate milk. Maybe, it's a protein shake of some kind, maybe it's food. It could be a sandwich, like a lunch meat sandwich. It could be yoghurt with fruit, and granola. A protein bar, and some fruit. So, there are a lot of options. And I would say whatever works best for you that accomplishes those things, getting both carb, and protein, would be the perfect recovery snack."
Collagen supplements may not do what they are claiming to do, but they won't harm you, especially if you choose a quality brand. Make sure the product has either a nutrition facts label or a supplement facts label and third-party testing such as NSF for Sport or informed sport. Additionally, pair collagen with vitamin C for maximum effectiveness. Lastly, taking collagen may be helpful for people who aren't getting enough protein or variety in proteins. Transcript: "Okay. So collagen supplements are everywhere, people are putting collagen in their coffee and their breakfast cereal. I mean, you name it. People using collagen like crazy and the claims are all over the place, right? It helps our skin, our hair nails anti-aging in the Sports Nutrition setting which is what I practice in. We do utilize it for post-injury time frames for soft tissue injuries. Due to the fact that collagen is very much involved in the structure. Bar ligaments that are tendons and things like that. So, really early research with collagen, and especially around injuries. How does feeling really excited about it? Unfortunately, there was, you know, obviously much more research done since that early research, and it has not panned out quite as exciting. And so right now, as far as the research stands I would say, is it doing what it claims? Probably not but it's not doing any harm either especially if you're using a good quality brand. So if you want to use collagen it's not going to harm anything. Especially if you're choosing a brand that either has a nutrition facts label or if it has a supplement facts label that it has third-party testing like NSF for Spore or informed sport. So look for those products if you do want to try one, Also, if you are going to use collagen especially again, in that like injury setting, you'll want to include vitamin C and a lot more collagen products are starting to have vitamin C come with it, those to work synergistically in the body. So it makes sense to pair them together. The last thing I'll say is that there are lots of people out there that would say oh well like college and did help my fill in the blank skin or hair or whatever. If people notice that it helps them in whatever. Or capacity. They're looking for it's often probably, because they're not getting enough protein or maybe enough Variety in their protein, in general, collagen is a protein. So, it's logical that if you're not getting adequate protein or not, a lot of variety in the protein that you're in, taking that collagen could be helpful for you. So that's about as far as the magic of collagen really goes at this point."
The key to a successful diet is finding one that is sustainable and causes a caloric deficit. Working with a dietitian can help you find a diet that works for you and helps you reach your goals. Transcript: "The short answer to this question would be one that puts you in a caloric deficit and especially an appropriate. Caloric deficit, a good goal, would be maybe like 500 to 800 calorie deficit at most and you want it to be sustainable. If it's a diet that you can't imagine yourself doing for months. If not years, it's not sustainable. And one of the biggest reasons that diets fail people is because As they do, these extreme diets, whether that's extreme calorie deficit or extreme exclusion of foods that they like, and are around. They're just not sustainable. And that's one of the biggest problems that people who are trying to lose weight face, is that they just do this kind of roller coaster and are in this Perpetual diet cycle. So I really recommend working with a dietitian if possible who can help you figure out what is that sustainable approach for you and Like I said all diets work because they're a caloric deficit, regardless of whether it's low carb or low fat or you name it. If it's causing you to lose weight, it's just the caloric deficit. It's nothing magical about that exact approach. So find something sustainable and work with a professional. If you can"
Athletic Greens is a popular greens supplement, but it is not worth it compared to whole fruits and vegetables. It is better than nothing and has a third-party certification for quality assurance, but it cannot replace the hydrating, fiber, antioxidant content of real fruits and vegetables. Transcript: "So this is a super popular question. And athletic greens is a popular greens supplement right now. So in a nutshell I would say no not worth it per se. The thing with any greens powder is that whole fruits and vegetables are going to far outweigh any kind of powdered form for one your body, utilizes vitamins, and minerals better from food, they're more bioavailable Then they are from supplements to a powder, is missing all the other good stuff, right? The hydrating qualities of fruits and vegetables, the fiber antioxidant content, all of that is not going to be the same in a powdered form, compared to whole fruits and vegetables or even Juiced fruits and vegetables to some extent. With that said, if you're someone that hates vegetables and hates greens of any kind, I would say, is a powder better than nothing. Yes. As long as it's a good one, and I'll come back to that in a sec. But honestly, the powdered version would be kind of my last-ditch effort. I would say first, I would want people to try, may be hiding some of those veggies in different ways, or trying to Hearing them, different ways, hiding them in a smoothie hiding them in soups and sauces. Things like that. There's lots of ways that we can get our greens and get our veggies in our diet. It doesn't have to just be like sitting there and shoveling broccoli into our mouths. For instance, if you do feel like at the end of the day, a greens powder is the only way you're going to get fruits. And vegetables, I would say, athletic greens is a better one than most It has a third party certification, because remember greens powder is just like any other supplement facts. Label can be pretty sketchy. The label doesn't have to be accurate. They can be contaminated. So, athletic greens does have a third party certification which makes us feel good about the quality of that product. So will it get you some vitamins and minerals? Yeah, so I'll get you some of those benefits from fruits and vegetables. Sure. But comes nowhere close to the real thing."