Two nutritional boogy men to watch out for.

Let’s look at a common thing found in hydration drinks – high fructose corn syrup . I read a great article a few years ago that everyone should check out regarding this prevalent carb source (I’ll link to it below). In a nutshell, just like trans fatty acids when man tries to introduce an unnatural food source into the food supply, hormonal havoc usually ensues.

It is also pretty ironic that high fructose corn syrup and grain fed beef became so prevalent around the same time that the obesity rate and chronic disease rate began to skyrocket.

This stuff is very prevalent in our food supply and despite the large amount of money spent by the food lobby trying to convince us that it is alright for us to ingest, it seems to do some bad things to our metabolism. It is very readily stored as fat compared to other carb sources, it actually can damage DNA and collagen and it is especially problematic for the 10-30% of the population that is already insulin resistant. All in all, I’ve made it a point to avoid the stuff. Sorry Gatorade but that is seriously not very G.

Click here to read the original article.

The second thing I want to bring up is beef. Now, I love beef and I think that it is pretty obvious that we were meant to eat meat (we have canine teeth for a reason). The problem is, though, that the beef we eat to day is not the beef your grandparents ate. Few people realize it but grass fed vs. grain fed beef makes a HUGE impact on the nutritional profile of the end product.

Grass fed beef actually has the same fatty acid profile as salmon. That’s right, eating a burger made from grass fed beef is a lot like eating a piece of one the most healthy fish in the world. Grain fed beef, on the other hand, has a very messed up fatty acid profile. In fact, most of the health risks associated with red meat are not from red meat, per say, but from the screwed up fatty acid profiles brought on by mass produced grain fed beef.

Here is a great blog post from Mike Boyle on this for those of you that want to read some more on it. Click here to read the article.

It is also pretty ironic that high fructose corn syrup and grain fed beef became so prevalent around the same time that the obesity rate and chronic disease rate began to skyrocket. Big food is a lot like big tobacco was – lots of money being thrown out there to combat the mounting evidence that their products are actually killing people.

Anyways, hope this gives some of you some food for thought, so to speak. What you eat really does matter on more than one level. Spend a bit more on the food you eat and you’ll be much healthier for it in the long run.

-James Wilson-

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  1. Rick says:

    Just look for a good cut of New Zealand beef & you’ll be right, all our meat is farmed in grass paddocks 🙂
    I have never tried grain fed beef as we dont have access to any here, but it just makes sense doesn’t it to feed the animal what it would have normally eaten had it not been farmed….

    Reply • September 7 at 2:15 pm
    • bikejames says:

      Nice, great mountain biking and beef…sounds like I’m going to have to come to New Zealand one day!

      Reply • September 7 at 2:30 pm
  2. Cyril says:

    Thanks for hitting this topic, especially in a way that relates to sports nutrition. I agree with you on both points (and I think most of the science agrees with you, too).

    I have to admit I tend to let my standards slip when it comes to sports nutrition, where convenience, taste, and cost are already pretty significant headaches to sort through. And I seem to have some kind of nostalgic (and/or marketing-driven) longing for Gatorade when I’m really, truly thirsty. I’ve tried a bunch of different sports drinks at various event demos — I liked a couple flavors of Nuun (and hated others… especially the one that tastes like flat soda, ick!). Any favorite no-HFCS drink suggestions?

    Reply • September 7 at 8:37 pm
    • bikejames says:

      To be totally honest with you I use a cup of orange juice and a half scoop of vanilla whey protein as a “sport drink”. Not only do you get the sugars from the OJ but you get the Vitamin C and other anti-oxidants that help combat the free radical damage caused by exercise. You can get low acid OJ if you find it doesn’t sit well on your stomach although I have never had a problem.

      Reply • September 8 at 7:16 am
  3. Very enlightening. Thanks.

    Reply • September 8 at 12:57 am
  4. Eric Jensen says:

    Glad to hear your comments on the high fructose corn syrup and grain fed beef.

    Fortunately for me, my wonderful wife is way ahead of me on this stuff. She’s joined a few co-ops, so we get our milk, meat, and veggies straight from the farmers. The milk is unpasteurized, and the beef comes from cattle that actually walk around pastures eating grass, as opposed to living in a pen with a conveyor belt of hormone- and antibiotic-laden cow chow passing in front of their faces all day. The produce is local and organic.

    I really believe that all of this stuff is getting more traction over time. Michelle Obama very publicly stated that she will not feed her girls anything with high fructose corn syrup, and they raised a few hundred pounds of organic produce on the White House grounds with the help of some local school kids. It takes a while, but I think over time the reality of some of these questionable ‘advances’ in food manufacturing will be recognized for the damage they are causing.

    As for the sport drinks, did you see the results from the study that showed how well chocolate milk stacks up as a recovery drink? It was a small scale study, and the data were measured pretty subjectively, if I remember correctly, but it’s interesting to consider. Apparently, chocolate milk has a carb:protein ratio that is right in the 3:1 to 4:1 neighborhood, which a lot of folks consider the sweet spot. This assumes, of course, that your stomach can handle milk shortly after exercise.

    Reply • September 9 at 12:40 pm
    • bikejames says:

      I have heard about the chocolate milk study and you’re right, interesting but definitely needs more study. I got my 1 cup OJ, 1/2 scoop whey protein from what they use at Athletes Performance and it works great for me!

      Reply • September 9 at 1:11 pm
  5. Chris says:

    Nice work James.
    USA definitely has an obsession with corn syrup. Horrible stuff. And yeah – grain fed beef is terrible. I’m pretty well vego anyway, so no problem for me (and Australia generally has grass fed anyway).
    For a drink, I use a cordial (made from real fruit) prepared at half strength, with around 1 teaspoon of salt per litre of fluid. This is for long endurace rides – not a recovery drink. At the end of the race, I do similar to you – I take my normal drink and pour in a small amount of whey protein. Tastes suprisingly good and works very well. Banana, berry, cocoa, honey and whey protein smoothies are great too.

    Reply • September 11 at 7:09 pm

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