Sports Nutrition

16 questions and answers with sports nutritionist Shane Traughber

By Shane Traughber 5/13/2016 5 minutes

David Thibodeaux
Have you ever worked with athletes with medical conditions that affect their metabolism (such as diabetes)? What is their knowledge or experience in custom-tailoring programs for these individuals?
I have worked with both type 1 and type 2 diabetics as well as children with prediabetes. The custom planning I make is Dietitian-approved meal plans followed by science-based nutrition education so my clients understand why the plan works.
Vince Marotte
Can we stop with the myth that chocolate milk is a quality recovery option? On paper, it has the right carb/protein ratio but at the cost of gut health from casein.
I am inferring from your casein comment that you mean chocolate cow milk. I can’t fully answer your question, because factors dealing with gut flora are always multifactorial. If you have problems digesting the casein or are lactose intolerant, chocolate soymilk is an option for a liquid-based recovery drink with complete proteins. I personally recommend my clients eat whole foods when acute recovery is not necessary and it is convenient for them.
Marie Cavitte
Should you carbo load before short races like a 5k, 10k?
I will only suggest carbohydrate loading for endurance athletes with events longer than 90-minutes in length. For shorter races like a 5k or 10k, focus on eating 70% or more of your daily caloric requirement in carbohydrates the day before while you are resting. This will ensure that your muscle glycogen levels are topped off.
Gregory Chernis
What's a double blind experiment? What's a control group? Is nutrition advice is based on science?
My degree in nutrition taught me how to correctly discern a valid study. Food research is filled with bias and misinformation thanks to media outlets and vested interests. You can read a bit more here if you are interested. Link
Alexander Galenko
Yes Beer or No Beer after workout?
Alcohol has been shown to inhibit protein synthesis. It worsens when you binge drink. One beer after a ride is okay for a recreational athlete of legal drinking age. The more you drink, the slower you recover.
Caleb Montag
To keep in trend with popular news, ask about any positive or negative correlations between marijuana and exercise. Good for recovery? Bad for stamina?
I’ll entertain this question, but what I’m saying is my own opinion. Most things that you breathe into your lungs, whether it be smoke from burning a plant or fumes from a car, cause some sort of oxidative damage and lessens your ability to intake oxygen during bouts of intense exercise. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) affects the same hormonal pathways as ghrelin (naturally occurring hunger stimulant). If one would ingest THC instead of inhaling it, the ability to consume more calories would increase without the extra oxidative damage. The problem is that you have to make sure that the calories you consume are being absorbed. Marijuana could possibly help with your recovery/exercise depending on what you eat and how high your heart rate is. If USADA ever makes THC a legal substance, its application in sports would be interesting to say the least.
Jason Greenwood
Bacon is the devils work?
Real bacon is only as bad as the pig it came from. Everything in moderation.
Kristina Terekhina
Is beet juice really beneficial for speed and carrying more oxygen to your muscles during the workout, or during the race? If it is, how noticeable is the difference?
Cycling is a sport of minimal gains and the nitrates in beet juice can help a little bit during certain situations. The studies I have read show that there is a 2-3% increase in overall power output 3 hours after proper consumption. You swish it around in your mouth for a bit so the bacteria can properly change the nitrate to nitrite and be absorbed under your tongue. Its application would be more beneficial in endurance races where there are not multiple variables affecting the outcome (e.g. triathlons, time trials, marathons, etc.)
Benjamin Sanders
How do you work with athletes that have special conditions like severe IBS or Crohn’s?
IBS and IBD are complicated conditions and I will always recommend going to a doctor. Diseases like Crohn’s are known to increase gut permeability. Through a change in diet I have found some success in lessening symptoms and mucosal inflammation throughout the gut. The hardest part is making sure to keep the client properly hydrated and eating enough calorically. Every client is different.
Brandon McKinney
On a day you do a long, multiple-thousand calorie burning workout, should you even attempt to put back all of (or close to) the calories lost, minus what you consumed during, or do you chalk those up as a deficit for that day and eat as you normally would have?
I suggest getting at least 70 - 80% of your calories back in for any exercise you complete. The only caveat would be weight loss, which is specific to the athlete.
Lars Eric
Should you do the Ironman on pickle juice?
Fermented pickle juice! The extra probiotic plus sodium will help your gut flora plus keep your sodium stores topped off while you sweat.
David Kowalczuk
Are CHELATED MINERALS actually are absorbed by the body easier then none for rehydration? They cost more and claim to do so. WebMD says no data actually supports those claims.
I have not read any valid scientific evidence about chelated minerals being absorbed faster. The FDA controls labeling laws on supplements, and with how the industry is, companies can get away with a lot of misinformation.
Robert Dole
Is there truly such a thing as an incomplete protein ? As in I get all my protein from veggies, does my body know/care from a performance standpoint where it came from?
The scientific term for an incomplete protein is that it’s lacking one or more essential amino acid. Vegans can be completely healthy if they mix their incomplete proteins correctly to mimic eating a complete protein. From a performance and recovery standpoint, you want to make sure that you are getting complete proteins throughout the day to optimize protein synthesis.
Reza Almaneih
What paleo friendly carbs can you eat for endurance sports?
Focus on starchy vegetables. Corn, peas, potatoes, yams, squash, zuchinni, pumpkin, parsnip. There is a great recipe for parmesan potatoes in the Feed Zone Cookbook. Link
Jeromie Payne
Thoughts on turmeric in regard to preventing cramps?
The only research I’ve done on the prevention of cramps is through proper ratios of electrolytes to water in your muscles and interstitial fluid. Turmeric’s main beneficial component is curcumin. It is a beneficial antioxidant and anti-inflammatory chemical produced by plants.
Jeromie Payne
Are there any benefits to hydrating with alkaline water (pH of 8.5 to 9.5). That would be pure water, no additives to make it alkaline?
The body is really efficient at maintaining a blood pH of 7.35-7.45. I have not found in valid scientific research that supports the hypothesis of only alkaline water having any health benefits. I can understand a possible health benefit due to the ingestion of minerals in the water. (e.g. calcium, potassium, magnesium, and bicarbonate)


Shane Traughber

I have a passion for helping endurance athletes of all skill levels acquire the nutritional knowledge needed to perform at their peak physical and mental ability.

I graduated from Texas State University where I received my Bachelor of Science in Nutrition. While at Texas State, I actively researched and worked in various fields of nutrition including geriatric, infant, teen, community, food service, medical, holistic, and sports. After graduation, I focused solely on growing my passion for sports nutrition. I specialize in endurance sports and am dedicated to making my clients goals come to fruition through research-based nutrition.

Great Article. For the Paleo question, good information but corn is not paleo. It is considered a grain.
Reza A
Hello, Reza! I agree with you that dried corn is considered a grain. I was thinking of sweet corn (corn seed) in that specific instance. I should have clarified. It is eaten as a vegetable but classified by botanists as a fruit. It is easier to tell people to lay off all corn to limit confusion. Sweet corn is picked before the maturation stage in the immature, or milk stage. If corn was picked at ... more maturation, then it would be a grain. The sweetness comes from a recessive mutation in its genes. There are even multiple mutations that make the sweet corn have as much as 12-20% sugar compared to others. Pretty cool plant.