A glance into an interesting topic of Sports Nutrition

with Nutritionist Shruti Jain

What is Sports Nutrition? How is it different from our normal intake?

  • Sports Nutrition is an advanced nutritional science of providing all macronutrients and micronutrients in optimal quantities essential for preservation of lean body mass, synthesis of new tissues, optimization of skeletal structure, maximization of oxygen transport and its usage, maintenance of optimal fluid and electrolyte balance, and regulation of all metabolic processes.
  • It aims at achieving maximum performance, which includes sustaining intense workouts and competitions, along with proper recovery and rest so as to effectively reach the fitness goal and be at a physical and mental peak 24 hours a day, specially for competing athletes.
  • It is not restricted to competing athletes. It applies to EACH and EVERY person who carries out any form of regular, planned and structured physical activity aimed to improve or maintain any component of physical fitness, such as reducing body fat, increasing muscle mass/strength or improving stamina like gym goers.
  • It also applies to people who are active in life without any form of regular and structured planned activity and wish to be active till the very end of their lives. People who desire a great quality of life and not just longevity.
  • The training activity or general day to day task involves usage of muscles. If Sports nutrition is not supported with adequate good quality macronutrients and micronutrients given in the right quantities at the right time, body will get more unfit than before.
  • Sports Nutrition is a Must for All humans. It is actually Performance Nutrition. We should not simply eat to live and subsist, but we must ingest foods with the intent of maximizing physical performance parameters and stave off ageing.
  • Sports nutrition based on its vision and mission for the people at large, must completely ignore– RDA( Recommended Dietary Allowance ). ICMR (The Indian Council of Medical Research) also specifies the limitations of its application. The RDA is not meant to be used as a standard to determine an individual’s requirements. It is applicable ONLY to a normal healthy population living under normal conditions and assumes that requirements of all other nutrients are adequately met. It can only act as a guideline for maintaining Survival and Preventing Nutrient Deficiencies. It is CLEAR that the RDA is NOT aimed at achieving even Optimum Health, let alone Maximum Performance and peak Fitness!
  • Food pattern of an Indian diet, It may be noted that traditionally an Indian diet tends to be very high in unnecessary carbohydrates and very low in protein. In addition, due to the influence of the wellness industry, Indian diets mistakenly avoid fats. So, quite absurdly, we are almost exclusively Carbohydrate eaters with little or no Protein and very little dietary fat intake.
  • We are an Insulin Resistant, Fat, Unfit Nation. We are the Diabetic Capital with a stupendous – one out of every three of us being a clinically diagnosed Type-II Diabetic. This completely unacceptable and ridiculous statistic will not improve till we vindicate the wrongly vilified Dietary Fat and strongly implicate Carbohydrate as the reason for causing Diabetes, Obesity, Diabesity leading to Cardiovascular Disease and all chronic inflammatory illnesses.
  • The fitness revolution in the last 15 years has been totally unsuccessful in even slowing down the rise of the DIABESITY? Metabolic X syndrome, simply because we are not willing to face the truth that in the name of health, we are dumping our bodies with unwanted Carbohydrates(which is a kinder term for sugar) and staying away from the beneficial natural Saturated Fats and First Class Animal source Protein.
  • No amount of Workouts, Marathon Craze, Cycling Craze can save us till we decide to rethink our approach to Nutrition.
  • Indians especially are in dire need of a dietary approach that aligns itself with Performance. Indians as a population need SPORTS NUTRITION–Eating for Performance.

How do macronutrients play a vital role in the performance of athletes?

  • All 3 Macronutrients are made up of Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen atoms in varying proportions. Protein is unique in the sense that apart from the 3 aforementioned ingredients, Proteins are made up of Amino Acid and have an Amine group that contains an extra Nitrogen Atom.
  • Apart from this, each Macronutrient has a Kilo-caloric value, which means all three Macronutrients are energy providers.
  • Proteins and Carbohydrates are 4kcals per Gram and Dietary Fats stand out with more than double the amount of energy at 9 kcals per Gram.
  • Proteins have that extra nitrogen Atom and Dietary Fats are the most calorically dense molecules. What carbohydrates have is simply 4 kilocalories per Gram.
  • This suggests that Proteins and Fats have all that Carbohydrates have to offer but Carbohydrates do not have all that Proteins and Fats have to offer.
  • First-Class Animal Source Protein as a macronutrient has its rightful place in Sports Nutrition as the sole Macronutrient capable of repairing and building tissue. Skeletal Muscle Hypertrophy is integral to enhanced physical performance and improvement in Body Composition and that cannot happen without adequate levels of First-Class Animal Source Protein.
  • Dietary Fats are simply the Best source of sustained energy. Though a Lipo itself, it does not in any way contribute to lipogenesis in the human body. Thus , their role is crucial to the goals of enhanced physical performance and consequently, their place is sealed in Sports Nutrition.
  • Carbohydrates, when ingested, do not allow the body to use the BEST source of sustained energy, which is FAT. They then become the sole fuel that the body uses and as a fuel source they are inferior to fat in every way. Not sustained, they cause peaks and troughs in energy levels. You need constant frequent refeeds to maintain an even keel of energy. They are lipogenic and in the long term cause insulin resistance. They are pro-inflammatory. Thus are lipogenic and in the long term cause insulin resistance. They are pro- inflammatory. Thus they need to be extremely restricted if not eliminated altogether from a dietary plan under Sports Nutrition.
  • Energy substrate utilization does not depend on activity, situation, or intensity of exercise. It just depends on WHAT YOU FEED YOUR BODY.
  • Let’s call this the Carb- Adapted state in which the body is forced to subsist on maximum 500 grams of stored Muscle and Liver Glycogen stores(Maximum that an athletic muscular person can store) resulting in 500 * 4 = 2000 Kilocalories at your disposal, with roughly 57,750 Kilocalories stored and locked up in terms of energy from fat ( This is with reference to a lean athlete with just 10% body fat. ) This example has been taken from the brilliant book called ‘The Art and Science of Low — Carbohydrate Performance’ by Doctors Jeff Volek and Stephen Phinney. Two brilliant researchers who have done the most amount of work using Very Low Carbohydrate, High fat, Protein Diets successfully for Ultra Endurance athletes.

How do you help Athletes maintain hydration and electrolyte in the body ?

  • Athletes can easily lose water making up 2-3% of their body weight. Marathon runners and football players may lose even upto 5-6 litres/day, which could go upto 6-10% body weight.
  • With progressive dehydration, the consequences are more serious
  1. 2% of body weight lost – Impaired performance
  2. 4% of body weight lost – Reduction in Muscular Capacity
  3. 5% of body weight lost – Heat exhaustion
  4. 7% of body weight lost – Hallucinations
  5. 10% of body weight lost _ Circulatory collapse and heat stroke
  • Water, Fluids and Electrolytes helps to curb hydration due to below functions.
  1. Fluid Balance
  2. Acid -Base Balance
  3. Nerve Impulse Transmission
  4. Uptake of nutrients
  5. Heart Contraction

Which are the common foods or supplements necessary for Sports nutrition?

  • Important foods and supplements are
  • Macronutrients
  • Micronutrients
  • Anti-Catabolics
  • Ergogenic Aids
  • Fat Loss Aids

Ms. Shruti Jain is a well known Coach, Nutritionist & consultant. Her expertise lies in Sports Nutrition.

Ms Shruti Jain’s philosophy on health:

Health is the absence of pathology or disease. Sports nutrition is the building block for maintaining health. I am also an Internationally certified personal Trainer and Coach, so having said that being a Coach I cannot deny the importance of Weight Training for maintaining health. The role of Training always precedes Nutrition. But Yes it needs Nutrition to carry the baton across the finishing line. Training jump-starts the process of change, and Nutrition ensures its completion.

Contact details :

@ the_sports_nutritionist

Call/Whatsapp : 7337409490

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About Camel Milk:

Although it is not as prominent as cow milk, it is still gaining popularity, as it has various advantages that include better nutritional properties, chemical compounds, and it is more environment friendly, as camels do not require a large grazing area as cows or goats require. It has a higher amount of iron, Vitamin C, proteins, lower amount of fats, zinc, potassium, etc. which have been known to keep the human body healthy and fit. Apart from its richness in various nutrients, it is also helpful in fighting diabetes, because it has insulin-like properties that are helpful for treating type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Ayurveda has also referred to its medicinal properties and has classified it under “Dugdha Varga,” where it is known as a valuable source of food and nutrition with a long history of its use for a thousand of years in different cultures. Consuming it may not be everyone’s cup of tea; however, switching to camel milk based on research & studies can be said to be one of the major reasons in alleviating lifestyle diseases. Considered as a healthy drink due to its low fat and cholesterol content, when compared to cow or goat milk, this milk is one of the best forms available today.

Nutritional Value of Camel milk:

When it comes to its nutritive value, it is known that it plays a significant role in maintaining the overall health of an individual. It is rich in calorie, protein and carbohydrate content that allows it to be compared to cow’s milk. Being lower in saturated fats and rich in Vitamin C, B, calcium, iron and potassium makes it healthier than cow’s milk. In terms of iron, it has 10 times more iron than cow’s milk.

When this milk is compared to milk produced by other bovine mammals, it has a greater value in terms of its digestibility in the human gastrointestinal system, as it has smaller milk fat-globules and has hypoallergenic properties. It does not contain lactoglobulins, which shows that it is good for people with dairy allergies. Milk has been known to be a major source of saturated fatty acids (SFA), and unsaturated fatty acid (USFA). The SFA content is lower as compared to cow milk. It has 55% more zinc than goat or cow milk that is considered as a major element for limiting the dietary growth nutrient in individuals suffering from deficiencies in micronutrients. It contains long-chain fatty acids, linoleic acids which have known properties in keeping the brain and heart-healthy.

When an individual consumes a one-half cup of camel milk, that is,120 ml, the following nutrients are being consumed:

  1. Calories: 50
  2. Fat: 3gm
  3. Protein: 3gm
  4. Carbs: 5gm
  5. Thiamine: 29% of the daily value
  6. Calcium: 16% of the daily value
  7. Riboflavin: 8% of the daily value
  8. Phosphorous: 6% of the daily value
  9. Potassium: 6% of the daily value
  10. Vitamin C: 5% of the daily value.

Chemical composition of camel milk:

It is known for its low amounts of fat and cholesterol levels, and modern medicinal studies have proved its effectiveness in treating various lifestyle disorders. This milk has the ability to allow an individual to go through the day with all his/her activities without consuming any other form of food. This is possible due to the presence of enough nutrients in the milk. It is opaque white in colour, with a normal smell that is sweet and has a sharp taste. It is, at times, salty, due to the physiological factors.

The water content in camel milk is the highest as compared to other forms of milk, that is, 86-87%. Therefore, it can be said that it has the ability to determine health benefits on an individual. In addition to its moisture levels, it is also a rich source of minerals, vitamins, fatty acids, enzymes, etc. It is also a good source of calcium, potassium, magnesium, zinc, etc. and is rich in Vitamin A, E, C and B1. It has been seen that the concentration of Vitamin C is 2-3 times higher than that of cow milk and has a lower pH level that stabilizes the milk. This allows the milk to be stored for a longer period of time without the formation of a cream layer.

It has different fatty acids such as butyric, caproic, caprylic, capric, lauric, myristic, myristoleic, oleic, linoleic, arachidic acids, etc. which help prevent the growth of antigens and boosts the effectiveness of the immunity system. It also contains enzymes such as aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), gamma-glutamyl transferase (y-GT), acid phosphate (ACP), etc. that play a significant role in maintaining the quality of the milk. It also contains a number of protective proteins, such as lysozyme, lactoferrin, lactoperoxidase, peptidoglycan recognition protein (PGRP) that have antimicrobial properties, which help in enhancing its shelf life.

Camel Milk health benefits:

There is no end when it comes to camel milk benefits. It naturally acts as a pre-biotic that helps in healthy bacteria growth in the gut that makes it easier to digest and may also help in improving the gastrointestinal health and boost immunity. It is known to provide the foundation for its positive effect on health. Various researches have been done and are ongoing that show promising results on camel milk. A major finding is that it has lactoferrin that acts as an antioxidant, in turn, protecting the body from harmful viruses and bacterial infections. Acting as a good source of protein, it helps in maintaining stronger muscles. It has 50% less fat and 50% less saturated fat when compared to other forms of milk, that reduces the changes of heart diseases. The blood pressure of the body is maintained as it has potassium and phosphorus. When it is consumed with a low-sodium diet, it reduces the chances of a stroke. Drinking it may benefit the body in many ways, but most importantly, it is delicious!

Camel Milk for treating Autism:

It has been known to provide help in treating individuals suffering from autism. It has a smaller size of immunoglobulins that are effective in recovering the immune system of the individual or child with autism. In different studies, it has been mentioned that it reduces oxidative stress, and calms the mind of the autistic individual, along with increasing the antioxidant enzymes. As autism is associated with gastrointestinal diseases, as well as mental retardation, consuming camel milk can help them in recovering from both. It is known to develop motor behaviour, improve the behavioural and cognitive abilities, increase antioxidant activity and reduce oxidative stress among autistic individuals. It also boosts their social behaviour, communicating abilities, along with improving their speech and language. Further, it can be said to be a boon for autistic people.

Camel Milk effect as anti-ageing:

Beauty practices have had an endlessly fascinating history for the past civilizations. Among them, It has outweighed most of the exfoliators, hydrating masks, vitamin c serums, etc. It is known to have a higher concentration of alpha hydroxyl acids (AHAs) that help in exfoliating dead skin cells and allow for new cell generation. Loaded with lactic acid, a type of AHA known to be the most friendly acid for sensitive skin sloughs away the dead skin cells and leaves the skin looking fresh and clean. This acid also allows the skin to produce ceramides, by retaining its moisture, and the end result is a plumper, red and glowing skin. The presence of copper, iron, zinc and Vitamin C makes it an anti-ageing powerhouse. Vitamin C is a required element for generating collagen that protects the skin from the environmental pollution that causes wrinkles, fine lines, sagging skin and age spots. Vitamin C is also helpful in brightening the skin, reducing discolouration and evening out acne marks.

Camel Milk for the treatment of Crohn’s disease:

Crohn's disease or Crohn syndrome has various negative impacts such as weight loss, stomach pain, diarrhoea, and also includes inflammation of the eye, lack of concentration, tiredness, arthritis or skin rashes. The significant factors for this disease are the environment, immunity system or it may be microbial. It has been suggested by experts that milk of camel can be used to treat crohn's disease. The bacterium of crohn's disease is from tuberculosis family where milk of camel can be used to treat this bacterium, as it has bactericidal properties along with peptidoglycan recognition protein, which when combined, can help in healing this disease.

Camel milk for diabetes:

Diabetes is one of the most common diseases, which is associated with various complications such as heart diseases, kidney failure, blindness and amputation of the lower extremities. It has shown results in lowering the blood sugar levels and improving the insulin sensitivity in individuals suffering from type 1 and type 2 diabetes. It has insulin-like properties that are responsible for its antidiabetic activity. It can be used as an alternative to insulin therapy as it appears to be safe and effective in improving long-term glycemic control and is also helpful in reducing the insulin requirement for type 1 diabetic patients. Milk of camel not only positively affects the glycemic controls but also improves the lipid count among diabetic patients. Thus, it can be said that it acts as a great supplement for individuals suffering from diabetes.

Camel milk for height growth:

Ayurveda has always put emphasis on essential foods like milk, etc. Ayurvedic studies have always suggested that camel milk for height growth which is one of the most potent elements, and it is known to be its most intrinsic property. It is rich in calcium, vitamins and minerals that are required for the overall growth of the body, which includes height increase too! To enhance its height increasing element of, it should be consumed with Shatavari, Ashwagandha and Turmeric. Adding all these ingredients to this milk have shown positive results in increasing height. Ayurveda has said that consuming Shatavari on a regular basis makes the body healthy and strong and has height increasing supplements that allow for the natural growth of the body. Ashwagandha, according to experts, helps in releasing oxidative stress that leads to positive calcification of the bone, thus leading to increased height.

Camel Milk for lactose intolerance: 

The milk protein namely, beta-lactoglobulin present in cow’s milk is the major reason for allergies in humans. However, milk of camel is known to lack this protein, which makes it safe for people with allergies. A type of sugar, lactose, is found in every type of milk and its related products. A human body generates an enzyme named Lactase, which allows the body to digest this sugar. Some individuals lack this enzyme, which leads to inefficiency in breaking down the sugar. It has a very low amount of lactose in it, thus making it easily digestible for those with lactose intolerance. It also lacks A1 casein that cannot be digested by those with dairy allergies. It has A2 beta-casein proteins and various other proteins that contain immunoglobulins that may be helpful in boosting the immunity of an individual.

How to consume camel milk:

Camel milk, aside from keeping the body healthy and strong, also has various uses. Drinking it is one of the greatest ways for both children and adults to give their body the required amount of calcium and proteins. It can be consumed as its own beverage as there is no requirement to add anything to offset the taste. It can be easily mixed with coffee, which can act as a great way to start your day. It can also be used to cook. Instead of using cow’s milk, it can be used to get the healthy and tasty dishes that you want to have. This even includes cheese and yoghurt. A speciality of this milk is that it makes Feta cheese tastier than it already is.

Whether it is a smoothie or an energy drink, it can be used for both. It can also be consumed in breakfast, with cereals, muesli, etc. Baking just reached another level. Enjoy baking pudding, pancakes, cakes etc. with milk of camel. However, if this idea seems too extreme, you can start with making ice cream. Mix it with dates and a healthy drink will be ready! If plain milk is not your cup of tea, then add a little flavour to it with a bit of maple syrup, strawberries, banana, or turmeric. These give a special taste to your glass of milk and keep you healthy and safe from diseases.

Camel Milk side-effects:

Although it has various benefits that it offers to humans, it has certain downsides also. The first being, it is very expensive to buy. Since camels produce milk only after having given birth, this places a challenge on the production time. Camels also produce lower amounts of milk than cows, which is around 6 litres a day. Cows can generate 24 litres of milk in a day. Traditionally, milk of camel is consumed raw without any heat treatments and pasteurization, but health professionals do not recommend consuming raw milk as it can lead to a higher risk of food poisoning. The organisms present in raw milk can cause infections, kidney failure or can even lead to death. These risks are especially higher for pregnant women, children and the elderly.

Camel Milk price:

It can be an expensive spend and it can cost you around Rs. 3000 per litre. When compared to cow’s milk, it is almost 50 times the price. The demand for camel milk has kept the price on the higher side. Its popularity as a new health food has also boosted its sales. Although new camel farms are being set up across the country, their population is still limited, and it is not easy to milk a camel. Even after the camels have started producing milk, the camel herders still cannot gain as much milk as they could from a cow. It can be said to be an expensive luxury.

Where to buy camel milk?

It is available on all online stores, whether it is Amazon, Flipkart, or on the official websites of the companies selling it. It is also available offline, but it is not available everywhere and in every city, so it is better to order online. If you want to try milk of camel, there are companies such as Aadvik Foods that offers a trial pack in three flavours (Plain, chocolate and banana). It is an easy and convenient way to try this form of milk.

Conclusion and recommendation:

Thus, it can be said that milk of camel is a boost to human health that has recently gained attention as a healthy food in the developed countries. Research has shown that it is good for people with lactose intolerance and allergies to cow milk. It also helps in lowering blood sugar, boosting immunity, and overcoming various behavioural and neurodevelopmental diseases like autism. The demand for this has recently increased due to an increased interest of its consumers.

There is a huge scope for the preparation of functional fermented food products with milk of camel. It would be a boon for this industry, if it were able to get the premium price for its products.

However, it is a bit more expensive than other types of milk and is often unpasteurized, which can act as a health risk. Since its production is low primarily in the countries where bovine, sheep and goat milk products are high, importance should be given to its therapeutic elements and must be added into the daily lives of every human.