Tofino health: Nutrition Matters!
by Jayne Francis
Fat kills. Or at least that is the message of the Health Department
in a government-sponsored effort to break Canadians out of the spectator
role. Television and radio commercials, newspaper ads and labels on
milk cartons are constantly urging the nation to "get into shape."
If you are past the cheerleader or football player stage of your
life you may be dubious about the value of exercise to you. Does exercise
influence caloric intake and what effect does it have on body composition?
Research as attempted to answer these questions.
R.E. Johnson et al in West Bengal, India studied the effect of physical
exercise on the eating habits of industrial workers. They observed
lowest food intake in workers who participated in light activity
while sedentary workers ate more and were heavier. Men performing heavy
labour consumed more food but remained lighter in weight.
Studies conducted with American college women showed that a successful
exercise program will alter body composition. That is, excess adipose
tissue (fat) is converted to muscle mass. These studies do not conclusively
prove that a vigorous exercise program will depress appetite and
produce a beautiful lithe body. However, developing other interests
than food is an essential part of any weight reduction program. Actual
caloric expenditure during activity is not significant.
| Walking Slowly
Since the more vigorous activities cannot be sustained for any length
of time, it is more effective for the average person to engage in moderately
activity for a longer period of time. A brisk walk for an hour will burn more
calories than a 15-minute tennis game.
Each person has a specific caloric requirement to maintain his present
weight. The energy required for the functioning of internal mechanisms
in the body is
Basal Metabolism. Roughly calculated, the basal energy requirement of a normal
young adult is 1 calorie per hour for each kilogram of bodyweight. Each hour
of sleep constitutes a saving of about 10% of basal energy. For example a 125-pound
(57kg) adult would expend 1368 calories (1x24x57) in 24 hours. If he sleeps
8 hours 46 calories (0.1x57x8) must be deducted to bring his basal
for 1 day to 1322 calories.
Any muscular action is considered external activity and caloric requirements
will vary with the type and duration of each. According to E.W. McHendry in
Basic Nutrition, the following activity requirements must be applied
to the basal metabolic
| Moderate work
| Heavy work
| Very heavy work
| Requirements for Women
| Moderate work
| Heavy work
| Very heavy work
Therefore, the 125-pound woman if she is moderately active will require
approximately 1822 calories to maintain her present weight.
Nutrition and athletes
The nutrition advice given athletes can have a profound effect on
their performance. Each coach has his own ideas and idiosyncrasies
about food. Some foods are said
to have "magical qualities" possessing the ability to enhance power
and agility. No such foods exist. Extra doses of minerals and vitamins are sometimes
recommended to combat the stress involved in hard physical exercise. The diet
need only be adequate for maintenance, growth if the person is still growing,
for increase in muscle mass if necessary and for filling the energy needs of
the athlete's activities.
It is unwise to eat immediately before or after any vigorous activity.
A pre-game meal high in carbohydrate rather than the customary fried
steak will supply the
liver with an extra store of glycogen, which can be readily converted to glucose
for quick energy. A meal of toast, honey and orange juice has been proven to
increase efficiency by 25%.
Leaving young athletes to their own devices diet wise may mean the
difference between their having enough stamina and tiring halfway through
a game, between
a sense of well being and a feeling of not being up to par. Taking nutrition
for granted can lead to unnecessary handicaps.
A planned exercise program can put excellent health back within your
reach. The comparative studies of physical fitness between Canadians
and Swedes should get
us all out jogging. Expending an extra 200 calories per day with no change
in food habits can mean a loss of 20 lbs in a year. In a long term
program exercise does matter.
Jayne Francis is a registered dietician and has
been working in the field of nutrition for over 30 years.
Jayne Francis, a registered dietician with ties to Tofino, explains nutrition and exercise options and differences in diet and exercise needs for a variety of segments of population.