, , ,

Eating These Kinds of Foods May Make Your Running-Related GI Issues Even Worse

Bothered by bloating? The answer may be on your plate.

Like shin splints and IT band tightness, gastrointestinal distress can be an unwelcome—yet common—part of the sport for many runners.

But a new study suggests that a certain type of diet may help.

Recently published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, the study looked at exercise-related GI issues and the potentially beneficial effects of the low fermentable oligosaccharide, disaccharide, monosaccharide, and polyol (FODMAP) diet. Past research has shown benefits of a low FODMAP diet for those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), so researchers wanted to see whether it could help healthy athletes, too.

FODMAPs are short-chain carbohydrates—found in many legumes, grains like wheat and rye, lactose-containing dairy, fruits high in fructose, vegetables like onions, some nuts, and artificial sweeteners—that are poorly digested and absorbed.

That’s not always a bad thing: Considered dietary fiber, these carbs rocket toward the end of your intestine, where the majority of gut bacteria are. The good bugs in your belly use these carbs for fuel, but much like any fuel processing, there are by-products, like gas. For some people, such as those with IBS, certain high-FODMAP foods create digestive issues that can become chronic, such as bloating, stomach cramps, and pain.

Researchers looked at 16 volunteers who were given either a low-FODMAP or high-FODMAP diet for seven days, followed by a week of whatever they wanted to eat, and then one week on whichever FODMAP diet they didn’t have initially. They rated not only their GI symptoms, but also their perceived ability to exercise.

The researchers found that a low FODMAP diet significantly improved running-related GI symptoms in 69 percent of the people. Overall, the participants reported significant improvements in exercise frequency and intensity on the low-FODMAP diet, leading researchers to conclude that following that diet could reduce exercise-related and IBS-related GI symptoms.

Study co-author Justin Roberts, Ph.D., at the Cambridge Centre for Sport & Exercise Sciences told Runner’s World that previous studies have indicated high-FODMAP diets may lead to undigested carbohydrates fermenting in the GI tract, which can cause digestive distress. Reducing those foods, even in the short term—such as a few days leading up to a long run or a race—may reduce risk of symptoms. But, he emphasized, the benefits are likely to be highly individualized.

“Some people may notice reduced bloating or cramping, others may notice reduced nausea,” he said. “This largely depends on factors like previous history of symptoms and type of diet.”

Interestingly, he added, switching to a low-FODMAP diet may help your brain as well as your belly.

“We found that people reported improved perception of exercise, which may be important during sustained training periods,” he said.

Obviously, some of the foods on the FODMAPs list are super healthy, like probiotic-packed yogurt, for example, or whole grains. Also, Roberts noted, there’s a potential trade-off for the benefits.

“We do suggest caution in this approach, as we did find that reducing FODMAP-based foods tended to result in lower-than-expected carbohydrate and calorie intake,” he said. “Meaning that a low-FODMAP approach may need to be introduced in short cycles as opposed to a sustained low-FODMAP intake.”

So, as long as you’re getting your carbs and calories right, and seeing low-FODMAP eating as part of your run or race prep, it can be a helpful way to tame those digestive dilemmas.

, , ,

Not exercising worse for your health than smoking, diabetes and heart disease, study reveals.

Atlanta, Georgia (CNN) We’ve all heard exercise helps you live longer. But a new study goes one step further, finding that a sedentary lifestyle is worse for your health than smoking, diabetes and heart disease.

Dr. Wael Jaber, a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic and senior author of the study, called the results “extremely surprising.” “Being unfit on a treadmill or in an exercise stress test has a worse prognosis, as far as death, than being hypertensive, being diabetic or being a current smoker,” Jaber told CNN. “We’ve never seen something as pronounced as this and as objective as this.”

Jaber said researchers must now convey the risks to the general population that “being unfit should be considered as strong of a risk factor as hypertension, diabetes and smoking — if not stronger than all of them.” “It should be treated almost as a disease that has a prescription, which is called exercise,” he said.

Researchers retrospectively studied 122,007 patients who underwent exercise treadmill testing at Cleveland Clinic between January 1, 1991 and December 31, 2014 to measure all-cause mortality relating to the benefits of exercise and fitness. Those with the lowest exercise rate accounted for 12% of the participants.

The study was published Friday in the journal JAMA Network Open. “Cardiovascular disease and diabetes are the most expensive diseases in the United States. We spend more than $200 billion per year treating these diseases and their complications. Rather than pay huge sums for disease treatment, we should be encouraging our patients and communities to be active and exercise daily,” said Dr. Jordan Metzl, sports medicine physician at the Hospital for Special Surgery and author of the book “The Exercise Cure.”
Jaber said the other big revelation from the research is that fitness leads to a longer life, with no limit to the benefit of aerobic exercise. ResearcheExercise: It's what the doctor orderedrs have always been concerned that “ultra” exercisers might be at a higher risk of death, but the study found that not to be the case.

“There is no level of exercise or fitness that exposes you to risk,” he said. “We can see from the study that the ultra-fit still have lower mortality.”

“In this study, the most fit individuals did the best,” said Metzl, who was not involved in the study. “Once cleared by their physicians, patients shouldn’t be afraid of exercise intensity.”

The benefits of exercise were seen across all ages and in both men and women, “probably a little more pronounced in females,” Jaber said. “Whether you’re in your 40s or your 80s, you will benefit in the same way.”

The risks, he said, became more shocking when comparing those who don’t exercise much. “We all know that a sedentary lifestyle or being unfit has some risk. But I’m surprised they overwhelm even the risk factors as strong as smoking, diabetes or even end-stage disease.”

“People who do not perform very well on a treadmill test,” Jaber said, “have almost double the risk of people with kidney failure on dialysis.”

Exercise is good for your body and your mind, study says

What made the study so unique, beyond the sheer number of people studied, he said was that researchers weren’t relying on patients self-reporting their exercise. “This is not the patients telling us what they do,” Jaber said. “This is us testing them and figuring out objectively the real measure of what they do.”

Comparing those with a sedentary lifestyle to the top exercise performers, he said, the risk associated with death is “500% higher.” “If you compare the risk of sitting versus the highest performing on the exercise test, the risk is about three times higher than smoking,” Jaber explained.

Get CNN Health’s weekly newsletterSign up here to get The Results Are In with Dr. Sanjay Gupta every Tuesday from the CNN Health team.

Comparing somebody who doesn’t exercise much to somebody who exercises regularly, he said, still showed a risk 390% higher. “There actually is no ceiling for the benefit of exercise,” he said. “”There’s no age limit that doesn’t benefit from being physically fit.” Dr. Satjit Bhusri, a cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital, who was not involved in the study, said this reinforces what we know. “Sedentary, Western lifestyles have lead to a higher incidence in heart disease and this shows that it’s modifiable. It’s reversible,” he explained, adding that doctors are really good at treating patients who have had cardiovascular events but they can be prevented. “We’re meant to walk, run, exercise. It’s all about getting up and moving.” For patients, especially those who live a sedentary lifestyle, Jaber said, “You should demand a prescription from your doctor for exercise.”
So get moving.
, , ,

Eat These Foods to Prevent Exercise Induced Nausea

Runner’s stomach can slow you down so eat these foods to keep up your pace!

Runners’ gut or runners’ stomach is a well-known phenomenon in the world of running. From mid-run stomach aches and bathroom breaks to other gastrointestinal complaints, athletes can be plagued with exercise-induced stomach problems. Nausea is also a common symptom among runners.

People who engage in intense workouts like high intensity training, marathons, long distance cycling and triathlons are at greater risk for nausea that is brought about by exercise. People with a history of acid reflux (also sometimes called Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease or GERD) are at an even greater risk due to excessive pressure on your core.

Exercise-induced nausea can occur in athletes after high intensity or strenuous training, according to a study published in 2013 in Gastroenterology Review.  According to Robert Glatter, M.D., an assistant professor of Emergency Medicine at Northwell Health as well as attending emergency physician at Lenox Hill Hospital, “Exercise-induced nausea results from reduced blood flow to the stomach during intense exercise as blood flow is directed to more critical organs such as the heart, lungs and brain.”

It can also be caused by other things like irritable bowel syndrome and other factors such as climate conditions, duration and intensity, type of exercise and hydration status. This nausea can also occur if you start and stop running too quickly, which makes it important to slowly ease your pace down when coming to the end of a run.

In some cases, this nausea may result in vomiting if relief is not sought. Slow and deep abdominal breathing can help as well as the application of a cool compress on the back of your neck or forehead.

Below are some foods that can help prevent or ease symptoms of exercise-induced nausea.

Starchy Foods

Foods such as pretzels and crackers can help absorb stomach acid, which can ease stomach upset and nausea. Grab a handful of pretzels or white saltine crackers about 30 minutes before your run.


Ginger is a well-known ailment for stomach upset. It may work to relieve nausea in the middle of a workout as well. Grab some ginger snap cookies before a workout. This gives you both a carbohydrate benefit as well as the anti-nausea benefit of the ginger. You can also carry ginger candies on your run to pop one in your mouth if you feel a bout of queasiness coming on.

Whole Grains

Some people experience nausea while running because their glycogen stores are low. Complex carbs like whole grains may help by slowly release energy into your body and bloodstream, which can help to keep your appetite satisfied.

Nut Butters

Nut butters like peanut, almond or cashew may help reduce nausea if eaten in small portions due to their sodium content. Be careful not to eat too much as it can upset your stomach before exercise.

Coconut Water

Coconut water offers hydration and electrolytes. Dehydration and electrolyte loss (often due to sweat) can both lead to feelings of nausea. Coconut water offers sodium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and calcium.