‘Biggest Loser’ expert offers tips at Orangetheory event

By Pat Sherman

Contrary to popular belief, extreme carbohydrate restriction — advocated in many fad diets — can be counterproductive, depleting vital energy sources for peak athletic and mental performance, while limiting the body’s ability to metabolize fat.

Skylar Nelson, a part-time La Jolla resident who served as a diet and nutrition expert on TVs “The Biggest Loser,” offered this and other diet and nutrition tips during a Feb. 12 seminar at Orangetheory Fitness on Girard Avenue.

Modest amounts of complex carbohydrates, such as a slice of whole grain bread or cup of steel cut oats, actually increase energy levels prior to a workout, whereas foods high in fat or fiber could cause a stomachache during training, Nelson advised.

Simple carbohydrates such as sugary foods, sodas and processed grains (depleted of their vital nutrients) should still be avoided, he said.

Fruit juices are packed with sugar, and should be consumed in moderation, as should diet sodas, which contain artificial sweeteners the Food and Drug Administration only deem are “generally recognized as safe.”

“Think about calories as information, and choose information that your body will understand,” Nelson advised a room of more than 60 attendees, basking in the carroty glow of the new fitness facility, where members use treadmills, rowing machines, suspension bands and free weights for intervals of cardio and strength training.

Nelson also said extreme caloric restriction is not always advisable, and can cause the body to burn muscle and store energy as fat.

Among the best sources of protein to consume after a workout are whey and eggs (the later of which is also high in vitamin D), Nelson said, urging attendees to choose Greek over tradition yogurt, which has twice the amount of protein.

When making a sandwich, use avocado, or “nature’s butter,” instead of fatty and chemical-laden mayonnaise, and make sure to include 20 to 30 grams of fiber per day, Nelson advised (most people in the United States consume only about 10 grams, he said).

Nelson is a member of Orangetheory Fitness, a registered dietician and founder of S3 health design, a nutrition consulting practice based in San Diego and Los Angeles.

— For information about future seminars at Orangetheory, visit 7734 Girard Ave. or call (858) 551-8750.

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