Episode 152 – Q&A #7

Key Topics Covered

Is There Any Difference in Effect for Carb Loading an Athlete With Insulin Resistant PCOS?

Carbohydrate containing foods.

  • I don’t see any reason why there would be a change in the effect from a performance perspective. We can still maximize glycogen stores.
  • I haven’t seen anybody talk about this and a quick Google search didn’t show anything.
  • In practice, I’m also not sure if I’d change anything. I’d understand health-related arguments for:
    • Being more conservative carb loading (but this would be detrimental for performance).
    • Prioritizing lower GI carb options for the carb load (but this could make it more difficult to get enough in).
    • Being more conscious of spreading carbs throughout the day.
  • However since carloading is an infrequent strategy used, this likely won’t make a large difference for managing PCOS.

Is Eating High Volumes of Soy or Tofu Bad for You?

Soy.

  • Short answer – No. 
  • Phytoestrogens can mimic the effects of oestrogen but in a very mild way on some bodily tissues and in some people.
  • They also can have oestrogen blocking effects on some tissues and in some people.
  • The physiological mechanisms of phytoestrogens in the body is actually quite complex and is often way over simplified.
  • However, what I really like to point to instead of being so focused on the mechanisms, is actual health outcomes in population data and RCTs.
  • Based on population data, greater soy intakes have been associated with reduced risk of breast and prostate cancer, reduced menopausal symptoms including hot flushes and improvements in fertility amongst other positive health markers.
  • What we haven’t seen – feminizing effects & increased cancer risk (although there is a whole lot of fear around both of these).

Did either of You Have Any Weird Nutritional Habits When Starting Out?

Food on table.

Aidan

  • When trying to build muscle, I was focused on hitting macros so I would sometimes drink olive oil straight from the bottle to reach my fat intake.
  • First few years eating out of home and trying to save money, I was just eating plain chicken, rice and frozen veg. No sauces, or seasoning for a very long time.
  • Childhood dessert stuff
  • I was driving a lot and was frequently stopping at service stations which was oftentimes just to get enough protein in. For these occasions and to save money on buying protein bars, I would always have an ’emergency tuna’ can in the car.

Leah

  • Went through a ‘clean eating’ phase when first learning about nutrition.
  • When transitioning to vegan (during the ‘Freelee Banana Girl’ era) tried the ‘raw till 4’ approach. However, this didn’t last long.

What Are Common Mistakes You See People Make When Trying to Eat Healthier/Lose Weight?

Sports woman weighing on the scales with healthy food around.

Health

  • Having an all-or-nothing mentality.
  • Grouping all foods in a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ category.
  • Cutting out whole foods groups or large groups of foods (wheat, carbs, anything processed, dairy etc).
  • Focusing too much on what they are cutting out instead of what they are adding.

Losing Weight

  • Going way lower calorie than needed.
  • Restricting too hard.
  • Largely ignoring calories e.g. having “healthy” foods that are high in calories.

Do You Recommend Magnesium Before Bed to Help With Sleep?

Women sleeping in bed.

  • There is minimal research on people without insomnia.
  • There are only a few RCTs on this with insomnia – but they are promising. On average we see a 17 min reduction in time taken to get to sleep, and 16 min increase in total time spent asleep.
  • Higher dietary intake of magnesium is linked with improved sleep.
  • Anecdotally a lot of people report improvements.
  • A lot of people also just have sub-optimal magnesium intakes in general.
  • It’s not my go-to. My priority is increasing dietary intake. But if somebody is keen to try magnesium before bed and there is no clear downside for them – it is an option I have some people do. 

Is There Actually Stuff You Can Do to Increase Testosterone Naturally in Men?

Man lifting weights.
    • Yes, but it’s far more relevant if levels are low at the baseline. If somebody already had great levels, it’s not like these changes will push them into the elevated range.

    General tips to increase testosterone include:

    • Avoid being too lean.
    • Avoid having too much body fat.
    • Avoid dietary fat intake being excessively low.
    • Avoid low vitamin D.
    • Consume a sufficient amount of zinc (plant-based especially).
    • Consume a sufficient amount of magnesium.
    • While ashwagandha has been found to increase testosterone in men in quite a few studies, that likely is due to stress reduction and/or better sleep.

    Does Eating Breakfast Help With Weight Loss?

    Women with tape measure around waist with breakfast foods.

      The Research

      • It doesn’t do anything to speed up metabolism – based on research where total intake is matched.
      • Note there is caveats to the above e.g. if somebody moved differently because they had different energy levels.
      • It could influence other eating behaviors e.g. the classic skipping breakfast and then being hungry later in the day.
      • A 2019 meta-analysis found that those who eat breakfast average slightly higher calorie intakes than those who don’t. On average it came out as 260kcal more. They also found people who ate breakfast were on average 0.44kg heavier.
      • To be clear though, those are simply averages
      • Total intake matters significantly more than if you eat breakfast.

      Benefits

      • Other potential benefits of having breakfast could be that it is another opportunity to tick some nutrition boxes e.g. fibre, micronutrients, protein etc.
      • It could also be relevant for performance reasons depending on what time you train too.

      Summary

      Aidan will be putting up a story in the future before our next Q&A episode, so keep an eye out for this if you have any questions you would like answered.

      Relevant Blogs / Resources

      Blog Posts:

      Studies Mentioned: