Surfing the Web for Nutrition Information
By Nancy Clark, MS, RD
The Internet abounds with an amazing amount of high-quality food, nutrition and health information. The trick is to know where to find the quality information. Here is a list of some of my favorite websites:
If you have questions about fueling for exercise, The Australian Institute of Sport (whose mission is to help educate Olympic athletes and coaches) offers abundant sports nutrition information. You can find out how to fuel for your particular sport (rugby, rowing, running, triathlon, etc.), as well as get answers to your questions about a variety of sports supplements from energy bars to echinacea, glutamine, whatever.
Endurance athletes can perform better when they fuel themselves during exercise. The question arises: how can you carry energy bars and other sports snacks when you are doing, let's say, a 16 mile run? This site offers running/exercise apparel with food pockets that make it easier to keep yourself well fueled.
This website offers an interactive Healthy Eating Index that lets you analyze the protein, carbohydrate and fat content of your diet (as well as vitamins, minerals and other nutrients). Just enter into their nutrition calculator what you typically eat in a day, and you’ll learn how your diet rates. Note: The key to getting accurate nutrition feedback (as with any computerized dietary analysis) is to know the true portion sizes of what you eat. That is, how much granola do you actually pour into the cereal bowl–-one cup? two cups? For best results, measure your food.
Wonder about caffeine? aspartame? chocolate? If you have any food questions, this site will provide the answers! It is sponsored by the International Food Information Council Foundation, a non-profit organization who's mission is to communicate reliable information about food, food safety and nutrition. Just go to "search" and enter the topic of concern. You'll get a list of articles that answer your questions.
Medical questions or concerns? Just do a search on achilles, torn ACL or any injury-of-the-day, and you'll get the information you need to manage the problem.
Have a question about herbs, massage, homeopathy, mind/body healing techniques?
The mission of this non-profit Alternative Medicine Foundation, Inc. is to provide consumer-friendly scientific information on the integration of alternative and conventional medicine approaches. Click on HerbMed to find the facts about aloe, ginkgo, black cohosh, etc..
Wonder about the nutritional needs of infants? your grandparents? your children? yourself? The National Agricultural Library’s Food and Nutrition Information Center provides information about nutrition over the lifecycle. Click on Consumer Corner, then Nutrition Over the Lifecycle and you’ll get dietary guidelines for people of all ages....plus a wealth of other food and nutrition information.
If you are struggling to find the right balance of food and exercise, this site offers helpful information as well as referrals to professionals who can help you come to peace with food. There's no need to struggle on your own when you can connect with others who can help you develop a better relationship with exercise, food and your body.
Are you really getting what you pay for when you buy nutritional supplements? ConsumerLab monitors the quality of vitamin and mineral supplements, herbs, nutrition bars, protein powders and numerous other health products so you can learn which brands offer you the best for your money. Some of the information is free; some comes with a fee. The site could likely save you more money than an annual subscription.
Stressed out? Want more serenity and calm in your life? This site provides meditation rooms where you can listen to guided mediations that last for 3 to 10 minutes. You can choose meditations related to self image and weight management, healing, fulfilling your potential, and other inspirational topics.
No idea what’s for dinner but want something tasty? You’ll find lots of food ideas on this website––not only recipes but also nutrition information about each recipe and a customized food shopping list.
You can look for recipes according to health needs (low cholesterol, diabetes), time available to cook, nutrition, and taste (that is, are you hankering for comfort food, gourmet food, holiday foods, taste of the world, chocolate?). You can also choose from the list of the most popular recipes. The Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breasts (preparation time: 10 minutes; cooking time: 35 minutes) sounds good to me!
If you are thinking about a vegetarian lifestyle, this website, sponsored by Vegetarians Unite!, was designed to create an Internet vegetarian community. It offers over 4,300 recipes including kid-friendly foods, plus chat rooms, articles, book ideas, even veggie poems. A fun site!
Looking for a local sports nutritionist who can help answer your personal nutrition questions? This site, sponsored by the American Dietetic Association, offers a referral network. Just put your zipcode into the referral network box, and you’ll get a list of nutrition/sports nutrition professionals who can give you the personalized attention that can be missed with the web.
Nancy Clark, MS, RD
Author, Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook, Second Edition
Nancy Clark's Food Guide for Marathoners: Tips for Everyday Champions
Books and sports nutrition teaching materials available at www.nancyclarkrd.com
Director of Nutrition Services, SportsMedicine Associates
830 Boylston St. #205, Brookline MA 02467
Phone: (617) 795-1875 Fax: (617) 795-1876
"Helping active people win with good nutrition."
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