Food Allergen Labelling

Good news: the Food Standards Agency has announced that an extended allergen labelling system is to be introduced in the UK by mid December.  It will apply to both pre-packed and non pre-packed (loose) foods, i.e. both grocery and restaurant offerings.  Whether the allergens are included or added to the foods they must be referenced on the labelling.

14 allergens

We already have allergen labelling on most pre-packed foods but this will be extended to include these 14 allergens.

FfT 1408 – Food Allergen Labelling blg

Energy bars

Energy bars are convenient, portable sources of – energy, of course!  Whilst it’s almost equally straightforward to carry a few nuts or seeds and some dried fruit, the handful of rolled oats won’t go down very easily unless they are bound together with some kind of syrup.

How do sports bars compare with supermarket offerings?

FfT 1404 – Energy bars

Superfoods

How many do you have in your kitchen?

Superfoods 1

Chia seeds, goji berries, wheatgrass, white tea… the list seems to get longer every week as another ‘superfood’ hits the headlines.  Some less exotic everyday foods fit the bill, some may have even more antioxidants than the superfoods and many may already be in your fridge, freezer or cupboard.

FfT 1403 – Superfoods

Superfoods 2

Sports Drinks – can’t stomach the sugar?

Sports drinks - not branded

If you’re running in endurance events, you’re going to use a lot of fuel and so you’ll want to take on as many carbs as you can, won’t you?  Most sports drinks and gels are glucose based, which is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream – just where you want it to be available as fuel for your muscles.

FfT 1402 – Can’t stomach the sugar

Friendly bacteria, probiotics and prebiotics – allies or fads?

Bacteria - procaryote - colour

Bacteria are just about everywhere in the environment as well as in, and on, us.  They live throughout the human gut but the greatest concentrations are in the large intestine (bowel) where up to 1000 species of bacteria can be found.

We should aim to maintain a healthy balance of bacteria within the gut.  This balance can be disturbed by a number of factors including antibiotics, stress, poor diet and living conditions, concurrent diseases and allergic reactions.  Probiotics and prebiotics are agents employed in restoring the balance and/or protecting against disruption.

Blg 1312 Pre Pro biotics v2

Food Safety

Food safety and good food hygiene are important in the home as well as in restaurants and other food outlets.

Illnesses that are caused by ‘something I ate’ are all too common.  Micro-organisms including bacteria, viruses and moulds found in food can cause food poisoning, leading to the well-known symptoms of stomach pains, diarrhoea and vomiting.

Contaminated foods will usually look, smell and taste normal, so following a few simple guidelines can help prevent food poisoning affecting you and your family.

Blg 1312 Food Safety

Oat cuisine

I’m often asked what makes a good breakfast.  As with any meal, it should comprise balanced amounts of carbohydrate, fruit / vegetables, protein and fat.  There are many options available to fulfil those criteria however one of the simplest, and most nutritious, is porridge.

Porridge

Porridge, and oat-based muesli, contains something called oat beta-glucan which is a soluble form of fibre.

FfT 1312 – Oats blg

Food for thought – performance enhancing supplements

If you’ve followed all the training plans and you’re looking for that extra ‘edge’ it’s tempting to seek out the ‘magic bullet’ that will take those last few seconds off your pace.  There is a long list of substances that are, or have been, promoted as performance improvers; some are legal and others are not; some have scientific evidence of their benefit and others do not.

A word of caution, relating to all supplements, that is prompted by a Food Standards Agency warning received recently.  (The FSA bulletin related to OxyElite Pro and VERSA-1, promoted for weight loss and body building; manufactured and sold in the US but available here via the internet.)  If you decide to buy any supplements, whether dietary or performance related, please ensure that you purchase them from a reputable source.  Internet prices can be very attractive but the larger manufacturers and suppliers, such as the well-known high street names, generally have better and more reliable quality control measures in place.