In today’s episode, Kyle and Jeff talk about the benefits of including a fish oil supplement in your diet. We also visit with registered dietician Julie Hansen. Is WHEN you eat as important as WHAT you eat? Listen in to find out at our Huntsman World Senior Games Active Life podcast.

 

Kyle Case:
Hello, and welcome to the Huntsman World Senior Games Active Life. My name is Kyle Case and I'll be your host on this amazing journey as we attempt to help you get the most out of your life. Joining me in the studio today is my copilot, Jeff Harding. Jeff, how are you doing today?

Jeff Harding:
I'm just glad to be back in the copilot seat.

Kyle Case:
Because, last week, you were here, huh?

Jeff Harding:
Yes, I was. I was in the pilot seat.

Kyle Case:
Yeah, but you did a great job.

Jeff Harding:
Well, thank you.

Kyle Case:
It was a fun show.

Jeff Harding:
How are you doing, Kyle?

Kyle Case:
I'm doing good, thanks. Thanks for asking. Everything's going well. Today, Jeff, I'm just going to jump right into it, if that's okay.

Jeff Harding:
Do.

Kyle Case:
Yeah. We're going to talk today about fish oil. Are you okay with that?

Jeff Harding:
It sounds like a fish story to me.

Kyle Case:
Fish oil, so I'm going to share some information that, incidentally, comes from The Active Times online magazine. It's an article that was written by Dan Myers, and I just want to touch on some things that you might find interesting about fish oil-

Jeff Harding:
Fish oil.

Kyle Case:
... as a supplement.

Jeff Harding:
Not for the fish, but for me.

Kyle Case:
Not for the fish, but from the fish.

Jeff Harding:
Because the fish aren't very happy about giving up their oil.

Kyle Case:
Well, they probably have an opinion on it, yeah. Here's the deal. About 10% of Americans take an omega-3 supplement, like fish oil, on a fairly regular basis. That's according to a Harvard Medical School study that they did. The omega-3 fatty acids that you can find in fish oil are essential for normal growth and development as well as helping to reduce inflammation in our bodies, which is a good thing.

Jeff Harding:
It is.

Kyle Case:
Omega-3s also help in maintaining brain function, The prevention-

Jeff Harding:
Which is also good.

Kyle Case:
... which is also good. The prevention of macular degeneration is something that they're good at. They help with the pain of rheumatoid arthritis and they even help in the protection against Alzheimer's disease, as well as dementia, so it's something that you should consider as a supplement. Especially as you're aging, as you turn over 50, it's something you should take a look at. On top of that, omega-3 deficiencies, if you don't have enough of them, can lead to cancer, cardiovascular disease, and other ailments, but like anything, as it relates to health and wellness, the exact science behind omega-3s is a little bit complicated. The most important thing to know though, Jeff, is that it's one of the good fats, the quote-unquote good fats and that our bodies cannot produce it on our own, so we have to take it in somehow.

Kyle Case:
If you're not a fish eater and think that taking a fish oil supplement could be good for your health, then, as always, you want to make sure that you talk to your doctor before you start a regimen, but it's something that you might want to consider or take a look at, and I want to just, like I said, share just a few things about fish oil that you ought to be aware of. The first one, it's a good treatment for high blood triglyceride levels.

Jeff Harding:
Oh, really?

Kyle Case:
Yeah. If you have high triglyceride levels, which means that you have too much fat in your blood, and having too much fat in your blood can lead to stroke and other ailments, so you don't-

Jeff Harding:
Bad things, yes. No.

Kyle Case:
... want too much fat in your blood. According to one 2013 study, taking 3.4 grams of omega-3s per day for one month lowered blood triglyceride levels by as much as 25 to 50%.

Jeff Harding:
Wow, that's a lot.

Kyle Case:
That's significant-

Jeff Harding:
It is.

Kyle Case:
... the amount, so there are some good things that we're talking about when we think about omega-3s.

Jeff Harding:
Is that why you don't see fat polar bears? [crosstalk 00:03:26].

Kyle Case:
Probably. Another thing to consider when you come to fish oils, it's important to read the label. Many different types of fish oils are on the market, but you should always look for one that mentions that it's reached the GOED standard for purity or at least that it's been tested by a third party. You want to make sure that you're getting what you're trying to get in its most pure form.

Jeff Harding:
That makes sense. You always want to read the label anytime you take a supplement. That's just good practice.

Kyle Case:
Yeah, absolutely, for sure. They found that generally speaking, taking fish oil supplements doesn't have major side effects, but as with any time you're consuming straight fat, you might be reaching for a bottle of Tums. It might cause a little bit of stomach discomfort. It should also be noted that, if you have a bleeding condition or take medicines that can increase bleeding, you should talk to your doctor before you take an omega-3 supplement. And, along those lines, Jeff, if you're not a big fan of what they call fish burps-

Jeff Harding:
Yeah. Well, I was going to bring that up, but I bit my tongue on that one. Yeah.

Kyle Case:
... which who is a fan of fish burps, right?

Jeff Harding:
My cat might be.

Kyle Case:
Oh, your cat, maybe your cat, maybe the polar bear that we were talking about earlier, but-

Jeff Harding:
That's true.

Kyle Case:
... anyway, if you're not a big fan of them, you might want to consider keeping your capsules in the freezer because freezing them will cause them to release the oil lower down on your digestive tract, and that might help mitigate the fishy aftertaste.

Jeff Harding:
But doesn't that create fish something else?

Kyle Case:
I'm not even going to comment on that because I don't know the answer. I'm not going to go down that road. Finally, finally, moving right along, Jeff, eating fish is still the best way to get your fish oil.

Jeff Harding:
Yes, it is.

Kyle Case:
That's the way to do. Just like popping powdered vegetables in pill form isn't quite as nutritious as just eating the vegetables-

Jeff Harding:
Or as fun.

Kyle Case:
... or as fun, I know you like your vegetables-

Jeff Harding:
I do.

Kyle Case:
... which is a good thing, but taking even the highest quality of fish oil that's available on the market won't have the same advantage as eating the fish itself, like salmon or mackerel, a few times a week because, here's the deal, fish doesn't just contain healthy fat, which it does, that's what we're talking about, but it also contains vitamins and minerals and all of that works together to provide you with the most complete, natural source of omega-3s. Don't shy away from the fish, especially the fatty fish, like they say, the salmon and the mackerel. Those are good for you. Something you like to eat or not so much?

Jeff Harding:
Well, yeah. I do like salmon. I don't know that I have ever had mackerel-

Kyle Case:
Mackerel.

Jeff Harding:
... but I've had salmon and I [crosstalk 00:05:55].

Kyle Case:
Yeah, I like salmon as well. When I have an opportunity to eat it, I like salmon too. Today's guest, Jeff, might have an opinion on fish oil.

Jeff Harding:
I suspect she may.

Kyle Case:
Julie Hansen is a registered dietician, as well as an exercise physiologist. She graduated from Kansas State University and then got a master's degree in exercise science from Colorado State University. Currently, Julie teaches nutrition classes for Weber State University, and we're excited to welcome you to the show, Julie. How are you?

Julie Hansen:
I'm good. Yes.

Kyle Case:
Good. I'm curious. I thought as I looked at this intro, that you might have an opinion on fish oil and fish oil as a supplement, so-

Julie Hansen:
Yes, yes. My husband really has an opinion on it because he did some of his research on it, but, yes, I do think fish oil is a very good thing to add to your diet, and they do have the enteric-coated fish oil that is going to make those burps a little less noticeable, and also keeping it in a freezer might help too. Yeah, I think that's, like you said, probably one of the hard things about it.

Kyle Case:
Yeah. But, generally speaking, you're in favor of it?

Julie Hansen:
Yes, I am. Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kyle Case:
Everything I said, the benefits that come with it, as well as some of the other warning signs, all of that rings true to you as a dietician?

Julie Hansen:
Yes. And I agree with checking with your doctor. Some medications, like blood thinners and stuff like that, you just need to make sure that's okay.

Kyle Case:
Yeah, and that's what the article focused on is, especially those blood thinners or any bleeding condition. That's something that you want to take a look at. But, anyway, I guess a checkmark or a thumbs up for fish oil supplements?

Julie Hansen:
Yeah, thumbs up, thumbs up. Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jeff Harding:
And then also a plug for the dogs because our German Shepherds had very dry skin so we had to give them fish oil to help with their dry skin.

Kyle Case:
Did they eat fish oil?

Julie Hansen:
Right, and it's also an anti-inflammatory. That's what my husband did his research in is fish oil and arthritis in dogs-

Kyle Case:
Okay. Oh, actually in dogs?

Julie Hansen:
... so there you go.

Kyle Case:
Interesting. But it helps with humans as well, we've found?

Julie Hansen:
In dogs. Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yes.

Kyle Case:
Awesome. Let's move on past the fish oil. I think we've swum up [crosstalk 00:08:03].

Jeff Harding:
We've cleaned this one out.

Kyle Case:
Yeah, we fished that one out. Again, Julie, we're excited to visit with you and thanks for joining us today. What we want to talk with you today a little bit about is eating, but more importantly, the timing of eating. I've seen a little bit of research and some studies are going on out there that say that when you eat might be as important as what you eat, maybe.

Jeff Harding:
I find, if I'm awake, it's a good time to eat.

Julie Hansen:
Yeah. The mindset seems to be that eating before bed causes weight gain. Some ideas about that are that your metabolism slows down it causes calories to be stored as fat. Not so fast, that's not quite-

Kyle Case:
Yeah, because I've heard that, of course. I've seen that. I've read that. In my mind, I've reasoned that out that-

Jeff Harding:
It's got to be true, my mommy told me.

Kyle Case:
Yeah, if you're going to eat something and then you immediately go and lay down for eight hours, it seems like it might cause more problems than if you eat something and then you go do something active. But you're saying that's not necessarily the case.

Julie Hansen:
Yeah. I have a yes, no, maybe kind of example if you will.

Jeff Harding:
Very decisive, I see.

Julie Hansen:
Yeah. Well, I've even had clients tell me too that they're afraid food doesn't metabolize the same way when they're lying down versus standing up, and one thing I do want to say is that our GI tracts are pretty darn efficient and, if we were even standing on our heads, that we have this thing called peristalsis that happens in our esophagus and it would totally work, even if we're standing our head, to move food through our GI tract. The position is not a problem.

Kyle Case:
We don't have to worry about that, eating something and then-

Julie Hansen:
Don't have to worry about that.

Kyle Case:
... laying down and taking a nap is not going to make your food digest differently.

Julie Hansen:
Yes, correct.

Kyle Case:
Okay. That's good to know because I've also heard that that makes a difference as well. It's good to dispel some of these myths that are out there.

Julie Hansen:
Yeah. But I do think there are some things to think about eating before you go to bed. I'm going to start with the part about yes, I think it's a good idea. Let's talk about it. I think, for some of us who, I know the older I get, the earlier I eat dinner.

Kyle Case:
Right. I think that's a trend that we observe.

Jeff Harding:
For lunch or breakfast, yeah.

Julie Hansen:
Right? Yeah, exactly, and some people may eat, yeah, an early dinner. If it's going to be three to four hours before you go to bed, you might need a little something, something around 200 calories might really fit the bill, because it's hard to sleep if you're hungry, I know I can't sleep if I'm hungry, and so maybe something like a piece of fruit, yogurt, cottage cheese. A fun fact is that cherries and kiwi contain some chemicals that are natural sources of melatonin, which melatonin is a compound that can help us sleep. Kiwi and cherries can promote that, so there's that to think about.

Jeff Harding:
Wow.

Kyle Case:
So a couple of hundred-

Julie Hansen:
That's a fun fact.

Kyle Case:
... a couple of hundred calories-

Julie Hansen:
A couple of hundred calories, yeah.

Kyle Case:
... just before you go to bed.

Julie Hansen:
Yeah, yeah. And I think yogurt's a nice snack because it's in a container. Unless you're going to eat container after container of yogurt, you're probably not going to overeat that, so I like that. I like a little bit of protein in there as well. Again, it may-

Jeff Harding:
Candy bars come in containers too.

Julie Hansen:
And then the other thing, too, I think sometimes there's this mentality of, oh, I eat dinner and then I can't eat again. Sometimes that's a bummer.

Kyle Case:
Yeah. Well, especially as you said, if you tend to eat a little bit earlier because you're right, if you're eating dinner at 5:00 and you're going to bed at 10:30 or so, you're pretty hungry. With my kids, we used to call that a bed night snack.

Julie Hansen:
There you go.

Kyle Case:
I think the kids are the ones who coined that phrase, but we still use that at our house.

Julie Hansen:
I love that.

Kyle Case:
But, yeah, we have a tradition of having a little something just before bedtime when they were little and now that they're adults and grown-up, I have to admit that my wife and I continue the bed night snack tradition on occasion.

Julie Hansen:
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And I think it's also important as an athlete that, if you're going to exercise first thing in the morning, it may help fuel you for that, so having a snack, and I think about that myself, if I'm going to do a long run the next morning, gosh, I'm going to have a little something before I go to bed for sure. Maybe I'm hungry, maybe I'm not, but I just want that in my stomach for when I get up. I still will probably have a little something before I go run, but it does help keep that nourishment going. And especially for those of you guys that are doing any strength training, having a little protein before bed to is a nice idea. Again, that's where the yogurt, cottage cheese, maybe even a small protein drink, something like that, could be helpful

Kyle Case:
Okay. I like that. You're listening to the Huntsman World Senior Games Active Life and we're talking to Julie Hansen, she's a registered dietician, and we're talking a little bit about the timing of when we eat and we're talking specifically about eating at nighttime. You said you have a yes, no, maybe approach to that and we've just talked about the yes [crosstalk 00:13:29].

Julie Hansen:
Right. We went through the yes.

Kyle Case:
Yeah, there are some benefits to doing it. Let's move on to the no. Why would we want to avoid it?

Julie Hansen:
Okay. Well, one of the first things that I think of is a medical condition and those of you guys that have acid reflux, I'm sure you've been told this, to avoid eating two to three hours before you go to bed or lying down. And so that is because, again, when you're in that position, that reflux can happen. And so there is that condition, and so that's, again, not a good idea. The other idea I have about this is not a great idea is I think sometimes people get in the habit of just eating mindlessly at night. That's the time of evening where you're not working and so eating is doing something. Sometimes people have a hard time not doing anything. I guess that's called productivity shame, I don't know, is an unproductive shame, I guess, is what that seems to be. People do have a hard time. And so [crosstalk 00:14:28]-

Jeff Harding:
Well, then also the proximity-

Julie Hansen:
... they use eating to get through the evening.

Jeff Harding:
I was going to say the proximity to your food is ... you're in your home, you've got your food, your refrigerator, your pantry right there. It's very accessible. Where, at work, unless you're raiding somebody else's pantry, you usually don't have a lot of stuff right there at hand.

Julie Hansen:
Yeah. And so maybe also you haven't eaten enough during the day and so you come home and you're just famished, and so that could lead to eating large amounts of food at night. I think that's where the research is showing that's not a great idea. Some of the research I've seen, too, is where they divide people into different groups and, one group, they fed them most of their calories before 4:00, and then the other group, they fed them after 4:00, and so the ones that ate later tended to gain more weight just because of that. There is something to the timing of it, but I think it's not an all or nothing. There's a little bit of gray area there.

Julie Hansen:
And, again, if you're not hungry, just stay out of the kitchen. I think that's something to look at. When you're in proximity to that food, that's going to make you want to eat it. It's going to be in your mind a little bit more, so you're going to want to eat that. It's very interesting how physically close you are to that food as well.

Kyle Case:
And it seems like maybe it's not necessarily 100% associated to the timing of it, but it's just, as you said, the tendency to overeat and over-indulge and that mindlessness that can overtake us, especially at nighttime. We're tired. Our resistance is maybe down a little bit. It's very easy to just, instead of grabbing a bag of carrots or a handful of carrots or an apple or a banana, to grab that bag of chips and then, before you know it, you've watched seven episodes of whatever your favorite TV show is and that bag no longer exists. It's just been entirely consumed.

Julie Hansen:
Right. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Right. It's a habit rather than a physical need, and I think that's the part that people have to work on, and it's hard because it is a strong habit. It's not that easy.

Kyle Case:
Yeah, I think we can all relate-

Julie Hansen:
It's just something to be aware of.

Kyle Case:
I think we can all relate to some degree of that concept of mindless eating and how fast it can just overtake you and how many calories you can consume without even really giving it that much thought.

Julie Hansen:
Right. And so things that are in prepackaged ... eating out of large containers, so eating out of a bag of chips is probably not a good idea.

Kyle Case:
Bad idea.

Julie Hansen:
If you wanted chips, I'd put them on a plate, a handful on a plate, put the bag away, and that way, if you wanted more, you have to physically get up and go get it. Again, the further away we are from the food source, we're lazy, a little bit, the less likely we are to go get it. Yeah.

Kyle Case:
Some of us will find that will to get up and get some more, right?

Jeff Harding:
Yes. We can rationalize it that I'm exercising going to get more food so it's going to burn those calories that I just ate, so you can rationalize a little bit.

Julie Hansen:
Do some lunges on the way, right, Jeff?

Jeff Harding:
That's right.

Kyle Case:
There you go. There you go. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense and, again it feels like the timing element of it, for me, is just because of the fatigue and just being tired and, again, your resistance and maybe your common sense is taking a little bit of a break because you have a had a full day of whatever it is, work or exercise or whatever it is, so, yeah, that makes sense to me. I understood all the yes things that you said. That made sense to me. I also think I can relate to and understand the no part of it and the reason why you'd want to at least be careful about eating at nighttime. What's the maybe part?

Julie Hansen:
The maybe goes in with the yes a little bit. The maybe goes in with are you physically hungry and do you need to fuel for your next day's activity? I think that's where the maybe and the yes blend, so that giving yourself that permission to go, yeah, it's not a bad thing. If I'm hungry, I need to pay attention to that. Again, especially if you guys are getting close to those Senior Games and if you want your body to what we call an anabolic state, building, you don't want it to be breaking down right now, so if you're hungry, that means you probably need that fuel. And so, again, for most of my athletes, I do recommend they probably, again, use that 200 calorie rule, see if that's very satisfying for them. That could probably be your guideline there.

Jeff Harding:
It sounds to me like you need to analyze is it boredom or is it true hunger that-

Julie Hansen:
Exactly.

Jeff Harding:
... what's my motivation for eating right now?

Kyle Case:
Yeah. And even if it's hunger or, as you said, Julie, you've got something going on the next day that you're trying to fuel for, so that there's a reason-

Julie Hansen:
Yeah, I keep that in mind a lot.

Kyle Case:
... yeah, if there's a reason. Again, we're just trying to avoid that mindless eating that we've talked about, but if there's a reason, then, hey, maybe a little 200 calorie snack at the end of the day is not such a bad idea.

Julie Hansen:
No, no.

Kyle Case:
You mentioned kiwi and cherries as a good choice because of the melatonin content that they have. Give us a little bit more, another couple of examples, and you mentioned the yogurt too, but 200 calories are what? How much are 200 calories? What does that look like?

Julie Hansen:
Yeah. I think if you had half a cup of cottage cheese with some fruit, that would fit the bill. Those Premier protein drinks are 160, sometimes that's nice. Depending on [inaudible 00:20:12] dairy, a cup of milk. You could even have some crackers with that. You could have a couple of cookies. Again, if you're an athlete and you've got to fuel up, that's going to be fine. Maybe even a toast with some peanut butter on it would be good too and even a quarter cup of nuts could do that also.

Jeff Harding:
Now, Julie, most of us are pretty naïve when it comes to what a calorie looks like. My wife likes to guilt me when I grab a couple of cookies, "You realize you're eating 400 calories right there?" And I think that maybe she's trying to make me feel guilty, but I don't believe her, so I eat them anyway. Let's break it down maybe a little further.

Julie Hansen:
Yeah. Yeah?

Jeff Harding:
Yeah, let's break it down a little bit further.

Julie Hansen:
Food labels can help, Jeff, right, like the food labels can help [crosstalk 00:20:59].

Jeff Harding:
Well, unless they're homemade.

Julie Hansen:
Yes, yes, yes. Yeah. I think usually ... I don't know. How big are the cookies, two and a half inches, maybe three inches?

Jeff Harding:
Yeah, probably about two and a half inches.

Julie Hansen:
I think they're around 80 to 90 calories probably, so they're going to be close maybe to 100.

Jeff Harding:
Oh, so she's telling the truth. Darn it.

Julie Hansen:
Darn it. Darn it. No. Or I've even seen people, also, if you do drink milk, sometimes they can consume four cups of milk in one sitting, so paying attention, too, maybe to how much milk you're consuming. I don't know. Do you have milk with your cookies, Jeff?

Jeff Harding:
Not usually. I just usually, because I'm trying to sneak it when my wife's not watching.

Julie Hansen:
Okay. That's good.

Jeff Harding:
That requires me to get something out of the refrigerator and put it in a cup, where I can just grab the cookies and run outside. Just kidding, sweetie.

Julie Hansen:
Yeah, yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, sometimes people do have milk and cookies and so, again, you might just want to, if you're concerned about the calorie level, maybe some of you need to gain weight and so maybe it's not a big deal, but it seems like most people are trying to be a little bit careful with that, so maybe measuring your beverages too might help just to get a rough idea.

Jeff Harding:
That's not me.

Kyle Case:
That's not usually the case that some of us need to gain weight, but you never know.

Julie Hansen:
Not usually, not usually, no.

Kyle Case:
I think the thing that's interesting about that, that we've just been talking about, is how much is an actual serving size and I think that we generally, especially here in America, really have no concept or idea of what a serving size is. A lot of that is just determined by how big your plate is, so what fits on the plate is my serving. I know, during times when I've tried to follow the packaging guidelines on what a serving size is, I've almost always been shocked at how small it is.

Julie Hansen:
Right, right. And it's a place to start and I think a cup of pasta, a cup of rice, starting with that, three to four ounces of meat, a cup or two of vegetables, that's a great dinner plate, I think, and starting with that to see, okay, does this fill me up, do I need more, is always a great way to look at it too. I agree with you that we do get used to eating a certain amount and then we don't even think about it. Yeah, portions are interesting.

Kyle Case:
Yeah. Well, Julie, thank you. That's the time that we have to visit with you, but we sure appreciate you being with us, as well as your expertise.

Jeff Harding:
Very informative.

Kyle Case:
We've learned that eating at night isn't necessarily a bad thing, but you just want to be conscious and make sure that you're doing it the right way.

Julie Hansen:
Right, right.

Kyle Case:
Wonderful. Julie, thank you again so much for joining us.

Julie Hansen:
Okay. Thank you.

Kyle Case:
Jeff, I want to emphasize a point that I'm going to make right now and I've made it many, many times, but I'm going to make it once again. Registration for the Huntsman World Senior Games is officially closing on September 1st, but-

Jeff Harding:
But.

Kyle Case:
... there's a reprieve. Because of the weekend and the Labor Day holiday, we're going to grant a short reprieve. Registration will close this year at the end of the day on September 3rd.

Jeff Harding:
Which is Tuesday [crosstalk 00:24:19].

Kyle Case:
... which is Tuesday, and we are on track, Jeff, for our participation record-

Jeff Harding:
We are.

Kyle Case:
... which is fantastic, but you got to hurry. Don't wait too long. Don't wait till after the 3rd because it's too late then. Registering is very easy to do, just visit SeniorGames.net and click on register. The process is simple, it's fast, it's secure, and, before you know it, you'll be ready to become one of more than 11,000 athletes who will compete this year at the Huntsman World Senior Games. Jeff, it's also time to register as a volunteer for the games.

Jeff Harding:
It is. It is.

Kyle Case:
It's also very easy to do. All you go to do is visit that website, SeniorGames.net, and click on the volunteer. There are tons of volunteer opportunities that include both helping with sports as well as helping in some of our non-sport areas. There are tons of benefits to volunteering and we could use your help, so hit SeniorGames.net and register to volunteer today. The dates for the 2019 Huntsman World Senior Games are October 7th through the 19th. Remember to tune in live next to and every Thursday at 5:30 p.m. Mountain Time on AM 1450 or FM 93.1 for the Huntsman World Senior Games Active Life and you can, of course, subscribe to our podcast pretty much anywhere that podcasts are found.

Kyle Case:
Jeff, our inspirational thought for the day is from Olympic gold medalist Jordan Burroughs. He says, "To get better, you have to step outside of your comfort zone. You can't do the same thing you've always done and improve."

Jeff Harding:
That's true.

Kyle Case:
Until next Thursday, stay active.

Jeff Harding:
Bye, everyone.