Carb Crazy

By Golf Fitness MagazineNovember 15, 2010, 6:58 pm

Athletes and golfers alike have always known that carbohydrates are essential to producing energy. In the late 90’s our society was overtaken by the low carb diet trend, causing athletes of every sport to scratch their heads and wonder if maybe they too were eating too many carbs.

As a nutritionist, I totally agree with many of the proponents of the low carb diets. I believe as a society that we eat too many carbs. To be truthful, we could stand to cut back on all food – the calories we are eating as a society are exceeding the calories we are burning, which is leading to the obesity epidemic we are facing around the globe. Even professional golfers are faced with the challenge of preventing obesity from happening to them. What I don’t agree with is cutting out carbohydrates completely from anyone’s diet.

Low carb diets gained in popularity after the low fat diet trend started to fade. Back in the 1990’s, we thought that fat from food was what was causing us to be overweight and causing high levels of heart disease. Food manufacturers became obsessed with the “fat-free craze,” coming out with everything from fat free cookies to fat free margarine. We thought that as long as it was fat free, we could sit down with a whole box of fat free cookies and not gain weight. Alas, we still gained weight. Then came the revival of the low carb trend that was so popular in the 1970’s. Instead of demonizing fat, we starting thinking carbs were the evil foods making us so fat. We lost weight, only to gain it all back as soon as we went off the impossibly low carb diet.

Research studies have proven that it is not the carbs that make us fat—it is total calories. People on low carb diets lose weight because they are eating fewer calories than they were before. A lot of the weight lost is also water weight because our glycogen stores (carb stores in our body) are very water rich. When we reduce carbs, we lose water weight. It is physiologically impossible to lose 5-10 pounds of fat in a week, yet the scale would reflect weight losses of that magnitude for some people when embarking on a low carb diet.

Cutting Back

The differences between cutting back and cutting out are two totally different approaches. In order to meet your body’s energy demands, you need to ensure that you are getting enough carbs in your diet. If you do not get enough carbohydrates in your diet, your body will use the protein in the diet for energy. Using protein for energy prevents the body from using protein for building and repairing the muscles that you are using and abusing during tough workouts, rounds of golf and just daily life. This ultimately leaves you left with low energy and greater potential for injury on and off the course.

Carbohydrates are the body’s preferred source of energy. Carbs come from sugar, starch, and fiber in our diet. Sugar and starches are broken down into glucose, which is energy for our cells. Our bodies need glucose every second of the day to keep our brain functioning, to tell our heart to keep beating, and our lungs to keep breathing.

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommends that everyone over the age of one year get a minimum of 130 grams of carbohydrate daily. In terms of percentage of calories, the IOM recommends that 45-65% of our calories should come from carbs.

For an active male eating 2500 calories, that equates to 281-406 grams daily. For an active female eating 2000 calories, that equates to 225 to 325 grams daily.

Low Carb Foods

Even though the low carb craze is fading, I still sense a fear of high carbohydrate foods. I often hear from clients, athletes and non-athletes alike, that they avoid bread, pasta, and potatoes because they are concerned that eating them will make them fat. Instead, many people are opting for the low carb varieties of these foods. While some reduced carb foods can be healthy, many have ingredients in them that can cause some unpleasant side effects, and often, more times than not, low carb foods have just as many calories as the original food, so read labels carefully!

A common way to reduce the carb content of food, is to replace sugar with sugar alcohols. These sugar alcohols read on a food label with words like maltitol, mannitol, lactitol, sorbitol, xylitol, and erythritol. With the exception of erythritol, these sugar alcohols are not absorbed in the small intestine. Because they are not completely digested, the large intestine produces gas when the bacteria come into contact with these sugar alcohols. The result is gas, bloating, and potentially diarrhea in people who eat these sugar alcohols. So if you have been eating low carb candies and other treats and not feeling so good afterwards, now you know why. Check labels for sugar alcohols and avoid them if you find that they give you these unpleasant side effects.

All carbs can fit into a healthy diet, so the idea of some carbs being “good” while some are “bad” is not the best way to think. Classifying foods as “good” and “bad” promotes guilty feelings when we “give in” to the “bad” foods. Instead of trying to find low carb versions of your favorite high carb foods, enjoy the original version in moderation. Refined carbs such as cakes, cookies, and candy should be limited in our diets. Use these high sugar foods as treats in small quantities. Just because something is white does not mean it is bad, though. White potatoes often get lumped into the “bad carb” list, but white potatoes are actually one of the highest antioxidant foods in our food supply and a great source of complex carbs, especially for a golfer.

Choose whole grain varieties of bread, pasta, rice, cereal, and other grains whenever possible. Whole grains are hot in the marketplace right now, so it is not hard to find whole grain varieties of your favorite foods. There is more to whole grains than whole wheat bread and brown rice. Experiment with whole grains you may not use often or have not tried before. Quinoa, spelt, and millet are whole grains that are extremely versatile and can be used in salads, soups, or as a side dish. Don’t forget about barley, rye, popcorn (yes, it is a whole grain!), and corn.

Fruit and vegetables are rich in carbs and also rich in very important vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. All fruits are good, even if you hear that they are too high in sugar. They are indeed high in sugar, but it is natural sugar and along with that sugar comes a nice package of fiber and other nutrients.

All vegetables are good, too – even the starchy vegetables like corn, peas, and potatoes. Starchy vegetables will be slightly higher in calories than non-starchy vegetables, but both are high in nutritional value and should be a part of your diet.

Another source of carbohydrates that many people don’t think about is milk. Milk has 12 grams of carbohydrates per 8 oz glass. Milk, cheese, and yogurt are all foods that have significant healthy attributes and should also be included daily in a healthy diet.

Just because you are eating “good” carbs doesn’t mean that you can eat them in unlimited quantities. Remember that all calories, regardless of whether they enter your body as carbs, protein, fat, or alcohol, have the potential to cause weight gain when eaten in excess of the calories burned..

Carbs are necessary in your diet to provide energy to fuel your brain and muscles, prevent injury and help maximize your time on or off the course. Without carbs, you will be low on energy and your golf game will suffer. Examine what you eat to determine whether you are getting the right balance of carbs, protein, and fats in your diet. If you are gaining weight and don’t want to, cut back on your portions of all foods in your diet, not just carbs. Look for opportunities to have high quality carbs such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to replace high sugar and refined grains.

Tara Gidus, is a Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics, a nutrition consultant and a member of the Golf Fitness Magazine Advisory Team.

Getty Images

Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 2:19 am

Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.

Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.

As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.

"That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."

Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.

Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.

Getty Images

Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

Getty Images

Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

“It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

“What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

“When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

Getty Images

Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.