Winter vs Summer nutritional shifts

Winter vs Summer nutritional shifts

As the Hemisphere’s climates turn cold and hot respectively, our diets do tend to change. But are you making mistakes from a nutritional point of view, at the change of season? On this episode of 32Gi Sports Nutrition, we look at typical mistakes, but more importantly great ideas to keep in mind.



Welcome back to 32Gi Sports Nutrition I’m Mr Active, David Katz joined once again by Mark Wolff. Still joining us on Skype he’s not in South Africa at the moment lots of things happening all over the world in terms of 32Gi. Plenty of countries where you can get the product if you wanna use it.

But looking back at the topic this week and I think it’s a very pertinent one, especially if you in the Southern Hemisphere. We’re into winter now diet does change, nutrition requirements supplementary requirements all these things start to change. Conversely when you drop back into summer like Europeans and the North Americans are at the moment. There are certain things that change once again when you look at diet.

We talked last week about recovery and vitamin C was mentioned. And that’s where I want to start today Mark is vitamin C. We look at things like vitamin D, we’re getting less sun; are these the kind of things you need to start adding more often into your diet in winter?

MW: David I definitely think that they play a very crucial role. Because when winter comes so does the viruses and so do the illnesses. One of the things that people definitely become far more susceptible to catching a bug.

So keeping the immune system as strong as possible I think would be something you should definitely take into account. There a number of things that you can do.

How to boost your immune system

I think definitely increasing of vitamin C dosage is something that I would definitely recommend to most people…even up to – I mean I would say you should be taking at least probably a thousand milligrams a day at the bare minimum.

But you know at the risk of not falling ill you could increase that up to two to three thousand milligrams a day, in order to keep your immunity up. Vitamin C I think is a very good idea.

You not getting as much personal I mean if you get vitamin D from the sun even summer is a difficult thing. Never mind in winter when it’s actually go off and rather miserable. So I should say taking vitamin D should probably be quite a regular thing and it definitely, definitely helps with your immunity.

Again for people who are falling susceptible to…sort of flu…illnesses or I mean now at this time of the year post nasal drips and throat infections etcetera become quite common. Things like zinc become very, very helpful.

Obviously try to stay away from sugary foods or anything that would be highly acidic that would actually feed a viral infection as opposed to actually starving it. Is something as well that…people should start to look at.

The interesting thing about winter is that people are now crammed more in closed spaces and so bacteria and viral infections are spread so much more easily. Especially in the gyms, now people are not training outdoors much and they actually start to train indoors more.

So I think it’s just be weary if you gonna get onto a treadmill or a machine. Maybe you should like wash it down with a disinfectant which are freely available in the gyms before getting on it. Make sure you clean it afterwards please for the person that’s gonna use it afterwards.

Make sure that you hydrate quite…quite sufficiently. It might be cold but during exercise the body still actually loses fluid in the form of sweat. You should be hydrating regularly. Hydrating properly as well keeps the immune system up keeps the body functioning, I mean our bodies are 76 % water, around there anyway. So it’s a matter of taking in fluid making sure that, that’s done on a regular basis.

Don’t let your nutrition plan go this winter

As far as nutrition goes I personally think it’s one of those areas during winter where people actually let themselves go. Because people tend to eat more when it’s cold and the reason being is the body needs to burn off calories in order to stay warm.

So there’s sort of like an engine it’s like I’m gonna start to warm up the body but I need food and fuel in order to be able to heat it up. So you need to give me more food and people tend to sort of comfort food eating. They go for the wrong kind of food during winter.

Winter is an awesome time to actually get into that vegetable mode because vegetables are…can be turned into soup. Soups amazing during winter so I think you can really, really make some healthy dishes. I wouldn’t overdo it.

Try and keep the nutrients dense. Try and keep them healthy. If you gonna eat carbohydrates I would say definitely more on the form of vegetables again, a little bit of fruit here or there. Don’t have that instead of drinking water. I know that it’s cold and you wanna drink something hot then go for a herbal tea which is another good option. You can drink as many cups through the day as you want, it will keep you warm.

But at the same time you getting something healthy into the system and you not getting something like…you not getting something that’s too highly acidic. Like drinking excessive amounts of coffee during the day in order to stay warm. You should try and limit that caffeine intake as well.

DK: Mark you talked about people eating more. But also as the weather changes, South Africa recently, we are in winter, had some cold spells. But people are tending to eat things you know we say more starchy foods and that is sort of the case.

People think they need stews they need sort of soups. The sort of more fresh stuff the vegetables the fresh vegetables the salads those tend to fall away a little bit more. Is that also one of the areas of concern?

Why stews are a cause for concern

ME: I think making stews etcetera you should be concerned about. Because what actually happens is when you eating a solid food the body tends to feel fuller for a lot longer. Because you actually used to eating solid foods. When people eat liquid foods they tend to feel like they need to eat more of the liquid food in order to have that same sort of comfort and fullness.

The problem is you know you can take some vegetables and you can…or you can take for example some sauce from a stew. The problem is the calorie content of that particular amount of fluid could be excessively higher than what you would have in the solid form.

So you need to actually watch from a quantity point of view. I’d say from a quantity point of view you need to actually watch exactly how much you actually are consuming or know how much you consuming.

Another thing is when you making know exactly what goes in there. Know exactly what – a lot of people just take a whole lot of stuff and they throw it into a stew without measurements, without knowing quantities, without calorie…you know sort of an understanding of what the calorie content is and then they just tend to over use.

So I think yes in a way liquid foods can become dangerous it’s worth keeping an eye on that and trying to minimise it as much as possible. Simple idea if you gonna make a soup with vegetables…you know keep it very clean.

You know you only need to put some water in there, some vegetables. You can really actually season quite nicely, but what you can do is you can actually increase the protein content of that. So grill chicken breast chop them and throw them into a bowl of soup and it turns it into a slightly different meal. But it’s still a nice meal and a comfort meal…which will keep you warm and it will provide some nutrient dense food as well.

Herbal teas – a great way to get liquid in

DK: Mark looking at sort of liquid intake. It’s a bit colder generally people drink less when it’s colder. Is there a slightly less requirement when it comes to your daily water intake. Also looking at alternatives should you be sticking to water can you be drinking something like more tea? In South Africa we have rooibos tea, so it’s just a tea bag and some water for most people. What’s you take on that?

MW: Well I think honestly the less fluid your bodies losing so the less fluid you need to take in. So I think you just drink according to thirst. Definitely you should drink in winter depending where you are in some climates, some climates are climates are quite dry. Do you actually do need to still take in quite a bit of herbal fluid.

I’m a fan of herbal tea as I mentioned earlier. I can drink anywhere from 16 to 20 cups of rooibos a day. I absolutely love it you know I do that through summer as well not just winter. But to me that’s a…real option of keeping yourself warm and actually getting in the right kind of fluid as well.

It doesn’t have to be pure water I know it’s difficult to drink cold water during winter. For those people that want to lose weight here’s an interesting fact; you can drink some ice, ice cold water when you wake up in the morning…let your body freeze. Let your body shiver. Because of that your body needs to burn off more calories to warm up.

But there are people that sort of employ those kinds of plans in order to try and sort of decrease body weight in a different way. So there’s lots of things I think also you need to look at yourself through winter. You need to set yourself some goals because after winter comes summer.

Set a goal to help you this winter

Then and the thing is that what are your goals during that summer, are you gonna race…do you wanna have a beach body whatever it is. You need to try and set some goals. Winter is the time to set the foundations for those goals.

So again during winter a lot of people go off track and they forget about themselves during winter. They only start to sort of become more active during the summer season. But I always tell people set a goal and know that winter is the time to build a sort of foundation.

You might not been doing any like your outdoor endurance or speed work etcetera. But you can surely do some strength work. You can do some base training work etcetera. You can combine a very healthy diet in order to come out of the winter period in a very decent level of fitness. A good body shape and weight. Then you can actually take that and you build on that foundation in order to be able to reach some really good goals…that you’ve set yourself later on in the season.

What to add to your nutrition plan in summer

DK: Mark that’s some really good advice as well. I just wanna quickly lastly touch on summers itself. Northern Hemisphere, yes the summers don’t get as hot as if you in South Africa or Australia. But there are parts…close to the Mediterranean where it can get quite warm or sort of Florida, Texas in the States.

Water then surely you just naturally gonna be drinking more water. You will need more water. From a supplement point of view I mean you probably sweating more you losing more salt. You need to increase sodium once again, does something like magnesium come more into play in summer than it would in winter?

MW: I think you definitely it’s quite interesting that you – the Europeans are big fans of salt. Things like this when it comes racing especially in the summer. I think it’s because their bodies are very much cooler climate adapted.

When they go and they race in the summer season which is probably – which is a lot shorter than sort of our warm climate what actually happens is they tend to lose excessive amounts of fluid. They tend to drink a lot more and in order to be able to balance that, that intake of-of high fluid, they need to actually take in a mineral in order to be able to help with the absorption of it.

Salt is very, very popular in Europe. You know to be able to help to try and get that sort of sodium and fluid balance to make sure they hydrated properly. Yes summer in the Northern Hemisphere is definitely more critical thing when it comes to their season.

It’s very different to how South African’s approach that. But Europeans are quite focused on – on sort of mineral intake to help with fluid absorption. Hydration is very critical.

Then even though I raced this past week in Denmark I mean the temperature was for me quite cool. In actual fact I had toe covers on my cycling shoes etcetera. For me it was quite cool.

But with some of the Europeans racing there was a such a pleasant and beautiful day for them, a typical summers day. You know so my fluid intake was probably a lot lower than some of their fluid intake…it really depends on the person it depends on what their body’s used to and what they require.

Fluid intake – why it increases in summer

Look in summer time…you definitely need to up your fluid intake. There’s no doubt you lose a lot more fluid…in the form of sweat. Especially during exercise you need to increase that you need to make sure that you very well hydrated. There’s you can fall…sort of ill to a couple of things. If you don’t take in enough fluid and you actually losing too much fluid and I think – I’m not talking about dehydration.

But you know what happened to me quite a few years ago I was training in the Middle East. What actually happened was I was quite dehydrated in the long run. I actually because there was definitely there was no fluid at all. I had…a sort of a bladder wall rupture. It’s quite frightening when it happens. But I found out eventually afterwards that it’s quite common. The only reason was is I didn’t take in enough fluid in that last session.

Like I said earlier the mind can sometimes override the body’s requirements. Your mind seems sort of stronger than what the body need to have, but I learnt a lesson that day and it’s never happened since. So definitely fluid intake is a big focus.

Some great summer fruit options

As far as foods go if we look at foods, summer foods and winter foods are very different. Summer people they love to go for the fruits there’s no problem with that. But again I’ll look at fruits that are quite valuable.

Berries are awesome…I like things like sort of the citrus fruits. You know your grapefruits, your oranges; actually in the Southern Hemisphere those are sort of known as decent winter fruits as well. So that’s something that you can actually eat there as well. I love mango, I’m a big fan of mango. Quite high in vitamin C. Also fruits, things like granadilla’s etcetera.

More the healthier foods and definitely in summer you craving more fluids you craving more water so…fruits definitely…they’ve got a nice high fluid content within them. I think that’s what people tend to crave those kind of things. Because the body sends you messages and these are the kind of things we tend to go for.

I think that…one of the most interesting things is that especially in the further northern European…climates. Like looking at the Nordic’s where I was now…the sun sets extremely late. It comes up extremely early. In actually fact there’s not even a night time.

The one night I was outside was about I think it was 10:30/11 and the sun hadn’t even gone down yet. But it was still out and it was shining and it was strong.

So in those circumstances I actually for me I battle to sleep when it’s not dark. So you need to try and adapt to an environment like that. So you try and make everything dark. But one of the things that you realise is that the sun is still up and for such a long period of time that you probably do need to be taking fluid through the day for a longer period of time. Because you know if you outdoors and you active etcetera then obviously you are gonna be losing more fluid.

DK: Well Mark thank you for another interesting podcast when it comes to in this case winter verses sort of summer diet. You touched on sort of fruits with more liquid in them. I think watermelon would be the ultimate one. It’s nutritious it’s got a lot of liquid and it’s the perfect summer fruit. From myself David Katz Mr Active, and Mark Wolff; we’ll catch up with you next time on 32Gi Sports Nutrition.

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