Roberta Anding

I had the pleasure of attending a Nutrition Seminar for Athletes presented by Roberta Anding, Roberta Anding is a big deal in the Houston sports and dietitian scene. Who is Roberta Anding?
Roberta Anding, MS, RD/LD, CDE, is an instructor in the adolescent and sports medicine, department of pediatrics, at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) in Houston. Her research interests include risk factors for the female athlete triad, prevalence of eating disorders in health care professionals, and determinants of dietary supplement use in college athletes. In addition to being on faculty at BCM, Anding is an instructor in the department of kinesiology at Rice University. She also is currently the American Dietetic Association’s Houston spokesperson and a nutrition consultant for the Houston Texans Football team.
The Presentation last 1.5 hours. Ill give you an over view and how it relates to Paleo Nutrition for Athletes.
  • She opened with hydration. Wise Choice. I have to say she was spot on. She made it easy for everyone to understand and hit the main points.
  • However, She failed to talk about Electrolytes. No matter how much water you are consuming, it is the combination of electrolytes and water that create supreme hydration.


  • She prescribed the typical High Carbohydrate diet to athletes. This is just not necessary. The new studies are showing being fat adapted and burning fat as fuel (for endurance athletes) is just as good or superior to carbohydrate addiction. Balancing health and athletic performance is a tricky thing but adding high amounts of carbs will never help longevity. The body can replenish glycogen stores from protein in the process of gluconeogenesis. Is this preferable? It depends. If your workout is around 30minutes you are fine. But those harder workouts may need some more carbs.
  • The quality of food? Of course she advocates bagels, whole grains, pasta, and bread. No bueno. If you want carbs, get fruit, veggies, and sweet potatoes. Messing with your hormones through daily meals (leptin, estrogen, insulin, etc) does not help athletic performance. Whole grains raise your blood sugar higher than a snickers. High carb meals throughout the day will generate lots of insulin. Insulin will demand fat storage once glycogen stores are full locking fat inside the fat cells. The extra carbs will also increase low-level inflammation. Not cool. The whole grains pose many more risk, such as joint pain, anti-nutrients, etc.
  • She advocates a lot of milk. Skim and 2%, not whole. not cool. Dairy is a growth agent. Which is good if you are an athlete and trying to gain mass and strength. Go for it. But make sure it is whole, organic, and grass-fed if possible. Endurance athletes should stay away from all dairy.


  • She gets recovery spot on. This is where carbohydrate (even high glycemic) is acceptable. When you exercise your insulin is already raised, so you can take advantage of it and replenish the muscles during this window. However, it is not necessary. You can refuel on protein fat and a few carbs. But don’t knock carbs post-work if you want the highest gain.
  • Dairy is advocated here as well. Once again, if you are trying to gain mass and grow, dairy is ok.
  • Personally I recommend a carb shake called Vitargo by Gener8. The carb source is not sugar and there is not high insulin spike taking this. check it out.

Prior to Race

  • Unfortunately she advocated “carb-loading” prior to competition. Many studies, recently, have shown carb loading the day before a race is actually counter-productive.  Plus, it is not the last few meals that work. It is over time that your muscle and liver glycogen gets topped off and grows.
  • Caffeine does work during, prior, and after to a race. She was very clear about not ingesting caffeine often or during practice and should b used only at competition as to make the effect more acute.


  • This was great. She lifted the curtain of the supplement industry. I loved it. Basically, understand that it is all marketing and nothing special in these products (legally).
  • How hard it is to trust what is on the label and that by taking something you don’t know could test an athlete positive for performance-enhancing drugs and thus your job or scholarship is over.


Overall, I liked her presentation. I wish she would have cut out the whole grains. peanut butter, and added more emphasis on using fat as a fuel. But we can’t all be perfect 🙂 She speaks of the same paradigm we are finding to be false – high carbohydrate diets for all athletes.  I would prefer to give an endurance athlete Dr. Loren Cordains book The Paleo Diet for Athletes. Sleep was discussed, which was nice. Many people over look the huge impact of sleep. Roberta did her thing, but it can be tweaked. For most everyday athletes just tying to maintain body composition and health a paleo diet will do it all, there really is no need for higher amounts of carbs. For teenagers in two hour practices (sometimes twice a day) and competition once a week carbs are good post workout with veggies and fruits during the day. I understand it is hard to stand up there and not say something too controversial. To learn more about her read this interview.

Roberta Anding.
Ivy, John, and Robert Portman. Nutrient Timing: the Future of Sports Nutrition. Laguna Beach, CA: Basic Health Publications, 2004. Print.
Cordain, Loren, and Joe Friel. The Paleo Diet for Athletes: a Nutritional Formula for Peak Athletic Performance. Emmaus, PA: Rodale, 2005. Print.
De, Vany Arthur. The New Evolution Diet: What Our Paleolithic Ancestors Can Teach Us about Weight Loss, Fitness, and Aging. Emmaus, PA: Rodale, 2011. Print.
Pedersen DJ, Lessard SJ, Coffey VG, et al. (July 2008). “High rates of muscle glycogen resynthesis after exhaustive exercise when carbohydrate is coingested with caffeine”. Journal of Applied Physiology 105 (1): 7–13. doi:10.1152/japplphysiol.01121.2007. PMID 18467543.
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