As always, what I learned this week was based on class lectures and conversations with my professor outside of class; however, this week also includes some things that about a diet analysis that I had to do for one of my classes.
1. You do not “build” skeletal muscles through “tearing.” I’m not sure about you but this is one of those things that I had always heard, when you work out you are creating “microtears” and the process of healing those “microtears” is what builds bigger muscles. This is not really true. You are generally born with as many muscle cells as you are going to have and muscle cells do not regenerate all that well after damage. Really what is happening when you “build” muscle is that you are creating microstress on sub-structures (called myofibrils) within the muscle cell, which then indicates to the body that it needs to increase those myofibrils within the muscle cells. Increased myofibrils = “bigger muscles.”
2. There are structures in your brain called astrocytes. They provide important support functions for central nervous system, including cleaning up neurological debris while we sleep. Build-up of this debris can lead to impaired neurological functioning and ultimately death. So get some sleep and let your astrocytes get to work!
As mentioned above, I had to do a diet analysis for one of my classes. It required my keeping track of my own food and drink intake for 3 days (2 weekdays and 1 weekend.) This was a really informative exercise and I am still learning from it, so expect to see it show up in future posts.
1) The biggest thing I learned is that diet journals are very difficult. It requires monitoring all of your food precisely, which is hard enough when you cook all of your own food, but near impossible when you eat at a restaurant.
2) If I didn’t record something immediately, I was liable to forget it. This makes me concerned about any nutrition study that bases its findings on 24-hour diet recalls. If I couldn’t remember what I ate 30 minutes before, and I knew I was supposed to, how could some one who gets a random phone call accurately recall all of their food from the previous 24-hours?
3) The difficulty of recording inadvertently influenced my decisions about what/when/where I ate based on the ease of recording those foods. I found that I generally avoided eating out or that I would intentionally not record a day when I knew I would be eating out a lot.
4) I definitely thought about what I was eating more than I would have and I could easily see how someone might record their intake differently if they were concerned about what someone might think of their diet.
5) Even after recording 3 days, the diet journal still missed several eating patterns based on the days I chose to record. This makes me wary of any nutritional study that uses diet journals as the bases for diet-health linked findings.
Have you ever tried to keep a diet journal? What did you learn from it?