Course provides nutrition basics - Camp Lejeune Globe: Carolina Living

Course provides nutrition basics

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Posted: Wednesday, February 20, 2019 9:00 am

Marine Corps Community Services Lejeune-New River’s Basic Nutrition Brief took place Feb. 14 at the fitness center on Marine Corps Air Station New River. The course is for Marines and other authorized personnel to get a better understanding of what they are putting into their bodies.

Instructor Tina Brooks, who also serves as the health promotion director for the MCCS SemperFit program, discussed proper plate breakdowns, how to avoid excess sugars from popular brands and why carbohydrates get such a bad reputation in the fitness world.

“The problem with carbohydrates is we choose the wrong kind of carbs,” Brooks said.

Some examples she cited were foods like white rice or other heavily processed food items. Brooks recommended that carbohydrates from healthy sources such as root vegetables or other fiber rich options.

“Your primary source of carbohydrates should be fruits and vegetables,” Brooks said.

She also warned against the mythos of zero calories one often finds on products such as energy drinks or artificially flavored beverages.

“Artificial sweeteners don’t process through your body. They ruin cells and those cells, in turn, ruin other good cells,” said Brooks. “We’ve had Marines come through drinking their energy drinks and they have joint pain. When we tell them to just take a few days off from [energy drinks] they end up feeling a lot better.”

However, Brooks’ most visual and harped upon warnings were for two items Marines get a lot of — sugar and supplements.

“They’re calling sugar the new cocaine,” Brooks said.

She went on to detail that, in studies, individuals swearing off sugar often have symptoms not unlike those of individuals in withdrawals from cocaine.

She also brought in demonstrations of just how much sugar was in some items such as breakfast pastries and soft drinks. She displayed resealable plastic bags that had as many teaspoons, or in some cases tablespoons, of sugar as the products they were next to. The imagery certainly had an impact on those in attendance.

As for supplements, Brooks warned against being fooled by flashy packaging or unrealistic results. A number of supplements, Brooks said, are overblown in their use. For instance, a supplement for Vitamin C had more than 800 percent of the recommended daily value of the vitamin, she said.

“All the excess is going to get out in your urine,” said Brooks. “You can only absorb 100 percent of the daily value of anything. That’s an expensive pee you’re taking.”

Protein supplements were something to be wary of as well, she said, citing a Marine diagnosed with kidney problems.

“They found out he was on six different protein supplements. Too much protein can really mess those kidneys up,” Brooks said.

As for people looking to make a change, Brooks said that making gradual lifestyle changes was the way to go. Rushing, said Brooks, is the path to failure.

“We didn’t get fluffy overnight, and we’re not going to get unfluffy overnight either,” Brooks said.

Basic Nutrition Briefs take place every second Thursday or Wednesday of

the month. For more information, visit

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