Happy New Year!!

2014 is going to be a great year for the Nutrition and Exercise Lab! We will complete the Postpartum Research Study that has been ongoing for almost 5 years! It’s hard to quantify the hours that went in to gathering and analyzing data in order to organize it in a way that makes logical sense, but it’s safe to say that this study has been enlightening. Although the study isn’t officially complete, preliminary results of certain aspects of the study have been presented. Former graduate student, Jess Schuler analyzed and compiled the breast milk sample evaluation as her thesis project.  In December, 2013, Enette and Erin went to Newcastle, England to present the bone mineral density and physical activity components at the International Sport and Exercise Nutrition Conference as a part of Erin’s thesis research.  Here is a photo summary of their trip!

Erin and Enette upon arrival in Newcastle, UK!


We enjoyed a few beautiful morning runs on the beach!


We went to a professional ‘football’ game… or rather a soccer game! Enette’s daughter Lindsay is a soccer player, so this was a neat treat for her! We watched Newcastle United play South Hampton, the result was a tie 1-1.


We snuck back in to the stadium for this one (which was moments after the game).


We enjoyed a tea break after one of our morning runs. This little cafe was a cave at the bottom of the cliffs and was historically a hang out for smugglers or pirates!


No trip to England is complete without a traditional English Breakfast!!


Erin presented a poster of her research at the conference!


Enette gave two lectures during the conference: ‘Vitamin D in Athletes’ and ‘The Importance of Sleep for Athletes’.


Two-time Olympic Gold Medalist in the 800m and 1500m, Dame Kelly Holmes made an appearance at the conference and talked about her journey.


Erin had the chance to meet some great people at the conference! She met world-class endurance athlete and well-known sports nutrition researcher Asker Jeukendrup as well as fellow nutrition students from all over the world!

If these walls could talk…

If these walls could talk, what would they say?? In the 8 years since the inception of the UW Nutrition and Exercise Lab, these walls have seen lots of data collection. That might sound boring to some, but contrary to popular belief, not all research is in the form of analyzing test tubes full of steaming chemical concoctions.  Data collection can take on many different forms. Our current study, investigates the role of the appetite regulating hormones ghrelin, PYY, and GLP-1 in postpartum body weight regulation. That sounds like a lot of big words! How do researchers do that?!  This is going to be a three part blog post that breaks down our research methods and concludes with an insight into understanding the phrase: “Researchers say…”

Research always begins with a question. The best part is; everyone is a researcher! Everyone comes up with a hypothesis, a way to test the hypothesis, and results to conclude the inquiry. For example, all students are researchers. They ask the question: how much do I need to study to get (desired grade)? They come up with a hypothesis: I will need to study X number of hours per week in order to get (desired grade). They will test this hypothesis with the first exam and their results show them whether X number of hours was sufficient or not.

Our research question began when Dr. Larson-Meyer questioned the nature of weight retention during the postpartum period. Why do some women tend to gain/retain weight after giving birth, while others lose weight? How does this affect the breastfed baby? Dr. Larson-Meyer’s knowledge of appetite regulating hormones directed her to propose that the appetite stimulating hormone ghrelin and the appetite suppressing hormones PYY and GLP-1, play a role in energy intake and body weight retention. We thought that these hormones were in breastmilk, but if so how would they effect the baby’s milk consumption and the baby’s growth?

We look at many different factors and because our study is longitudinal, we collect data at three time points; 1 month (baseline), 6 months, and 12 months after birth. We also have a group of control women who have never been pregnant to compare our results to. A grand total of 24 postpartum women, and 20 controls enrolled in this study.

After completing a screening visit, to ensure the safety and health of our participants, we bring them in to the lab fasting for a 5-hour test day. During this test day, we collect a urine sample and then have the participant lie in a bed and relax, while we place a plastic hood with hoses (see picture) over their head. This is called a resting metabolic rate (RMR) and it measures how much energy a person burns while at rest. RMR Pic

After 30 minutes of measurement, we draw baseline blood and then provide a breakfast smoothie. At 30 minute intervals, we draw blood for later analysis of the appetite regulating hormones, for a total of two and a half hours. Before each blood draw, the participant is asked to rate how hungry they feel. The participant is then taken in to the kitchen where a meal has been prepared. They can eat as much as they want in twenty minutes. We draw one more sample of blood one hour after meal initiation. After completing a few questionnaires about physical activity, eating behaviors and body image, the participant is released until we see them again 6 months later. Overall this test allows us to measure how the appetite hormones are altered by a standardized meal and whether this response predicts hunger, food intake and body weight change over 6 months and one year. Stay tuned for the description of the 6 and 12 month follow-up!!

Welcome Back to School!!


Source: bananapancakesblog.blogspot.com.au

The first week of classes is always exciting. It’s fun to take a seat in the Union or at Prexy’s Pasture, and just watch people! It’s easy to spot new students because they have a general look of excitement mixed with fear and a loss of direction on their faces. The seasoned students tend to walk with a sense of purpose, because they already know where their classes are, but maybe they didn’t wake up early enough to make it from their new apartment to the Classroom Building.

The first week of school is important for developing habits that will be followed for the whole semester. Wherever you find yourself during this week;

  • Remember to eat breakfast every day. Not only will it hold you over until lunchtime, but it will help you to focus during those early classes.
  • Bring healthy snacks like granola bars, nuts and fruit.
  • Bring a water bottle that you can refill throughout the day. If you don’t like just plain water, try out some of the low calorie drink packets that you can mix in your water bottle.