February 2020 WheelPeople


Message from the CRW President

Larry Kernan

Planning for 2020

As we approach mid-winter, CRW rides continue and your Board is busy putting our plans together for 2020.  We have a few events that you should mark on your calendar.  On Sunday, March 29th at 1 PM, we will hold our Member Party and Annual Meeting.  Refreshments will be served followed by a presentation by the Club’s Board and Officers.  We are working on getting an interesting speaker as well.  Stay tuned for more information and registration details.

Climb to the Clouds - New Date

There is a change of date for the Climb to the Clouds century.  It is now scheduled for Saturday, May 30th.  Lincoln Sudbury Regional High School asked us to change our date to accommodate their graduation weekend.

Arrow Policy

We were very pleased to read member’s comments on CRW’s new arrowing policy.  If you missed the announcement, please see last month’s article, “CRW Arrow Policy Has Changed”.  We read all of your comments and Facebook postings.  Your remarks were respectful whether supportive or in a few cases “sad to see arrows disappear”.

CRW Development Group

André Wolf has been active this fall and winter creating a CRW Development Group dedicated to helping riders improve their skills.  Targeted at riders of any level interested in building their riding abilities, the group’s motto is “You find your limits.  We will help you surpass them.”  André is working on a program of webinars on equipment, coaching and nutrition.  Additionally, the Development Group is trying to set up several on the bike hill climbing training programs.  You’ll be hearing more about this new program soon.  If you are interested in more details about this program or willing to help, please contact André at devogroup [at] crw.org.

Bike Shops

Finally, CRW has long maintained a network of affiliated bike shops.  Many of these shops provide discounts to CRW members or publicize our club.  We are looking for a new Bike Shop Coordinator to keep this activity going.  If you have any interest, please contact scarw01 [at] gmail.com (subject: Bike%20Shop%20Coordinator) (Steve Carlson), the club’s Executive VP.  Steve has recently taken on several new important efforts for the club and is seeking a new volunteer to take on this task.

Wherever you are biking this winter, stay safe and warm!



Centuries Update

Randall Nelson-Peterman
Winter is fully here, and most of us have either bundled up for colder daily rides or have broken out our trainers. Riding on a trainer always has me fantasizing about being back on the road, and if you are like me then you will want to dream about the club's supported centuries being planned for 2020.
Climb to the Clouds is on Saturday May 30, 2020
One of our missions as a club is to provide well-organized and well-led road riding experiences for our members, and our centuries are a big part of that mission. This year, the Century Committee is planning to hold a spring and fall century. Once again, our Spring century will be the Climb to the Clouds. Mark your calendar now for Saturday, May 30th. The Fall century route is being discussed. We have a collection of several proven century routes and our plan is to alternate them over the years.
Arrow Policy
There is one big change for 2020; we will no longer be arrowing the century routes. We will still be producing cue sheets and RideWithGPS routes, and our expectation is that these two navigation methods, along with more ride leaders for our group rides, will be adequate for our century riders. There are many arguments for and against arrowing, but the big thing that swayed us was that the amount of volunteer time needed to arrow the routes was making it difficult to pull off a century.  Additionally, we were finding increasing resistance from communities who don’t like us painting their roads.
Call for Volunteers
As we plan each century, our goal is to provide challenges for riders who want to move fast and push hard, while also serving the needs of those who wish a more manageable century, or those who want shorter routes.  Every century we put on gives us some lessons for the next one, and we continue to enhance / improve with more food offerings, group rides, better organization, and fun routes. Staging a supported century requires 50 or more volunteers who each volunteer about 10 plus hours, and a core leadership team who put in many additional hours of work securing venues, food, permits, police details, insurance, routes, porta-johns and a hundred other details.
No CRW century can happen without volunteers, and many hands do indeed make light work. Quite a few of the volunteer positions allow you to ride the century, and those who volunteer get to ride for free.  We also offer "transfer" rides to people who volunteer at rest stops and other non-riding positions. These can allow a partner or friend to ride while you volunteer (some restrictions apply). In addition to being able to ride for free, there are other perks, including volunteer parties and stylish t-shirts. We look forward to seeing you at the spring CTTC and offering your time volunteering in a task that appeals to you.
bikeman [at] nelson-peterman.com (Randall Nelson-Peterman), Century Committee Co-chair



Plan Your Next Bicycle Vacation (Reminder)

Rami Haddad

We are offering a presentation on Adventure Cycling’s route network and resources, including how to box your bike and generally how to plan for a bicycle tour. You will learn about different terrains, touring style that suits you, budget options, bikepacking, & how to avoid unnecessary pain and discomfort.  Full details here https://www.crw.org/content/plan-your-next-bicycle-vacation

  • When: Friday 6 March 2020
  • Where: Lexington Depot, 13 Depot Square
  • Time: 6:00 to 7:00 PM Social Hour, 7:00 to 8:30 presentation
  • Parking: there is a large parking area adjacent to the Depot
  • RSVP: Please signup here. Seating is limited.





CRW Communications Committee

Rami Haddad
We are looking for volunteer communications committee members. This team will advise the President about the strategy for all communications, website, social media, & member relations messages to consistently articulate the club's mission. The Committee will work closely with other groups in the club as the communications partner on a variety of board, rides, & club initiatives.
  • Lead the generation of online content that engages members and leads to measurable action. Decide who, how, and when to disseminate.
  • Put communications vehicles in place to create momentum and awareness as well as to test the effectiveness of communications activities.
  • Manage the development, distribution, and maintenance of Wheel People newsletter, web site, Facebook, Strava, Twitter, Instagram, Meetup, email distribution, & other channels as applicable.
  • Coordinate content maintenance—ensure that new and consistent information (article links, stories, and events) is posted regularly.
  • Track and measure the level of engagement within the network over time.
  • Manage third-party contacts interested in sponsorship & partnership opportunities.


If you wish to volunteer for the committee or would like more information send an email to Rami Haddad at mcccxxv [at] gmail.com


Hangin' In List

Jack Donohue
The "Hangin' In" list includes members who have reported their yearly mileage for at least five years (details HERE),
We have a new member of the 10K club (more than 10,000 miles a year), Cory Maxemino, joining Jeffrey Zaveloff and  our "leading ladies" Pamela Blalock and Melinda Lyon.
The century club (century ride in every month) has only one member, Rich Taylor.  It's lonely at the top.  The metric club (metric ride in every month), a much more achievable goal but still quite an accomplishment, has Cory Maxemino, Bruce Ingle, and Rich Taylor,  Mark Baskin gets honorable mention with 11 metric months.  Mark was sidelined this year with an injury which explains the missing month.
We have two new entries on the list, John O'Dowd and Greg Stathis, welcome!
This year, you all logged a total of 323426 miles, that's enough to circle the globe .... a lot.
Name Years Average
Melinda Lyon 35 14987 524560
Jack Donohue 38 10161 386100
Pamela Blalock 26 10633 276463
Bruce Ingle 25 8432 210804
Dave Jordan 30 6639 199172
Paul Corriveau 28 6239 174692
Ken Hablow 29 6023 174655
Joe Repole 34 4830 164234
Irving Kurki 25 6043 151086
Pete Knox 28 4864 136192
Peter Brooks 28 4720 132167
Steve Robins 17 7683 130605
David Wean 23 5234 120376
Jean Orser 25 4604 115109
Richard Taylor 16 7068 113090
Doug Cohen 25 4514 112849
Marc Baskin 20 5274 105471
Ed Hoffer 30 3306 99166
Butch Pemstein 18 5070 91265
Cynthia Zabin 20 4445 88907
Mike Hanauer 38 2324 88299
Bob Cohen 11 7152 78670
John Springfield 40 1922 76896
John Allen 32 2382 76213
Bob Wolf 11 6576 72339
Gabor Demjen 23 3138 72167
Erik Husby 13 5214 67783
Jeff Luxenberg 39 1715 66901
Bill Hanson 23 2809 64603
Frank Aronson 16 3950 63206
Lisa Weissmann 17 3624 61605
Joseph Tavilla 16 3842 61477
Cynthia Snow 20 2911 58228
Henry Marcy 16 3500 56003
David Cooper 9 5958 53625
Bill Widnall 22 2369 52114
Clyde Kessel 10 5159 51592
Joseph Moore 15 3316 49737
Andy Brand 9 5471 49242
Rudge McKenney 15 2791 41864
Bernie Flynn 7 5899 41292
Harriet Fell 15 2639 39591
Darrell Katz 14 2664 37300
Larry Delaney 7 4914 34395
Neal Schuster 8 4243 33942
Mark Druy 9 3701 33308
Greg Stathis 5 6344 31719
Eric Sansone 8 3666 29327
Bruce Larson 7 3607 25247
Ed Pastor 7 3574 25019
Joel Bauman 7 3552 24862
Dom Jorge 6 4073 24437
Fred Newton 7 3305 23136
Gardner Gray 7 3102 21712
Arne Buck 7 2772 19405
John Loring 26 703 18265
Scott Tyler 8 2188 17502
John O'Dowd 5 2816 14079
AJ Gemperline 7 1607 11247



Cannondale Recall

James White, John Allen


The Cannondale CAADX cyclocross bicycle has been recalled. Models from 2013 to 2016 have a life-threatening issue with the front fork splitting with no warning. Cannondale will replace the fork

for free but no one should be riding this bike until they take it to a Cannondale dealer and replace the fork. The forks are back ordered so mid-February is the earliest you will get the bike back. For more information, check the following articles.





CRW Safety Coordinator John Allen adds the following note:


Problems with forks are not limited to particular Cannondale models. The addition of disc brakes without adapting other parts has created hazards. Trek already recalled quick releases with handles that can catch in the openings in a disc rotor -- but the replacements were of the inferior, high-friction, low clamping force external-cam type, see https://www.sheldonbrown.com/qr-disk-brake.html. Now, what does this have to do with forks? -- you may wonder. 


OK -- because of where it clamps the disc, a front disc brake produces a very high force that tends to pull the hub out of the dropout. This force, alternating with weight load, can loosen the quick release bit by bit -- you may notice that the lever has rotated. Finally, the lever flips open and the brake yanks the wheel out-- in spite of any secondary retention devices ("lawyer tabs").   This problem comes on faster with an external-cam quick release! The switchover from slotted to through-axle forks represents a delayed response to this problem.  If your bicycle has a front disc brake and a fork with open-ended dropout slots, then at the very least, if the quick release has an external cam, replace it with one that has an enclosed cam (see comparison at https://www.sheldonbrown.com/skewers.html#choices).  Also pay close and frequent attention to keeping the quick release good and tight. Shimano makes excellent ones, but when you buy one, also check for how far it opens!




Ride Leader Training and Kickoff

Mary Kernan

Ride Leader Training and the Annual Ride Kickoff are scheduled for Saturday, April 11 in Lexington. Training will be from 9:00 - 12:00 and is appropropiate for anyone who's curious about what it takes to lead a ride, wants to become a ride leader or has led rides and wants additional training. We'll have lunch from 12:00 - 1:00 followed by the Kickoff from 1:00 - 2:30. The Kickoff is for all current ride leaders and we'll discuss plans for the upcoming season, the great benefits and incentives we have for those who lead rides and then implore everyone to post a ride to the calendar.
More details and registration information will be forthcoming.  This is a great chance to catch up with some awesome CRW volunteers; please be sure to mark your calendar!



Orphan Rides

Mary Kernan

The CRW route library has a huge number of rides that, for a variety of reasons, we no longer use. We'd like to revive some of these orphan rides. If there's a route you'd like to see back on the calendar, please send as much information as you can including ride name, start location, GPS #, etc. to our VP of Rides, Mary Kernan, at mary.kernan [at] gmail.com. We'll do our best to try and match routes to ride leaders. 


Ride With GPS: Mobile Route Planner

Eli Post

Over the years we’ve worked directly with the management of Ride With GPS, and many of the features you experience are the result of our discussions. We won’t take time to list them, but they keep making improvements and we are happy to report on a new RWGPS feature that evolved without our help and is marvelous in its scope and innovation.

RWGPS says “this is probably the biggest feature we've done since we released the mobile apps themselves back in 2014. What they call a “mobile route planner” is a wonderful feature that lets you plan routes on your cell phone and other mobile devices. For those of us who regularly plan routes, the mobile app is a totally different experience, and must be tried to fully appreciate it. You will have to update your app, and it will be worth your time. According to RWGPS "The new mobile route planner is fully compatible with the Ride with GPS web-based planner. It includes support for cuesheets, points of interest, interactive elevation profiles, drag-and-drop editing, and climb-aware estimated riding time. Estimated time is personally tailored to each rider based off their riding history."

We will report more fully on the mobile route planner in a future WheelPeople issue, but we would like to hear first from those with experience with the mobile app who try out the mobile route planner. Let us know the pros and cons so our report to the members contains firsthand knowledge. You should share your experience and contact robertgwolf [at] gmail.com (Bob Wolf) who is CRW’s liaison with RWGPS. 

Eli Post is Editor of WheelPeople.



80 is Just a Number

Connie Farb

80 is Just a Number

If ever I feel like I’m getting old and wonder if I can keep riding, I need only look to a few of my friends for inspiration that I have many years left.

Ken Hablow will turn 80 at the end of this year but for the last couple of years, he’s logged over 8000 miles per season!! He chooses his almost daily routes based on the weather and his inclinations, organizing friends to come along. He recently underwent a serious knee surgery, but his only thought is when he can get back on the bike. 

Fred Newton is just over 80 and continues to ride with the Wednesday Wheelers and other groups, even after recovering from a bad crash a couple of years ago. Before the accident, Fred had been schooling riders 30 years his junior on hills, but he’s happy now to still be able to get out with friends. No doubt he’s gaining strength as the miles go by.

Our friend Fred Kresse was famous for his birthday ride: up until he was 83, he rode his age in miles every year on his cool birth date, 10/20/30. Yes, he road 83 miles on his 83rd birthday, a remarkable and impressive accomplishment. Fred had to change from riding one long loop to doing a series of 9 miles laps so that more of his younger friends would be able to ride some of the route with him.

And then there’s our 78 year old friend George Stromberg. George has a chalet in Vermont, a place he built with his brother 50 years ago. The chalet is on the road that goes over Brandon Gap and this summer, George said that before he turned 80, he wanted to ride the “LAMB” ride. LAMB is an acronym for Lincoln, Appalachian, Middlebury, and Brandon, 4 “gaps”, or passes, in the Green Mountains. The LAMB ride is 110 miles and about 9,500 feet of climbing, traversing the gaps the hard way, that is, from the steeper side, making it a real knee buster. The ride includes what is reputed to be the steepest paved mile in the country: Lincoln gap approached from the east, with a 24% maximum grade, and average of 16% for 1.2 miles. Not being able to resist a challenge, my husband Mark and I decided to accompany George on his quest. I suggested we do the 4 gaps, but from the easier direction (I was thinking of those knees) but the guys would hear nothing of it!

We left George’s place about 6:45 am on an August morning and, about 10 hours later, we were back, mission accomplished. We all felt good and celebrated our accomplishment, especially impressive for George.

I thought that was the end of gaps for a while, but while we were out on the ride, Mark got to talking to some locals and learned of a 6 gap ride, adding Rochester and Roxbury Gaps. I brushed him aside when he first brought up the idea of riding all 6 gaps, but the seed had been planted and couldn’t be dislodged. Of course, I couldn’t let Mark do the ride by himself, so we started scheming to go back up to Vermont. Then George got wind of our plan – and of course he had to come with us!  So the first Friday in September we set off at 6:45am. 130 miles, 12,500 feet and 12 ½ hours later, we arrived back at the start with all 6 gaps under our belt. 78 year old George had no trouble completing the ride, being especially strong on the climbs, and he still looked fresh at the end of it. We all think there is a picture of him in an attic somewhere getting older but the man himself still has the legs of a 30 year old! Bravo George!

Eli Post turned 81 but says he is only nine-squared as he believes age doesn’t stop you from riding, but just changes the kind of riding you do. He no longer does 40-50 milers routinely but is happy to be out on the road taking a leisurely 15 mile ride through the neighborhood. He recently volunteered to lead rides for the Senior Center in his town, and discovered “they can’t keep up with me.”

So if you think you need to slow down due to age, think again! We have many older riders in our club to prove you wrong and inspire you to keep going.

Connie Farb is a CRW Ride Leader, and has held numerous volunteer positions with the Club. She thanks Mark Sevier, Eli Post and Annemarie Altman for contributions to this article.  





Preventive Maintenance

Jack Donohue


I'm a firm believer in preventive maintenance.  Unfortunately I'm not a firm follower of this belief.


Case in point: care and feeding of the winter bike.  I know from years of riding in the winter that the bike I ride in these conditions gets in really rough shape by the end of the winter.  Nothing more corrosive than the mix of water, sand and salt that covers the roads, and hence bike, for most of the winter. On the really sloppy days I will attempt to remove most of it by squirting water on the affected parts after my ride.  The chain is especially vulnerable being made of steel and prone to rust.  

I always plan to do a thorough cleaning after the last winter ride before retiring it.  Problem is determining when the last winter ride occurs. When nice weather finally arrives, I zealously jump on my good bike and forget poor old winter bike completely.

Until next winter...  When I haul it out of estivation (look that one up) I find that sitting all summer covered with salt and sand has not done good things for the bike.

I find the chain a bright orange color since it is covered in rust.  It also has many frozen links from quietly rusting in place all summer.  So getting it rideable again is a major project. My first tool of choice is a wire brush, which is fairly effective in removing the surface rust.  Then there are the frozen links. The ones that spent the summer around the cogs are pretty sure to want to remain in that shape. So this requires finding them and trying to coerce them into being more flexible.  This is done by grabbing the links and forcibly moving them back and forth until they move on their own. You know you've done the job right when you can spin the chainrings without the chain skipping or seizing.


Once you achieve this happy state, next thing is to lube the chain to ward off future rust.  I've got an ancient container of something called "Syn Lube" (sounds dirty) that has the consistency of molasses.  Don't let anyone tell you that you should use light lubes for performance or whatever. In the winter, you want something as thick as possible to keep the crap off (salt, sand and water).


Next thing to check are the brakes.  Many of my brakesets that have been subjected to the elements will engage just fine, but never release.  Fortunately mine were not in this condition. I was also happy to find the shifting worked very well, better than some of my summer bikes.


My front tire is studded, for icy conditions, but the studs are pretty much worn down to be flush with the tire, so they are mostly ornamental now.
So, with several hours cajoling, I'm good to go.  Now if I could just remember to do my preventive maintenance at the end of this season.
Jack Donohue is CRW Webmaster.



Photo of the Month

The proverb "a picture is worth a thousand words" obviously means a picture may convey an idea more quickly and effectively than the written word. And so we start a new WheelPeople feature "Photo of the Month" where we will share a photo that conveys the excitement, joy or camaraderie of biking.  In January we ran our traditional New Year's Day ride and the riders stopped for a photo shoot in front of the USS Constitution, and captured an image that conveys how special our home town is, and the many magic scenes we can enjoy Larger Image



Tour de Trump

Eli Post

Any reference to the current occupant of the White house raises multiple hot button issues, and it is difficult to thread the needle when bringing up even an innocuous matter concerning him. However, I decided to report on a bit of cycling history, which may be of interest to our members, involving the President who was at one time the sponsor of a biking event.

In 1989 Trump promised three years of support for a “Tour de Trump,” a 10-stage mid-Atlantic states race widely welcomed as a possible rival to the Tour de France. Trump’s involvement was minimal and it became more of a branding exercise than any display of intrinsic interest in cycling, including a Baltimore Harbor criterium around the yacht Trump Princess. It ended in an Atlantic City-Brigantine time-trial finishing in front of Trump properties on the boardwalk. The tour was plagued with operational difficulties and a protest demonstration at New Paltz, recounted in the local presses and cycling magazines like Velo News. The 1990 Tour’s last stage went from Northampton to Boston. A large crowd witnessed a wet finish in Copley Square, but the local press was not enthused. Globe sports writer, Dan Shaughnessy, called it “the worst named sporting event in the history of sports.” Another Globe writer, cyclist Susan Bickelhaupt, who regularly covered the Tour de France, and the Women’s Tour de France, was even more critical, "Why didn't he just call it the 'Tour de Me!' and, "To top it off, the T-Man couldn't even see fit to hop onto his own shuttle [Trump Shuttle] and say hello to the cyclists.” In the end, Mexican cycling legend Raúl Alcalá won in the overall standing. Two Soviet racers finished 4th and 5th, and three Americans, all Coloradans, finished 6th 7th and 9th. Sadly, no New Englanders raced. Trump failed to show up at any of the 1990 stages, and as his financial empire teetered, he abandoned the race, a year short, and it was recast as the Tour du Pont—never again to come to Boston.

For more information you could consult a 1989 New York Time article, Wikipedia, or other news sources or just enjoy this remote connection to cycling.  A lengthier rendition of the story is in Larry Finison’s new book: Boston’s 20th Century Bicycling Renaissance.





UMass-Boston Archives

Lorenz Finison

Help Us Fill in the Gaps

The Friends of the Bicycling History Collections at UMass-Boston Archives (a dozen members including  CRW members John Allen, Larry Finison, Tom Fortmann, and Ellen Gugel), are filling in the gaps in some historical collections. For example, we want to complete our collection of Velo-News.  If you have any of these issues let us know via email to: BicyclingHistoryFriends [at] gmail.com (BicyclingHistoryFriends [at] gmail.com)

Missing Velo-News Issues from 1970s-1980s

  1. Volume 6: 1-2;
  2. Volume 7: 2;
  3. Volume 10:5,9;
  4. Volume 13: -11,13,15;
  5. Volume 16:6,8-10,12-15,17-18;
  6. Volume 17:15-18;

Need all issues 1989 and after.

The archives already have a complete run of CRW newsletters from the 1960s on.​​


Looking Back

Lisa Najavits

50 Years Ago in CRW

July 1969 was the Summer of Love in San Francisco, but here in New England, CRW's newletter extolled a Rockport Bike Rally hosted by the League of American Wheelmen. "Cape Ann was filled with cyclists following marked routes… Many high wheelers came and had their own tour… Rockport was dazzled by a parade led by Dr. Paul Dudley White and Little Miss Heart and including twenty high wheelers and other antique cycles, five unicycles, and hundreds of other bicycles." Well, good to know the "high wheelers" were actual bicycles.  





The Athlete’s Kitchen

Nancy Clark

The Athlete’s Kitchen

Copyright: Nancy Clark MS RD CSSD Jan 2020

Winning the War Against Snack Attacks

“I wish I didn’t have snack attacks. I eat way too much chocolate…”
“I eat only healthy foods during the day. My snacking problem starts the minute I get home from work. Chips are my downfall...”

“I try hard to not snack after dinner, but I have a bad habit of getting into the ice cream...”

     Day after day, I hear athletes complain about their (seemingly) uncontrollable snacking habits. Some believe they are hopelessly, and helplessly, addicted to chocolate. Others believe eating between meals is sinful & fattening; snacking is just plain wrong. Some equate snacking to doing drugs. They bemoan they are addicted to sugar and can’t eat just one cookie. Snacking is all or nothing.

    Despite the popular belief that snacking is bad, the truth is that snacking can be helpful for active people. Athletes get hungry and need to eat at least every three to four hours. That means, if you have breakfast at 7:00, you’ll be ready for food by 10:00 or 11:00, particularly if you exercise in the morning. By 3:00 p.m., you will again want more food. For students and others who exercise mid to late afternoon, a pre-exercise snack is very important to provide the fuel needed to have an effective workout.

     The trick is to make snacks a part of your sports diet—preferably with an early lunch at 11:00 that replaces the morning snack. (Why wait to eat at noon when you are hungry now?) and a second lunch instead of afternoon sweets, to energize the end of your work or school day. A planned wholesome meal is far better than succumbing to sugary snacks or stimulant drinks.

    Snacking problems commonly occur when athletes under-eat meals, only to over-indulge in snacks. Inadequate breakfasts and lunches can easily explain why snacks can contribute 20 to 50 percent of total calories for the day. Fingers crossed those snacks are nutrient-rich!

     To easily and painlessly resolve nutrient-poor snack attacks, eat before you get too hungry. Hungry athletes (and all people, for that matter) tend to crave sweets (and fats) and can easily eat too many donuts, chocolate chip cookies, candy bars—foods with sugar (for quick energy) and fat (for concentrated calories).That honking big muffin can easily win out over a piece of fruit, hands down!

    Athletes who report they “eat well during the day but get into trouble with snacks at night” need to understand the problem is not the evening snacks but having eaten too little during the active part of their day. Snacking is the symptom; getting too hungry is commonly the problem. One way to eliminate a mid-morning snack attack is to have a protein-rich, satiating breakfast (such as 3 eggs + avocado toast + a latte for 500-600 calories) as opposed to just a packet of oatmeal (only 100-150 calories). Enjoy soup + sandwich for lunch (500-700 calories), not just a salad with grilled chicken (only 300 calories).  

Identifying hunger

     Do you spend too much time thinking about food all day? If so, your brain is telling you it wants some fuel. Thinking about food nudges you to eat. If you were to never think about food, you’d waste away to nothing.

     Other hunger signals include feeling droopy, moody, cold, bored (I’m eating this popcorn just because I’m bored), unable to focus, and easily irritated. If you fail to honor these hunger signals, they will escalate into a growling stomach (too hungry) and an all-out snack attack. Prevent hunger; eat enough during the active part of your day.  

     Please remember that hunger does not mean “Oh no, I’m going to eat and get fat.” Hunger is simply a request for fuel. Just as a light on the dashboard of your car signals when your car needs gas, your brain sends you hunger signals when your body is low on fuel. To not eat when you are hungry is abusive to your body (and mind) and puts your body into muscle-breakdown mode, which is counter-productive for athletes. 

Losing weight without daytime hunger

     Even if you want to lose undesired body fat, you should eat enough to feel satiated during the active part of your day. You can lose weight (“diet”) at night when you are sleeping. This is opposite to how most athletes eat: They diet by day, then attack the snacks at night. They eat the whole pint of ice cream, too many chocolates, and/or non-stop chips. Winning the war against hunger requires white knuckles. Not sustainable and not fun. The better bet is to fuel by day and diet at night by eliminating high-calorie evening snacks.

     Dieting athletes commonly report the most concerns about snack attacks. As one rower complained, “I’m hungry all the time.” If that sounds like you, and you feel hungry within the hour after you eat a meal, experiment with eating heartier meals. For help figuring out a food plan that works for you, I encourage you to meet with a registered dietitian (RD) who specializes in sports nutrition. The referral network at www.SCANdpg.org can help you find a local sports nutrition professional.

Winning the war against snack attacks

     I encourage my clients to convert snacktime into mealtime. Instead of reaching for cookies, candy, caffeine, and other typical snack foods, they opt for a peanut butter & banana sandwich for an early lunch at 10:00 or 11:00ish. (As long as they have a flexible eating schedule, no need to eat a donut just to bridge the gap to the more traditional eating time of noon.) They then can enjoy a later second lunch at 2:00 to 3:00ish, which gives them energy to be productive throughout the last hours of the workday. 

      By enjoying two lunches instead of snack foods + one lunch, they generally end up eating more quality calories and fewer sweets. If their meal schedule is inflexible, I nudge them to at least snack on mini-meals instead of sweets:

• Whole-grain English muffin + nut butter

• Oatmeal cooked in milk + dates

• Hummus+ baby carrots.

The benefits of being well fed are fewer snack attacks, more energy, and easier weight management. Give it a try?

 Sports Nutritionist Nancy Clark, MS, RD counsels both casual and competitive athletes in the Boston-area (Newton; 617-795-1875). The new 6th edition of her best-selling Sports Nutrition Guidebook offers additional information on how to manage snack attacks. Visit www.NancyClarkRD.com. For her online workshop, visit NutritionSportsExerciseCEUs.com.



Dr. Mirkin's: More Controversy on Eggs

Egg yolks are among the richest food sources of cholesterol, and almost 100 million North American adults have high blood cholesterol levels, signifying increased risk for heart attacks. Most of the cholesterol in your body is made by your liver and less comes from the food that you eat. When you eat cholesterol-containing foods, your liver makes less cholesterol, but dietary cholesterol still can raise blood cholesterol. A recent study analyzed 211 research papers on eggs and found that more than 85 percent of them reported that eating eggs raises blood cholesterol (American J of Lifestyle Med, Dec 11, 2019). However, 49 percent of industry-funded papers further reported conclusions that conflicted with the research results, compared to only 13 percent in research papers not receiving industry funding. In the last ten years, 60 percent of the studies on eggs and cholesterol have been funded by special interest industry groups such as the American Egg Board.

For example, college students who ate two eggs with breakfast for five days each week for 14 weeks had a rise of the harmful blood LDL cholesterol of 15 mg/dl (milligrams per deciliter). An egg contains approximately 186 mg of cholesterol. The authors of the study, which was sponsored by the egg industry, concluded that “an additional 400 mg/day of dietary cholesterol did not negatively impact blood cholesterol,” so a student who has his bad LDL cholesterol rise from a reportedly safe 90 mg/dl to an unsafe 105 mg/dl would not be warned by his doctor that he is now in the dangerous zone for blood cholesterol, even though the current recommendation is to treat everyone with a blood LDL cholesterol greater than 100.


Other Studies on Eggs
The controversy over eggs has been going on for years. See my earlier reports such as:
Eggs Do Not Prevent Heart Attacks and Strokes (from 2018)
The Latest on Eggs (from 2017)
Eggs: New Review of Studies (from 2016)
At the end of this article I have provided a lengthy list of studies on eggs, with particular emphasis on why diabetics may be advised to avoid or limit eggs. Note that in all of these studies, egg yolks are the issue; there is little controversy over eating egg whites or egg white products such as Egg Beaters.

Concerns about Lecithin
Other components of eggs, beyond cholesterol and saturated fat, may be responsible for the frequent association of egg consumption with increased risk for heart attacks. Eggs, meat and milk all contain lecithin, which is broken down into another chemical called choline. Your intestinal bacteria use choline as a source for their energy and then release a breakdown product that is converted by your liver to TMAO (trimethylamine oxide). People with high amounts of TMAO appear to have increased risk for heart attacks. See my report on the Latest Research on TMAO for a full explanation. Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic showed that after eating two hard-boiled eggs, people develop a high rise in blood TMAO levels because lecithin in eggs is converted to TMAO very quickly (N Engl J Med, April 25, 2013; 368:1575-1584). They also showed that the intestinal bacteria produced the precursor of TMAO because giving antibiotics to people and animals before they ate an egg prevented the TMAO from being formed.

Comparing Eggs to Other Breakfast Foods
Sugar and other refined carbohydrates may put you at higher risk for heart attacks and premature death than eating saturated fats and cholesterol in eggs, meat and dairy products. It makes no sense whatever to replace eggs with:
• pancakes covered with sugary maple syrup
• most dry breakfast cereals that are made by grinding whole grains into flour, removing most of the fiber, and adding lots of sugar
• large servings of bakery products such as bagels and muffins
• sausages, bacon and other processed meats, which may increase risk for cancers as well as heart attacks

My Recommendations
The healthfulness of your overall diet is far more important than whether or not you eat eggs on occasion (Nutrients, 2015 Sep 3;7(9):7399-420). I believe that most North Americans should limit eggs to about three or four a week. If your bad LDL cholesterol is over 100, or you have heart problems or diabetes, I recommend that you should avoid or severely restrict eggs (Am J Clin Nutr, 2013;98:146-59).

My easy, healthful breakfast is cooked oatmeal, which I flavor with nuts and fruits. Nuts are minimally fattening, even though they contain a lot of fat. Fresh fruits and most dried fruits do not have added sugar, and they provide soluble fiber that helps to prevent a high rise in blood sugar. If you don’t like oatmeal or if you want more variety, other whole grains (such as barley, quinoa or brown rice) can be cooked and served the same way. Diana goes farther afield and eats black beans, chick peas or other legumes for breakfast every day. You do not need to limit yourself to the traditional breakfast foods — you can choose from all of the anti-inflammatory foods.

Additional References
More studies on whether eggs increase risk for heart attacks:

• A review of 28 studies reported since 2000 showed that compared to people who do not eat eggs, egg eaters have higher blood levels of total cholesterol (5.5 mg/dL) and the bad LDL cholesterol (J Am Coll Nutr, Feb 2018;37(2):99-110).
• A review of six studies of 29,615 adults followed for 17.5 years showed that dietary cholesterol is associated with increased risk for heart attacks, and death from all causes, and each additional half egg consumed per day is associated with an increased risk for heart attacks and death (JAMA, March 19, 2019;321(11):1081-1095). The authors cited previous studies showing how controversial the literature is on whether eggs cause heart attacks.
• In healthy men and women, eating three or more eggs per week was associated with increased size and number of plaques in arteries and the more eggs they eat, the more extensive were the plaques that formed in their arteries (Atherosclerosis, October 2012;224:469–473). However, other authors found no association (Am J Clin Nutr, Mar 2016;103(3):895-901).
• Replacing eggs with plant-based protein led to a 19 percent reduction in death risk (JAMA Internal Medicine, October 2016). This study followed 130,000 men and women for 36 years.
• Ultrasound tests showed that people who eat more than three eggs a week have increased plaques in their arteries compared to those who ate two or fewer eggs a week, even after other risks such as smoking were ruled out (Atherosclerosis, 2012 Oct;224(2):469-73).

Studies suggesting that diabetics and pre-diabetics should restrict eggs:
• Researchers reviewed studies published between 2005 and 2015 and concluded that “up to seven eggs per week can safely be consumed, but in patients with established cardiovascular diseases or type 2 diabetes, only with special emphasis on a prudent diet and proper medical treatment.” (Nutrition, published online September 27, 2017).
• In healthy men and women, no association was found between eating one egg per day regularly and risk for heart attacks and strokes, but for diabetics eating one egg per day was associated with increased risk for heart attacks (Am J Clin Nutr, 2013;98:146–159).
• In healthy men, three or more eggs per week was linked to higher levels of sugar stuck on cells (HbA1C) that measures cell damage from high blood sugar levels, but no increased risk for heart attacks or premature death; and in diabetics, eating three eggs per week was associated with higher blood sugar levels and increased risk of stroke (European Journal of Nutrition, Nov 2, 2017).
• In diabetics, three or more eggs was associated with increased heart attack risk, but in healthy men and women, there was no increased risk (BMJ, 2013 Jan 7;346:e8539).
• In healthy men and women, six eggs or more per week increased risk for diabetes (Diabetes Care, Feb 2009;32(2):295–300).
• Healthy North Americans who eat more than two eggs per week appear to be at increased risk for diabetes, but studies from Spain, France, Finland and Japan showed no increased risk for diabetes (Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Jan 6, 2016).
• A review of 17 studies failed to show increased risk for heart attacks in people who eat eggs (BMJ, January 2013). However, regular egg eaters who are diabetic suffered 150 percent more heart attacks than diabetics who ate eggs sporadically.