49ers Dietitian Discusses NFL Athletes and Emerging Nutrition Science
NFL players hit harder, run faster, and jump higher than ever before. That means they need all the help they can get in fueling peak performance and recovery. For the past three years, the 49ers have looked to Jordan Mazur to provide it. We sat down with Jordan, who’s one of our Momentous Performance Engineers, to get his take on a wide range of topics – everything from the need for clean supplements to his people-first approach to the promise of genetic testing.
Video Summary — Watch the whole video for the full interview.
0:10 — What are the biggest nutrition misconceptions you see in the NFL?
JM: There's so much false information out there. I hear comments every day like, “Carbs are bad for me,” or, “I'm going gluten-free because I read it on a blog,”Even pro athletes are susceptible to such things.
Sometimes an athlete has never had the opportunity to learn about nutrition. Others come in with a wealth of information that they’ve researched on their own. You have to meet them where they’re at.
2:07 - “How important is individualization in nutrition?”
JM: If we lined up five people who are all 6 foot 2, 185 pounds and put them on the same diet, they're going to respond differently because there are so many more components outside of nutrition that can affect your health.
2:50 - “How important is trust between the athlete and dietician?”
JM: I’m a big relationship building person. There's also a big psychology component to nutrition. I can spend a long time getting to know a guy before I actually intervene with his nutrition.
3:46 - “What tools are you using to personalize your nutrition prescriptions?”
JM: We’re finding out that a lot of autoimmune diseases and different things are affected directly based on your gut microbiome, and also by stress and nutrition. We're also finding out more and more about the role of nutrigenomics, taking a look at your genes, and seeing what your DNA makeup says about you.
4:49 - “How important is it that your supplements are NSF certified?”
JM: With a certification like NSF, you're trusting that what's on the label is actually in the bottle. Without any testing, you don't know. We’re still seeing professional athletes testing positive for PEDS and they blame it on a supplement that they took. There are so many preventative measures and quality supplements to stop that from happening, like third-party testing.
5:59 - “What shifts are you seeing in the food industry?”
JM: For so long it was processed, cheap, and fast food. The youner generation and baby boomers are our largest populations who are now more educated about their nutrition. Consumers are demanding better foods indirectly by consuming less of what is bad for them.
6:34 - “How do consumers influence the products companies produce?”
Companies try to trick people into thinking their products are healthy by using words like “natural”, “non-GMO”, and “USDA organic.” Young people are demanding better products with no trans fats, less sugar, no high fructose corn syrup. It’s one of the positives of social media, the internet, blogs, and documentaries. We’re making change in the food industry.
8:09 - “Nutrition is just part of the equation - What other factors affect performance?”
JM: People get so busy that they put nutrition on the back burner. But it's not just about food and the way that we fuel our body. We need to start thinking about other ways to be healthy.