For half a century body monitoring wearable tech in sports has been all about one innovation: the heart rate monitor.
Finnish firm Polar in 1977 introduced a wireless HRM that revolutionised and popularised live-tracking of a key physiological biomarker: heart beats per minute. It had been done before, but only in labs with bulky, wiry machines. Polar’s wireless wearable strapped a really useful data gathering contraption onto the sternum of anyone interested in improving and optimising their performance. Sports science took a giant leap in 1977.
Until the advent of the power meter in the late 1980s, heart rate was the key metric for live-monitoring endurance sports performance.
These metrics remain vital statistics few competitive cyclists, runners or triathletes would go without (hands up who doesn’t own a power meter?) but there are some new kids on the wearable tech bloc and interest in them is ratcheting up fast among pro teams and athletes and into the amateur ranks.
Could blood glucose, core body temperature and blood O2 monitors become indispensable fields on your chosen GPS unit? Just this week the near-standard Garmin-backed ANT+ ultra-low power (ULP) wireless protocol that allows devices like GPSs and sensors to speak to each other, added ‘core temperature’ as a beta profile field for developers to work with, so it may not be long before it officially joins other ANT+ device profiles like ‘power’ and the lesser known ‘muscle oxygen’.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has refuted a beta-glucan-based health claim from Nestlé – the Swiss food giant’s first EU health claim submission since 2010. Nestlé’s dossier linked oat and barley beta-glucan-fortified breakfast cereals with blood glucose management – but it was left to cry over spilt cereal milk after EFSA’s 16-strong health claims panel (plus four advisors) baulked over dosage and format.
A Nestlé spokesperson tells NutritionInsight “we’re disappointed” but highlighted “the positive feedback whereby EFSA confirmed the validity of the findings of one of our clinical studies”.
Pic: Eliseo Hernández
Use your noggin: Moving meditation
Physiologists, neurologists and other scientists have explored and documented why exercise forms like bike riding are so beneficial for mental health: from mood-boosting cannabinoid and endorphin release to the proliferation of proteins like the onerously titled brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and wonderfully named compound, noggin – both of which promote brain cell growth and better cognitive fluidity (which can help reduce stress).
Cycling has also been shown to reduce levels of stress-inducing chemicals like cortisol and adrenaline.
More prosaic benefits include cardiovascular regulation, skill and goal attainment (which boosts confidence and can reduce stress) and communing with nature and other riders.
“Just cruising on your bike, feeling the wind, even the rain, hearing the birds and just trying to connect with the feelings of your legs pedalling will be of great help for boosting your mind,” says Luxembourg-based Delphine Dard-Pourrat, a behavioural economist, yoga teacher, cyclist and fellow Haute Route bike race ambassador.
Frustrated vertical farmers will launch a global sustainability standard in 2021 after years of campaigning failed to budge the EU from its soil-based organic fixation.
The German-based Association for Vertical Farming (AVF), which has about 150 members worldwide, will present the standard/seal to its members at a September meeting in Munich, AVF chairwoman Christine Zimmermann-Loessl tells FoodIngredientsFirst.
It is intended the certification will be in play by year’s end.
“For many years, we have tried to explain the benefits of vertical farming to regulators in the EU and other countries; to show we are an ally of the organic movement, not a competitor or an enemy,” Zimmermann-Loessl says.
The first-ever pan-European good manufacturing practice (GMP) for sports nutrition is the topic of hot debate as industry weighs up whether it will help enforce quality and weed out bad actors lacing products with doping analogs like steroids and stimulants.
Specialized Nutrition Europe (SNE) and The European Federation of Associations of Health Product Manufacturers (EHPM) argue the voluntary GMP will build confidence in the sector among elite and other athletes.
However, the European Specialized Sports Nutrition Alliance (ESSNA), Europe’s largest sports nutrition-focused industry body, says the standard is ill-defined and will sow confusion.