SCAN Symposium 2016: Session Recaps

Woof.  I arrived home from Portland 3 weeks ago and I haven’t touched my poor laptop since then, except to post this Recipe Redux Challenge recipe.  Needless to say, my SCAN Symposium session recap is a tad bit late!  If you’re more of a foodie/travel junkie, you can click back to check out my adventures in Portland here, here and here. If you’re a nutrition geek like myself, you’ll want to stay here for today’s post.  



So, SCAN.  This was my first time attending the annual symposium for the Sports Cardiovascular and Wellness Nutrition DPG and it definitely lived up to the hype.  The theme was “Prescriptions for Sustainable Health, Performance and Practice”, which meant there was a good balance of presentations on sports, wellness and sustainability. Some of the sessions I really wanted to sit in on were concurrent, so I had to choose one over another, but luckily SCAN friends were tweeting along with #ScanSymposium so I was able to follow along on both!  Since I want to share a little bit of the symposium here with you, here are some tidbits and takeaways from my favorite presentations:

The Science Behind the Multi-Systemic Health and Performance Benefits of Exercise in Aging Athletes MARK TARNOPOLSKY, MD, PHD, FRCPC

  • Direct quote: “Running is good for you.” There you have it, friends. #Research
  • When it comes to aging, exercise does NOT cause more oxidative stress.  Interestingly, exercise actually helps to lower oxidative stress by the up regulation of enzymes.
  • If you’re aging (side note: we all are!), you should be doing both endurance and resistance exercise.  Endurance exercise has the metabolic and cardiovascular benefit, while resistance exercise prevents against sarcopenia (loss of muscle). 


Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: Empowering Patients to Make Changes That Last
Mary Jo Parker, MS, RDN, CDN
Sherry Farrow, PhD

  • This session covered mindfulness-based behavior therapy ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy)
  • ACT helps clients to accept their thoughts and feelings, connect with their values and the present moment and take effective action
  • It helps to identify that feelings aren’t good or bad…they just ARE.
  • The goal is to bring behavior more in line with values.  You’re not succeeding or “failing” (as you may feel like you are on diets), but helps to identify whether you’re living more or less consistently in line with your values.

How Sustainability is Shaping the Shopping Cart

  • The concept of sustainability is accelerating for many reasons including the synergy with nutrition science, food and diet trends and the social media amplification.
  • Sustainable eating impacts and is impacted by many factors, like nutrition, the environment, the economy, the food supply, etc.
  • To consumers, the word “fresh” is the ultimate symbol of quality of food.
  • Consumers are willing to pay a premium for sustainability at the grocery store.
  • There is a movement toward reducing food waste (caused by rejection of imperfect produce, sell-by-dates, etc) with businesses like Imperfect Produce CSA and We Food grocery store in Denmark.Sustainability

When “Being Healthy” Goes Too Far: Assessment and Treatment for Orthorexia and Pathological Exercise

  • Neither orthorexia or pathological exercise have an official diagnosis code or standardized treatment.
  • Starving to death and exercising to death have the same effect on the body.
  • When it comes to treating orthorexia, education is not the issue.  The focus should be on behaviors and actions.
  • Higher levels of care (beyond the scope of a Registered Dietitian) may be needed in cases of orthorexia/pathological exercise.


Controversies in Fueling Ultra-Endurance Athletes: Insights from early humans to the drive-in window *IMO the most entertaining/interesting session of the conference
Brent Ruby, PhD, FACSM

  • It was exceedingly hard for our ancestors to maintain energy and water budgets–they weren’t running/”exercising” for fun.  Elevated TEE (total energy expenditure) would have been due to MESH (migration, escape, scavenging, hunting).
  • During the Badwater Ultramarathon (135 miles in Death Valley), an athlete can experience 100% total body water turnover! <—INSANE.  That’s 0.8 Liters per hour!   
  • When it comes to recovery, environmental impacts (hot and cold) are more influential than food and drink in ultra-endurance athletes.  

As you can see, there was a lot of inspiration and information flowing at SCAN.  The best part of all was being able to network with other dietitians in the sports and wellness arena.  I loved being able to meet and reconnect with my fave internet RDs, like Steph, Cara, Kelly, Heather and more.  SCAN definitely reinvigorated my sports nutrition love and got me excited about the future of my practice.