Myths about Athlete Nutrition
These days, we seem to be exposed to nutritional information from all sides. Instagram, podcasts, Facebook, fellow athletes – no shortage of nutrition “experts”, full of advice on what you should do (or never do) to refuel as an athlete is. Nutritional beliefs that were once passed down by word of mouth are now spreading like wildfire through these routes, so every time I type a question into Google (“What is the best energy gel for triathlon?” Or “Should I take a lower energy gel?” carbohydrates? ”), which presents a large number of answers, each of which claims to be true.
While there’s a lot of bad information out there about sports nutrition, there’s also some great information that you should be aware of and apply to nutrition. Delve into the pseudoscience behind his four common athlete nutrition myths and discover the truth about how to refuel your body to maximize your endurance performance. prize.
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Nutrition myth #1: Eating at night is bad for you
You’ve probably heard about not eating after a certain point in the evening, after sunset, after dinner, or after 8pm. Depending on the source, the general sentiment is that if you eat at night, you will gain weight and gain weight. Ruin your sleep. But for a dedicated athlete, this restrictive mindset can be dangerous. “Can I eat again after dinner?” Yes, of course you can. And in some cases you should.
Many athletes need additional calories, but are limited in how much they can pack during the day.we have lots of research We show that an energy deficit (when athletes consume too little energy in their diet relative to their training volume) can lead to performance and health concerns, including premature fatigue during training. Increased breakdown of muscle and bone. Snacking before bed is very unlikely to make you gain weight if you haven’t already met your calorie needs earlier in the day. Eating late at night won’t cause your body to store excess fat unless you’re consuming more calories than you burn in a day. It’s a fairly simple calculation.
It is important to note that most adverse studies of late-night eating have been conducted on general populations with conditions such as obesity. Combining nighttime breastfeeding with high-intensity exercise training is more likely to reverse the negative effects. a study in the Journal of Medicine and Science in Sport and Exercise We have shown that protein taken just before bedtime is properly absorbed and digested, increases nighttime muscle protein synthesis, and can enhance exercise recovery in athletes exercising later in the day. For endurance athletes preparing for an early morning workout, strategically snacking before bed can help increase carbohydrate stores for the next day.
Regarding sleep disturbance, there is a lack of adequate research showing that eating moderate amounts late in the day leads to poor night sleep. It’s true that rumbling your stomach doesn’t lead to a good night’s sleep.
For many athletes, it’s better to just make sure their overall nutritional needs are met, regardless of the calories they consume when it’s dark outside, rather than focusing on meal times. So if you’ve been training hard and find yourself holding a bowl of cereal at 10pm, don’t blame yourself for it.
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Nutrition Myth #2: Athletes Must Eat Carbs
For many triathletes, carb-loading before big races is a popular attack plan and a familiar ritual. But most of the time it’s an unnecessary nutritional strategy for performance enhancement.
The idea of carb-loading is to maximize your body’s glycogen stores (in other words, stored energy) before a long training session or race. But as long as athletes are getting enough carbs in their daily diet, there’s no need to ‘up the carbs’ with a heap of spaghetti on the dinner plate the night before the race. If you are already on a fairly high carbohydrate diet (5-10 grams per kilogram of body weight, the amount you need based on your training volume and intensity), adding more carbs beyond this amount will not affect your race. can be minimal. performance of the day. After all, there is a limit to how much glycogen your muscle cells can hold. This is especially true if your workouts or races don’t exceed his 90-minute mark, but the effects of carb-loading are minimal, even in long races, provided the proper carbs are consumed. increase. Check out Half for an example of this. -Ironman (70.3) nutrition plan.
Eating more food than usual can cause stomach and digestive upsets that aren’t fun to deal with before a big event. If you’ve been consuming less than optimal carbs for a long workout, increasing carbs beyond your normal intake can quite useful. Otherwise, you probably don’t have to worry too much about stacking plates of pasta and refilling your carb tank.
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Nutrition Myth #3: Avoid Gluten
Gluten is a protein found in various grains such as wheat, rye, and barley. If the critics are to be believed, gluten is the enemy.there is No shortage of athletes They blame gluten for promoting inflammation, causing digestive hell, increasing head fog, and other ailments that can hinder your pursuit of exercise. These days, there seem to be few minor health or performance problems that can’t be fixed by going gluten free.
However, there are problems for gluten-phobic people: research result Most people who believe themselves to be gluten sensitive can actually eat this mistakenly malignant protein without a problem. Unless you’ve been diagnosed with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, you’ll probably be able to continue eating breads and pastas that aren’t labeled “gluten-free,” as the benefits of gluten-free are dubious. There is nothing inherently wrong with gluten.
Quitting gluten is also not the panacea some profess. the study of Medicine and Science in Sport and Exercise Participants who were endurance athletes (without celiac disease) found that the gluten-free diet did not improve the athlete’s energy or strength, nor did it reduce inflammation levels. More research would be welcome, but this leaves at least one caveat for gluten-free diet and performance.
It’s easy to blame gluten for digestive disorders, but there are other possible explanations. When eating wheat, some people experience symptoms not because of gluten, but because of a group of carbohydrates known as FODMAPs. FODMAPs are short-chain sugars found in foods such as beans, apples, and milk that are poorly absorbed and cause gas and other digestive problems. bloating and pain; this report in a diary The frontier of nutrition The researchers found that athletes typically consumed high-FODMAP foods during pre-race dinners and breakfasts, and more frequent use of sports nutrition products was often associated with an increased frequency of gastrointestinal symptoms. I discovered that This is probably because many of the items participants were using during exercise were high in FODMAPs. Therefore, in such a case It’s FODMAP, Not Gluten.
For certain athletes, consuming a low-FODMAP diet several days before a competition or long training session can help reduce intestinal upset.a small study Published in International Journal of Sports Nutrition Abstinence from certain FODMAP-containing foods for one week was shown to reduce exercise-related gastrointestinal problems and improve perceived athletic performance in 69% of people who experience cramping or bloating during exercise. it was done. The study authors speculated that this result was likely explained by a reduction in intestinal water and gas production caused by a reduction in the indigestible carbohydrates available for fermentation in the gut. After sticking to a FODMAP-free diet for a period of time, slowly reintroduce foods to see what might be the problem.
If you unnecessarily try to live gluten-free and replace all your traditional breads, pastas and baked goods with gluten-free alternatives, your grocery bill will skyrocket without actually doing anything to improve your nutrition. . Sure, some athletes feel really good on a gluten-free diet, but they may have undefined sensitivities. But this is the exception, not the rule.
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Nutrition myth #4: Processed foods are always bad news
In the quest for podium finishes and lasting health, many athletes strive to “eat clean” and eat processed foods as if all processed foods were nutritious boogeymen. It will advertise what you are avoiding. But you don’t have to eliminate processed foods from your diet. Some help you eat healthier, improve performance, and manage your food expenses.
How many triathletes do you know who rely on a cup or two of coffee in the morning (processed), pasta with dinner (yes, processed), or a post-workout protein powder (definitely processed)? These items should not be immediately thrown into the “forbidden” category. So-called “processed food” is food that has been altered from its natural state by one or more of the following processing methods: washing, freezing, chopping, grinding, cooking, pasteurizing, dehydrating, fermenting, packaging. So rolled oats, frozen berries, extra virgin olive oil, canned fish, yogurt, and dried fruit are processed foods, but they certainly help meet the nutritional needs of athletes. Processed foods also benefit athletes who lack the time and energy to prepare meals from scratch but still want to eat well. If processed foods like canned beans and frozen veggies allow us to continually put meals on the table without overtaxing our time, energy and capacity in the kitchen, it is. It should be admired, not frowned upon.
It’s important to know that not all processed foods are the same.Bag of greasy potato chips, sweet boxed cereal, fruity yogurt, fast food burger Considered as “super-machined” Because it goes through multiple stages that remove natural nutrients and potentially add less nutritious ingredients like sugar and salt. Studies have linked increased consumption of ultra-processed foods to a range of ailments, including: heart condition, Diabetes and sure cancer. An increase in the amount of ultra-processed foods in the diet crowds out more nutritious processed foods, resulting in a net loss of items such as fiber, vitamins and minerals from the diet.
But there is even room for ultra-processed foods in a balanced diet. They bring joy to eating and also provide valuable calories for calorie-burning athletes. Remember that fuel shortages can cause health and performance problems. There is no evidence that eating small amounts of baked goods or deli meats adversely affects health or performance. Additionally, items such as gels, sports drinks, and energy bars, which fall into the ultra-processed category, are firmly included in an athlete’s diet to support their training needs. After all, a sugary gel will get you to the finish line faster than a handful of kale.
Some processed foods are certainly best eaten in small amounts, but many others are not to be feared, as some diet advocates would have you believe. Incorporating processed foods into your diet creates a healthier relationship with your diet and makes you a better athlete.
Matthew Kadey, MS, RD, is an author and journalist specializing in sports nutrition and a 2013 James Beard Award Winner for Food Journalism.