It is hard to know exactly what constitutes proper nutrition for a runner, or any athlete for that matter. A ton of information is available online. The hard part is separating the good info from the bad. Some of the information is simply common sense. This article will give you a few pointers about nutrition for runners.
High-Protein Dieting is Wrong for Runners
High-protein diets help people to loose weight. A word of caution, however. High-protein diets are not good for athletes, especially runners. If you are currently on a high-protein diet, don’t count on having very much energy. High-protein diets do not fuel the body with essential carbohydrates a runner needs for endurance. High-protein diets often suggest reducing your carb intact, thereby forcing your body to use protein to make sugars for brain fuel.
As a result, the person develops what is called ketosis. Ketosis is basically a partial breakdown of body fats which causes increased loss of fluids. Many people are excited when they first begin a high-protein diet because they loose a lot of weight in the first weeks. This weight loss is mostly a loss of water.
This type of weight loss is devastating for a runner. If weight control is an issue for you, then rather than cutting down on carbohydrates or increasing your protein intake, increase your running distance five to ten miles over the course of the week.
Weight Loss Tips
You have probably heard this before, but it bears repeating. If you are having trouble getting rid of a few pounds, then start a food journal. My preferred method is using a small notebook that fits easily into a pocket or purse. Every time something goes into my mouth, it goes into the journal at the same time. I have been at this long enough that I can estimate the calories in many things I eat on a regular basis. Keeping a running total helps to control what I am tempted to eat later in the day.
Drinking lots of water is a good weight loss trick. Besides drinking water, eat foods that have plenty of water in them naturally, such as vegetables, fruits and low-fat or fat-free milk. Pair them up with fish, poultry or beans, which are low calorie foods that have ample bulk. Soups, stews, casseroles and pasta with lots of veggies will help with your intake of water. Adding blueberries to your breakfast cereal or eggplant to your lasagna will give you more food, and not add a lot of calories.
Low Fat Dieting is Wrong for Runners
The body gets energy from fat, which can mean a loss of endurance if a runner doesn’t consume enough fat in their diet. Fat is not a bad food. Vegetables cooked in olive oil may actually reduce your chances of developing various forms of arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis. If you are running more than thirty-five miles a week, then 30 to 45 percent of your caloric intake should be in the form of fat. It is a simple concept. Runners need more calories.