Are you seriously confused about what you should and shouldn’t be eating as an endurance athlete? Should you eat low fat or high fat?
Many of the clients I work with are in the 40+ age group which means that they have been indoctrinated into thinking that if you eat high fat foods, you increase your risk of having a heart attack.
As a result of clever and deceptive marketing the food industry makes reduced fat, junk foods loaded with man-made synthetic substances, like artificial sweeteners, appear healthy.
I can thankfully tell you that fat doesn’t make you fat or cause heart disease. The study that started this way of thinking (as well as a huge ‘diet’ food industry!) was Doctor Key’s Seven Countries study. He found that countries that ate more fat, especially saturated fat, had more heart disease. He then concluded that fat caused the heart disease. Just because these 2 events happened at the same time, doesn’t mean you can assume one caused the other!
Lowering your saturated fat intake not only lowers your cholesterol but lowers your good cholesterol too. If you go ‘low fat’ then you will tend to eat more starch or sugar instead. This is what increases the levels of dangerous cholesterol, the small, dense cholesterol that causes heart attacks. In fact, a recent study showed that 75% of people who end up in hospital with a heart attack have normal overall cholesterol levels. However, what heart attack victims do have in common is pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes usually caused by eating high levels of refined carbohydrates for many years.
Subsequent reviews of the research by the British Journal of medicine shatter the myth that fat causes obesity and heart disease, and then the spotlight switched to sugar……
My personal view is that it isn’t just fat or just sugar that causes heart disease, obesity and diabetes. It is when they are both combined into highly processed foods and then sold to us using seductive marketing. When we eat these foods, the body finds it hard to recognize them as they are so different from the unrefined versions. Our body becomes confused and loses its in built nutritional wisdom. This is made worse by the fact that these foods also cause huge surges of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that activates the reward centres of the brain receptors driving addictive behaviour meaning you eat more of the wrong foods.
An occasional treat isn’t going to do any harm but my advice would be for 90% of the time, make sure you eat for performance. That means staying away from highly refined and processed foods where refined sugars and fat are combined, confusing your body. You won’t get the nutrients you need from these for energy production, muscle repair and rebuilding and a strong skeleton. Stick to good quality nutritious fats such as nuts and seeds, avocados and olives and the healthy carbohydrates found in vegetables and fruit and you won’t go far wrong.
If you want help with knowing what to eat as an endurance athlete then come and join my Facebook community EATING TO WIN