Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving

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Why you shouldn’t eat like an athlete


Aside from a sort of general curiosity I don’t see the point of articles about the diets of elite athletes. Honestly, I think sharing them as if they’re nutrition tips for the masses is potentially harmful. Unless you’re a professional athlete yourself, which the vast majority of us are not, most of their nutrition advice is not going to translate to your life. You’re probably not burning 10, 000 calories a day and I’m sorry but an hour at the gym is not comparable to the rigorous training that professional athletes undertake.

It also seems to me that many athletes undertake questionable dietary regimens (ahem, Tom Brady) in the hopes of being the best of the best. The article I linked to above has some fairly benign advice but there are loads of athletes that are following bizarre advice in an effort to hack their genes and optimize performance. When your career depends on it, it’s kind of understandable that you’d be willing to try something a little extreme. The danger lies in attributing your success to drinking alkaline water or avoiding mushrooms and encouraging us common folk to jump on your nutrition bandwagon.

The dietary needs of athletes also vary significantly depending on their sport, as well as their sex and size. The perfect diet for a marathoner is going to be quite different from the perfect diet for a shot putter. You can’t just assume that what works for one athlete nutritionally will work for another. Even more so, you can’t assume that what works for a pro athlete (or for anyone else for that matter) is going to work for you. In fact, if you tried to eat like most professional athletes you’d probably be consuming significantly more food than you need.

Go ahead and be amazed by the number of calories consumed by athletes in the Tour de France. Indulge your natural curiosity by reading about Michael Phelp’s massive training diet and other wild diets of athletes. Just don’t try these at home.


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Would you like fries with that gold medal?

Props to the Academy of Royal Medical Colleges for calling out the London Olympics for their inappropriate sponsors. Much like, hmm… oh, a dietetic association accepting sponsorship from PepsiCo, the London Olympics is being sponsored by McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, and Heinekin. Pairing such nutritionally void types of food with highly skilled and fit athletes sends a terrible message to the average person, in particular, the average child. It implies that these world-class athletes regularly dine on such foods which, in most cases, is highly unlikely. Even if olympic athletes are consuming poor diets they are burning far more calories than most of us could ever imagine burning due to their intense training regimes. There is also the implication that poor diet can be compensated for by exercise. This is blatantly untrue, even if you are burning off the excess calories from a big mac combo (and let’s be realistic, you’re probably not) you’re still not going to be as healthy as you would be if you were fuelling your body with nutrient-dense foods. The association being drawn between nutritionally inferior foods and athleticism is disturbing. If the Olympics can’t find sponsors who don’t sell crap food then perhaps it’s time for the Olympics to rethink their entire operation.