Sports Nutrition Guide Part 1: Fad Diets that Don’t Work
This blog, the first of a three-part miniseries on sports nutrition, was written by Michael Gorin, a guest blogger from Butler University. He is a junior marketing and economics double major and the current marketing intern for the Maryville University Athletics Department.
Over one-third of the adults in this nation are obese. The military is turning away people because they are out of shape or too heavy for boot camp. The rate of Type 2 diabetics is growing, partially as a result of the overweight population.
The solution many of them come to isn’t a surprise: they go on a diet. However, what many of them don’t realize or understand because they are blinded by all of these dietary opportunities offered by nutritional “experts,” is that many of these diets are actually hindering their progress and causing malnourishment. The next two parts will go live on Wednesday and Friday, talking about better ways that can ACTUALLY get you into shape!
Low Carb Diets- Carbs are the equivalent to humans as gasoline is to a car, and sunlight is to a growing plant. We need them in order to live, in order to keep our motors running throughout the day. Carbohydrates are used by our body as a form of glucose and energy. About half of your caloric intake for the day should come from carbohydrates and at least half of your carbs for the day need to come from grains and starch i.e. cereal, bread, potato, rice. While reducing carbs are a good way to lose weight, make sure if you choose to lower your intake, it is still in line with the recommended amount for your needs based on your weight and age. If you reduce them too much, your body will go into a state known as ketosis, which is when your body takes protein and fat and substitutes it as the glucose your body needs to get through the day. This leads to muscle loss; thus, most of the weight people lose from low-carb diets is actually coming from a reduction in muscle.
Low Fat Diets- If you are eating too much fat, cutting some of it from your diet is essential in losing weight. However, fats are essential in limiting your appetite, building your muscle, stabilizing your blood sugar, and limiting sugar intake. In items like yogurt, cheese, and milk, sugar is often substituted to maintain flavor, which is why often times the lower fat option isn’t always the best for you. According to the American Heart Association, 25-35 percent of your calories should come from fat. Controlling it will help, but eliminating it will hurt.
Low Calorie Diets- Calories comprise of the total energy and nutrients that you need for the day. Not having enough calories forces your body to take away muscle- not fat- and it means you are not getting the nutrients you need. Every pound of muscle you have requires a certain caloric intake to keep it in the body; this is why heavier people generally have the best muscle retention rate. On top of that, cutting out calories means cutting out nutrients. Fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy products, grains, and fats/sweets are all on the food pyramid, and they all have calories. Cutting down on calories too much means that your body will be malnourished.
Stay tuned for part two of the series on Wednesday, about ways to increase metabolism!