Blog Author: Jacob McCrae, ANSc Student
When it comes to sports nutrition the types of foods we eat and when we eat them are very important to how we perform. Below are the recommended foods and macronutrients to focus on eating and the timing of their consumption for optimal performance.
Carbohydrates: Carbs are essential for sports performance. It’s the body’s main fuel source for contracting muscles and it also optimizes recovery.
Proteins: Protein requirements increase with strength and endurance training. It is necessary to support muscle repair.
Fats: There is no need to increase fats in an athlete’s diet however they are still required for many functions. They are needed for fat soluble vitamin absorption, essential fatty acids and to replenish intramuscular fat stores.
Nutrient Timing Suggestions:
Before exercise: Within 1 hour of activity, have a small snack that is high in carbs but low in fat, fibre and protein for quick digestion. Examples are fruit, oats, rice cakes or bread. This will help fuel the muscles.
During exercise: If exercise lasts longer than 60 minutes consume simple sugars in liquid or gel form. Examples of this are Gatorade or glucose gel packs. This will help maintain blood sugar levels.
After exercise: Within 30 minutes after activity, eat protein combined with carbs. Quality complete proteins such as milk, egg, soy or meat and fast absorbing carbs such as rice, pasta, bread or potatoes are recommended. This is ideal for recovery.
Blog Author - Jacob McCrae, Applied Nutrition Science (ANSc) Practicum Student
Why Carbohydrates and Fats Are Good
Diet trends and fads are always coming out promising to be the secret to weight loss and optimal health. A very common theme across many of these trends is cutting out a macronutrient from the diet. At one point, fat was the feared macronutrient and now it seems to be carbs. Is this fear of any one macronutrient valid? Are carbs or fats bad? Well according to nutrition research, the answer is no. In fact, both carbs and fats have many benefits and are necessary for various functions in our body. Here is why carbs and fats are good.
Why Carbs are Good
One of the major reasons carbs are good is because it’s our body’s main source of fuel. Carbs provide energy in the form of glucose, which our tissues and organs need to perform necessary functions. That includes maintaining normal blood sugar levels, fueling muscle activity and supporting normal brain function. Research shows that the body needs a minimum of 130g of carbs per day to meet its minimum glucose requirements. Also, many good sources of unrefined carbs such as whole grains, legumes and fruits are rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber, which is important for a healthy well balanced diet. Keep in mind that even though we need carbs, refined carbs such as white bread, pasta and pastries should be kept to a minimum, as they have been processed and stripped of all their nutrients and fiber.
Why Fats are Good
Fats are essential in our diets for the growth of cells and the production of important hormones. They are also needed for the absorption of certain vitamins, such as vitamin A, D, E and K. There are two basic kinds of fats, saturated and unsaturated. Unsaturated is considered “good fat” and it’s the one you should focus on getting more of in your diet. Examples of these good fats are olive oil, avocados, nuts, seeds and fatty fish like salmon. Saturated fats should be kept to a minimum. This includes fatty meat, cream, butter and cheese.
As you can see, carbs and fats are not the enemy. They are essential to keep our bodies functioning properly. The key is to eat the right kinds of carbs and the right kinds of fats. Just remember to focus on eating unrefined carbs and unsaturated fats.