One of the most common questions people have about athletes is what do they eat to stay in shape and perform at their best. With stories about certain athletes never eating bread or having extreme diets, we wanted to discuss the importance of dietary planning for an athlete’s health.
Unfortunately, there is no easy one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to eating healthy. While there is research on trends that can help you make the right choices, all of our bodies are slightly different. A diet that works for one person in one circumstance won’t work for someone else. For example, someone who is working out every day and playing a sport might need to eat more and focus more on protein rich foods compared to someone who is more sedentary. In this article we will discuss the main building blocks of planning a healthy diet.
The Question About Calories
Calories as a term in diets and health is often terribly misrepresented. Many people have a negative association with calories, or even consider calories to be always unhealthy. In fact, a calorie is simply a unit of energy that is contained in all foods. Our bodies need the energy to function. Another common misunderstanding is the false equivolency that if you simply eat less calories than you burn you will lose weight and if you eat more calories than you burn you will gain weight. The reality is much more complicated. Calorie intake and burning are not as trackable as many people think, but even beyond that, what really matters in health is both what you eat as well as how much you eat.
The Three Macro-Nutrients
There are three types of macronutrients; carbohydrates, protein, and fat. These three nutrients are responsible for how our body functions based on the foods and beverages we consume. Many dieticians will start with these three macro nutrients as well as calorie estimations to plan a diet plan for an athlete. By understanding how many calories their bodies will likely burn they can provide an estimate of how much to eat. But based on your body’s metabolism and your goals the ratio of these three macro-nutrients will often be affected. One big thing to realize is that none of these macro-nutrients should be at 0% in your ratios. Contrary to public opinion carbs and fat is not unhealthy. But like anything else in a diet, you want to ensure that you are getting the right amounts and from the right sources.
What Are Good Fats?
Fats as a macro-nutrient can be broken into two main groups: unsaturated and saturated. Foods like avocadoes, cheese, eggs, or even dark chocolate are more likely to have high amounts of “good” fat, compared to more processed foods that contain saturated fats. Saturated fats are recommended to be less than 10% of your calories consumed from food by the American Heart Association. By focusing on getting your fat intake from healthier foods like avocadoes, you can decrease risk to your heart.
How SportsGrub Uses Sports Nutrition
Here at SportsGrub we work with a sports nutritionist to create a menu that is based on healthy portions, foods that are well-balanced in terms of macronutrients, and foods that can help athletes lead a healthy life. For more information please contact us.