Diets For Athletes & Healthy Diet Plans
When you work out or participate in sports, the sustenance you take in is very important, for reasons of performance, safety and health.
According to the Better Health Channel, a basic guideline diet for athletes and active people for dietary intake is 55% carbohydrate, 12-15% protein, and less than 20% fat. The diet should be composed of a wide variety of foods including wholegrain breads and cereals, vegetables, fruit, lean meats, low-fat dairy and adequate fluids to prevent hydration.
Carbs for energy
Carbohydrate should supply the bulk of the energy requirements for active people. Carbs are converted to glucose and stored in the muscles and liver as glycogen. During exercise the stores of glycogen are depleted and need to be replaced.
Guidelines for daily carb intake are 3 to 5gm per kg of body weight for those who do light exercise, and up to 10 to 12gm/kg for extreme sports.
It is recommended to have a high carbohydrate meal 3 to 4 hours before the event, and a small snack 1 to 2 hours before. The meal and snack should be easily digestible. This might include pasta, rice or potato dishes, a cheese sandwich or cereals.
What about protein?
For those undertaking light exercise, a daily intake of approximately 0.8 to 1 g per kg of body weight should be adequate. For moderate exercise, 1 to 1.2g/kg should suffice, and for endurance 1.2 to 1.7gm/kg.
Eating during exercise
If the activity goes for longer than 60 minutes it may be necessary to add some extra quick-acting carbs to top-up. This might include a sports drink or gel, a sports bar, white bread sandwich, or some glucose lollies.
Fluid during exercise
This is vital to help prevent dehydration or heat stress. Around 200ml every 15-20 minutes is recommended.
You can find out more from the Better Health Channel or the Australian Sports Commission.
If you are considering taking up a sport and have not exercised for some time, you should see your doctor first. Don’t forget that private health insurance provides a useful way to manage your health care costs and widen your treatment options. Consider finding a policy to suit your situation.
Do you need fat in your diet?
We hear so much about fat and low-fat products these days, about keeping our dietary fat levels down, that you could end up thinking fat is something bad that must be kept out of the diet.
However that is not the case. Fat is an essential component of a healthy diet, as are protein and carbohydrates. What is more important is the type and the quality of the fat we eat.