The food we eat (or don’t eat) is personal, pulling from our individual, social and cultural values. Our life experiences are often tied up with our eating experiences, and food can be an important and fulfilling part of our lives.
In short: Food is important to us. It’s yummy, and it makes us feel good.
But, there are other aspects of the relationship with food, which might not be so healthy and harmounious. Particularly in the fitness community, this relationship may confuse “skinny” or “thin” for “healthy” and “fit,” leading to a variety of approaches to food that don’t necessarily put good nutrition first.
While some aspects of nutrition are individual, there are a few current trends and assertions about food that I find problematic because they are promoted as “healthy” or “fit”, when the science just doesn’t support those claims.
Among those assertions, here the top 5 that have been bugging me lately.
#1. Carbs are bad for you.
The claim that carbohydrates are “bad” is too simplistic and misses the important nuances of the role of carbohydrates, especially for endurance athletes.
Carbohydrates are an important fuel source. Even though long course athletes want to be more efficient with burning fat for fuel, we (and our glucose-loving brains) still need carbohydrates as well. And, when it comes time for recovery, nothing will restore those glycogen starved muscles except for carbohydrates.
Want to get up the next day and get after it again? Well, eat your carbs. Wonder why your recovery is lagging? Maybe it’s your sagging glycogen stores.
The processed or refined carbs are problematic when they are a mainstay of the typical diet. It’s these types of foods that give whole food carbs a bad rap.
Luckily for our glucose loving brain and muscles, carbohydrates do come in a nutrient-dense, healthy and whole food variant.
Vegetables, which should be the focus of every meal we eat, have a nutrient dense supply of carbohydrates. And, many vegetables also come with grams of protein and sometimes fat. Yes, vegetables have protein. In fact, some vegetables have a higher percentage of protein per serving than meat-based sources of protein! Those poor vegetarians are saved.