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Eat to Ride

By Miranda Yeary - March 15th, 2004

Do Some Research
When I was doing research for this story, I found that I had some misconceptions about what food is best for energy. For instance, a tall glass of orange juice isn't that great for you. You get a good dose of vitamin C, but there is too much sugar in straight juice so your energy level jets up and then crashes back down. According to the literature I read, one part water to one part juice is a good mix. Similar to Gatorade, the juice/water drink gives you a slower dose of simple carbohydrates as well as hydration.

Basically, for endurance, the best source of energy is complex carbohydrates. Taking in carbohydrates an hour before exercising can help sustain energy, according to Ellen Coleman RD, MA, MPH. Proteins, on the other hand, aren't energizers. They help your immune system, provide your body with amino acids, and strengthen cells and tissues. But, to rely heavily on proteins over an extended period of time, risks kidney and liver damage.

Technically, if you have fat on your body, you don't need much fat in your diet for energy. That is, unless you are really exerting yourself. Matt Samuels, RD at the Sports Nutrition Connection says that if you are "performing at 70% or higher," then 40-50% of your energy is supplied by fat. So, if you plan to be boot-packing quite a bit in a day, you want to bring along some good fats to snack on. "Good fats" would be things like nuts, seeds, olive oil, and avocados.

A healthy diet does include fat, of course. But especially for athletes, a diet of mostly carbohydrates (55-65%), about 10-15% proteins, and then maybe 25-30% fat is best for stamina. So, that means that before and during your snowboarding vacation, you should stock up on pastas, whole grains (oatmeal, rice, granola, bread), starchy vegetables (potatoes, corn) legumes and some fibrous vegetables and fruit (vitamins) for best results.



A couple of additions to your review of endurance diet:

Protein is important, especially for recovery within two hours of exercise (in camp for the backpacker) because it rebuilds your muscles.

Don't forget fruits and vegetables because they have the full packet of phytonutrients that can't be replicated in supplements.

Avoid highly refined carbs like white pasta, rice and bread because they boom and bust and leave your organs stressed from too much pure sugar with no other companion vitamins and minerals.

Real food nourishes best.

Posted on January 24, 2010 - 8:26pm
by cinny

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