Footy Season is upon us, as is basketball and whatever other sport is your deal. For years we've been told to 'fuel up' for the game. What this often meant is to make sure you're loading up on pasta or rice the night before, including some simple sugars & making sure you had an energy or sport drink of some kind on hand. Science is changing and recognizing that this might be more detrimental than good.
What these foods often mean for your body is fast absorption and quick response, but not necessarily long lasting energy, because your body converts them to sugar and with an influx of these sugars, they get stored as fat because how can you possibly use up so much sugar. They're not easily digested because your body doesn't really know what to do with it and more often than not is stored as fat. Besides the fact that sugar reduces your strength, endurance and causes inflammation.
Energy and stamina don't come from sugar. Taking in simple carbs , such as sugar, corn syrup (which is in many processed foods), pasta's and breads, can cause a spike in blood sugar level, followed by corresponding fall, making you feel exhausted. Processed foods, including refined sugars and refined carbs (especially white breads, white pasta's, white rice), provide empty calories that make us hungrier and starve our bodies of the nutrients they need, especially in times of performance. Simple carbohydrates, as opposed to complex carbs, make you feel sluggish and hamper your performance. Eat for performance for up to 3 days before your game.
Here's some suggestions.
- Have a bit of protein with every meal (eggs, meat, seeds, nuts, fish, quinoa, yogurt, cheese, legumes, pulses)
- Have complex carbohydrates, instead of simple carbs (wholegrains, brown rice, fruits, vegetables - sweet potato is fantastic, quinoa.
- Limit processed high sugary foods
- Just eat real food
- Make your own 'sports drink', cut down on the simple sugars from the store bought ones. Here's a recipe.