Guest Post: Sports Nutrition Myths

While I’m in Florida, the lovely Louise from Eat and Think has got an amazing post busting some of the myths surrounding sports nutrition. Louise, Kelly and Veronica from Eat and Think are all qualified dieticians with a wealth of knowledge. I’ve had the chance to meet them a couple of times and love their no-nonsense attitude towards food! Take a look at their blog, the recipes are delicious!

But I’ll let them introduce themselves a little more first!

Eat and think

Hi, I’m Veronica, one third of the team. Myself, Kelly and Louise are registered dietitians who became great friends while working together in the NHS. We noticed time and time again people came to clinic confused and dishearten by so many mixed messages with regards diet and health on the internet and in the media. We also happen to share a love of food, cooking and the belief healthy food does not mean a compromise on taste….. and so Eat and Think was born.

Our aim was to provide a website where you could come to find only credible based nutrition advice. As registered dietitians, we use up-to-date science to provide people with easy to follow eating plans, plus plenty of practical advice and recipes on our regularly updated blog.

Our Meal Plan follows Eat and Thinks’ nutrition philosophy which promotes a predominantly plant based diet. We encourage a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, grains, cereals, nuts and seeds. When following a diet based on such ingredients, you’ll find you limit your intake of processed foods naturally. This can help reduce hidden fats and sugars that are often found in processed meals and snacks which is incredibly useful for helping the maintain a healthy weight and reduce your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancers. The Meal Plan is designed to take the stress out of your weekly shop and therefore makes eating well much more attainable with a busy lifestyle. We all know working full time and have social life can make eating healthily a challenge. The meals are simple to prepare yet tasty and will provide you with a balanced diet, rich in all essential nutrients.

The Eat and Think team are enthusiastic about food, flavour and how this can be incorporated into everyday life. “No fads. Just sound nutritional advice.”

girl drinking juice cleanse

Sports Nutrition Myths- BUSTED

Finding accurate nutritional advice to improve both your health and sporting performance can sometimes feel like a finding a needle in a haystack.

Some recommendations are based on sound scientific research which could improve your performance whilst other ‘advice’ is sadly lacking and could actually hamper it. Here are some common nutritional myths which, if followed could affect your health, (your wealth) and your performance.

Myth 1: PROTEIN SHAKES ARE NECESSARY FOR MUSCLE GAIN

It is a common misconception that the more protein you eat, the more you can bulk up your muscles. It is true that many athletes have higher protein requirements than sedentary individuals and protein intake post exercise can help to promote muscle repair and synthesis. However, reaching straight for protein shake may not be the answer. In the vast majority of cases, athletes are consuming sufficient protein to meet their requirements without the need for additional supplements. When it comes to protein more is not necessarily better, our bodies can only utilise so much, high intakes could lead to an insufficient carbohydrate intake. Focus on including lean protein sources including fish, poultry, eggs and low fat dairy products at each meal to meet your requirements.

Myth 2: HIGH DOSE VITAMIN C SUPPLEMENTS HELP PREVENT AGAINST COLDS.

Unfortunately this commonly held belief is in fact a myth. There is a wealth of studies investigating the effect of vitamin C on the common cold, but we now know that large doses of vitamin C taken by individuals with an adequate amount in their diet will not prevent the virus. There is a small amount of evidence to suggest that vitamin C’s role in immune function may reduce the duration of a cold. The safest way to keep your immune system strong is to eat a balanced diet with adequate calories, carbohydrate, vitamins and minerals, avoiding supplements unless recommended by your Doctor or qualified sports Nutritionist.

Myth 3: ALL ATHLETES SHOULD AIM TO HAVE A BODY FAT PERCENTAGE OF AROUND 5% TO IMPROVE PERFORMANCE.

Body composition is important for sporting performance, however ‘optimal’ levels of body fat will depend on sex, sport and the time of year. It is difficult to maintain a low body fat all year round given different levels of training. Losing weight too quickly without maintaining a good nutritional balance is likely to lead to muscle loss, impacting on training and increasing your risk of stress fractures and illness.

Myth 4: NUTRITION SUPPLEMENTS ARE NEEDED TO MAXIMISE PERFORMANCE.

With up to 85% of athletes taking nutritional supplements it often seems as though it is the key to sporting performance. The vast array of products on the market claiming to reduce fat, improve performance and boost immunity fuel this assumption helping to promote a market known to be worth over £3 billion per year. It is true that athletes with busy training and competition schedules often have increased requirements for micronutrients including B vitamins, antioxidants and iron. Nutritional deficiencies tend to occur in athletes tightly restricting their diet; increased requirements can usually be addressed through diet. In fact, supplementation of some nutrients (including large doses of antioxidants) could potentially impair your performance, health and leave you at risk of positive doping tests. If you find that you are regularly fatigued and believe you may be at risk of vitamin and mineral deficiencies and please speak with your Doctor or Sports Nutritionist or check out our Physical Performance Nutrition Passport .

Thanks so much to the Eat and Think girls, be sure to have a look at their blog, and check back here for more brilliant guest blogs from them in the future!

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