Can You Out-Train Bad Nutrition?
By Dr. David Ryan
Do you think that just because you exercise, now you can eat whatever you want? The truth is many have paid the price with “death” to prove diet is more important than exercise.
Most inexperienced fitness participants toss away nutritional articles and steer towards exercise routines. Rest assured that what you put in your mouth, or more correctly, what you don’t put into your mouth is more of a major factor that results in your overall health.
How important is diet? Consider that you can run as fast as you can for a half mile, but that only burns around 200 calories and that’s half a bagel.
It is understandable with all the hype and false claims made by nutritional marketing, the issue of confusion turns off people’s interest. Being fit begins with diet determining 70-80% of the battle to become healthy, and exercise is only 20-30% of the factor.
As a country, we have placed our faith in our government (RDA) to tell us what to eat. Trouble is that has become skewed with lobby politics and misguided special interest groups, not to mention that we are living with most standards originally set in the 1950’s. Less than 10% of the 126 medical schools require nutrition as part of their curriculum. The average medical student today still has very poor knowledge of nutrition.
The number one killer is heart disease, and too often that condition is linked with high fat/high starch diets. Poor dietary choices result in elevated bad cholesterol and plaque in arteries. The plaque also causes blockages in the brain causing a stroke or aneurisms (broken blood vessels).
Poor diets result in junk floating around in your body and that makes your blood more like the consistency of peanut butter. Oddly enough most of us take better care of the oil in our cars than we do of our own blood.
High starch diets give us too many calories and produces excessive insulin to make our cells act like a vacuum cleaner. Then the cell sucks everything inside and that can be a deadly problem.
Plaque is made up from calcium, fat, cholesterol, cellular waste and fibrin (from blood cells), but science is still not completely sure how or why it occurs. The plaque builds up in your arteries and causes more irritation and more clogging called atherosclerosis. Arteries harden and even shrink to restrict proper blood flow.
The only way to effectively prevent this is associated with a proper diet.
The use of “statins”(anti-cholesterol medications) are linked conditions of rabdomyolysis (rab-do-mile-e-o-sis). Anti-cholesterol medications often can result in breaking down skeletal muscle cells. Symptoms of this condition often start with minor weakness and even may appear as just simple back or joint pain. Unfortunately these are often misdiagnosed by physicians until the conditions are much worse.
The use of oatmeal and fish oils are often just as effective at controlling cholesterol, with significantly less side effects when compared to statins.
Not all fats are bad either and children need proper fats (Lorenzo’s oil) to have normal brain development. It is also very important to understand that important hormones such as testosterone (for males) and estrogen (for females) are all made from cholesterol. As we age our Omega-6 increases and our good Omega-3’s decrease. So the moral of the story is: If you are over 30, take a fish oil supplement.
High protein, low carbohydrate (HP/lc) diets often preached by many fitness gurus do not cause kidney problems, but it often results in other significant problems. Using HP/lc diets are important for “in season athletes to obtain a positive nitrogen balance to maintain skeletal muscle and shed unwanted fat. Following this type of diet for a short period of time is acceptable, but long term results in large amounts of ammonia, which is quite toxic to your body, primarily your nervous system and thyroid.
Training long hours and following the HP/lc diet will restrict the brain from glucose and cause problems with normal recovery and sleep. Eventually your thyroid will just burn out from trying to keep up.
The best way to gain muscle mass is with a simple balance of protein to carbohydrates and fats. Use the respective ratio of 50/40/10. This provides the necessary energy to maintain enough power inside the cell to manufacture the appropriate structural proteins and run mechanical systems.
Distance runners, vegetarians, swimmers and many adolescent, high school and college athletes commonly have high starch/low protein diets. This often results in several problems that produce wear and tear injuries.
Shin splints, hair loss, acne, muscle tears, strains, tendopathies, broken bones, repetitive illnesses/inflammation, sleep problems and many digestive conditions (i.e. irritable bowel syndrome, crohn’s & celiac disease) all are often a result of poor nutrition.
For over 20 years I have handled literally millions of sports injuries. My personal and professional experience has shown a significant number of athletes who have a low protein intake or other poor dietary choices, take longer to recover from injuries/illnesses.
The American College of Sports Medicine has recommended substantial increases of protein in association with adequate amounts of water to prevent digestive issues. (1 gallon/100 grams of protein)
Low protein or poor quality protein intake often results in skeletal muscle and other connective tissue that resembles “Swiss cheese” instead of a normal homogenous tissue.
Eating quality foods that are minimally processed (better if raw) offer the best absorption of all nutrients.
Multiple meals also offer the best absorption of nutrients. Due to the busy schedule of most people, the intake of food is usually limited to 1-3 meals per day. Consider that your body maxes out around 25 grams of protein absorption, amounts beyond that are often converted to body fat.
A big mistake is to try eating more food than the size of your two fists. American’s just eat too much food and really eat too much at one meal. Spreading your meals out over 6-8 meals per day will allow for maximum absorption and also help regulate and stabilize your insulin levels.
It is also important to eat the right foods at the right time. The best thing to do is eat most of your carbohydrates closer to your workout and gear your meals more towards proteins the farther you are away from your workout.
Research shows that the best recovery following a workout is associated with a meal that is 80% carbs, 10% protein and 10% fats.
Medications and various health problems often result in nutrient absorption problems. Typically, eating food in its most raw and natural state provides the best nutrition.
Most people have poor nutrition since they don’t know how to prepare foods that are healthy and taste good. Learn to cook food thoroughly, but don’t overcook, this offers the safest benefits and maximum success.
Keep your eyes open for nutritional articles. It takes a lot of work to do it right. Never take a pill to make up for bad dietary choices, it just causes other problems elsewhere.
Consider that “Top Fuel” dragsters say it in their name. If you are going to run your body like a high end engine, or participate in training more than two days per week, then proper nutrition needs to be the center of your attention. Remember, failure to eat correctly may result in injury or death.