Skip to comments.Can You Outrun a Bad Diet? Experts Share Their Nutrition Advice for Runners
Posted on 04/18/2018 8:01:54 PM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks
You hit the fast food drive-through a couple times a week, and your grocery cart is regularly filled with cookies, packaged doughnuts, ice cream, chips (and dip). But youre thin. You runa lotand youre not gaining any weight, so alls good, right? Well, not exactly. Put down the chocolate cupcake and hear us out.
While runners do tend to be much healthier than the general population, with lower rates of diabetes and heart disease, thats largely due to a healthy diet rather than running regularly, says Sara Mahoney, Ph.D., chair of the department of exercise science at Bellarmine University. In general, because runners run, they take care of their bodies by also eating well and resting.
But not all of them. Some of themand we all know onesubsist on doughnuts and burgers. In the short term, running can mitigate the negative health effects of that lifestyle. But over decades, exercise loses its protective abilities.
Longtime Boston Marathon director Dave McGillivray, 63, learned this the hard way. McGillivray, whos run the Boston course every year since 1973, logged 90 to 120 miles a week in his heyday, and every year on his birthday he runs his age in miles.
Four years ago, however, McGillivray began feeling short of breath at the start of workouts. An angiogram revealed he had severe coronary artery disease. Wait a minute, McGillivray said. Ive been running all my life. Ive done eight Ironman Triathlons and 140 marathons. Ive run across the United States. How can I have blocked arteries?
McGillivray has a family history of chronic cardiac illness, and he had also been eating like a teenager for most of his life. As a runner, I just felt that if the furnace was hot enough, it would burn whatever you put in, he says. So I would eat anything and everything I wanted.
That attitude is not uncommon among runners. Half of the Runners World Twitter followers who responded to a poll said they eat whatever they want because they run and dont gain weight. Those numbers align with a recent survey of recreational ultrarunners, which found that 62 percent do not follow the American College of Sports Medicines recommendations for nutrition, despite being aware of them.
But just because the number on the scale seems healthy doesnt mean your diet isnt doing damage on the inside. Time and time again, I meet runners in their 50s and 60s, who think theyve done pretty much everything right in their life from a health perspective, who end up with heart disease. When I talk to them about their diets, they are often quite shocking, says McGillivrays physician, Aaron Baggish, M.D., director of the Cardiovascular Performance Program at Massachusetts General Hospital Heart Center and associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.
While diet is one of the most important components of health among athletes, it is also one of the least understood, due to lack of clinical trials, says Baggish. Still, he points to overindulgence in simple sugars as the single most common dietary transgression among any endurance athletes, but specifically runners. Hes calling out white bread, white pasta, white rice, and refined sugars. Eat large portions of these, and the body turns them into bad molecules, bad types of fat, bad oxidative sugar speciesthings that do a lot of damage to the heart vessels, Baggish explains.
Still, runners often hear mixed messages about how exerciseparticularly high-intensity sessionscan erase the ills of a junk-food habit. A recent study by Christian Duval, Ph.D., a researcher in the department of exercise science at the Université du Québec à Montréal, provides the case in point: Duval fed a small group of men between the ages of 18 and 30 breakfast sandwiches, burgers, fries, dessert, and soft drinks for every meal of the day for two weeks. The subjects ate nary a vegetable, and they were consuming an enormous amount of saturated fat, a very large amount of sugar, which is even worse than fat, and chemicals found in processed food, says Duval. But thanks to an additional prescription of interval training, Duvals subjects didnt gain weight. Whats more, when he tested their blood for fat buildup and inflammatory processesmain drivers of heart disease, cancer, and other chronic diseasesit didnt seem like the diet had any effect.
But this study, which was widely reported, was over the course of weeks, not years. The damage from a bad diet can take far longer to register. Take atherosclerosis, a disease that Baggish says festers over many years. Its a process that starts when were young, and it gradually accelerates over time. People dont feel symptoms until the disease is already quite pronounced and progressed.
Bottom line: You cant outrun bad eating habits. As Baggish puts it, Even if you exercise like a fiend, if you do other things that are unhealthy, the poor diet choices will catch up with you.
6 pack abs are made in the kitchen not the gym.
Sara Mahoney full of Baloney.
Every runner knows you cannot run when eating junk.
3 factors: rest, quality food and running.
Running exercises the heart, lung and blood.
No. Jog for an hour a day, five days a week, for a month. Congratulations! You just burned the calories in one pound of fat. Hope that jogging didn’t stimulate your appetite (it probably did).
You know, I always imagine these researchers wearing thick glasses and Birkenstocks sitting around eating broccoli and having white wine. Of course, they say I should give up chickenfried steak and gravy. They don’t even like it in the first place.
"...low-sugar and low-fat diet..."
I used to lift weights / hit the exercise machines 5-6 days a week on average. Sometimes, 7 days. Bicycle for endurance. I’d do 50 pushups every morning before hitting the shower for work. I could do 500 situps - but I never had abs, LOL. Well, not the desired look that is.
Yes I was in very good shape in those days. Slept better, too.
Once in awhile, I would hit the nutrition stores for something for my morning drink (usually whole milk, banana, raw egg, strawberries or blueberries, wheat germ, honey).
The most ill people I ever saw were constantly eating stuff that it looked like only a bird would ever eat. Once in awhile, when I go to Sprouts for veggies or fruit, I’ll see one of these people.
I had a guy tell me I couldn’t drink mile at my age. Yes, I’v over 21, lol. I can drink a gallon of whole milk every week; it’s no problem at all.
My weight DID go up when they switched soda pop from sugar to HFCS. The last 6 months or so, I drink less pop.
Except now. Taco Bell $5 special, ya know....
Jim Fixx only made it to 52
That’s what Jim Fixx missed. He did not change his fuel mix, instead he continued the same junk diet. Still, running bought him several additional years, considering that genetically the deck was not stacked in his favor, since other males in his family died at younger ages.
That all said, as a cyclist competing in masters events, I have found that it is not so much how much fuel you take in, it’s also the quality of the fuel that matters as well. I had worked with a sports nutritionist a number of years ago, dropped a good amount of weight, but even more so, had a huge drop in percent body fat. No change in the quantity, no real change in training, except maybe in the volume I was able to handle since I was recovering better. And no, I was not using the “juice”, since I was potentially subject to testing by USADA. The big change was the fuel mix.
Every morning I get up out of bed feeling ready to run at least a mile or two.
Then I lay back down until the feeling goes away.
Oh boy, where to begin. You must burn more than you consume. Consumption, no matter what is, is still consumption. You don’t have to exercise, you don’t have to run, you simply have to eat less. And a complete diet? Not one person in a thousand can do what the “government requirements” dictate. My consumption tonight: a bowel of curried lentils with onions, a salad of red leaf, fresh mint, and scallions. Then sourdough bread dipped in two olive oils. Before that I walked three miles, in addition to my six miles before that. So tell me I will gain weight and I am fine? Tell me. Don’t worry about my usual meat diet—for another day.
It’s a amazing the number and types of energy and protein bars there is at 7-11 and grocery stores now
Packed with perfect nutrition they are the easiest and best lunch or snack
There are dozens of them now not just Clif etc
My lunch if I have it is two or three of those and a fruit smoothie
Yuck. A bowel of ground pork is fine, as long as it is prepped correctly. Usually call it sausage.
Yuk to you too. To each his own. I never touch pork—never, ever, ever.
Just remember that whole milk has sugar in it, too.
"...curried lentils with onions..."
“McGillivray has a family history of chronic cardiac illness”
The most important factor is good genes, with respect to coronary heart disease. It’s more important than smoking, diet, or exercise. It’s really unfortunate that everybody wants to upend society completely because of a certain percentage of folks we can’t do anything about. They ruined commercial french fries for example. In the 70s we were all hectored about eating eggs, and “experts” suggested substituting oleo margarine for dairy butter.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.