RunMinnesota May / June 2016

Page 16


FUELING YOUR BODY Find a better way to get to the finish line — Part I Part I: Your



ooner or later, the buzz

around the table at a post run social hour will make its way to food. Whether it’s the latest electrolyte drink or energy bars or a new eating plan, the conversation can become passionate and even controversial at times. With advertisements that promote the latest and greatest foods and studies that may be more anecdotal than scientific, no wonder diet has become a complex topic. Some of the current diets and studies discount carbohydrates, the longtime staple of athletes. Do the new diets being touted mean the end of the traditional pasta meal the night before a big race? How can anyone begin to figure out what eating plan works best for them? Should runners even need to be concerned about diet? After all, everyone thinks that runners can eat anything they want because of the number of calories burned. The topic of eating plans and the latest diet will not go away any time soon. There are experts in the sport of running and nutrition who can offer some suggestions and examples of eating plans as well as healthy practices. Ultimately the foods you eat and the discipline with which you approach your fitness diet will be up to you. News flash—it is not going to be the same for everyone.

Food as fuel

Many runners will recognize the name Emily Brown, registered dietitian (RD), licensed dietitian


Marketplace’s popular eating plans outlined Emily Brown, a registered dietitian and licensed dietitian who is a four-time All American at the University of Minnesota, offered a snapshot look at a few of the current popular eating plans being touted in the marketplace. Gluten free diet is a therapeutic diet for individuals who have the autoimmune disease known as Celiac disease, which affects approximately one percent of the U.S. population. Gluten free diets have anecdotally been linked to a number of improvements in health, but there is no strong scientific evidence to support any health benefits of gluten free diets in individuals without Celiac disease. Low-carb/high-fat (LCHF), or the ketogenic diet, requires a combination of consistent training and adherence to a strict dietary pattern over the course of many months (at least six

(LD), who was a four time All American at the University of Minnesota and a member of Team USA Minnesota, when she qualified for the 2008 Olympic Trials in the steeplechase and 5K. Now retired from running, Brown is a Wellness Dietitian with the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program [] in Rochester, Minnesota. There, she works oneon-one with individuals to help them with their nutritional goals and strategies, teaches group classes on a variety of nutrition focused topics and collaborates with colleagues on research ideas relating to wellness. Brown acknowledges that the volume of misinformation about nutrition in the marketplace


from Brown’s research). An LCHF diet may be difficult for most to adapt to, especially for that length of time, because it is not the traditional diet that most of us grew up eating. Paleo diet is a high protein diet that eliminates grains and dairy products. There can be different interpretations on the foods allowed in this eating regime but most would agree (and research would support) that a strict Paleo diet could be difficult and expensive to maintain over a long period of time. Vegan diet is when individuals do not consume food from animal sources, including fish, eggs and dairy, and sometimes even honey. Vegetarian and vegan athletes can certainly achieve a diet that is optimal for both health and performance. They just need to be more deliberate with their food choices.

makes it difficult to research the topic. She says that one of the biggest debates right now is the best balance of macronutrients contained in a daily diet, i.e., carbohydrates, fats and proteins. “The past decade has seen a strong push for low carbohydrate diets whether it be for weight loss, inflammation and related disease, and more recently, sports performance,” says Brown. As a dietitian, Brown takes an unbiased view of nutrition. She believes that whatever diet someone chooses to follow is highly individualistic, and she is an advocate for a healthy, balanced diet. “I personally think that a healthy diet is a balanced diet not only in terms of the macronu-

trients, but also in the foods that provide those nutrients,” says Brown. “The same type of dietary pattern that would be promoted for optimal health is a great diet to support the performance needs of healthy runners (they just typically get to eat more of it).” There are a couple of websites that Brown suggests to get more information about diets (www. and

Troup’s take

Rasa Troup, RD, LD, also a former elite runner, has experience in the areas of clinical nutrition, eating disorders and sports nutrition. During her competitive running career, Troup held national

Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.