8 Foods and Ingredients Athletes Should Avoid or Limit

Most people are aware that conditions such as pregnancy and diseases like diabetes require special nutritional consideration. Nutritional requirements also vary according to age, weight and lifestyle, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise to know that athletes, too, have distinctive nutritional needs.

“The confusion for many people is that they lump training nutrition with daily nutrition,” says Marni Sumbal, MS, RD, LD/N, owner of Trimarni Coaching and Nutrition. Sumbal added that many heart-healthy practices, such as eating high-fiber foods, are counterproductive for athletes in training.

Mindy Black, MS, RD, CSSD, LD/N, CPT, a board-certified dietitian and exercise physiologist, agrees with Sumbal that sports nutrition has a different focus than a general dietary regimen: “Athletes need calories to regenerate muscle mass and for optimal metabolism functioning.”

Taking these factors into consideration, here is a list of eight foods and ingredients athletes should avoid or limit in order to achieve their training goals and enhance performance.

Limit Sports Drinks

Unless you’re working out or running for more than an hour, it simply isn’t necessary to consume sports drinks, says Barbara Lewin, RD, LD, sports nutritionist and owner of Sports-Nutritionist.com. Drinking water, green tea or juice will effectively keep you hydrated.

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