Nutrition & Weight Loss

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Cycling Nutrition: Big Fat Lies
Big Fat Lies
A surprising new approach to losing weight and keeping it off—and riding longer and stronger than ever.
BySelene Yeager
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ONE OF THE LONG-ENDURING TRADITIONS at bike events of all stripes is the pasta dinner the evening before the big ride. After all, who doesn't believe in the hearty, turbo-fueling quality of a whopping plate of spaghetti with tomato sauce?


As it turns out, the nonbelievers include a number of highly informed people, including Allen Lim, PhD. "There's nothing nutritious about that," Lim says. In fact, he has eliminated all processed wheat from the team's diet, and at races has replaced traditional starchy foods with balanced, whole-food fuel such as rice cakes made with eggs, olive oil, prosciutto and liquid amino acids. If this creates the impression that Lim knows something you don't, well, that's probably true. His job is to make sure that, unlike the rest of us, his team doesn't blithely adhere to old, counterproductive eating habits—habits that can lead to unnecessary weight fluctuation and diminished performance.


Here's the good news. We've tapped into this new school of food science led by the likes of Lim to correct popular misconceptions about food, particularly about carbs and fat. Proponents of this new approach believe, for example, that a diet heavy in starch causes your body to burn sugar instead of fat, so you bonk more easily, often eat too much and end up overweight rather than properly fueled.


Even Joe Friel, who relentlessly advocated carbohydrates in his training bible series of books, has done a 180, turning his back on starches and relying instead on vegetables, fruits and lean meats as fuel. Consider this our effort to correct myths and misconceptions you've been exposed to over the years. Follow this advice, and you won't just live lean. You'll also be able to ride longer on less food and never bonk.


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And in a few years they could just as well change their minds again. Just eat what you think and feel is good for your body and try to keep a generally healthy life style. bye!
I don't know what to say about that. I think if this has been working for such a long time and it makes people feel good, then there is no reason to stop doing it. Besides, as you said, it has become a tradition and that is a very special thing. ruptura menisc
I am not a doctor but have self studied nutrition and its bodily effects for years. I agree with Cicatric's view on the fact that every opinion is somewhat biased. We still do not have concrete proof of the "deadly" wheat effects on the body and may be an area we should really focus on in future. But I come to the simplest conclusions that never ceases to fail me. Life is about balance, no matter what you do. So I would say without the need to bonk, in-taking balanced amounts would probably in some way be advantageous. I would not ban wheat or starch products from my Home. However, I would also say that there are also many people who steer clear of wheat based diets whom stay very healthy and live long lives.
Great article, if follow properly it will definitely help without hurting or disturbing anything, a good suggestion for weight loss, thanks. Keep sharing such articles. Regards dijual rumah
With such type of junk foods increase in weight would be more so having light type of foods is good for health and that will prevent from less fats and all.
Nice Approach To lose weight :D
While most of us savor a good plate of home-cooked spaghetti, individual pieces of uncooked spaghetti can come in handy for other uses around the house.
Within the first 2 paragraphs, I realized this article was written by someone uneducated in nutrition, and unskilled in writing about it. The giveaway is the list of ingredients in Allen Lim's rice cakes, and the implication they are not starchy. Really? The primary ingredient in the cakes is rice, the 'traditional' starchy food used by the majority of the world. The reason Allen prefers rice to wheat is because the former has an apparent benefit in reducing low grade inflammation associated with high intensity endurance events. Further, the rice cakes are designed as fuel for long multiday events, when fats and protein are necessary for the following day. Allen still recommends carbs in electrolyte drinks and gels, and the rice cakes break the monotony of these. And then fallacy 1 says excess carbs are stored as fat. No is excess fat; though excess protein is not stored long term as fat or anything else. Cynthia Sass is unprofessional to recommend maconutrient balance in percentages. Many athletes require 3000+ Calories a day. ie 4000 Cals. If one followed Cynthia's advice, they'd require 133 grams of fat and 200 grams of protein. It is absurd of Cynthia to suggest that much fat is required to repair cell membranes and hormones. 200 grams of protein is also silly. The science says endurance athletes don't need anymore than 1.8g/kg BM/day. 200 grams for a 70kg athlete = almost 3g/kg BM. A very unhelpful article that adds to the confusion perpetuated by 2nd rate health professionals and lay people.
Michael Pollen in his book, In Defense of Food, says it very short and simple. "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants" and goes on to explain what he means. He also tells a truth that "humans are the only animals that have to be told what to eat." I have found that what I eat may not work for anybody else yet it works for me. With all the variables involved, how can the nutrition industry even hope to develop scientifically valid information. I believe they will continue to try and convince us as long as they make money doing it.
It's impossible for me to take this article seriously when it's blatantly self-contradictory. In the section: Fallacy #1 The first paragraph says: "For years we've been told...3,500 excess calories will put on a pound whether they come from soybeans or banana cream pie. That's simply not true." Paragraph #2, presumably, in support of para #1, says nothing to confirm para #1's absolute statement. P #2 describes a situation where there are no excess calories: "Sass says that many of her clients might eat the perfect number of calories..." The perfect number of calories IS NOT the same as excess calories. There's no support for the bold, bald claim that the idea that eating 3,500 excess calories will add fat is "simply not true". This sort of shoddy non-intellectual writing should be an embarrassment to the author and Bicycling.
I don't think it is "blatantly" self-contradictory - it just has statements you don't agree with. I would love to see support for your (implicit) claim that a calorie is a calorie. You might want to understand the reasoning, which indicates that the rate at which calories are burned by the body differs between carbs, fats and protein metabolize at different rates. Or so says my Endocrinologist. Your paragraph asserts a few things that are nothing more than that - assertions. If you could provide some evidence your argument would be a lot more powerful.
As a 40+ age group cylcists wanting to stay lean and drop another kilo or 3, I thought there were quite a few practical + helpful bits in the article. 1.When carbo loading, have the pasta, don't overeat. 2.More beneficial carbs are obtained from fruit and veg. 3.When having a meal, eat till you are no longer hungry, not till you are full. 4.Eat the qty so that you are hungry in 3-4hrs Thanks Selene for reinforcing this info. The more I am reminded, the more I implement, the better I become.
Yes indeed. Someone is selling "ACID ZAPPER" at $99 a bottle. I tried them and didn't notice a thing. However electrolyte tablets have been magic bullets for me.
I don't get it. The Ph comment is true, but only when you end up in a lactic acid state, which is elementary. We should focus on facts and finds on data collected by each other like foods that produce more red blood cells naturally or foods that lower your acid levels, or how to build your O2 volume. Everyone is different and processes food differently, but I have found for myself a good pre-race meal that may be good for others that I would like to share: French Toast with bananas and honey. Protein, carbs, ATP, potassium. And one more thing to add.. If we try to stay away from these energy boosters and stick to keeping our bodies in homeostasis, meaning that we keep our electrolytes up and vitamins and minerals we lose while cycling, then we are truly successful!!!
Guess what? People have been using carbos for thousands of years as a source of energy. Refined or unrefined. It works. There is always an "expert" who every year or so will say this is good for you and this isn't. Drinking alcohol is good for you. Eating chocolate is good for you. Wait ! No it isn't. Wait, yes it is ! Having been a runner for 30 years I can tell you my morning workouts and races were faster and easier if I'd pounded down a couple of plates of spaghetti the night before. End of argument.
Didn't anyone fact check this information? The normal pH of arterial blood is between 7.35 and 7.45 whether you are 5 or 85! The pH of blood is controlled by your kidneys and through ventilation (CO2 becomes an acid when dissolved in blood). Yeesh!
Well, I am a doctor and specialize in GI/nutrition. There is a lot of voodoo in sports nutrition. In medicine, to measure the difference between two interventions - i.e. one diet vs another, a randomized trial would be necessary (and probably need to have a cross over design). To design a trial for cyclist would be extremely difficult. What would be your primary outcome measurement? How many people would you need in each arm of your trial to be able to measure a possibly small differences? What other factors will you need to control for (level of training, bike, weight, wind, and normal variation in performance)? How would you be sure that your trial participants are strictly adhering to the diet (you would have to provide them with all their food at a minimum)? How long would the trial last? How much individual variation in response to diet is there? So, its not that people are wrong or right. These "nutrition experts" extrapolate basic biology to support their biased views. While they may be right (by chance) and they may have personal experience with some success, there is no proof. And yes, pH of your blood does not change unless you have serious medical diseases (kidney failure, respiratory failure, sepsis, etc..). You do not in fact, pee your muscles out. Sometimes people extrapolated science into nonsense. No doubt nutrition is very important to an athlete. No doubt you need a balanced diet. No doubt you need enough energy to race. But there are no scientifically proven details available to make any one individual substantially improve their performance. Opinions and personal experience are important, but they are just that.
Charles, If you're going to criticize the article do more than throw out some numbers. Are you a doctor? Can you give references to back up your numbers?
Dr. Ferrari One does not need to be a MD, every EMT and patho-physiology class has been taught this. Google blood pH and blood buffer system and you too can learn it. In true mediocre Bicycling fashion... the important bits were likely edited right out... and since they have nothing new to report on they just rerun old articles. Not saying outright Friel is wrong but I for one would like to have Friel elaborate on his assertions. I am intrigued to see if he is suggesting we can increase the responsiveness or capacity of our buffer systems?
WHAT? No more pasta pig out before the next day race? That's it I'm buying a car! LOL Seriously though, what in the WORLD is a "liquid amino acid?" Where could you buy this I am wondering? Otherwise good info, pretty good article. Something else to think about thats for sure.
This seemed like a pretty good article until I got to the acid/alkaline blood pseudoscience. I don't know that I can trust any of this information when a major part of the article has no basis in real science.
Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.