Athletes follow a very strict diet. Yeah well, I guess everybody already knows that. Since they are extremely particular about their fitness and understand the repercussions of making wrong dietary choices, they usually won’t be seen eating the way you and I do. It’s not as if athletes completely eliminate high-calories foods from their diet. On the contrary, they practice moderation which, on occasions, might not be a bad idea for you and me. Here are 7 foods that athletes should avoid having in excess, if they are hoping to better their performance and bring pride and glory to their team.
1. Vegetable Oil (Partially-Hydrogenated)
Partially hydrogenated oil is full of trans fats which are a lot more harmful than saturated fats. Found in many of the fried and baked foods available commercially, trans fats are known to increase the level of bad cholesterol in the body and up the risk of heart diseases.
2. Energy Drinks
Although most commercially produced energy drinks describe themselves as a sportsman’s best friend nothing could be further from the truth. These drinks that promise to revitalize you when your battery has run out contain stimulant additives like caffeine, which put a lot of stress on the heart. While dangerous for anyone, it’s particularly harmful for athletes who are already pumping their heart to its maximum capacity during an athletic event. It's definitely one of those foods that athletes should avoid.
3. High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)
HCFS is found in a lot of things – from sugary foods like cookies and sodas to even salty ones like salad dressing and tomato sauce. It has emerged as the number one dietary enemy of the nation, being blamed for the soaring obesity and diabetes statistics. No wonder then it ranks high on the list of foods that athletes should avoid.
4. Artificial Sweeteners
You may think artificial sweeteners are going to save you the calories you’d normally have consumed had you eaten regular sugar. Well, research proves that having artificial sweeteners can actually increase your body’s craving for sweet things. So, it seems that sugar-free snacks, lite drinks, and diet cookies do more harm than good for your body.
5. High Salt Foods
Excessive salt leads to fluid imbalance in your body. And knowing how important it is to stay hydrated for an athlete, you may want to go easy on packaged foods, frozen goods, and restaurant food, which are typically loaded with salt. In fact, some restaurant entrées can have almost as much salt as you would need in an entire day.
6. Refined White Flour
Processed white flour has very few vitamins and minerals that are essential for a sportsman. Not just that. They also lack the fiber that is needed to digest the food and chuck the waste out of the body. Whole grains are always a better and healthier option.
Alcohol makes it to the list of foods that athletes should avoid only when it is consumed in excess. It is a powerful diuretic and a depressant as well, which leaves you feeling drained and dehydrated, thereby affecting your athletic performance. Avoid drinking before a major event, or drink in moderation, if you wish to do well.
Although I’ve listed some foods that athletes should avoid in this article, the suggestions made here aren’t restricted to sportsman alone. Us lower mortals should also take a page out of their books and start walking towards a better life. The key to success doesn't lie in a radical overhauling of your pantry or earth-shattering changes in your diet. It’s about following a middle path. Moderation is the key to happiness. Boy, do I feel like a philosopher or what! But you do agree with me here, don’t you?
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