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Athletes Should Avoid These Foods From Their Diet

By Sreya Dutta

Special nutritional consideration is not limited to just the diseased. Every separate being, depending upon weight, height, age, lifestyle, etc., has separate nutritional requirements that vary accordingly. In the same way, athletes too, have varying and distinctive needs when it comes to their nutritional balance.

Therefore, in order to not disrupt this balance, every athlete should keep their diets under very careful consideration. Not everything can be included in their diets. Proper balance has to be maintained when it comes to their diets, as ensuring the same will in turn make sure that they are getting the proper nourishment and balance they need and avoiding all those improper things that they don't.

bad foods for athletes

Athletes need a proper amount of calories for the regeneration of their muscle mass and also for the proper functioning of optimal metabolism.

Taking such factors into enough consideration, we have listed some of the foods and beverages that athletes should try avoiding or limiting themselves to, in order to enhance their performance much better as well as achieve all of their ultimate training goals.

1. Sports drinks should be limited from the diet

Unless one is working out or is running constantly for more than a few hours, it is advisable to not consume sports drinks. These should be limited from one's diet, as they are simply not necessary. Instead one could just drink green tea, lots of water or juices in order to effectively keep themselves properly hydrated.

2. Soda should be avoided from the diet

Soda topping the nutrient-empty and high-calorie foods list is advisable to be avoided from one's diet. Soda raises the caloric intake of a person who might end up losing their appetite for a healthier choice of diet because they might feel full already because of the high sugar content. Especially the dark-colored ones or the extremely unhealthy carbonated beverages like cola, these contain good amounts of phosphorus that contributes to the calcium depletion in one's system. And when it comes to the diet soda, although it does not have actual sugar in it, studies do not support the consumption of such artificially sweetened products either, as they are very unhealthy for one's body, which is why they should be avoided from the diet.

3. Protein or energy bars should be avoided from the diet

Protein or energy bars might be quick and quite convenient nutrient sources, but it is advisable, as per studies and research, to strictly avoid their overuse, because of such foods being highly processed and thus very unhealthy. If you're an athlete who consumes such bars in order to boost your protein intake, you should be aware of the fact that too much of protein in your diet might radically contribute to adverse bone loss and might overtax your kidneys. Many of such protein or energy bars also contain high amounts of saturated fat that might contribute to diabetes, heart diseases or even obesity.

4. Saturated or trans fats should be avoided from the diet

Foods that contain trans fats or hydrogenated vegetable oils tend to raise the bad or LDL cholesterol in your system, while lowering the good or HDL cholesterol, thus increasing your risks of developing heart diseases, even if you are a well-conditioned athlete. Therefore, instead of such unhealthy foods, athletes should opt for healthy fats in their diet.

5. Carbohydrates should be limited from the diet

Popular rumours of carb-loading before a sports event might be notorious; but in reality, it might be a huge health risk for the athlete doing such a thing. If you think you are carb loading, you're thinking wrong, because in reality, you are actually fat loading. An athlete needs to keep the portion sizes of their diet very reasonable or they might risk the feeling of being weighed down constantly due to excessive fat in the system. Foods that are hard to digest and the ones that contain high-fat might also upset your digestive track, which is why they are advisable to be avoided from your diet.

6. Fibre should be limited from the diet

Although some would agree that a hearty as well as healthy diet should include fiber-rich food items, too much fiber however, might trip up an athlete. If they are consumed before the event, such foods might even cause adverse intestinal problems or loose stools in the system. Therefore, athletes are advised to try avoiding complex foods that are high in starch and opt for unprocessed and whole foods in their diet instead.

7. Caffeine should be limited from the diet

According to some research, small caffeine amounts tend to improve one's performance. However, it is often advised by successful and notable nutritionists and doctors that athletes should limit their caffeine intake to a bare minimum, in order to avoid adverse effects such as dehydration. Thus, energy drinks or caffeine-fortified drinks must be avoided from the diet, as some of these might not list caffeine in their composition lists but might contain it nevertheless. Not more than about 300 mg of caffeine per day is advised to be safe for consumption.

8. Alcohol should be avoided from the diet

Plenty of studies and research have shown that the over-indulgence of alcohol might continue to adversely impact the cells of one's body for about as long as 72 hours. There are plenty of detrimental and harmful effects of alcohol that include an adverse decrease in performance, slower reaction time and an adverse increase in the risk of injuries such as worse muscle tears or painful heat strokes due to an increase in dehydration.

The key to the optimal maintenance of a healthy diet for an athlete is to avoid or limit their diets from ingredients or foods that might tend to interfere with their body's overall performance or nutritional requirements. However, we never said athletes cannot occasionally go splurging on a pizza!

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    Story first published: Tuesday, May 8, 2018, 17:00 [IST]
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