Many athletes and sportspeople state that the optimal diet for an excellent performance is plenty of starchy carbohydrates and sugary foods to keep them fueled up during a sports challenge. Their diets may be carb rich with pasta, potatoes, rice, breads, etc to keep them going. Yet while many of these foods provide sustainable bursts of energy, in the long term they can cause havoc and inflammation within the body. Too much inflammation can lead to all manner of ailments, resulting in severe pain and chronic disease symptoms in many circumstances.
A truly healthy diet doesn’t need excess carbohydrates and instead focuses on plenty of green leafy vegetables, dark fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes and oily fish. This is the diet most popularly consumed by people in the Mediterranean and by the Okianwans in Japan. This diet has been world renowned for keeping these people looking and feeling fit, lean and healthy well into old age. The emphasis on this diet is in eating healthy fats and low levels of carbs.
Some people believe that a low carb diet won’t give them the strength to succeed in sports. But they are wrong. A recent example of sports people who have suceeded on a low carb and high fat diet is the New Zealand All Blacks team who won the Rugby World Cup in 2015 and have been hailed as the best team of all time. According to their strength and conditioning coach, Dr Nic Gill, this is important evidence and provides positive support that eating a HFLC (High Fat, Low Carb) diet and reducing the sugar intake at the same time, is the way to go for improved health and optimal performance.
What exactly is a Low Carb Diet?
A low carb diet (also known as a Paleo Diet), consists of eating plenty of geen leafy vegetables, berries, nuts and legumes in moderation. It emphasises eating natural sources of fats like our ancestors did and including olive oil and coconut oil. Grass fed meats, fatty fish like salmon and mackerel, organic eggs and full-fat dairy products (no sugary or low-fat products) are suggested for best results.
Foods to avoid include sugar in the form of sweets, juices, chocolate, cakes, breakfast cereals, etc. Starches such as bread, pasta, rice, potatoes and wholegrain products should be avoided, margarine, beer and high sugar fruits should also be eliminated for this plan to work correctly.
How strict one is with the HFLC lifestyle is at their own discretion, but generally the more carbohydrates that are eliminated from the diet, the bigger the effects on the weight and blood sugar levels in the long term. The results are starting to speak for themselves. Athletes and average people alike who follow this lifestyle are finding that they are thriving and finally losing the weight, only to get fit and healthy like they always wanted.
Giving Up Carbs Doesn’t Mean Giving Up Your Favourite Foods
Miss carbs but don’t want to indulge in pasta and other grains? Legumes may be the answer. They provide a sensible serving of carbohydrates that gives sustainable energy, whle also being high in dietary fiber and protein, yet low in fat.