Snacks for Endurance Athletes
“What do you recommend for food and fuel for endurance athletes?” asks Dennis in this week’s house call. This is a common question that I get from readers and patients, and it is primarily because we’ve been lied to for so long. We have been told to carb load on things like pasta and bread and sports goo’s when we are going to go for a long run or bike ride. This advice is actually really harmful.
Let me tell you about my friend, Dr. Peter Attia, who has always been an impressive athlete and swam 22 miles from Catalina to the Palos Verdes Peninsula. Yet, he found out that he was pre-diabetic because he was loading up on those sports endurance treats that are quite terrible for our health. He was exercising like crazy and he was still overweight. I hear stories like this all the time.
The better tactic to use to be a high performing endurance athlete is to implement a high-fat diet. To learn more about how to switch your body from burning sugar during high endurance exercise to burning fat, I highly recommend The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance by Jeff Volek and Stephen Phinney.
In the meantime, I consider myself to be an endurance athlete and I find that healthy fats + protein are always a good combination for snacks. Here are the foods I find to be my tried and true way to get me going and keep me fueled all day long while enjoying my favorite high-intensity activities:
The Difference between Gluten Sensitivity and Celiac Disease
Our next question comes from Antra who asks, “What’s the difference between gluten sensitivity and celiac disease? And what’s your favorite gluten-free recipe?”
There’s a spectrum of reactions to gluten – ranging from mild but still symptomatic to full-blown celiac disease. Even if you don’t have any symptoms, you can still get leaky gut from eating gluten. So even if you don’t feel any physical discomfort from eating gluten, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you can eat it freely.
Non-celiac gluten sensitivity means that you might have some level of antibodies present, but you don’t have full-blown celiac disease. A large study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that people with diagnosed, undiagnosed and “latent” celiac disease or gluten sensitivity had a higher risk of death, mostly from heart disease and cancer.
I honestly think most people should stay away from gluten and here’s why:
- Gluten containing foods are starchy and sugary. Eating simple carbs can lead a host of issues like diabesity, cancer, infertility, gut dysfunction and more.
- Products containing gluten are often full of glyphosate which is extremely toxic to our bodies.
All of my favorite recipes are gluten free. To find them, click here or check out any of my cookbooks which are filled with mouthwatering, delicious, gluten free meals.
Acid Reflux and a High-Fat Diet
Our final question comes from Meg who writes, “I have acid reflux. How do I increase healthy fats in my diet without worsening my reflux?”
Acid Reflux is very common, affecting over 45% of the world’s population at one time or another. Caffeine, alcohol and , processed, spicy, citrus and tomato-based foods can all cause acid reflux.
It’s also important to avoid bad fats that cause acid reflux like vegetable oils, trans fats and fried foods.
But not all fats will make your acid reflux worse. Here are the beneficial fats that I recommend:
- Wild fatty fish including sardines, mackerel, herring and wild salmon that are rich in omega 3 fats.
- Nuts and seeds like almonds, chia seeds, hemp seeds and flax seeds
- Olives and olive oil
- Coconut oil
It’s also important to take the right steps to figure out what is causing your acid reflux. It could be trigger foods or H.Pylori, a bacterium that grows in the digestive tract and has a tendency to attack the stomach lining. If you eat and go right to bed, this could also cause acid reflux. Sometimes it could be a magnesium deficiency or yeast overgrowth. There are many reasons and all are personalized to your body. Please check out my blog on the steps you can take to overcome acid reflux.
Do you have tips for endurance athletes? Are you dealing with celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity? How about acid reflux? I want to hear from you. Share your thoughts on my Facebook page. If you liked this video, be sure to share it with your friends and family on Facebook and Twitter. Also, do you have a question for the House Call series? Send your videos to [email protected] or you can tweet me your questions: twitter.com/markhymanmd, and maybe next week I’ll make a house call to you!
Wishing you health & happiness,
Mark Hyman, MD