Ok, so I was going to do a Hot Topic on tapering, but I have been working on the nutrition chapter of my forthcoming half marathon book. I was looking over the chapter I wrote for Hansons Marathon Method as well as, doing some casual research in current trends. One thing that struck me was the growing popularity of high fat, low(er) carb diets and endurance athletes. I shook my head at a lot of it, but some of it makes sense.
Forgive me if my details aren’t exact but here’s basically what I know about high fat/low carbs and general eating habits.
1) The idea is that we eat too much carbs (true, but misleading) and that the excess carbs we eat are turned into fat. That part is also true. However, Americans eat way too much crappy carbs- pop, candy, starch, processed junk. That we know. What we don’t eat enough of is fruits, veggies, high fiber carbs. So, while we do eat too much of the crappy carbs, we don’t eat enough of the good carbs. So all that junk is not used and absolutely does turn into fat.
2) If you eat too much fat, it doesn’t have to convert to anything, it just has to get stored!
3) High fat/low carb has been shown people to lose weight in the SHORT TERM. There isn’t a lot of evidence of long term maintenance.
4) You have to replace what you burn. Unless you train at a fast walk, you are burning both fat and carbs. You have theoretically unlimited stores of fat, while your carb stores can vanish within an interval workout. If you don’t replace what you burnt just to get back to baseline, things will not go well after even a few days.
5) If you focus on high quality food and nutritiously dense food, these things balance themselves out. That means eat lean sources of protein, eat your fruits and veggies, and stay away from fatty/greasy crap as much as you can. If you can do that, you can take a lot of the guesswork out of your diet.
Feel free to discuss your thoughts below. Better yet, if you have had experiences to share, please do!