Food Takes Center Stage At The London Olympics
Food has always been the center of attention at any sporting arena, and this is true of the London Olympics as well. The strange dietary patterns of many sportsperson has been under the media spotlight as there is huge curiosity as to what the Olympic champs are eating. Also the food arrangement at the Olympics is over the top and lavish. One can expect to find cuisines from the world over in the dining area that can accommodate 5000 people at a given time. Free McDonald burgers and soft drinks are available around the clock. This may come in an athletes way of healthy eating and deviate them from their nutrition goals. This blog takes a sneak peek at some of the food habits that are quite extraordinary. Read on to know more.
The Olympians And Their Bizarre Diets
Micheal Phelps, Olympics medalist prefers high calorie food and once claimed that he consumes a whooping 12,000 calories a day, mainly in the form of carbohydrate rich pizzas and pastas. This is 6 times the intake of an average adult! However, he later said that reports of his massive appetite are simply a myth.
Sprinter Yohan Blake eats 16 bananas every 24 hours to maintain good potassium levels that help keep his muscles healthy.
Jake Oliver, British weightlifter drinks a 'special' protein rich shake every morning. This is nothing but smelly colostrum that is produced by a cow in the late stages of its pregnancy. This is available at the Olympics venue itself and can be taken by any athlete and is absolutely free of cost.
Naoko Takahashi, former Japanese Marathon gold medalist would eat only 2 meals a day, but in huge amounts. She is said to have consumed 2 kg of fish after every game!
Good Nutrition At An Early Age Important For Athletes
Apart from the not so ordinary eating habits of the athletes, what is most important is good nutrition which should be practiced from the very beginning of an athletes' career. Becky Stevenson, a nutritionist says that adequate vitamin D levels are most important to prevent injuries and fractures in an athlete and help in building a good immune status. It also helps to reduce inflammatory changes and lowers risk of respiratory tract infections. According to her, while this vitamin can be obtained from fish and eggs, sunshine is the best and most abundant source.
Sports scientist Jess Corones feels that the best an athlete can do is to keep away from processed foods and eat healthy by choosing all groups as depicted in the food pyramid. He doesn’t believe in encouraging calorie counting of food, just eating well and at the right time is sufficient.
Also a cause of concern that Corones shares is the amount of supplements that athletes use in their quest for performing their best. These include minerals like iron and magnesium to protein boosters such as whey supplements, creatinine and branched chain amino acids.
The bottom line is that drug testing is getting more stringent with each passing year and an athlete must be a 100% aware of what he or she is popping to inorder to improve performance and stamina. There are hotlines that can help an athlete find out the exact constituents of the supplements that are taken and this should be followed scrupulously, no matter what.
Nutrition education and awareness provided by coaches is mandatory to help the athletes make wise choices. An athlete has the sole responsibility of his diet and nutrition patterns, which has a fine line that one cannot afford to cross.