Eating For A Race

You know you're going to carb up on a big plate of pasta before a 10K run. But what about dietary fats? A study published in Medicine & Science In Sports & Exercise may offer some clues. Scientists divided 21 endurance-trained male and female runners into a group consuming a low fat diet consisting of only 10% fats, and another permitted a moderate diet of 35% fat. The diet lasted 3 days. After performance testing both groups engaged in a 10 kilometer time trail race.

The low fat dieters started performance testing with 30% lower levels of intramyocellular lipids, which can supply energy during exercise, and 22% more muscle glycogen. Regardless, 10K times were not significantly different between the groups. Most interesting was the fact that low fat dieters had less favorable overall lipid profiles.

The Bigger Picture: This study warns that low fat diets can unfavorably alter cholesterol and triglyceride levels – even when adhered to short-term and by endurance-trained athletes. As is the case with carbs, there's good and bad in fats. Try to avoid saturated and trans fats while seeking out the omega fatty acids found in walnuts, cold water fish and other sources.
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