What to Eat?

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Athletes, probably more than other folks, tend to really try to consume foods that are good for their specific sport.  Or for health in general.  But nowadays, it is harder and harder to figure out what that specific food is.

When I first started racing, I was a vegetarian.  I didn’t eat any meat at all for maybe 5 years. But, when I went to Europe, that went out the window.  It was nearly impossible doing that and trying to race there, at that time.  Plus, I was taking a handful of vitamins a couple times a day.

It was all carbohydrates back then.  Carbo load and race fast.

Then it jumped to protein.  Eat a bunch of protein and no carbs.  I’ve done this a few times and it works too.  But did I feel a ton better/different, no.

Anyway, I’m writing this because of a couple things I’ve read the last week.

One is that the chicken you get in a subway sandwich is only half chicken.   The rest is some kind of soy filler.

I hate this.  I used to think that eating subway sandwiches was a good choice for fast food.  I have no idea whether this study is accurate, but it makes you think.  The article said that the most chicken in any fast food chicken is in the 80% range.  If you would have asked me I would have guessed in the high 90’s.

The next was an article at Cyclingtips about eating gummy bears for recovery.  It showed Peter Sagan eating a bunch of gummy bears for just that.  I’ve heard a ton about recovery for efforts and have never seen this.  I would have guess, once again, that eating them might be okay riding, but not for recovery.

Skratch Labs co-founder Dr. Allen Lim says otherwise.  Dr. Lim has worked some questionable jobs, but I assume he knows what he’s talking about when he says that gummy bears are good for recovery.   Again, what do I know.

I’ve seen riders eat everything and race super.  Don Myrah used to eat nearly only fast food, tons of high fat, high sugar desserts and still kill me racing MTB’s.  Then Phil Anderson comes to the US and to race the Coor’s Classic on our team and hasn’t eaten dessert in months.  And he rides at the front, day after day, for the whole two weeks.  Big difference in diets here and same results.

No butter or eggs. Lot of eggs, as much butter as you want.  What is up with that?

Obviously, us human’s haven’t exactly figured out what is right for us to eat.  For athletics or longevity.  It switches on a yearly basis and sometimes goes back upon itself.  It’s interesting, but disturbing some too.

Dinner last night.

After race food.

Peter wolfing down gummy bears.

33 thoughts on “What to Eat?

  1. Roger Waters

    You cant have any pudding if you dont eat your meat, how can you have any pudding if you dont eat your meat!

  2. Carlos

    Chicken is just a trash bag full of the cheapest possible crap and hormones. Not a food. Has no resemblance to that animal that runs around your yard. Anyone who thinks so is fooling themselves.

  3. Bill K

    Maybe “chicken” that is 50% soy is “better” for you because there is less meat? Every six months “they” come out with a new idea about nutrition. I tend to ignore everything they say.

  4. Joe

    I think (don’t know) that it matters where it comes from as much as more than what it is. Chicken, eggs and vegetables are some of the best examples. If you can’t raise or grow it yourself, buy it from the person who does.

  5. DR

    I remember a Phil Anderson ad for Shimano that claimed he had not had ice cream since he was a kid.

  6. Joe

    Nutritionists are like economists – ask 100 of them a question and you’ll get 100 different answers.

  7. conrad

    I try to eat like a cave man: heavy on vegetables and meat, minimize processed food and chemicals. The evolution of bodies is much slower than the evolution of society and the foods and chemicals we have available. Also, special gummy bears/sport beans/ you name it are a total gimmick. 7-11 has everything you could need: water, apple juice, milk, fig newtons, breakfast burritos: just as good if not better than “sports nutrition”

  8. Snyder

    Because context matters. People want simple answers to complex phenomena. As a PhD in nutrition, much of what we say is misconstrued by the listener unless they are willing to understand the physiology and ask additional questions to get the best answer for their situation (based upon the data).

  9. Snyder

    ““Recovery, at least for endurance athletes, is more about refueling, rather than rebuilding or building,” he said. “Cycling doesn’t do much of any muscle damage if you’re really adapted to it. In cycling, you’re not breaking down muscle; you’re depleting fuel sources. The primary fuel that these guys burn is carbohydrate, fat, and maybe a little bit of protein.”

    From the Article attributed to Lim. I am somewhat surprised that he said this unless it was taken out of the context of a further discussion or in response to a specific question (about short term recovery).

    In the very short term (AKA immediately after a race when the next bout of exercise / competition is less than 24h away) restoration of muscle and liver glycogen stores are paramount. However, unless the exercise bout was a stander LSD, accustomed ride, there will be a marked increase in protein damage and protein synthetic response and to recover, adequate protein and total calories (must be ingested).

    The bottom line is this. After exercise the three R’s are your focus. Repair/rebuild (skeletal muscle with protein/total energy), Replenish/refuel (muscle and liver glycogen with adequate carbohydrates / total energy) and Rehydrate (return the body to euhydrate state with fluid).

    The order/importance of each depends on how bad off each ‘R’ is and when you need to be ready to compete / train again. Additionally what level of optimal status do you need for the next work out. As you may know, completing racing in less than optimal state will very often result in sub-optimal performance. But there is some benefit (when correctly applied) training with less than optimal glycogen or fluid status. But doing that correctly and consistently may prove difficult.

  10. Fred McFred

    Fred’s dilemma: Do we eat so much because we ride so much or do we ride so much because we eat so much?

  11. Rope a Dope

    I’m only going to eat those Juiced Up Gummy Bears this season!! Hey Steve I heard from a reliable souce the reason The Stetina’s Dale n Wayne were so fast Back in the Day was because they were Vegies?!

  12. Marc

    Flashback early 2000s. A female German national team racer arrived on Mallorca and our coach asked us to take her across the island. It’s pretty cold and the tempo is high – as always. She is strong, consistently among the first to arrive at the top. After 5 hs she faded. Training done after 6.5hs. She can’t hardly speak. Later she arrives for dinner and looks fresh like a daisy. Whats your secret we asked because we were all done and ready for rest day. ‘A long bath, a bag of Haribo and two big bottles oft coke’ she said. Ever since then, during winter training, I have a storage of Goldbären at home. A huge one. And it works.

    Haribo is from a town called Bonn in Germany, just 15 mls from my place so guys, buy it and make Germany great again.

  13. euro

    Her secret was not gummy bears and Coke. It was EPO, HGH and assorted other IV drugs.

  14. Larry T

    +1 Americans (especially) want to know two things 1) What food item should be demonized? This changes regularly from fat (remember those fat-free cookies?) to carbohydrate (take your pick of wacky current wonder-diets) to protein (which currently is sort of reversed with the idea that the American diet is somehow lacking in protein) If I simply avoid the demonized food, I’ll weigh less and be much healthier, right?
    2) What is the magic food/supplement/whatever I can eat/take that will make me lose weight? The idea that there is something one can EAT that will result in weightloss just illustrates the stupidity involved. Stupidity that can be immensely profitable if one knows how to exploit it.

  15. Wildcat

    And even then you’re assuming that “losing weight” is the best solution for said individual – when likely, gaining weight of lean muscle mass will help them reach their body comp goals in a healthier way and also keep them in that state for a longer period of time.


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