Food provides energy for physical activity. As you get more
active and more fit, and/or as you lose weight, your energy needs (how many
calories you need) may change. To get the energy you require, you need to get
the proper amount of:
Eating a diet that is varied, balanced, and
moderate can provide you with all the nutrients the body needs without getting
too much or too little of any one nutrient.
Those who are very active or who are athletes may have
special nutritional needs. They usually don't need more protein than other
people, but they do need more carbohydrate (grains, vegetables, fruits) than
the amount recommended for the average person. Carbohydrate is stored as ready
energy in the liver and muscles, and this supply is used up very quickly during
exercise. Endurance athletes (such as runners and cyclists) need a particularly
large amount of carbohydrate. The carbohydrate needs to be eaten right before
and during exercise, because the body cannot store a lot of carbohydrate.
For a better understanding of your own nutritional requirements, talk to
sports doctor or
dietitian. That's wiser than listening to friends or
fellow athletes, because myths about eating are common and athletes are usually
no better informed about nutrition than the average person. For more
information, see the topic Healthy Eating.
October 25, 2011
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
& Heather Chambliss, PhD - Exercise Science
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