With the holiday season quickly approaching, the temptation of eating badly intensifies. Unfortunately, this splurging will not only add on the pounds; it can cause pain and affect athletic performance. Eating sugar causes inflammation to increase in your body and can cause insulin to not work correctly. This can set off a chain reaction where hormones, like cortisol, testosterone, and thyroid, will not work effectively. When these hormones are not working effectively this can lead to decreased energy, poor wound healing and fatigue. Eat sugar in moderation; try eating fruits, nuts and vegetables instead. If you need your carb fix, then try no salt popcorn or gluten free chips.
Another issue that comes up with diet in runners is going gluten free. Gluten is the most common food sensitivity that can be present. Food sensitivity is not an allergic reaction, but is when the food causes inflammation in the body when exposed to it. Gluten sensitivity can also cause weight gain, fatigue, decreased athletic performance, and Leaky Gut syndrome. Leaky Gut is a syndrome where there is damage to the intestinal lining, which can predispose patients to many autoimmune conditions. Other common food sensitivities are dairy, eggs, corn and soy products. When athletes have stopped eating these foods, they have felt better and had increase performance.
In athletics, diet has become more specialized than calculating necessary carbohydrate and protein intake. Eating certain foods can affect your performance. If you have questions regarding this, discuss this with your physician who can advise you on the foods to avoid and do any necessary lab testing.