T Nation

athletic diet

In the recent article on diet roundup,it mentioned that competitive athletes shouldn’t follow a low carb diet. What would be recommended for best competitive specific results and performance?


Any and all vegetables, fruit, oatmeal, whole-grain and wheat breads, brown rice, any and all lean meats (chicken, fish, red meat), eggs, cottage cheese, plain yogurt, raw nuts, water, flaxseed oil, olive oil and anything else that is a whole food and runs, flies, walks, swims or is green!


I’m not sure I understand the recommendations for “whole foods”, but saturated fat is to be avoided. Why is natural supposed to be good, but natural saturated fat is bad? People seem to ignore problems with other foods, yet blindly brand saturated fat as evil.

What about phytates in grains? What about other anti-nutrients in vegetables like broccoli? If you’re going to make saturated fat bad, at least point out other bad things in food.

i like the don’t diet diet approach which im using and feeling good about :slight_smile:

i have 4 P+C meals and 2 p+f meals per day (i work out twice a day)

sports where heavy sprinting and running is involved[basketball,football,soccer,rugby,etc…]should consume no less than 50%of their calories from carbs20-30%fat, and the remainder protein.
i play basketball, and i get best results from between 55-60%carbs,20%pro, and 20-25%fat.i’m also in the weightroom 3days a week and hoopin for at least 2hrs 5days a week. then again, everyone is different.
peace, flash

Hey NeilG,
I have enjoyed a lot of your different view points, so please keep posting. But if I have read in some books correctly, saturated fats are the preferred fuel source for the heart, and in Fats that heal, fats that kill, the author does not say avoid them, they have purpose and benefits for the body. You run into more troubles when you combine saturated fats(probably any fats) with foods, that cause elevated blood sugars and high amounts of insulin…the three combined make a stick mess of the blood(A side benefit of P+C and P+F meals). Obviously all things in moderation and balance with the other types of fat, Trans fats are about the only fat to be avoided like the plague.
I’m with Nate on this one, try and get range raised meat and you wind up with a “naturally” lower saturated fat percent.

Hey NeilG,
I went back and reread your reply and apologize if you weren’t saying avoid sat. fats.

Hey T-Ren,

Yes, saturated fat is used for a lot of things, and I’m not sure why this isn’t mentioned much here. One thing is that it’s supposed to be used in the utilization of omega-3’s!

But yes, pastured animals on natural feed is by far the best option. If they can walk around eating grass and not be force-fed grain while not being able to move, then they are much leaner. Heck, look at buffalo meat…that stuff is sickeningly lean. But the important part of getting pastured animal products is that the omega-3 to omega-6 ratios are healthy. Commercial stuff could be as bad as a 1:20 ratio, while the natural pastured ratio is about 1:1. I plan to look into a farm here in PA that has products like this, and if not, I’ll order from a farm in Tennessee.

And if you ask me, any athelete should include the following foods in their diet at least weekly:

-Liver or other organ meats

-Oysters, clams, mussles (in descending order of preference)

-stock (buy whole chickens, and make soup from the carcass…great source of nutrients. Throw the giblets in the soup, too.)

-Wild shrimp (not the farmed crap)

-Wild fish like salmon(again, not the farmed crap)

-If you eat any grains, nuts, seeds, or beans, then they should be sprouted, soaked, or fermented to make them healthy.

I feel that generally speaking, diets of many people trying to eat healthy are lacking in nutrients. Including these foods would really help that problem.

Hey NeilG,
When I went back and reread the post, I thought that’s what you were trying to get across, I had more or less just woke up but I had a few “clouds”. I agree with the follow up post. I’m not much for grains though, never tried them soaked, considered sprouting them but I’d like to find an easier sprouting system. I did try sprouting flax major pain.
I think since it has already been mentioned that metabolisms are different, Carbs(mainly from veggies and fruits) are the main thing to play with, and to some degree fats more with the ratios though. Protein should have a minimum standard though(1gm per pound of lean body mass).

excellent replies guys!! thanx
usiing p+c/p+f combos, more p+c would be recommend for athletics, correct.
I was trying lower carbs, but found my performance was lacking.

Neil: While you have some good information, many of your suggestions are far too extreme for the average T-mag reader. They are not practical because of cost/time factors, as well as availability.

Good stuff if you are wealthy, and don’t have to work for a living.

I have to agree with Ko regarding Neils suggestions. I believe some of the same things as Neil (very Mercola-ish, love that term, whoever made that up) regarding free-range meats and eggs, organic fruits and vegetables etc. But being married, working 40+hrs a week plus commuting, living in the NJ/NY area and being un-rich, they are just not practical.


Yes, availability of pastured animal products is a big issue. Some people are lucky enough to have farms like that near by if they just look into it. Mail ordering is an option, and the products aren’t that expensive (some things are cheaper than the super market!), but the shipping is the deciding factor.

There are a lot of health food stores around, and it’s not that pricey if you’re just careful of what you buy. Some of the better things to buy there is bread, eggs, and dairy products, because they’re not too expensive. At the very least, pick up some veal liver at a place like that when you can, but beef and chicken is usually very expensive there. Honestly, I’ve seen filet mignon cheaper from pastured farms than at our local Whole Foods Market. $5/lb cheaper, in fact.

Even if you don’t have a health food store to get sprouted bread, you can still get liver, shellfish, and whole chickens easily.

One thing that I must bring up is the uselessness of farmed salmon. People think it’s good because they don’t have any mercury in them. That’s great, but the problem is that they have hardly any omega-3 in them because of their feed! Salmon aren’t meant to eat soy.

I’m just trying to give as much info as I can so people can do what they want/can.

Take care,

I wasn’t saying to avoid saturated fats completely. If you eat lean meats and dairy products, while still eating many vegetables, fruits and other foods, you will get enough of it, even if it’s not considered a lot. You need enough to stay healthy, but not enough to cause health problems.

By the way, if saturated fat was so “healthy,” then why are most Americans obese and suffering a variety of health problems? You’d think that fast food and all these other foods high in saturated fats would be making people leaner and meaner if it was such a wonderful thing.


“By the way, if saturated fat was so “healthy,” then why are most Americans obese and suffering a variety of health problems? You’d think that fast food and all these other foods high in saturated fats would be making people leaner and meaner if it was such a wonderful thing.”

There are two huge reasons why.

  1. Fast food is generally high in polyunsaturateds, comming mainly from french fries (they fry in vegetable oil, not lard like they should), and also many sauces that are used.

  2. The sugar content of an average fast food meal is staggering. This is the REAL cause that this stuff makes you fat. A 32 oz. soda could have 160g of sugar, and that’s with no refills! The white bread on sandwiches might as well be sugar, and the french fries aren’t great for insulin response, either.

That’s not even considering all the shakes and desserts that you can get now.

It wouldn’t be hard to get over 400g of sugar with a fast food meal with the way many people eat.


Nate - I think most fat people would be fat even if they did eat healthy.The fast food doesn’t help but it’s probably just part of a bigger problem.

if it has flown, swam, or ran eat it.

bruceter - uh, no. i was fat, now i’m not. why? i started eating better.

there are plenty of people who may never reach t-mag level leaness, but only a very small percentage of folks with obesity couldn’t dramatically improve their situation with some re-orgranization of their diet.

I agree with Rumbach. I was once way overweight and when I finally changed my diet I lost weight fast. As for the saturated fats, I can’t get lean unless I restrict my diet to lean meat. That means no eggs, cheeses, or fatty meats. If I’m bulking, then it is a different story.