Dangerous Diet Rules

Most runners have moments of eating outside the norm – “no dessert until after the race” – but that’s nothing to sweat. When unhealthy diet practices become habits, you put your wellbeing at risk.

Here are some common-but-damaging food “rules” to avoid.

Eating energy bars as meals

Energy bars are a convenient way to supplement your nutrition. But if you’re eating only bars, it’s a red flag. “It’s best to get kilojoules from whole foods,” says sports dietician Suzanne Girard Eberle.

Although many bars are enriched with vitamins, they don’t provide the quality of nutrition gained from real food.

Avoiding fat. Or carbs. Or meat. Or whatever!

Avoiding certain ingredients is common, whether for health or personal reasons. (Think vegetarians, gluten-free diets.) But if you’re nixing entire food groups to lose weight, tread carefully.

“It makes you prone to injury and can compromise the immune system,” Eberle says.

Timing your meals like a 1-k split

Let’s say you like your routine of eating lunch at 1pm every day. So what, right? “It’s a problem if you’re restricting food when you’re hungry,” says Eberle. You run slower, fatigue more quickly, and take more time to recover when your body doesn’t get food when it needs it.

Logging kilojoules as meticulously as training mileage

If your kilojoule-counting evolves into the “I want that orange, but I can only have 240.7 more kilojoules today” variety, then you’re overdoing it. Your body sometimes requires more fuel. Deprive yourself, and you risk a host of health woes. Cut yourself some slack.

Going AWOL when a restaurant invite comes your way

If your response is always, Thanks, but I’ve got a (insert faux excuse here), then you may need to examine your reasons for skipping: consistently avoiding social eating so you can control the menu can portend or evolve into an unhealthy relationship with food, says Eberle.

Skipping fuel on long runs

Purposely not fuelling on the run in an attempt to burn more kilojoules and lose weight is self-defeating. If you don’t feed your body properly before, during, and after long training runs, you’re much less likely to have a quality performance, says Eberle.

More weight-loss tips for runners here. 

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3 Responses to Dangerous Diet Rules

  1. Louise Patterton 30 August 2012 at 12:38 pm #

    avoiding carbs has made me thin……

  2. Zaid 11 November 2013 at 3:30 pm #

    Adding no sugar to tea/coffee, limiting fizzy drinks and breads has helped alot

  3. jacqui 13 November 2013 at 2:10 pm #

    i try to lead a moderate lifestyle 70% of the time. NO cutting out of food groups just good healthy eating with a dose of cheating every now and then

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