Friday, April 25, 2014


One of the most common conversations that I have come across with the various sports that I play deals with nutrition and fitness. I would imagine that since the beginning of mankind, those with strength and agility were at the top of the food chain. Even the ancient Greeks lauded athletes and warriors as much as philosophers and poets. The Iliad is all about mighty and strong mortals and gods. In my rugby group, the conversations revolve around weight lifting and which body building shakes are the best. In the lacrosse group, one of the players has taken the others deep into the rabbit hole of 'carb backloading'. In SB's ice hockey group, it's all about creatine, recovery techniques and agility tests. In my paddling group...well, we like to talk about beer 'cause that's the type of athletes we are.

I went down the rabbit hole also, trying to find out what the latest exercise and nutrition recommendations were. The most important lesson I learned is that you can find all sort of proof for any claim that you want to make. There is proof out there that one can survive on air alone. Silly Ethiopians. There is an abundance of proof for both sides of the Inuit diet is/isn't ketogenic other than an actual clinical trial or even observational data regarding eating habits and health profiles of these northern people. But the lack of any Eskimo involvement hasn't stopped the experts from weighing in.

As of this month the trend has swung from "athletes perform at optimum with the Atkins diet" to "binge eat carbs twice per week, but only at night to hack your body into perfection". Frankly, I can see the appeal of stuffing myself with ice cream and pastries to be buff like Arnold. Why ruin everything by pointing out that Arnold only looked like Arnold because of steroids. By the way, I do believe that reports that show how steroid use continues to give a user advantages well beyond when the user stops taking them. Maybe we should all take steroids.

Other trends: Medium Chain Triglyceride Oil has replaced Omega 3 Fatty Acid for fat burning food, butter is back in style (and in your morning coffee), and those cleanses should be forgone to maintain a thriving colony of gut flora. Breakfast is bad but coffee is good. Eat steak in the morning and yogurt at night. Do not eat eggs early in the day. Got it?

Now, while I am flippant about a lot of what I discovered down the rabbit hole, I will note that there is a lot of research being done on nutrition, not just on the food anymore but also on how humans process food. I imagine that some of the newer trends out there have solid reasoning behind them. I would also caution anyone embarking on a Paleo/Caveman/Atkins/Breatharian diet to consult a medical professional because these diets are extreme; in fact, the Breatharian should probably consult a mental health professional. I don't recall if I ever mentioned it before on this blog but in 2005 my 21 year old roommate went into cardiac arrest and eventually fell into a coma due to a combination of factors, but mostly because her no carb diet depleted her body's potassium level to the point that her heart stopped when she was jogging. The last I saw of her was when her parents took her home, still in a coma, a month later. They wouldn't let us contact them, us not being the right type of Christians, so I never knew if she woke up. I wonder if something similar happened to Peaches Geldof. Back in my parents, time, it was anorexia and bulimia. In my time exercise anorexia became popular. Now it's all that and malnutrition. Young people don't usually die of natural causes, but with all of the extreme nutrition fads, I wouldn't be surprised if many more first world people started dying of malnutrition.

No comments: