WBAN Resource Team

Nutrition Pugalistica

Giving the body what the body
needs Part II

by Amit S.Katz


In my first installment we established that the body needs four things 1.Oxygen 2.Water 3.Fuel and 4.Minerals.  I covered the difficult part of the equation, obtaining a good source of minerals.  So if Water and Oxygen are the easiest part of the equation, then we are left with Fuel.

This in and of itself is a huge can of worms, because we are no longer dealing with the most basic fuel the body needs which is Glucose, but rather we are now dealing with where the source of this fuel comes from i.e. food.

Every fighters diet will vary according to their height/weight, blood type, eating habits, cultural background, physical geographical location and on and on, etc etc…

We can therefore conclude that there is no set food specific to all fighters, meaning we can not squeeze all of these varied people into one diet.

But we can establish guidelines that all athletes need, guidelines that make sense if you are trying to perform at a high athletic level and leave the food choices up to the fighter.

The food we eat can be broken down into 3 basic categories, each one yielding some type of fuel or building block and they are 1.Fats 2.Carbohydrates and 3.Proteins

Making the right choices from these food sources in a way is giving the body it’s proper fuel whilst treating the body or the “Machine” if you will, as a shrine to athletic performance.

1.Fats - Fats are needed for a great many physical functions, one of them being fuel.
Because fats require quite a bit of processing in order to turn them into fuel, the body will not convert them immediately into glucose, so they will not affect blood sugar levels immediately.
This will occur on an as needed basis, meaning when it’s time to perform, fats will get used and the excess which is not used, will get stored in the fat cells of the body for future use.
Saturated fats require a greater metabolic conversion in order to be used as a fuel and are much less desirable to the athlete than unsaturated fats.

It is safe to say that high saturated fat content in ones diet will adversely affect anyone’s health, let alone negatively impact an athletes performance.

Examples of saturated fats (The “Bad” fats) are; Animal fats (Not including fish oils), Lard, coconut oil, butter, fried foods and most any fat that is solid at room temperature.

Examples of Unsaturated fats (The “Good” fats) are; Flax seed, Olive, Fish, Evening primrose, Borage, Chia Seed and Grape Seed oil.

2.Carbohydrates - Are broken down into two subcategories A. Complex and B. Simple carbohydrates.

Simple carbohydrates hit the bodies blood stream very rapidly, sometimes within less than 15 minutes.

You would think that that would be the greatest food ever!!! Sweet!!! Instant fuel.
Nothing could be farther from the truth or worse for an athlete.

When glucose levels rise in the blood stream rapidly, the pancreas must produce insulin in order to bring these levels down.

The result of such an event is usually a blood sugar high followed by a sugar low.
There is no human being on the planet that feels great during a sugar low, in fact we feel at our worst.

An athlete wishing to put out during a sugar low will fail, simply because the blood stream will not provide the necessary fuel in order to execute the task at hand.

So simple carbohydrates are the enemy of the athlete.

Examples of simple carbohydrates are white sugar, white flour, fruit juices, honey, sodas, candy, white rice, potatoes, white pasta, white breads.

On the other hand complex carbohydrates are metabolized over long periods of time and do not get converted into blood glucose so easily.

They provide a steady flow or a source of fuel which the body can use without creating peaks and lows.

They are perfect and the most desirable carbohydrate to the serious athlete.

Examples of complex carbohydrates are; whole grains such as brown rice and whole wheat, foods made from whole grains such as whole wheat breads, whole grain pasta, yams, sweet potatoes, molasses, all vegetables.

3.Protein - Proteins are the building blocks of muscles which if you think about it, are the vehicle of athletic performance itself.

Proteins will get converted into glucose to meet the bodies energy needs, but we really don’t want too much of this to occur, because muscle mass is hard to come by and if we are furnishing fuel at the expense of muscle mass we are getting weaker.

Consuming the proper fats and carbs will protect the body from muscle loss.
But what proteins should we be eating?

Again this is as complicated a question as which fuel source or food should I eat?
I really like choosing protein sources according to ones blood type.

Dr. Peter D’ Adamo covered this subject extremely well in his book “Eat Right 4 Your Blood Type”.

There is no reason to reinvent the wheel people, the knowledge is there, pick up a copy of this book and you won’t ever have to worry about proteins ever again.

From my personal experience, eating proteins suggested to me as an O blood type has contributed to a better all round health.