A healthy diet for an athlete includes the proper ratio of simple carbs, complex carbs, proteins and fats. (This is important information for diabetics to know). Soccer athletes and athletes in general should pay attention to how the foods they consume before a practice or before a competition effect them. Every athlete should be aware that eating too much within a few hours before a workout or a competition will hinder their performance. Discovering what type of healthy diet will suit each athlete’s optimal perfomance level; can dramatically impact your competition results.
Simple Carbs are foods such as: sugar, white flour, bread, white rice, white pasta, regular potatoes, sweet potatoes, chips, french fries (high in simple carbs and fats, fruits, fruit juices The human body quickly converts simple carbs into the form of energy. White sugar, for example, can be converted into the form of energy in about 15 minutes. Consuming a moderate amount of simple carbs just before a workout or a competition can help give you a burst of energy. Be careful not to eat too much immediately before a workout or a competition. That can dramatically slow you down. Be cautious about consuming simple carbs, then not being active. The human body, can convert excess simple carbs into the form of fat quickly. When the proper amount of insulin is presant. Insulin will help the human body transports sugars (or energy) through cell walls. Once the cells don’t need more energy and the glycogen storage in your body is full, insulin helps convert the excess sugars into fat. When not enough insulin is presant; (this is an ongoing challenge for diabetics), the excess sugars accumulate in the blood stream and gradually cause damage to organs. When a deficiency of insulin exists in your body, the sugars in your blood stream will not be able to pass through your cell walls and you will not be able to perform nearly as well as you would be able to if an adequate amount of insulin was presant in your body. See also: Article – Diabetic Athletes. When simple carbs are consumed without fats, (for example, just consuming white sugar) your blood sugar levels will rise very quickly. When simple carbs are consumed with fats, (for example, consuming cheesecake made with sugar, cream cheese and sour cream that are both loaded with fat). Your blood sugar levels will begin to rise immediately, but, will rise gradually and predicting when they will stop rising will be a mystery. Consuming the fat with the simple carbs slows down the rate at which your body can convert the carbs to sugar (or a source of energy). The human body first tries to convert food into a source of energy, the excess food consumed that isn’t needed yet, first gets stored in the body in the form of glycogen storage. Most people have 2-3 days worth of energy stored in the form of glycogen storage. Once there is no energy source readily available within the body and the glycogen storage has been depleted. The body must convert fat into a source of energy. Low carb diets deplete the glycogen storage, than start using fat as a source of energy. Diets, including the low carb diets; don’t start working until the glycogen storage has been depleted. Regular strenuous exercise can also deplete the glycogen storage. Your ability to perform as an athlete will not be as great if your glycogen storage is depleted and you are not consuming some simple carbs about 15 minutes before a performance or complex carbs 45 to 75 minutes before a performance. One of the dangers of maintaining a diet that is high in simple carbs is: your body will digest simple carbs very quickly, you will not feel full for very long. You will likely be feeling famished frequently and will eat much more often than you would if your had enough proteins and fats in it. If you eat simple carbs frequently, your diet will be high in calories and you will be a candidate for gaining too much weight. The Atkins low carb diet and other low carbohydrate diets focus on eliminating as many simple carbohydrate foods as possible. Simple carbohydrate diets are empty calorie foods. Empty calorie foods are high in calories and low in nutrients.
Complex Carbs are foods such as: broccoli, cabbage, green beans, peppers, lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, wheat bread, brown rice, oatmeal, berries, (read the labels, some of these are more complex, some are more simple) Complex carbohydrates are foods that your body can convert into a source of energy quickly, (usually 45 to 75 minutes), however, not as quickly as simple carbs are converted into a source of energy. Complex carbs tend to have a significant amount of fiber in them. When you see fiber on a label you can subtract that number from the carb #. For example, if the label says, Total Carbohydrates: 14 g, Dietary Fiber, 5 g; the total digestible carbs in this product, per serving, are 9 g. The fiber never gets absorbed in your system. It passes through you and helps clean your colon. Having a clean colon dramatically helps people enjoy good health. Regular consumption of foods that are high in fiber is important. Complex carbs can give you energy. Your body can also convert excess complex carbs into fat, but not as easily as it can convert simple carbs into fat. If you are a carbohydrate counter; concentrate on counting carbohydrates from complex carbohydrate foods. Try to avoid simple carb foods. A
Protein Diet includes a high consumption of the following foods: chicken, fish, poultry, eggs, nuts, soybeans, milk, cheese, soy powder drink mixes, protein supplements Proteins are an important part of good health. Vegetarians need to concentrate on consuming enough protein one way or another. They can find protein in foods other than in meats. Humans will not have a healthy existence without enough consumption of proteins. Proteins help build muscle, teeth and bones. They keep people from becoming anemic. They provide a large variety of benefits. A sign that you have been consuming too many proteins would be blood in your urine. A prolonged consumption of too high a percentage of proteins would cause significant damage to your liver. People who are on a high protein diet for a prolonged period of time should be cautious about this. Your body can convert proteins into fat in your body, but generally won’t unless there are no complex or simple carbs presant. One of the benefits of consuming proteins on a regular basis is that proteins take a long time for your body to digest, (up to 5 hours). Consequently, the consumption of proteins can help you feel full longer, you will likely eat less often and not consume as many calories as you would if your diet were high in simple carbs and low in proteins.
Fats are found in high quantities in foods such as: oil, butter, lard, many meats, whipped cream, cream cheese, that is not fat free or low in fat, sour cream, that is not fat free or low in fat, whole milk, cheese, nuts, french fries (high in fats and simple carbs) One of the exciting things about consuming fats is that your body cannot convert fat into fat. Fats help you feel full for a long time. Fat consumption can help you achieve your fat loss goals. A diet fitness program should include some of the good fats. They will help you not be hungry all of the time. Consequently, you won’t be craving the naughty foods as frequently. Be careful about which types of fats you are consuming, however. There is a dramatic difference between fats that solidify (hydrogenated oil) and fats that do not solidify. Fats that do not solidify, in general, are much better for you than fats that do solidify. Many of the fats found in seafoods are good for you. Many fats, such as olive oil are better for you if they are not heated. Cold olive oil used as a salad dressing is better for you than olive oil that has been heated in a fry pan, then sprinkled on your salad. To drain away excess oils that are not good for you, such as bacon grease. Place fried bacon on some layers of paper towels as soon as they are retrieved from the fry pan. Steaks, pork chops, hamburgers, etc. can all be placed on layers of paper towels as soon as they are done cooking. Place a couple of layers of paper towels on top of the meats and pat down on the paper towel to absorb more excess fats.
Consuming too much fat with too many simple carb foods can be dangerous for diabetics. If diabetics consume pizza in the evening. Their blood sugar levels will very likely be extremely high the next morning. The fat in the pizza (from the cheese and oil) caused the rise of the blood sugar levels from the simple carbs (crust) to slow down dramatically. Most likely, the diabetics blood sugar levels will be rising gradually all night long. In the morning the blood sugar levels will be much higher than they normally are. It will be very hard for a diabetic to know how to match their insulin intake with pizza intake.
Soccer coaches, soccer players and athletes in general should Find the balance of proteins, carbohydrates and fats that is right for each athlete’s needs. This process is an important part of any healthy diet and exercise program. Becoming highly skilled with understanding and consuming the ratio of different types of foods can significantly help athletes achieve fat loss or fat gain, whichever their goal is. It can also help them improve their physical fitness level.
Written by: Dawn Perucca