4 basic reasons that paleo works better for athletes (everyone)
This is a very condensed and hopeful simple version of some stuff I recently read by Loren Cordain and “Paleo for Athletes.”
Grains Versus Protein
When I am talking about protein I am talking about lean meat and my preference is red meat.
Lean meat has a Branch Chain Amino Acid, BCAA. The BCAA is the key to repairing tissue and building muscle. 1000 calories from lean muscle (red meat, fish etc.) has 34ish grams of BCAA where the same size serving of whole grains contains 6 grams of BCAA’s.
So, More Branch Chain Amino Acids = faster repair and faster muscle building. More good protein = faster repair after a workout.
Next, Acid versus Alkaline
Food broken down hits the kidneys as either acid or alkaline. Americans are more acidic because of grains, cheese and salts.
Fitness also creates acidosis because of “exhaust fumes” of the bodies fuel system and how it drives itself while under load. (training hard)
Fresh Fruits and Vegetables = alkaline. More fruits and vegetables = more alkaline which means less muscle breakdown.
So, since those of us that work out properly are already adding an acid load to the body, by eating breads, grains, pastas, rice, sugar, starch, dairy and salts we add to the load. This throws off our acid alkaline levels. Counter the fitness load with none of the crappy food and more fruits and veggies.
3rd Grains aren’t carbs fruits and veggies are carbs/ fortified foods don’t really help.
Grains, rice, etc. act as a sugar. They turn into a sugar really quickly and in some cases actually have a faster “blood sugar” response than sugar.
Grains and beans lack the nutrients to actually make something. They need to “borrow” nutrients from elsewhere. You can’t continue to borrow from someone to pay someone else. You move into a nutrient deficit.
Grains and processed foods also fail to provide micronutrients in the same volume as fruits and veggies.
If a processed food is actually fortified it still doesn’t work as well in the body than something that already has it in it. Think about having a BMW and deciding to get an aftermarket stereo. It wouldn’t look right nor would it work the same. Whole foods come with all the stuff they need to be used by the body. (Don’t think whole food and whole grain are the same. A grain is not what I am talking about.) Fortified stuff does not.
The natural food also has the stuff that supports the chemical our body is using. The whole food brings an entire support team to help the body deliver and process the nutrients we are trying to use. Where fortified stuff just gives you the nutrient.
If you wanted to make a new squat rack and I just gave you welding rods it would help a lot. If instead I showed up with a welder, rods, metal a diagram and then welded the rack for you, life would be easier. That is what a whole food does for you.
Last is the Curve Ball, Glycogen Stores.
Glycogen is replenished by carbohydrate. However, most glycogen synthesis happens after a workout. The problem with most nutritional advice is that we overdo our carbohydrate and we do it with crappy types of carbs. Think if once our gas tank was full the car had an overflow mechanism that stored excess fuel around everything. Once our gas tank was empty it would in a very slow choppy way try and bring all that stored fuel back into the tank. It would be inefficient it would cause so much extra work on all the other parts that were now surrounded by extra fuel and all the head room and leg room would be compromised. Fuel efficiency would suffer because of the excess weight. All this would lead to an uncomfortable, stressful and inefficient ride for everyone. This is what we do when we carb overload.
The body replenishes carbs best right after we workout, just like filling up the gas tank when it is not full.
In conclusion, eat mostly meat fruits and vegetables and you will work much better and you will lean out. Within in 30 minutes of working out get a real meal into your body, meat fruits and vegetables, to replenish glycogen and the protein will help rebuild damaged tissue. For carbs post workout, I like sweet potatoes or squash right after a workout because of the speed with which it refills glycogen stores.