From grapefruit to cabbage soup, crazy diets have been a thing for pretty much ever. Many of them “work”, if your only goal is dropping pounds. But for any gal who cares about her long-term health—and for runners in particular—it’s essential to get good nutrition 24/7. We’ve asked nutritionists to dish on which diets are safe for runners—and which ones should send us sprinting toward the hills.
Based on the best-seller Sugar Busters! Cut Sugar to Trim Fat, this diet is just like the name sounds: It recommends nixing sugar from all areas of your eating (including naturally occurring ones) and replacing with high-ﬁber foods.
No-no’s: Sweets (obviously), plus potatoes, pasta, white bread, white rice, corn or corn products, beets, turnips, parsnips or rutabagas
Okay: Sugar-free ice cream, soda and candy, as well as all artificial sweeteners, like Splenda and stevia
NUTRITIONIST’S GRADE: B+
“I like this diet,” says registered sports nutritionist Azadeh Gharehgozlou, Ph.D, who supports eating high-glycemic foods, like white rice and white bread, in moderation only. Runners can get their carbs from healthy sources, such as bananas and berries. Unlimited calories mean your runs will be well fueled.
In the past few years, juice cleanses have officially become trendy. And you’ve probably seen a co-worker or two toting a little cooler full of pricey bottles. Cleanse companies purport that drinking only liquid for a few days resets the system to kick-start weight loss while increasing energy levels.
No-no’s: Solid food or any juice that doesn’t come in the pre-packaged bottles
Okay: One juice every two to three hours, and unlimited water and herbal tea
NUTRITIONIST’S GRADE: D+
“Trying to run or doing any workout while following a restricted detox plan can result in undesirable side effects,” Gharehgozlou says. Your body needs calories from real food to run! Gharehgozlou says a juice cleanse likely won’t do any harm if you stay off the streets—but it may not do you any good either, and it will empty your wallet. These cleanses run upwards of $100 per day!