There are some foods that just aren’t worth the risk before a run. It’s important to understand why eating particular things make you feel lousier than others. For me, I stay far and clear from anything with dairy; the side effects are not too pretty. Here are five foods to avoid and the reasons why they might not be pre-run-friendly.
- Fatty foods. Stay far away from anything fried or greasy before a run. Delicious though they may be, they take much longer to digest. Therefore, you may feel as if it’s just sitting in your stomach as you run. It’s best to save the salty cheese fries for after the running is done.
- High-fiber foods. As terrific as fruits and vegetables are for us, some contain more fiber than your body can process at once. According to Tara Gidus, R.D., a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, loading up on high-fiber foods can cause uncomfortable gas and bloating. Lisa Dorfman, R.D., a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, advises runners to limit high-fiber foods, such as broccoli, salads and lentil loafs, and trade multigrain breads and cereals for simpler carbs, such as white-flour pasta and bagels, days before a race. Too much fiber can stress out your GI tract.
- Lactose. Lactose can be difficult for the stomach to digest. Gastrointestinal specialist Mervyn Danilewitz explains that the elimination of dairy 24 hours before running is the cure for a number of runners’ stomach problems. And according to Today.com, at least 60 percent of runners experience varying degrees of nausea and unpleasant stomach issues when they run, due to the effects of dairy. Although a bowl of ice cream sounds ideal after dinner, it’s a guaranteed regret during my morning run.
- Spicy foods. Some spicy foods help to speed up your metabolism; however, according to Health.com, too much of it can lead to heartburn and indigestion. It’s best to save this for after the miles are over.
- Refined sugars. Sugar in the diet is important for runners; however, certain types, as well as how much, can alter our performance. According to the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sports, research found that athletes performed significantly faster 45 minutes after eating a low GI meal (glycemic index) rather than a high-GI meal. In other words, a low-GI meal would be something simple with minimal sugar, like an apple with peanut butter. High-GI foods include white bread, high-sugar energy bars and ice cream. Consuming these before a run may cause you to become fatigued more quickly.
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