Effect of Low Carb Diet on Athletes

For many years, a low carbohydrate diet has become a popular subject among people who are trying to maintain or lose weight. Carbohydrate is a plant-based food that produces sugar including glucose when digested. Carbohydrate is almost synonymous to energy. Foods rich in carbohydrates are known as energy-giving foods. Generally, nutritionist recommends having a diet composed of around 65 percent carbohydrate and the rest divided between fats and protein-rich foods.

Many athletes including track and field athletes as well as non-athletes are becoming attracted to follow a low-carbohydrate diet to achieve weight loss more quickly. The rule is if a person consumes fewer calories than it burns, there will be weight loss. However, athletes have different dietary requirements than non-athletes. And many athletes are not aware of the effects of having a low carb diet composed of low carb fruits and vegetables in their performance. There are even athletes who strictly follow a 1,000 calorie diet just so they can achieve the ideal weight for their sport. And a 1,000 calorie diet is the normal requirement for a small-to-average-framed woman, not athlete.

According to many sports scientists, a significant reduction in the carbohydrate intake of an athlete can lend some parts of the body incapable of fueling itself to perform physical activities. This can happen if the person has less than 33 percent carbohydrates in his or her diet. That is why in certain sports that require a muscle-building program, it is recommended that athletes just slightly reduce carbohydrates but not significantly reduce or totally eliminate it in their diet.

There are serious consequences if an athlete will continually follow a low carb diet. One of them is that the body will be deprived of essential vitamins and minerals since foods rich in carbohydrates are the body’s primary source of calcium, iron, magnesium and vitamin B-complex. Low carb diet also promotes increased production of uric acid which may subsequently affect your kidney function. Additionally, you will also be at risk of developing bone problems such as osteoporosis and bone thinning because the body will not be able to have enough calcium to support the bone-building cells. And they are not all of the side effects of having a low carb diet while you stay physically active in your sport.

If you are an athlete and are planning to have weight loss through a low carb diet, you must consult an expert first before proceeding with your plan. With a well-managed diet program, you may be able to lose weight without sacrificing your body’s need for carbohydrates. But there are also special exceptions to this. One case in point is when high mileage track and field athletes restrict carbohydrate intake several days before a competition and then engage in carbo-overloading just before a competition so that their body can store up more carbohydrates which they need for the competition.

Overall, you must carefully consider any plans of reducing your carbohydrate intake for the sake of weight loss especially if you are an athlete. Otherwise, you may suffer health problems as a result.

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