Optimal Exercise Nutrition – What Does It Consist Of?

Optimal exercise nutrition regardless of the level of exercise should contain a variety of nutrient dense foods. The choices of foods should include more than 60% of calories as carbohydrates, with less than 30% of calories as fats, and a moderate amount of proteins, and by eating a variety of foods from the myplate food groups, vitamin and mineral groups are often met.

Carbohydrates and Exercise

Carbohydrates are one of the primary fuel sources that the body uses during exercise. By having a high intake of carbohydrates stores of glycogen in the body will be increased which provides the fuel needed to produce ATP for exercise endurance, and a diet high in carbohydrates helps to prevent mental as well as physical fatigue. Carbohydrates should of course come mainly from complex carbohydrates which may provide some of the B vitamins needed for energy metabolism, as well as iron from enriched foods, and whole grain fiber. Processed sugars should be avoided as much as possible.

Fats and Exercise

Fats are the other main fuel source called upon during exercise. However, high fat diets should not be consumed since these diets are lower in carbohydrates and limit the muscles’ ability to replenish glycogen stores. These diets are also often high in calories, saturated fats, and cholesterol. The key is to limit fat intake to only about 30% by taking in more carbohydrates that create the energy necessary to convert the fats that are stored in the body into energy, this is a more efficient use of dietary fat stored in the body. Fat does serve its purpose by providing for fat intake from protein foods such as meat, providing iron, zinc, and essential fatty acids, the key is to consume only what is needed from dietary fat.

Proteins and Exercise

Moderate amounts of protein help in the building of muscle tissue for strength and endurance. The best sources of protein for exercise are beans, low fat dairy products, egg whites, lean beef, lean pork, chicken, turkey and fish. The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for protein is recommended at 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day and this is believed to be enough for those that engage in low intensity exercise. For those that are more involved in physically active exercise an upper limit of 1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day is thought to be sufficient.

Exercise and Vitamins - Along With Minerals Support Physical Activity
Nutritional Supplements - Are They Necessary For Exercise?
Exercise Hydration Needs - Customizing Individual Strategies
Young Athletes Nutrition - Supporting Performance And Growth

For more information about optimal exercise nutrition click on the link to livestrong.com

For other information on nutrition including optimal exercise nutrition some great references are:

• Nutrition – Fourth Edition by Paul Insel, Don Ross, Kimberley McMahon, and Melissa Bernstein

Exercise Energy Systems
Nutrition and Exercise
Cooking and Nutrition
Nutrients In Food
Energy From Food
Vitamin B Complex
Water and Nutrition
Dietary Minerals
Cooking Recipes
Cooking Easy Recipes Home