Whether you play soccer, run track, or shoot hoops, it is important to watch what foods and drinks you are putting into your body. Certain foods can have a negative impact on athletic performance and energy level. We created a list of 5 foods and drinks that all athletes should try and avoid:
Athletes should stay away from soda. Soda can cause a loss in appetite for healthier foods because the high calorie content causes people to feel full after drinking it. Soda can also hinder your performance because it lacks minerals and vitamins that are essential for athletes. An occasional soda won’t hurt but picking soda over water on a daily basis may cause an upset stomach and contribute to dehydration.
2. Sugary Cereal
It is time to think twice before grabbing a quick bowl of cereal for breakfast. Not all cereals are bad for athletic activity, but it is especially important to avoid sugary cereals. Eating too much sugar throughout the day can lead to a spike in insulin, which may cause your body to store more fat. If you are thinking about eating cereal in the morning, make sure to find a low-sugar cereal made from whole grains.
Coffee is loaded with antioxidants that can help boost performance, but be careful to stay away from fancy coffee drinks such as frappuccinos. Coffee drinks like these have extra cream, sugar, and syrup that are very high in sugars and calories with little nutrients. Instead opt for green tea as it contains antioxidants and caffeine but doesn’t leave you with that awful jittery feeling.
4. Microwave Popcorn
We hate to say it, but any fit person should be advised to take microwave popcorn out of his or her diet. Popcorn is loaded with unhealthy fats, extremely high levels of sodium, and can be filled with chemicals. However, popcorn lovers can let go a sigh of relief as there are healthy alternatives available. The healthiest popcorn can be made from organic kernels with coconut oil that are popped over a stove top.
5. Non-Fat Yogurt
The word non-fat can be deceiving. Non-fat yogurts often add modified food starch and fructose, which can cause a peak in your blood sugar level. Unstable blood sugar can weaken your performance and energy level while playing a big game. A healthy alternative is a full-fat Greek yogurt.
As the saying goes, you are what you eat. Remember that most foods are OK in moderation, the important thing is to make sure not to overdo it!
Sources: Rodale's Organic Life