We often hear that an athlete needs to load up on carbohydrates to fuel workouts and races. And for good reason, carbohydrates are the body’s primary source of energy. However, this practice could pose a triple problem for bariathletes. For one thing, the word “shop” alone is not recommended for a small bag. And when you look at the macronutrient breakdown after surgery, protein tops the list. Finally, those who have had gastric bypass often cannot tolerate carbohydrates because they trigger dumping syndrome. So what should a bariathlete do?
Although the body prefers carbohydrates, loading per se may not be necessary. More and more athletes are starting to eat more balanced diets and continue to perform competitively. We recommend eating well throughout the day and using a balance of carbohydrates, protein and fat at every meal.
First, take a look at the micronutrient density of your food. Do you eat nutrient dense foods or are they many processed and deprived of vitamins and minerals? Athletes often overlook this because they focus more on calories and carbohydrates. Bariathletes also tend to forget this, but more because they believe all of their needs are covered by their vitamin and mineral supplements. The supplements meet your bariatric needs, but your nutritional needs will increase once you start exercising. And no, we don’t recommend taking more supplements to cover this, we recommend whole foods as your body can absorb and utilize these nutrients from its natural sources so much more efficiently.
Because a bariathlete can only eat a limited amount at any given time, it’s important not to exceed 4 hours between meals and snacks. Eating regularly ensures your fuel is full and can eliminate the need to “load”. Again, the key is a mix of carbohydrates and proteins to meet both your bariatric and athletic needs.
So remember, you are now an athlete and food is the fuel that will enable you to live the new and exciting lifestyle you choose. Opt for more mixed meals while still maintaining adequate protein intake. Choose more whole, fresh, nutrient-dense foods to provide you with the vitamins and minerals your body needs to function optimally. Good luck and have fun!
*For more specific details on your individual needs, contact us today for a personalized meal plan. [email protected]
Thanks to Lea Crosetti