Archive for Wednesday, June 21, 2000

The dilemmas about diet

June 21, 2000

As an athlete I've been taught that proper nutrition is just as important as proper training. I just don't understand what exactly defines proper nutrition these days.

I attended the Jim Ryun Running Camp last week for the fifth summer in a row. The first three summers we were told that carbo-loading on spaghetti and drinking a lot of water with meals was ideal for a runner.

The last two years the lectures on nutrition changed to pro-protein and anti-carbohydrates. Campers were told that carbos have too much sugar and therefore they are a quick, fake energy. Also drinking more than eight ounces of fluid with our meals is unhealthy because it dilutes the digestive juices.

So which way is the proper diet? Why does it change so frequently?

A search on the internet makes things even more confusing.

Type in the word "nutrition" in a search engine and you get 888,234 web sites. It appears that if an item is considered food there is a health diet for it. I found a cabbage diet, grapefruit diet, Russian pot-pie diet and, my favorite, a chocolate diet.

When I was in elementary school we were taught the four food groups, then it changed to the food "pyramid" and recently the pyramid received some changes something to do with making beans more important.

So what is the deal, because obviously people and food don't change that much from generation to generation? With all of our fancy high-tech labs and experiments, why can't we come up with the perfect diet?

My conclusion is that the nutrition market is about as concerned for the health of its consumers as George Steinbrenner is about his players. All they want to do is sell their product, and they will do what they can to make their product appear healthy.

For example, there will always be research that claims an egg is high in cholesterol, but there will always be commercials claiming "we love our eggs from our head to our legs."

So I guess since everybody is different, it is important to find what works for you. Yet, as much as we might want it to work, the all chocolate diet probably won't work for anybody.

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