NUTRITION FOR SOCCER PLAYERS: FAST FOOD CAN LEAVE YOUR BODY STARVING FOR NUTRIENTS
Hungry an hour after a stop at a fast food joint?
Amy Dirks explains some of the Issues with Fast Foods for Athletes
Nutrition information for soccer players from Amy Dirks. Discover what makes this column so different: Read Meet SoccerToday’s Nutritionist Amy Dirks – Great Info for Soccer Players of All Ages
Soccer players of all ages are always looking for nutrition advice and valuable tips for what to eat for peak performance. Here is Amy Dirks’ latest column on Fast Foots.
NUTRITION FOR SOCCER PLAYERS: Soccer Players’ Fast Food Don’ts …
Scenario 1: You’re rushing from school to practice and, after a long and hot training session, you’re starving! It takes 25 minutes to get home and it’s already 7:00 PM. The weekend was crazy, so meals weren’t planned and nothing is waiting for you to eat at home.
Scenario 2: You have an 8 AM Saturday morning soccer game and then have to immediately leave for your sibling’s soccer game afterward. You’re famished because breakfast was only a granola bar and you didn’t plan meals or snacks ahead of time for after your game.
What do you do in either situation?
At almost every intersection you can find golden arches, kings, queens, and any fast food you want ready and in your mouth in minutes. So, you do what millions of people do daily? Do you drive through and get a cheap and quick meal that satisfies you … temporarily?
Sound familiar? We’ve all been guilty of this so don’t beat yourself up over it.
Most Americans are overscheduled and overcommitted that meal planning and cooking take a back seat on the priority list.
The problem is that this is becoming so consistent and routine that we eat more fast food meals than we eat real food anymore. I use the term REAL food because most fast foods are processed enough that they have zero nutritional value besides empty calories. I’ve experienced it over and over … moms saying “my kid is always hungry, he eats all of the time and is never satisfied.” The reason why this is happening (besides obvious growth spurts) is that they aren’t eating nutrient dense foods or foods that pack tons of vitamins/minerals for their weight.
Foods with fiber, protein, and healthy fats, all of which help with satiety. Opposite of that is calorie dense foods or foods that have plenty of calories per weight but offer no nutrition.
Fast food is just that … calorie dense but lacking in proper nutrition to support not only growth and development but high-level activity.
A meal with a burger, fries and milkshake can add up to almost 1,500 calories but forget the calories! It’s what is hidden in those calories that can take a toll on your health long-term.
I always say “it’s not the quantity of the calories as much as it is the quality of the calories so choose wisely and make them count!”
Let’s take a look at some of the things you may find in fast food:
- Processed ingredients-sometimes your burger isn’t just beef but more soy protein or TVP (texturized vegetable protein) and other fillers.
- Cheap ingredients-I don’t know many fast food places using top of the line ingredients.
- If they were, their food wouldn’t be so inexpensive.
- Trans Fats-these are man-made fats found in fried foods and cookies and pastries and can cause inflammation which eventually leads to disease.
- Artificial Ingredients (sweeteners and
colors)-your body was meant to digest and absorb real food and isn’t sure what to do with artificial ingredients.
- Preservatives – these increase the shelf life of
- If preservatives can keep food from spoiling for years, what do you think it does inside your body? For starters, it can cause bloating and gas and wreak havoc on your GI system. Health of the body AND the mind begins in the gut.
- Added Sugars (high fructose corn syrup)-we are taking in too much sugar on a daily basis as it is and don’t really need the extra help. The added sugars add
flavorcreating hyperpalatablefoods that our brain craves more of.
- Sodium-fast food not only has added sugars but also excess sodium. Sodium in the right amount is positive but too much can have a negative effect.
Some of the health woes you may experience if a fast food diet is your eating regimen could be:
- Gastrointestinal issues-leaky gut due to fast food lacking
fiber, containing artificial ingredients, processed foods, and preservatives.
- Acne and skin issues-conventional dairy, modern gluten, trans-fats, fried foods, processed foods, sodas and excess sugar can all cause acne and skin problems.
- A decrease in mentation – you may experience a mental health decline over time. Your brain and gut communicate and if your gut is unhealthy, chances are, your brain is following suit. Your brain needs healthy fats as it is comprised mostly of fat and cholesterol. If you aren’t feeding it the right foods to thrive on, it becomes less efficient.
- Insulin issues – what you eat and how often you trigger the hormone insulin can have far greater effects on increasing your risk of insulin resistance, pre-diabetes and developing diabetes than your genetics.
- Increased Inflammation – no one, especially athletes, need additional inflammation in the body caused by poor diet. This type of inflammation can lead to joint pain, cardiovascular problems, and even cancer.
- Weakened Bones – If the body isn’t getting what it needs through diet, it will seek it out from somewhere and that can mean bone loss. If you aren’t eating nutrient dense foods with Vitamin D, Calcium, Magnesium, etc. your whole structural make-up can suffer.
- Lethargy, Depression, Lack of Motivation – eating fast foods all of the time can take its toll on how you feel overall and your motivation levels.
2 in 3 adults are considered overweight or obese. More than ⅓ children ages 6-19 are also considered overweight or obese.
West Virginia has the highest adult obesity rate at 38.1%, Texas 33%, New Jersey 27.3%, New York 25.7% California 25.1% and Colorado has the lowest at 22.6%.The State of Obesity – Obesity Rates & Trend Data
The growth of fast food coincides with the growth of overweight/obesity in America.
Fast food restaurants have doubled and the obesity rates have also doubled, in fact, obesity rates have more than doubled. Although it is multi-factorial, we cannot deny this possible correlation.
But, how can you avoid these scenarios and get back on track without adding more stress and chaos to your lives? Stay tuned for the next article…
For more complete information on great choices of what to eat, please check out Amy Dirks: NUTRITION FOR SOCCER PLAYERS: WHAT TO EAT WHEN
Related Article in US News & World Report – Study: Teens Exposed to More Junk Food Ads Eat More Junk Food – YOUNG PEOPLE EXPOSED TO junk food advertising consume up to 350 more calories every week.
Want to reach Amy Dirks? Email at Amy@SoccerToday.com her for more information