The classic Paleolithic diet could not be further from the requirements of an elite athlete or sportsman, which is why the modification is necessary for certain aspects, adding a greater amount of carbohydrates and specific foods.
When talking about a paleolithic diet for athletes, many tend to view it with suspicion, and it is no wonder because it has a low carbohydrate content and an absence of dairy products.
Next, we seek to adopt this diet so that it is a great option for any athlete who wishes to incorporate this style of eating. Many great athletes have already taken this step. Do you dare to try it?
What is a paleolithic diet?
It is not simply about a diet, since the purpose is really to adapt the meals to a healthy diet. It consists of fruits, vegetables, eggs, nuts, vegetables, meat, fish, spices and herbs. It is actually about adapting our diet to how our ancestors ate in the Paleolithic.
It is a diet free of chemical processes, everything that nature offers us without refining or altering its components, proteins and healthy fats.
Paleolithic diet for athletes
Diets for athletes generally consist of carbohydrate-rich foods such as breads, pasta, rice, incorporating sports drinks and supplements for recovery and performance enhancement.
This idea of ”sports diet” goes very against the purpose of the Palaeolithic diet for athletes, however it is about following an adapted diet to obtain a better performance, and having certain additional benefits of which we will talk later.
The adaptation consists of:
First, increase your carbohydrate and protein intake, especially before workouts (eat rice, potatoes, bananas, etc.) the rest of the days you can follow a normal paleo diet. This is essential to monitor energy levels at least two hours before workouts.
- White rice
- Whole milk, plain yogurt
- Vegetables with higher carbohydrate content
- High carbohydrate fruits
This adaptation is progressive, food can be gradually eliminated, while consulting the nutritionist to assess the changes.
Variety in paleolithic diets
There is no single diet, in different regions a variation in food intake is observed, so there is no problem in varying and adapting this type of diet to what is a fitness and sports life. We emphasize that we are not talking about a ketogenic diet.
Benefits of a paleo diet for athletes
Coming to the point of benefits, according to Dr. Loren Cordain, there are many advantages, especially in health markers, which promote fat loss. Improving health influences recovery time after each workout, while increasing strength and losing fat.
Being a diet rich in protein , it favors the increase of strength and repair of the muscles. We present four reasons for the ergogenic effect (which increases muscle power ) of this diet for athletes:
- Trace nutrients: an important source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants is observed, combined with a good intake of lean meats. They are staples of a paleo diet that strengthen the body’s immune system and ensure optimal functioning.
- Branched chain amino acids (BCAAs): many athletes incorporate BCAA supplementation into their diet, as they are indicated to improve athletic performance. For this reason, the Paleolithic diet is distinguished from others by its great contribution in these amino acids. In sport it translates to a shorter recovery period and to reverse muscle deterioration caused by intense training.
- Blood acidity vs alkalinity: following these types of diets considers alkalizing the blood, which can be seen, since the body of athletes is much more prone to acidity.
- Glycogen deposits: currently there is a fanaticism for the consumption of carbohydrates for sport, reaching the extreme of people who want to consume and eat all day based on these. This excess causes other important foods to be displaced.
Experts have recognized that the consumption of carbohydrates is especially useful before, during and after exercise, in addition to certain foods that are more effective in regenerating muscle glycogen. The paleo diet has this principle, being a balanced and nutritious option.
Other advantages and benefits of a paleo diet in sport
- It makes available in a natural way the elements that the body needs for the production of essential hormones, in addition to other elements that facilitate the transport of fat and the formation of creatine .
- Fat is used as fuel, having a practically unlimited reserve and allows a longer physical work.
- Decrease chronic inflammation by avoiding refined sugars and other foods that can be harmful. Promoting in this way the fast and efficient recovery of the muscle.
- There is no type of nutritional deficiency in a Paleolithic diet well adapted for athletes.
In conclusion, I want to emphasize again that we are not talking about a traditional or classic paleo diet. In athletes, a version adapted to the needs of carbohydrates is necessary, which allows to take full advantage of the physiological changes of exercise, which implies the incorporation of certain non-Palaeolithic foods.