Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Kenyan Runner's Diet - Surprising!

About 86 percent of daily calories came from vegetable sources, with 14 percent from animal foods. As you might expect, the Kenyan-runners' diets were extremely rich in carbohydrate, with 76.5 percent of daily calories coming from carbs

Every 24 hours, the Kenyans took in about 600 grams of carbohydrate, with very little variation from day to day

just behind ugali in second place for calorie-provisioning was plain sugar, which provided about one out of every five calories (20 percent) consumed by the Kenyans over the course of the day.

Since the Kenyans relied so heavily on full-cream milk as a source of energy and protein, their daily consumption of saturated fat checked in at about 28 grams -- 252 calories out of the daily caloric quota of 3,000 or so.

the carb intake of elite distance runners in the U.S., the Netherlands, Australia and South Africa have been measured at 49 (!), 50, 52 and 50 percent of total calories, respectively, a far cry from the Kenyan total of 76.5 percent.3,4,5,6 The Kenyans appear to be doing a better job of fueling themselves for their high-intensity training, compared with their "peers" in other countries.

Source: Eating practices of the best endurance athletes in the world by Owen Anderson.

MY COMMENT: After reading this, I am OK with sugar in my tea. With all the hype surounding a low carbohydrate approach for effective weight loss, this is indeed a reminder that what's good for heavy people may not be good for the runner in training. If you didn't know, Kenyans are notorious for gaining weight during their down time.

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