The Truth Behind Combat Sports and the Paleo Diet
While the Paleo diet may seem like ancient history, it remains a strong diet that works surprisingly well for female athletes. However, the fact is that combat sports require a different type of nutrition than other types of sports. Combat sports tend to use different body systems, such as a steady mix of brain and brawn. The absence of carbs found in this diet may become an issue for fighters. How, then, do combat sports and the Paleo diet match-up so well?
Carbohydrates Rule the Day
There has been a lot of buzz about carbohydrates in combat sports. Athletes do not necessarily need carbs on a wide scale. However, the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism reports that too many athletes are lacking when it comes to important carbohydrate intake. This leads to reduced concentration, an essential element in combat sports. Resisting carbohydrates impairs brain function, according to Cyrus Khambatta, Nutritional Biochemist. Building muscle for combat sports must include a steady supply of some form of carbohydrate to keep the brain at peak performance.
The Study, and the Results
The study from the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism studied dietary intake in men and women participating in combat sports. While most athletes have enough fat reserves to provide energy to the muscles, carbs are still necessary to help support blood sugar, which directly affects concentration. Combat sports rely on technique, which suffers a reduction when the athlete does not take in carbs. The results of the study completed by the scientists found that reduced carbohydrates adversely affected females in combat sports. In fact, many sources, such as Forbes Magazine, report that a lack of carbohydrates directly relates to a reduction in concentration. The brain needs the simple sugars provided by carbohydrates.
So What is the Recommendation?
It is not recommended that athletes stop using the Paleo diet, as it is beneficial in most areas. The lacking area for combat athletes is the drop in blood sugar from the lack of carbs. This is exactly why many combat athletes are so addicted to oranges. The result of the study was that combat athletes, male and female alike, must compensate the diet with plenty of fruit during the workout and competition. The lack of grains in the diet reduces blood sugar, while the natural sugars found in fruit replace it. Concentration was found to improve when athletes ate fruit through workouts and during breaks in competition. Make sure to replace the missing sugar in the blood to keep concentration strong.
Athletes know how to take care of the body. Issues happen when the athlete forgets to care for the body as a whole working unit. Make sure to balance all parts of the body to stay at peak combat performance.
Contributing Writer Jane Sandwood