If you are looking for nutrition advice, there is a lot of fake advice out there. That’s why it’s important to distinguish facts from myths.
A well-planned diet can improve performance and reduce injury risk when you are working out or if you are an athlete.
Live Rugby Tickets collaborated with nutritionists Vanessa Peat and Caroline Hind to debunk the top misconceptions about diets, revealing the truths that can boost your performance and reduce injury.
Myth 1: Eating after dinner will make you gain weight
Eating nutritious food with protein after a workout helps replace glycogen stores and recover muscles, reducing the risk of overuse injuries, especially after muscle-building activities.
There’s no right or wrong time to eat, but it depends on your workout and sleep schedule. If you prefer going to the gym or local football in the evenings, eat a light meal 1-2 hours before and have post-workout snacks.
Myth 2: Eating carbs will make you fat
Carbs are essential for a healthy diet, not only reducing injury risk but also playing a crucial role in recovery. Research shows that carbohydrates fuel the body, aid in muscle growth, control blood glucose and improve metabolic functions.
During sports injuries, carbohydrates are especially important, as muscles are more vulnerable to loss. Recommended carbs during an injury include potatoes and whole grains like bread and rice. However, a high-carb diet is not necessary.
Registered clinical nutritionist Caroline Hind suggests increasing carbs during sessions while emphasizing protein-rich foods and colourful vegetables.
Myth 3: Thinking a vegan diet won’t support you
A growing number of athletes are adopting a vegan diet (eating only plants and no animals), including tennis legends like the Williams sisters and British racing driver Lewis Hamilton.
A plant-based diet, which contains less fat and more fibre and carbs, improves blood viscosity, increases aerobic capacity, and enhances endurance. It also provides plenty of proteins without the inflammation effects of meat, supporting muscle tissue rebuilding and recovery during injury. Tofu, soya, wheat, and peas are good protein sources for vegan athletes.
Registered Clinical Nutritionist Caroline Hind suggests supplementing animal-sourced foods with protein powders, collagen, mineral, and vitamin formulas, especially when paired with a low-sugar, whole-food diet.
Myth 4: Salts are bad for you
Salts are crucial in your diet, as they help maintain fluid balance and hydration. Loss of sodium after exercising can reduce blood volume and oxygen intake, leading to fatigue and increased injury risk.
Sports drinks with sodium help prepare the heart and body for physical activities and rehydrate. Research shows that supplementing with sodium significantly enhances endurance runners’ performances.
Myth 5: All you need for recovery is protein
You need more than just protein after working out. Vanessa Peat, performance nutritionist and co-founder of UCU emphasizes the importance of rehydrating post-exercise to replace lost fluids and electrolytes.
Refueling post-exercise is crucial to restoring glycogen stores, which are your main fuel source. A homemade rehydration drink is a simple and cost-effective way to do this. Eating fruit, pasta, or white rice can provide a quick carbohydrate release.
Rest and good sleep quality are essential. Meals should be satisfying, containing protein-rich foods, a variety of vegetables, and a portion of starchy food no larger than a quarter of your plate. This will help maintain overall health