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Endurance Athletes: Fat is Your Friend

For long distance endurance training/races, there are multiple reasons to consider the switch from sugar-fueling to fat-fueling: Leaner Body Composition.  Stabilizing blood sugar levels by increasing dietary fat and reducing sugar intake will help to balance hormones and regulate appetite (less fueling needed during training/races). Managing insulin levels reduces the risk of excess insulin that will be converted to adipose (fat) tissue in the body, resulting in a lower body weight. This process improves power-to-weight ratio, which may aid in faster hill climbing – both on the bike or on a run. Sustained Long-Distance Performance.  Visualize two gas tanks. The “sugar tank” has 2,000 available calories for use and the “fat tank” has 40,000 calories for use. Which would you rather have? Fat, of course. Even the leanest athlete has 20x times the carbohydrate (sugar) storage in their body available. The challenge is tapping into this fat tank. It can take several weeks or months for an athlete to train their body to burn fat as their primary fuel source. Less reactive oxygen species.  Sugar can be toxic to the body, especially in large doses, and can generate a large amount of ROS (Reactive Oxygen Species) which inhibits cellular function. Cellular function is integral to our body’s functioning correctly, as cells are responsible for all communication and can affect athletic performance.   Increased Serotonin Levels.  Including healthy fat in your diet can improve mood, lend to more happiness and provide a sharp, focused mind-set during long training periods. Recent research is showing naturally occurring saturated fats boost mood and cognitive abilities. How do you become “fat adapted”? You can...
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