Most people who exercise or compete in endurance sports would probably answer no. For decades, recreational and competitive athletes have stoutly believed that we should — even must — consume a diet rich in carbohydrates to fuel exertion. The conventional wisdom has been to avoid fatty foods because they are an inefficient fuel source and could lead to weight gain.
But in recent years, some scientists and quite a few athletes have begun to question those beliefs. Athletes devoted to ultra-endurance sports, in particular, tout high-fat diets as a means to improve performance.
…exercise scientists long ago established that endurance training makes athletes better able to use fat as a fuel. And that metabolic adaptation prompted many scientists and coaches in recent years to wonder what would happen if you extended that ability to its farthest extreme and trained an athlete’s body to rely almost exclusively on fat, by removing almost all carbohydrates from the diet and ramping up grease intake?
If you decide to make a change – do it in the off season. It may take a few weeks for your body to adapt to a high-fat diet (three weeks for cyclists in one of the studies), and it may never work well if you’re doing sports that require sudden bursts of power or strength, like weightlifting, Crossfit, or team sports like American football. But if you’re gearing up for a marathon or a long bike race, bacon-heavy breakfasts might suit you just fine.
For vegans/vegetarians, you’ll want to source fat from the following:
- Cheese (assuming not vegan/etc and/or lactose intolerant)
- Nuts (assuming no allergies)