I’m going to digress from the nutrition for a bit. I know, heartbreaking, right? I’ll be putting out the information on runners diets soon enough but I don’t want to put more even more inaccurate information onto the interwebs than there already is and the studies I’ve scoured through so far are, to be frank, conflicting and incomplete. Many use tiny sample sizes, only young men or don’t look at endurance running. Metabolic labs are expensive and so corners are cut and studies aren’t reproduced after one is completed casting doubt on the initial conclusions, especially when the conclusion is a direct contradiction of a previous study.
My conclusion until I can get all this in some sort of reasonable order? Be careful what you read on the internet and don’t take it as fact. If your diet is working for you and you’re seeing good results, continue doing what you’re doing. If you are having poor results, attempt some adjustments but don’t get psychotic on your diet. Try minor adjustments. If you’re having digestive issues, first look at your fiber intake- is it too high or too low? If that’s not the problem, check your dairy intake. Is it possible you are one of the many people who have a lactose intolerance? You can attempt taking Lactaid before dairy which is an enzyme that you’re lacking with this intolerance in order to continue dairy intake to see if that helps, or you could try cutting out dairy if that’s agreeable with your lifestyle. Gluten intolerance is more rare than people believe, though it’s quite a fad right now. There are, however, people who are intolerant of gluten. A simple blood test from your doctor can check for this. You could be radical and just cut gluten out of your diet though many people get a placebo effect from doing this and unnecessarily are removing gluten and increasing the cost of their groceries. Note that true celiac disorder (allergy to gluten) can only be tested with a biopsy of your small intestine. It is different than intolerance. The information on low-carbohydrate diets and endurance is extremely conflicting with only one actual controlled study done with an extremely small sample (all healthy young cyclists- men) size in a metabolic lab. Many people do, however, claim extreme success in endurance on a low-carb diet in endurance. The people who report on this (via blogs/word of mouth/etc) state that it takes between a couple weeks to 3 months to adjust to this diet. The one controlled study did show a decrease in performance and then return to baseline after approximately 7 days with a boost to performance if any carbs were introduced, reduction of performance again with decrease of carbs (basically starting over) with the return to baseline a week later on the diet again. Take this for what it is as, again, it’s never been reproduced (probably due to the expensive metabolic lab) and was a small sample of healthy men. Really, if your diet works keep it. If it doesn’t adjust it- you may need more calories. You may need iron, calcium, phosphorus, etc. If necessary see a dietitian who’s versed in your sport and can help you examine your intake or look at your nutrition panel to see where you’re lacking. If you’re eating when you’re hungry and eating a reasonably well balanced diet, you should be fine.
And please folks—don’t obsess! Enjoy your life and don’t center it around food. Eat to live. Don’t live to eat. Your body will become healthy naturally as long as you are caring for it.