The CrossFit Dietary Prescription:
Finely tuned, a good diet will increase health, energy and sense of well being while reducing fat, packing on muscle and optimizing physical performance. Your nutrition will amplify or diminish the effects of your training efforts.
Nutrition is the foundation that your fitness is built upon. (CFJ Oct 2002)
Sport – performance
Weightlifting – the control of external weight
Gymnastics – the control of our bodies in space
Metcon (metabolic conditioning) – Cardio/Respiratory
Nutrition – solid molecular foundation
Food & Hormones:
Think of food as a drug that effects your hormone production. Food is made up of the Macronutrients: protein, carbohydrate & fat. (Micronutrients are vitamins & minerals) Eating carbohydrates effects your production of the hormone insulin and eating protein effects your production of the hormone glucagon. Glucagon releases stored energy (glucose) out of the liver and into the bloodstream where insulin pulls that energy out of the bloodstream into your cells to be used as fuel. We need to maintain a healthy balance of these two hormones for optimal health, mental & emotional balance, and physical performance. (Eating fat is hormonally neutral and supports the balance.) We need a balance of Carb/Sugar/Insulin (lets energy into the cell) and Protein/Glucagon (lets energy out of the cell) to maintain optimum health.
Carbohydrates: (CFJ Nov 2002)
Insulin is the hormone – produced in the pancreas – that allows glucose into cells where it can be utilized as fuel. Though insulin is absolutely essential to life, chronic and acute elevation of insulin (through heredity or eating too much carbohydrate) will decrease the cells sensitivity to it. This causes the pancreas to secrete more insulin than is normal to get glucose inside the cell. This process is known as “insulin resistance” and the resultant condition is “Hyperinsulinemia”.
Hyperinsulinemia is the chronic & acute elevation of insulin as a result of habitual consumption of excess carbohydrate. Chronically elevated levels of insulin will wreak havoc on your health. Diseases like Diabetes Type II, coronary heart disease, depression, Alzheimer’s, hypertension, osteoporosis & obesity have all been scientifically linked to a diet too high in processed carbohydrate.
The food we eat also elicits a hormonal response that determines how energy is stored in the body. Sugar drives the Insulin response & Insulin drives fat storage & slows the metabolism.
Eating protein along with carbohydrate in the correct proportions will negate the insulin reaction and the fat storage trigger. In the absence of ingested protein, your body will break down muscle to fulfill its protein requirement.
Fat is your optimal energy source. It contains over 2 times the calories of protein or carbs. Eating “Good” fat (polyunsaturated fatty acids, Omega-3, DHA, EPA) does not slow metabolism, subjects do not feel hungry and energy is released from fat storage. The “Good” fats can actually increase insulin sensitivity and reduce insulin resistance. (Gary Taubes – “Good Calories, Bad Calories”). The human body can not produce these fatty acids, they must be ingested. These essential fatty acids also help in hormone production, regulating blood pressure, blood clotting, immune response & inflammation response. The human heart and skeletal muscles prefer fatty acids as fuel where the brain prefers glucose. Good fats are found in nuts & seeds, avocado and fish. “Bad” fats are the trans-fats, man-made fats and animal fats and have none of the beneficial effects of the good fats.
Sickness & Health:
A balanced diet allows for optimal health & fitness and guards against sickness. If you are fit, you first have to get well before you can get sick. Fitness provides a margin of protection against sickness. Wellness is the state of not being sick.
A Balanced Diet:
A balanced diet is essential to maintaining good health. It begins with good quality and the right quantity of food. Real food is perishable. The stuff with a long shelf life is circumspect.
The Paleo Diet:
You should base your diet on lean meats, vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. This is based on Dr. Cordain’s “Paleo Diet”. The Paleo Diet mimics the types of foods a person (hunter-gatherer/stone tools) ate prior to the Agricultural Revolution (from 2.5 million years ago to 12,000 years ago, about 10,000 BC). This period of time comprises 99% of human history and is the diet to which the human species is genetically adapted.