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Video: Can Elite Athletes Eat LCHF And Win?

Published on December 17, 2013,

The English cricket team was strongly backed to win the current Ashes series against Australia. Before the series there were media reports of the extraordinary 3-star Michelin-style meal plan the England team were travelling with. By contrast, the Australian team has quietly gone low carb. Results at time of posting? Australia have just taken an unassailable 3 – 0 lead over England. This is a talk by the Australian team’s nutritionist Peter Bruckner…

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At the end of the video Peter Bruckner talks about “Cereal Killers The Movie” – you can watch it on line here (affiliate link)

Reasons Why The Paleo Diet Is Taking Hold In The NBA

Published on December 16, 2013,

Writing for, basketball specialist Ken Berger has published a series of articles on nutrition in the NBA and in this extract from part two of three he focussed on the impact of the low carb paleo diet…

Polski: Ray Allen

Ray Allen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

…For various reasons, players from different walks of the NBA life are making dramatic changes to their diets in the hopes of achieving their goals. In the case of Ray Allen, it’s trying to squeeze a few more 3-pointers out of his 38-year-old body. For 24-year-old Blake Griffin, it’s laying the foundation for a long, productive career. For Derrick Rose, 25, it’s the recurring nightmare of bolstering his body to recover from injury…

“I think guys are becoming more aware,” said Allen, who began following a modified Paleolithic diet after the Heat won their second straight NBA title in June. “… When you start eating the salads and the proteins and fruits – in Whole Foods, I kill the fruit and vegetables section – you just feel so much fresher and cleaner.”

A Paleo-what? The Paleolithic diet — Paleo, for short — involves eating like our caveman ancestors did: lean meats, wild-caught fish, vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar or processed foods. Its proponents call it the “anti-inflammatory diet” on the theory that avoiding processed carbs and sugars decreases inflammation in the body — the kind that causes joint pain and the kind that a growing number of medical authorities believe contributes to heart disease, obesity and diabetes.

After the Heat beat the Spurs in the Finals – in large part due to Allen’s clutch 3-pointer late in Game 6 — Allen felt depleted, achy and believed he’d become dependent on anti-inflammatory medication just to get onto the floor. Then 37, the NBA’s career 3-point leader had just completed his 17th season. A model of health, fitness and preparation, Allen felt his body finally rebelling against him. And he didn’t like it one bit.

“My mentality was that I’m burning so much, I need the sugar and I need carbs,” Allen said. “But toward the end of the year, I remember being on anti-inflammatories and my body always felt like I was hopped up on drugs just to decrease the inflammation.”

Allen’s wife told him about the Paleo diet and its purported anti-inflammatory properties. He studied it, asked questions, and resolved to start it on July 1, but couldn’t wait. Allen took the Paleo plunge on June 26, six days after the Heat closed out the Spurs in Game 7.

“I cut everything out, and within three weeks I lost 10 pounds,” Allen said. “I stuck with it all summer long and learned to eat even cleaner.”

Allen confronted his one dilemma with the program once training camp began. With his activity level ramped up — practices, weightlifting sessions, the endless shooting he does to hone his craft — he began to feel depleted. So he did something that even one of the world’s top proponents of the Paleo diet acknowledges is OK for athletes with a high activity level: He increased his consumption of carbs.

“That’s absolutely what needs to be done,” said Robb Wolf, a biochemist, author of the New York Times best-seller, “The Paleo Solution” and a student of Paleolithic nutrition expert Loren Cordain.

“When you start looking at any type of high-level athlete, they need a lot of carbs to be able to function optimally – potatoes, some sweet potatoes, some white rice,” Wolf said. “That’s spot on to make this thing work.”

Wolf works most often with people who are sick and obese, and those with type II diabetes and/or other metabolic diseases are best served by a strict Paleo diet with very little starch and no dairy, he said. But professional athletes and members of the military are equally motivated to try the Paleo lifestyle for optimal health, and there’s more than one way to do it.

“If they do something that improves their recovery, they feel a little better, their cognition is a little better, their fine motor skills are maintained and they’re able to train a little bit harder or a little more often,” Wolf said. “They just don’t get so beaten down.”…

More at:  Nutrition in the NBA; Part II: Paleo diet takes hold for myriad reasons

LA Lakers ‘Flip The Pyramid’ and Go Low Carb

Published on June 24, 2013,

The Los Angeles Times has an interesting article about the LA Lakers basketball team and how they have been put onto a low carb, low sugar, high fat diet. Stars like Kobe Bryant are crediting the new diet with improved performance and steadier energy levels…

Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers scores 8...

Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers scores 81 points against visiting Toronto Raptors (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last summer, Gary Vitti put the Los Angeles Lakers on a diet. Not just any diet but one based on the theories of Dr. Cate Shanahan, a Napa-based advocate of low-carb and, more important, low-sugar and high-fat eating (as long as the fats are the right ones). The program is similar to the popular Paleo Diet, preferring meat from pastured rather than grain-fed animals and avoiding carbohydrates and processed foods.

The reaction has generally been good, Vitti says, but it took a little while. “It wasn’t an easy sell,” Vitti says, but he had a powerful advocate. “Kobe [Bryant, the star guard] was really on board right away because, as he’s getting older, he knows he needs an edge and that nutrition can be one of them. Since he’s adopted it, he says he feels remarkably better.”

Bryant has credited the diet of lean meat and vegetables, and avoiding carbohydrates, especially sugar, with his remarkable late-career resurgence last year.

Other players were a little tougher to persuade. When Vitti and his team, including strength and conditioning coach Tim DeFrancesco, who is in charge of implementing the program, analyzed the diet of center Dwight Howard, they were amazed. “He was eating the equivalent of something like 23 Hershey bars a day,” Vitti says. “A lot of that was fruit, which is supposed to be good, but besides the vitamin C he was getting, there was a lot of sugar. He’d have a lot of energy, then get these insulin spikes and crash really quick.”

Since Howard adopted the diet, Vitti says, his energy levels have remained much more stable.

During the season, the Lakers feed the players twice a day, with a chef trained in Shanahan’s theories. The doctor also Skypes with the staff and the players’ wives and personal chefs. Breakfast usually consists of an omelet station and a buffet with things like whole wheat pancakes and oatmeal. Lunch includes a pasta station and a buffet with two kinds of meat and lots of green leafy vegetables.

“We’ve turned the whole [dietary] pyramid upside down, that’s what we’ve done,” says Vitti. “I went 25 years without having whole milk or a stick of butter in my refrigerator. I didn’t eat bacon. No fatty meat. We’ve flipped that upside down. Now 50% to 60% of our calories are coming from fat. It’s the source of the fats that’s important.”

More at:  Gary Vitti’s low-carb diet for the Lakers

See more from Dr Cate Shanahan here

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