Dates, the best allies of the long-distance athlete

dates-the-best-allies-of-the-long-distance-athlete

Do you like dates? Are you an endurance athlete and ultra-fund? Cyclist, triathlete, trail runner or trail swimmer? You’re in luck 🙂 In this article we explain the characteristics of dates and their nutritional information.

Dates for athletes are an ideal restorative energy food due to their extra contribution in sugars and calories. What’s more, most energy bars made with natural ingredients are based on dates as the main component. They are appropriate when practicing long distance sports or intense physical exertions such as cycling, ultras or trail running.

Dates are one of the most used components to make energy bars for their consistency and nutritional properties. Unlike other caloric foods, dates replenish us quickly but do not give us a feeling of satiety. Its easily and quickly assimilated sugars are released little by little.

These fruits should always be part of the sportsman’s provisions in the background and, above all, ultra-deep, due to their great energy contribution and their ease of transportation in the form of snacks. They are an ideal food to carry in your jersey pocket on routes and cycling marches and as being natural, they are perfectly carried in all weathers.

Dates characteristics

• Dates are rich in sugars and vitamins A and B, and in ancient times it was called the fruit of the tree of life.

• Its consumption can improve the quality of lipids (fats) in the blood without increasing sugar levels.

• Dates not only provide energy to the muscles, but also to the brain, allowing increased capacity and mental agility. Therefore, they are a good resource to focus better and perform much more if you eat a handful. The brain also consumes sugar when we work with our mind intensely.

• They are rich in minerals such as potassium and magnesium, and in vitamin B3. The conjunction of potassium and vitamin B3 or niacin, favours good nervous and muscular function, promoting good psychomotor coordination. Magnesium is related to the functioning of the intestine, nerves and muscles, is part of bones and teeth, improves immunity.

• Dates also have two natural pigments, beta-carotenes and lutein, which help to take care of eyesight and prevent degenerative diseases of the eyes.

• Dates are usually one of the main components of energy bars.

Energy [Kcal] 289.45

Protein [g] 1.88

Carbohydrates [g] 65,10

Fiber [g] 8.70

Total fat [g] 0.45

Read More: The role of nutrition in sport

The role of nutrition in sport

the-role-of-nutrition-in-sport

Nutritional planning is an essential aspect of preparing a top athlete. The great variety of sports disciplines and situations throughout the season requires sports nutrition to be a certain degree of specialization. The knowledge of the biochemical and physiological bases of the exercise allows to know the routes of use of the nutrients and to design the most suitable nutritional and supplementation strategies for the training period, pre-competition, competition and recovery. Thus the diets of athletes who make explosive efforts are rich in protein, while those who compete in endurance tests need a greater contribution in carbohydrates, although fats are their main substrate during effort. In other disciplines, diets vary according to the time of the season. In addition, the diet must always be personalized, allowing the most optimal body composition parameters to be achieved for the athlete.

Our Nutrition Product: ORANGE & CACAO NIBS 

Behind a high-level athlete there are many professionals, including a coach, doctor, physical therapist, psychologist and nutritionist. Sports nutrition is a discipline that has evolved in recent times, thanks to the body provided by various scientific disciplines, such as Biochemistry and Physiology, among others. There are many situations that the sports nutritionist has to deal with and knowledge of the use of nutrients is essential for proper diet design and supplementation.

Our Nutrition Product: BERRY & ALMONDS

Thus, the events that require explosive efforts, such as a 100-meter smooth run, will depend on creatine phosphate and ATP produced anaerobically by fast-twitch muscle fibers. Therefore, the diets of this group of athletes are aimed at supporting muscle hypertrophy. At times of the season when overload cycles are carried out, the diet becomes richer in protein. A normal person’s diet usually contains an average of about 0.8 g of protein / kg weight. Speed athletes can consume up to 2 g / kg weight at certain times of the season. Creatine can also be consumed as a supplement a few days before with the idea of having the maximum deposits. The energy provided by creatine phosphate is instantaneous and ends quickly. In a normal person, creatine will be depleted within 2 to 3 seconds of starting exercise. Athletes who reach the 100m Olympic Final, have a high capacity to store creatine supplements and perform the race practically depending on this metabolic substrate. In anaerobic tests of longer duration, creatine-phosphate does not work and the energy produced becomes dependent on anaerobic glycolysis, which, although it allows rapid availability of ATP, entails acidification of muscle fiber due to the production of lactic acid. , which implies that the effort can only be sustained for a few minutes.

Our Nutrition Product: BLUEBERRY & NUTS

At the opposite extreme are extensive aerobic-type races, such as the marathon or road cycling. In these tests, the athlete must depend on durable energy systems, such as fats. Mobilized fatty acids from adipose tissue enter the muscle mitochondrial Krebs cycle in the form of acetyl-CoA. In these conditions, the Krebs cycle is working at its maximum and it needs the help of carbohydrates from glycogen. When glycogen stores are depleted, even though there are enough fatty acids, the speed of the Krebs cycle is considerably reduced and the athlete must slow down. It is the well-known “bonk” of cyclists and marathoners. To do this, a week before the race nutritional glycogen overload strategies are carried out, with the idea of filling the tanks to the maximum. These strategies consist of depleting muscle glycogen reserves on the 6th and 4th day before the test, through very intense workouts and with low carbohydrate diets. Three days before the test, we proceed to consume a diet rich in carbohydrates (70% of the total Kcal, a normal diet contains 55%) along with total rest. This allows the usual glycogen reserves to be increased by up to 40%. Today, this strategy has been refined due to the risk of injury that it entails, carrying out nutritional refinement strategies.
However, not everything is based on the energy provided by fats and carbohydrates. Other sports that apparently have an aerobic gesture, such as mountaineering, whose gesture is basically walking, do not depend entirely on glycogen deposits, or even fat deposits. In hypoxic conditions that occur at extreme altitudes, the absence of oxygen prevents the correct oxidation of fats, starting to oxidize carbohydrates through anaerobic metabolism. However, glycogen reserves are limited and during prolonged efforts at altitude mountaineers must resort to gluconeogenesis (de novo glucose synthesis) from amino acids from the breakdown of muscle proteins.

For this reason, the diet of mountaineers must also include an extra supply of protein and muscle hypertrophy during the season. In summary, it is clear that the diet of a tennis player is different from that of a footballer, and that the diet of a swimmer is not at all similar to that of a basketball player. Things are more complicated in sports disciplines where technical gestures, position on the field or environmental circumstances add new variables. Therefore, the sports nutritionist must take these factors into account and manage to design personalized diets adapted to the particular situation of each athlete.

Why Choose All-Natural Food Over Processed

There’s no reason why you can’t start eating better at any time of year, but right around the start of January is when most of us — hungover or not — have the fresh motivation to try something new. Call it a resolution, or just call it getting your butt in gear, but eating more healthily — that is to say, eating more natural foods as opposed to processed ones — can only be a good thing.

Processed Foods Are Overpriced
But we’re facing a problem, and it’s not as simple as too many leftover chocolates. We’re still buying and consuming too many processed foods. We’ve talked about it before on the FitBites blog, about how sales of processed foods are continuing to rise, despite the thousands, probably tens or hundreds-of-thousands of articles and blog posts on the internet telling us to cut back and choose natural (this one included.)

Why do we do it? Why are we still buying overpriced, processed foods and ready meals, when whole food ingredients that are packed with nutrients and flavour are not only cheaper, but better for the environment and better tasting? Maybe it’s convenience. Maybe it’s an addiction to all of the salt and sugar that’s rammed into processed foods to (a) make it last longer, and (b) to distract you from how god-awful the stuff that’s in it really tastes. The reality, is that it’s probably both of those reasons and then some.

Natural Whole Foods Are Better For You
We don’t think that this is a problem unique to countries like the UK and the US, but we’re certainly getting a raw deal when it comes to the food we buy. Walk into most shops and supermarkets, and while some effort has been made to make the cheaper, more natural choices favourable, profits win every time, and if you’re not going in there consciously to buy food that’s value for money, healthy and delicious, you’re going to get suckered into buying nonsense that’s overpriced, lacking in nutrition and frankly, pretty disappointing for the price.

Choose Protein and Good Fats Over Sugar and Fillers
A part of the reason a lot of people are reluctant to buy natural foods to prepare at home, has to be that ready meals and processed foods are made to look so filling and delicious. If they’re small and expensive, you assume they’re outstanding quality. If they’re huge, you assume that they’re filling and/or nutritious. That’s not always the case.

We say processed foods because what we’re talking about is food that’s been torn apart and stuck back together with tons of sugar and artificial oils and preservatives. Those cakes, cookies, pasta sauces, ready meals, cans of stuff and boxes of things that never go off, they’re full of things your body has to filter out just to get what it needs.

Instead, what you ought to be looking for is food that’s as unaltered as possible. It can be cooked or prepared in some way — FitBites balls are raw, but they’re prepared with care to naturally preserve and highlight their best flavours and nutrients — but your food ought to be recognisable for what it is.

Nature is fine as it is. Eat what the world provides, and keep the preservatives where they belong — which is nowhere.

Here’s to a happy, healthy 2017, from everyone at FitBites.