Do you eat these harmful foods that hurt your recovery? Some are even deceptively marketed to you as "healthy" by giant food corporations.
Due to biochemical reactions in your body that occur with every type of food you eat on a daily basis, some foods hurt recovery and some foods help recovery.
Eat the wrong foods regularly, and you won’t get the edge that proper nutrition can give you but eat the right foods, and over time, you can start getting the edge over your opponents because you will be able to train harder and longer.
Three of the processes that go on inside your body that have a MAJOR impact on your rate of recovery are called "glycation", "inflammation", and "oxidation". When we talk about recovery, we are talking about factors that you can't see, such as how well your organs function, and whether your joints are degrading.
Food #1 that decreases your recovery: Wheat (yes, even "whole wheat"). Before we tell you why wheat can actually slow down the recovery process in your body, let's clarify some simple biochemistry in your body...
This deals with "glycation" in your body which is a process that takes the food you eat and breaks them down to molecules your body will use. The wrong type of food breaks down to substances called Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs). These nasty little compounds called AGEs reduces the recovery process in your body and damages over time your organs and your joints.
So, let's get back to how "whole wheat" relates to this...
Here is a little-known fact that's often covered up by the massive marketing campaigns by giant food companies that want you to believe that "whole wheat" is healthy for you... but the fact is that wheat contains a very unique type of carbohydrate (not found in other foods) called Amylopectin-A, which has been found in some tests to spike your blood sugar higher than even pure table sugar. The better you control your blood sugar levels they better your energy levels are (ask a type 1 or type 2 diabetic). In fact, amylopectin-A (from wheat) raises your blood sugar more than almost any other carbohydrate source on earth based on blood sugar response testing.
This means that wheat-based foods such as breads, bagels, cereals, muffins, and other baked goods often cause much higher blood sugar levels than most other carbohydrate sources. As you know now, the higher your average blood sugar levels are over time, the more AGEs are formed inside your body, which makes your recovery more difficult. Now let’s be clear, we are not saying to never eat these but understand that you eat these foods two to three times a day you are hurting your chances to maximize your performance from sports nutrition.
You've probably heard about the potential health-damaging effects of gluten (also found in wheat) in the news recently, but this blood sugar aspect we just covered is not talked about that often, and is yet another reason to reduce or eliminate wheat-based foods in your diet. Your body will thank you by aging slower and looking YOUNGER!
Food #2 that decreases your recovery: Corn-based foods -- corn syrup, corn cereal, corn chips, corn oil
This is quite a variety of stuff that you might eat every day... we're talking corn chips, corn cereals, corn oil, and also the biggest health-damaging villain that gets most of the media attention, high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS).
We already talked in detail in the last section about wheat regarding the blood sugar process and it's relation to recovery reducing formation of nasty "AGEs" in your body. Well, corn-based starchy foods such as corn cereals, corn chips, etc also have a big impact on blood sugar levels and therefore can increase AGEs in your body and accelerate aging and hurt recovery from your training efforts.
But here's another nail in the coffin for corn... it turns out that scientists have found out that the fructose in HFCS causes 10x more formation of AGEs in your body than glucose! Yes, that's right... that means the HFCS you consume daily in sweetened drinks, and most other processed foods (yes, even salad dressings and ketchup) contribute to decreased recovery in your body... as if you needed yet another reason to avoid or minimize HFCS!
We're not done yet with corn... it gets even worse...
Another major issue with corn-based foods and corn oils is that these foods contribute excessive amounts of omega-6 fatty acids to your diet, which causes an imbalance in your omega-3 to omega-6 ratio and leads to inflammation and oxidation within your body.
Once again... another example of corn-based foods hurting your recovery. Our
advice: Avoid or reduce corn-based foods like corn chips and corn cereal as much as possible. These aren't as bad as wheat in relation to blood sugar, and they don't contain gut-damaging gluten like wheat does, but they are still bad for you. When it comes to corn syrup or corn oil, avoid as much as you can if you want to stay lean. We often say in the clinic that you should treat corn as a grain not a vegetable and we want you to reduceyour grains! In other words if corn isn’t on the cob... Don’t Eat It!!
Food #3 that decreases your recovery: Sugar, sugary foods, certain starchy foods
Again, we get back to the relationship between your average blood sugar levels and blood sugar spikes over time, and how that can increase those recovery limiting compounds.
Sugar is an obvious one to avoid. You've heard how bad it is for you 1000 times before for many other reasons, including your waistline and developing type 2 diabetes. But now you also understand the anti-recovery effect of sugar.
Instead of sugar, consider using a natural non-caloric sweetener like Stevia in your daily coffee, tea, in baking, or other sweetening needs. This dramatically helps you control your blood sugar response and thereby help slow aging.
So this also means to think twice about sugary desserts, sugary cereals, candy, and other sweets. One trick to satisfy your sweet tooth is to only have 1-2 squares of dark chocolate after dinner instead of a normal full dessert that most people choose. You only get about 2 grams of sugar in 1-2 squares of dark chocolate as opposed to 40-80 grams of age-accelerating sugar in a typical cake, ice cream, or brownie type of dessert.
Keep in mind that some starchy foods like white rice, oatmeal, and white potatoes can also have significant impacts on your blood sugar and thereby can increase formation of AGEs in your body. These foods are best kept in smaller portions if you decide to eat them, and balanced with healthy fats and protein to slow the blood sugar response.
Food #4 that decrease your recovery: Soybean oil, canola oil, or other "vegetable oils"
We know these have been marketed to you over the years by giant food companies as "healthy", but if you understand a little biochemistry about how these highly-processed oils react inside your body, you would quickly see how false that is.
First, anything labeled soybean oil, canola oil, corn oil, vegetable oil, or cottonseed oil (these are in a LOT of processed foods you probably eat) most times have undergone a refining process under extremely high heat and use of chemical solvents such as hexane.
This leaves you with an oil where the polyunsaturated fats have undergone a lot of oxidation and are therefore VERY inflammatory inside your body, producing free radicals, damaging your cell membranes, contributing to faster aging, heart disease, and other possible health problems.
If you want to avoid the health-damaging effects of soybean, canola, corn and other "vegetable oils", make sure to avoid them as much as you can, and instead opt for truly healthy oils and fats such as extra-virgin olive oil, avocado oil, or virgin coconut oil,
Pay attention to these four foods and I guarantee your training level will increase!