A Nutrition Experiment

Many current sports dietitians and coaches "poo poo" lower carbohydrate, higher fat daily nutrition patterns. How can this type of nutrition possibly be good for health AND an athlete's performance?

I want to start sharing the story of my own nutrition journey. On November 6, 2012, I revamped my daily nutrition pattern to test how a lower carbohydrate, higher fat plan would work for me. My colleague, Bob, and I had discussed both of us implementing this type of plan, but I kept my "overhaul" under the radar because... yep, I was nervous about the potential outcome. But part of moving forward in the field of sports nutrition is to try different nutrition patterns, foods and products for ourselves so that we can continue to evolve the field and educate our athletes.  That walk the talk thing.

Here is a sample of what my nutrition day looked like prior to November 6:

  • Breakfast: fat-free greek yogurt with blueberries, walnuts, flaxmeal, chia seeds
  • Snack:  banana, Clif Mojo
  • Lunch: big salad with tuna, dried sour cherries, fat-free cottage cheese, raspberry vinaigrette
  • Snack: apple, string cheese, veggies & hummus
  • Dinner: grilled chicken breast with BBQ sauce, broccoli, edamame
  • Snack: low-fat frozen yogurt (3-4 times per week)

Okay, so you can see I am a big eater. Aside from that and some of the nitpicking others will do, this nutrition pattern is so-so for supporting stable blood sugar levels (except for the frozen yogurt nightly yum). This pattern yields about 235 grams of carbohydrate per day.

Change of plan!  Here is a sample of my current nutrition patterns:

  • Breakfast: almond butter, unsweetened coconut flakes, coconut milk, whey protein, chia seeds, walnuts (all mixed together)
  • Lunch: big salad with tuna, avocado, olives, full-fat cottage cheese
  • Snack: full-fat plain yogurt, almonds
  • Dinner: salmon, goat cheese, asparagus, sautéed greens in EVOO
  • Snack: Almond milk and dark chocolate (3-4 times per week)

This patterns yields about 80 grams of carbohydrate - a significant reduction!

I had a standard physical done a few weeks before my nutrition intervention and then obtained a more complete lipid panel from Econolabs the day I began my intervention. I also did a Metabolic Efficiency Assessment one week prior to the implementation for a new baseline of how my body was using its fuel sources (fat and carbohydrate).

Here's Part 2 where I share with you the results of what I've seen and felt so far.