Syracuse, N.Y. (NCC News) — Being a great athlete doesn’t stop on the field, it continues into the kitchen, said Olympic dietitian Rob Skinner. In a recent visit here, Skinner explained some of the biggest myths about nutrition and what athletes should be doing instead.
Nutrition is a hard concept to master, but he said the professionals can help. Skinner said three of the biggest myths regarding nutrition relate to carbohydrates, supplements and water.
Carbohydrates: Too many carbs can be bad, he explained, but the same can be said for most food groups. The important thing to know about carbohydrates is that they’re a source of energy.
“It’s like a car,” Skinner said, giving an analogy. “If you fill it up with gas and leave it in the garage you don’t have to fill it up again.”
It’s like a car, if you fill it up with gas and leave it in the garage you don’t need to fill it up again.
Matching carbohydrate intake to activity level is key, Skinner said. People who go to the gym, sports practice, or remain active need to fuel up with carbohydrates. However, he said it’s important that they choose the right type of carbs . Vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains and potatoes, were of the good variety. Carbs to avoid were sugary drinks, white bread, pastries and other deserts, according to the Healthy Eating organization.
Supplements: A second myth, according to Skinner, is people need a dietary supplement. Good building blocks to a nutritional diet were much more important than any supplement. While he said on can’t fix a poor diet with a supplement, but supplements do have their uses. He recommended powder to give an extra push for muscle growth.
Fish oil pills offer a serving of Omega-3 fatty acids. They aid heart health, weight control, mental disorders and more, according to Healthline.
Experts say that people should fulfill their nutritional needs naturally, but a little help can go a long way.
Hydration: Skinner stressed that most people don’t appreciate the importance of water in a healthy diet. The body is about 60 percent water, so its important to keep it happy with daily hydration. He said water helps with digestion, absorption, the transportation of nutrients and maintenance of body temperature. Experts say the amount of water one needs depends on one’s weight.
Skinner worked with high school students, college programs, professional organizations, and the military. Now he’s with the U.S. Olympic team. He knows its easier for Olympic athletes to practice good nutrition, butsaid the building blocks to a healthy lifestyle were similar for all levels of athletics.