The absurdity of nutrition advice for runners

If you’ve been in this realm long enough, you’ve likely made strides to better your health, and not just for the sake of your running career. It’s easy to get on a health kick and go down a rabbit hole when it comes to nutrition and healthy eating. After all, there are very few things in life that make our bodies feel better than when we eat a nutritious (and tasty!) meal. But there’s a real problem within the nutrition advice out there for athletes. That is – most of it is completely unfounded in science, and from people who are pushing their own cognitive dissonance about their unique eating practices.

What’s more – so much of it is conflicting, and there are very few universal truths when it comes to healthy eating. Just about any food, even a McDonalds Big Mac, will be good for you in some ways. And just about any food, even broccoli wrapped in spinach, will be bad for you in some ways. That’s the nature of nutrition. But the problem that you will then find is that people will use the one bad thing about broccoli to justify eliminating it from your diet, or the one positive thing about a Big Mac, and use it as justification for inclusion in your diet. You can google anything, and find a plethora of information about why it is both insanely good for you, and the worst thing in the world for you to ingest. Just about every food these days supposedly causes cancer, and simultaneously cures cancer. What you have to remember is that these people are simply serving their own agenda, trying to justify their own unique eating practices in their own minds.

As a result, you need to proceed with caution when it comes to taking nutrition advice. Take nutrition advice from those that provide balance into their work, assessing both the good and the bad in detail. And remember – everything must work for you, and your context.

The fact that broccoli causes some people gastrointestinal distress might not be the case for you. Just like how you might be completely tolerant to gluten and dairy, and don’t have to listen to all those that call these items “poisonous” or “toxic”. Recognize that there are even people out there who will claim that vegetables are bad for you. Remember what I said before. These people don’t care about your nutritional needs or anyone else’s. They’re simply trying to justify their own diet. Again, there are very few universal truths when it comes to healthy eating, and all foods will have both their benefits and detractors.

The key is in selecting foods and lifestyles that have more upside than downside, and actively fuel your pre-run energy, and post-run recovery. In helping you with that cause, here are a few universal truths to always keep in mind, whenever you hear advice from others.

  • Sugar is generally bad for you.
  • Trans-fat is generally bad for you.
  • Vitamins and minerals are generally good for you.
  • So long as you cut the sugar, anything that you make for yourself will usually be healthier than what you find in the store.

And most importantly…

  • Any diet that eliminates certain food groups will likely mean you lack certain vitamins and minerals, if not properly supplemented. The same could be said about eating the same foods everyday. You’re simply not giving your body a chance to

So next time someone tells you to eliminate vegetables from your diet, consider all the angles, including their own, and do your own research before jumping on board. Proceed with caution, and make choices that benefit you in the long-run.

If you’re struggling with that conquest, check out our balanced articles about nutrition and healthy eating…

-> Nutrition for running an ultramarathon
-> The stigma of healthy eating

Be sure to check out more of our content below, and join our community!

Thanks for reading & see you soon!

Strava Profile | Rhys Desmond


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3 responses to “The absurdity of nutrition advice for runners”

  1. […] are both good for you, and simultaneously bad for you. This can be confusing, like much of the nutrition advice out there. With that, I attempt to answer the question of what type of milk is best to drink as a […]


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