I have issues with weight, food and body composition, so I understand that I am particularly aware of articles concerning diet and nutrition. Usually I try to ignore a lot of what is written because I know both intellectually and from experience that nothing works for everyone and that diet and nutrition can be intensely personal. That being said, I was somewhat dismayed to read the February / March issue of Lava Magazine. In the same issue of the same magazine Lava had two different articles that advocated for conflicting diet and nutrition protocols (the same issue also referred to Ironman Copenhagen as a “new” race when in fact WTC acquired the race formerly known as Challenge Copenhagen, so there were editorial issues abound). Page 74 of the magazine contains an article by Ben Greenfield entitled “Tap Into Your Fat” and on page 82 there is an article by Jesse Kropelnicki entitled “Overhauling Your Diet.” Here’s a rundown of the positions each of the articles take on various nutrition related topics:
|“Tap Into Your Fat”||“Overhauling Your Diet”|
|Race Day Fueling||“you can limit the amount of simple sugars and calories you need to consume during your event, resulting in lower risk of gut distress, the ability to carry less fuel and the elimination of mid-race porta-john stops.””You can consume 100-200 calories per hour of easy-to-digest fat sources such as coconut oil or MCT oil.”||“We don’t have much of a choice during [training]: they must be chock-full of low nutrient foods to fuel the activity and train the gut for race day.”|
|Fueling During Workouts||“one long, minimally fueled or fasted workout a week is all it takes to gain metabolic efficiency”||“workouts should always be well fueled, with at least .6 grams of carbohydrates per hour, per pound on the bike (half of that for running).”|
|Use of Sugar||“But I do recommend limiting sugars and eating a diet that is as high as 40-60 percent healthy fats (I personally eat an 80 percent fat diet).||“Post-workout foods should always include a sugar based recovery drink, with protein in a 3:1 or 4:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein. This drink should contain almost no fat.””Eat lean meats, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes and lean dairy during all other periods of the day.”|
|Timing and Number of Meals||“you only need to eat three square meals a day. Yes, even if you are a hard charging Ironman, three nutrient dense, high-fat meals cab easily fuel a day of workouts.”||“Reduce fasting periods by eating very frequently, every one to three hours, and sticking to recommended serving sizes on packaged foods.”|
|Pre-Race / Training Fueling||“I’ve found a particularly potent combo to be a style of coffee that is growing in popularity among athletes. It’s called “bulletproof coffee” and consists of 8-16 ounces of black coffee blended with 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil or a more concentrated form of coconut oil called MCT (medium chain triglyceride) oil, 1-2 tablespoons of grass fed butter, 1-2 tablespoons of a hydrolyzed collagen or amino acid source, and optionally, for extra calories, 4-6 ounces of full fat coconut milk.”||“Only eat grains (including white potatoes) and refined sugars within an hour of starting a workout, during the workout, and/or after the workout is completed.”|
The articles, which appear one after the other in the magazine, contain ideas that are directly in conflict (and on a personal note bullet proof coffee seems, well, interesting). I understand that there are many, many, many different theories about fueling for training and racing. I’m not trying to be critical of the ideas of either Greenfield or Kropelnicki but rather I’m asking the question — Why would a magazine print two opposing articles without even acknowledging the conflict? Wouldn’t the better article be an analysis of the pros and cons of each system and how it may help (or harm) certain athletes rather than printing two fluff pieces that amount to little more than advertising for the Core Diet and Ben Greenfield Fitness. Lava Magazine, you can do better.