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MMA and Human Physiology, Part 2

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Here is the first part: MMA and Human Physiology, Part 1

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Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are one of the important energy sources for the body. Carbohydrates are also the most abused food component in America and one of the biggest reasons for obesity, diabetes, and death in this country. Utilizing carbohydrates correctly is critical for the performance of an MMA athlete.

Now, don’t let me scare you too much. There are good and bad carbohydrates. The problem is that most people are eating the bad ones. Did you know that the average American eats 145 pounds of sugar per year? This table sugar, or sucrose, has no nutritional value and is fattening up our country and causing today’s youth to develop diabetes at an alarming rate.

There are a few things I would like you to know about carbohydrates: there are simple and complex versions, and there are best choices. The difference between simple and complex carbs that you need to know is that the body digests and handles them differently. Simple carbohydrates such as fructose and sucrose are immediately processed by the body, while the complex versions such as starches and fibers take much more time. Great choices of simple carbohydrates would be fruits and vegetables. These are common choices that most people avoid. You must get beyond this and add fruits and vegetables to as many meals as possible. Complex carbohydrates take a longer time to process. Great choices of complex carbohydrates would be oatmeal and potatoes. I know there are a lot of low-carb dieters out there, but the carbs are essential for the athlete. I also know some people shun rice, pasta, and bread, but for the athletes that are still eating them, please make the right choice. Eat the version that has color. What I mean is choose brown rice over white, wheat bread over white, and whole wheat pasta over regular. Just these simple choices can start to help.

A final note about the dangers of hidden carbs that aren’t good for you: Just take a look at the ingredient labels on many of the things you regularly eat. If high-fructose corn syrup is a major ingredient you keep seeing over and over, throw that food out. It is no good for you.

Protein

This is the building block that every athlete wants to jump to. This is the component that no athlete seems to be able to get enough of. Protein is the building block of muscle, and it is essential for repair. Protein is something that should be eaten at every meal in some portion, but many athletes focus too strongly on it. Great choices of protein are egg whites, chicken, fish, and lean beef.

Your body can process only so much protein at one time (some sources say around 30—40 grams), and many athletes exceed that at certain meals of the day, without the proper balance of the other building blocks. Don’t eat too much at one serving. This is where having more meals throughout the day is going to make sure you are going to take in the protein that you need for the day.


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Category | Diet & Nutrition

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