Low FODMAP Pre, During and Post Exercise Nutrition
As the Rio Olympics’ have been on the television over the last week and a bit I thought I would do a sports inspired Low FODMAP blog post.
Olympic athletes train for hours on end up to 7 days a week to be the best in their sport but they must also apply this effort to their nutrition in order to get the most out of their performance. Considerable scientific research has proven that what you eat before, during and after training and/or game/race day will help determine an athlete’s performance and recovery. Getting the composition, quantity and timing of meals and beverages right is essential in supplying rapid energy to exercising muscles, attenuating fatigue and promoting recovery. But how does this change if you are following a low FODMAP diet?
This blog post is going to cover appropriate pre, during and post exercise nutrition strategies for those following a low FODMAP diet. Different sports can have different strategies of how you would implement these basic guidelines so it is always best to work out a plan with your Accredited Sports Dietitian.
Exercising can result in some people to have some tummy troubles and if you already suffer from IBS type symptoms these symptoms may be exacerbated during exercise. Why? You may ask. Tummy troubles during exercise can occur due to a number of factors. However, the main pathophysiological mechanism causing the surfacing of the symptoms is considered to be the lack of blood flow to the GI tract, known as splanchnic hypoperfusion. During exercise, working tissues and muscles have a great demand for fuel so adequate blood flow is required for optimal fuel provision. To do this, blood is rapidly redistributed from the gastrointestinal system to the working muscles, reducing gastrointestinal blood flow by up to 80%. This reduced blood flow may result gastrointestinal ischemia as well as increases in mucosal permeability, which can cause numerous symptoms including: nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhoea. If you are already prone to IBS type symptoms these symptoms may be exacerbated during exercise. Consequently, reducing your likelihood of experiencing these symptoms by choosing the correct foods is a wise choice.
So what should you eat?
Eating and drinking before exercise will obviously stop you from getting hungry during training or game/race day but will also provide you with the energy you need to perform as well as attenuate fatigue.
Consuming a carbohydrate-rich meal 3-4 hours before exercise is fundamental to help fill up muscle carbohydrate stores. In the context of a meal, this would be having a breakfast or lunch rich in low FODMAP carbohydrates, such as: oats, brown rice, gluten free pasta, low FODMAP sandwiches or a baked potato or sweet potato before your afternoon training.
However, individual tolerance will vary and consequently will determine which type of carbohydrate you chose.
For those doing a particularly hard session or endurance session or game/race, an additional snack 1 hour before training to give you an extra boost to perform. This could be a small tub greek yoghurt with a banana or 1 tbs maple syrup or perhaps a smoothie including 1 cup lactose free milk, 1 tbs maple syrup, 0.5 cup berries, 1/3 banana and ice.
If you are closing in on 30 minutes before your session you should aim for quickly absorbed carbohydrate like a handful of glucose jelly beans.
During training and/or game/race day carbohydrate is the body’s main fuel. Supplying your body adequately with carbohydrate will determine performance and time to fatigue. Unfortunately, the body’s carbohydrate stores are limited, and can only sustain strenuous exercise without adversely affecting exercise performance for 60-90 mins. Additionally carbohydrate is essential during training and game/race day to help prevent significant declines in blood glucose levels, subsequently attenuating fatigue and maintaining exercise and/or sports performance.
During exercise lasting over 60-90 mins you will aim to take in 30-60g of carbohydrate per hour of activity. i.e. 500ml Gatorade or a handful lollies.
Keep in mind if you are not exceeding this 60-90minutes mark of exercise you do not require these feeds of carbohydrate! Instead stick with drinking water to thirst to stay hydrated.
After training and/or game/race day it is likely that muscle carbohydrate stores are depleted and hydration levels are low. In addition some normal exercise-induced tissue damage has occurred and the immune system may be functioning a little under the norm. A perfect example is a nutritious milkshake, as it contains good amounts of carbohydrate, protein and electrolytes. Drinking a milkshake post exercise will aid in carbohydrate replenishment, tissue repair, immune maintenance and re hydration. Within 90 minutes or so it is best to follow-up a recovery drink with a meal rich in carbohydrates and protein.
Here is an easy milkshake recipe:
400ml lactose free milk
1 scoop whey protein
2 tsp cocoa powder
1 pinch of salt
Look out for the sweeteners used in the protein powder and cocoa. Refer to my previous blog post about label reading to help you choose an appropriate product.
Carbohydrate/ Protein rich meal:
1-2 cups gluten free pasta, rice, potato.
1-2 cups low FODMAP veggies (Choose 4 different low FODMAP veggies in their accepted serving sizes)
150-200g lean meat ( chicken, beef, pork, fish)
For appropriate serving sizes refer to the FODMAP Friendly App.
I hope this was informative for you. Until next time, I am Atlanta Miall.