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Introduction:
Every athlete is always looking for a way to increase their performances. Whether it’s a football player lifting weights to gain muscle for throwing, a soccer player working on their foot techniques, or a swimmer who’s in the pool everyday to help perfect their stroke. All these athletes have one thing in common, to become better all they have to do is practice, practice their throwing, their foot skills or their stroke and though doing so takes a lot of strength when it comes to a runner, what can they really do to increase performance? Running day in and day out will only get you so far. Most runners say their secret to helping them reach their potential is simply eating right. As a runner not all people necessarily agree with this while eating right may have its benefits for a runner and mostly every athlete. I believe it is detrimental to a person’s performance. This research project is to test just that, how important maintaining a healthy diet is to a performance. Literature Review:

Healthy and Unhealthy eating for runners:

While runners are probably the most flexible when it comes to what they eat while in season and training, there is still somewhat of a concern when it comes to what is “healthy” and “unhealthy” for a runner. According to the author Laurie L. Dove “Distance runners primarily burn a mixture of carbohydrates and fats as they run so when it comes to choosing what type of foods to eat you should have a balance of 60% from carbohydrates, 25% from fats, and 15% from proteins. This is because carbs are the main source of energy for the body and brain (Dove).”

According to Grace Covelli “healthy foods” for a runner are “foods that contain vitamins your body needs to function normally. Healthy foods contribute to healthy eyes, skin and hair while unhealthy foods can cause high blood pressure, heart disease and type 2 diabetes (2011).”

 
The best diet for a runner as written in the article “The Best Diet for a Runner” “all depends on height, weight and age. A runner’s diet should consist of complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Proteins, which are needed for growth, development, and maintenance of muscle mass and tissue, should also be included in every athlete’s diet. Inadequate protein intake can cause muscle wasting, decreasing athletic performance.” Eating healthy is just an easier and better way to contribute with staying in shape “It decreases the risk of injury, and helps repair torn muscles and fibers (Andrews, 2011).”  

In the article “The Runners Diet” the author mentions “It only takes 100 calories every day to gain ten pounds in a year.” They also suggest the 50-25-25 eating plan “50% carbohydrates, 25% protein and 25% fat to help feel fuller longer. To determine how many calories you will need to eat in a day you take your present weight multiply by thirteen.” Unlike elite runners, recreational runners do not need as many carbs and high carbs should sustain them throughout their workout (Fernstrom, 2004).”

Caffeine Ingestion and Running Performance

Studies show an increase in running endurance following caffeine ingestion. According to Matt Fitzgerald this is because of an “increase in B-endorphins during exercise which affects mood state, reduces perception of pain, and creates a sense of well-being” (Fitzgerald, 2007). A study was taken of elite runners given caffeine and it showed that they completed 15% to 23% more work with the caffeine in their systems. The author also states “Caffeine increases levels of free fatty acids in the bloodstream, burns fat faster, and conserves muscle glycogen which is the source for muscle work” (Fitzgerald, 2007). While caffeine has many good effects there are also many negative effects from the ingestion of caffeine, “Caffeine increases urine production theoretically creating dehydration, and heavy caffeine use can result in problems ranging from headaches to insomnia (Fitzgerald, 2007).”  ...
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