2

votes

Fruit or starches for active athlete

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created December 22, 2011 at 2:12 PM

Hi,

I'm highly active person with running and triathlon background. I dont do races anymore but still keep 10-12hr of activity weekly (lifting, running, biking, hiking). VLC doesn't work for me as I do lots of glycolithic activities and to keep going I settled on 200 carbs daily.

I'm aware of claims that starches like potato or rice are better for athlete but I feel heavy after eating those, like it is hard to digest them.

I did little experiment and replaced all those starchy carbs with bananas and apples for few days and I feel much better, lighter, more energy during day and workouts. I'm concerned as this means high intake but then why I feel and perform much better with fruit than with starches?

00c8eb3f6e6a1884216044ca29cf868a

on December 24, 2011
at 07:54 AM

I believe that glycogen reserves are refilled more quickly on a mix of glucose and fructose than on pure glucose (though the optimal mixture is still heavily biased towards glucose). *** Remember, however, that some fruits are very high in fructose (e.g. apples) whereas others are higher in glucose (e.g. bananas). Bias your intake towards the higher-glucose fruits and you'll be fine.

9b0a4701e373d4dd13831cfb9b13f42d

(1677)

on December 23, 2011
at 02:49 AM

Sweet potatoes are by far the easiest starch for me to digest.

Cf32992bfa1907147c7cdc451bba9c63

(2890)

on December 22, 2011
at 06:24 PM

'I feel much better, lighter, more energy...' That answers your question. If you want to eat starches, go ahead. But it sounds like you prefer fruits, and you feel good on them, that's fine too.

D12142c8cafb16d9af10b3362cb8fb62

(1590)

on December 22, 2011
at 03:05 PM

+1 about the fibre (good to see the correct spelling too :P). I also find sweet potatoes harder to digest than either white potatoes or fruit.

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on December 22, 2011
at 02:38 PM

sweet potatoes are the hardest to digest starch in my experience.

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4 Answers

3
E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on December 22, 2011
at 02:38 PM

I tried both starch based and fruit based diets, along with many variations of both.

In my experience glucose/fructose based sugars refuel glycogen better and increase athletic performance over starch/pure glucose. Fruits also have the benefit of being very tasty plain so you don't have to drown them in fat/spices.

I don't get what the concern is? The fructose content? Even Mr. anti fructose(lustig) says you can eat all the fruit you want.

00c8eb3f6e6a1884216044ca29cf868a

on December 24, 2011
at 07:54 AM

I believe that glycogen reserves are refilled more quickly on a mix of glucose and fructose than on pure glucose (though the optimal mixture is still heavily biased towards glucose). *** Remember, however, that some fruits are very high in fructose (e.g. apples) whereas others are higher in glucose (e.g. bananas). Bias your intake towards the higher-glucose fruits and you'll be fine.

1
Dfada6fe4982ab3b7557172f20632da8

(5332)

on December 22, 2011
at 02:37 PM

Starches are arguably harder to digest but it's more likely the specific fibre which is cuasing you more problems. I don't think there's any reason why you should be concerned about using fruit to fuel your activity, but there's plenty of middle ground you could experiment with the classic 'paleo' starches. Sweet potatoes and squashes etc.

9b0a4701e373d4dd13831cfb9b13f42d

(1677)

on December 23, 2011
at 02:49 AM

Sweet potatoes are by far the easiest starch for me to digest.

D12142c8cafb16d9af10b3362cb8fb62

(1590)

on December 22, 2011
at 03:05 PM

+1 about the fibre (good to see the correct spelling too :P). I also find sweet potatoes harder to digest than either white potatoes or fruit.

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on December 22, 2011
at 02:38 PM

sweet potatoes are the hardest to digest starch in my experience.

0
Bfa1c9eacfc94a1b62f3a39b574480c6

(3700)

on December 22, 2011
at 06:46 PM

I'd say don't focus on gram amounts so much. You can guesstimate what you'll need for your level of activity- I find our bodies will naturally crave certain (paleo) foods, and when that happens, you should go to town with it. I'm sure you know that fruit contains a higher fructose to glucose ratio, and that will preferentially fill liver glycogen, whereas starchy items will replenish muscle glycogen. It sounds that if you feel better and lighter on fruits, you should go for it. Don't let anyone else's n=1 experience make you doubt YOURS.

Most importantly, be in tune with your body! If a particular food feels heavy in the stomach, perhaps decreasing the serving size may help. (e.g. eating a big ol' sweet potato usually makes me feel heavier, regardless.)

I've always found that the heavy feeling is alright; gas and bloating, on the other hand, may be indicative of a sensitivity. Don't forget to CHEW your food too! I eat very slowly and savor every bite of my meal, and usually that brings a higher sense of satiety and satisfaction.

0
164ed7cd8d84c926bc66f366619bf853

(495)

on December 22, 2011
at 03:06 PM

If it makes you feel better & function better, then just do it. Glucose is glucose to the body. So if one thing settles/feels better, just eat that! :) Yay! @fellow runner!

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