BBC has the story:
The beaming smiles of gold-medal winners Usain Bolt, Jessica Ennis-Hill and Mo Farah are some of the defining memories of London 2012.
But a team at University College London says many competitors had dental problems.
“Our data and other studies suggest that, for a similar age profile, the oral health of athletes is poor. It’s quite striking,” said lead researcher Prof Ian Needleman.
He said eating large amounts of carbohydrates regularly, including sugary energy drinks, was damaging teeth.
Impaired immune system function associated with hard training may also play a role.
Many, if not most, high-level athletes think high carbohydrate consumption is necessary for optimal performance. They should know better than I. For their sake, I hope meticulous oral care—brushing, flossing, professional cleaning—helps preserve dental health.
Cross-section of a tooth
Jimmy posted a recent interview with type 1 diabetic Dr. Keith R. Runyan, who is a nephrologist and internist.
Dr. Runyan is training for the Great Floridian Triathlon this coming October so he naturally has a great interest in high level athleticism as it intersects with diabetes. He fuels his workouts with dietary fats and proteins rather than the standard carbohydrates.
Dr. Runyan’s current carb consumption level didn’t come up specifically in the interview, but his website indicates he’s on a ketogenic diet heavily influenced by Dr. Richard Bernstein. I figure he’s eating under 50 grams of digestible carbohydrate daily. He also tried Loren Cordain’s paleo diet; my sense is that it didn’t help much with his diabetes, but perhaps some. My sense is that he incorporates at least a few paleo features into his current eating plan.
People with type 2 diabetes can probably tolerate a higher level of carbohydrates, compared to type 1’s, generally speaking. This didn’t come up in the podcast interview.
Overall, the interview strongly supports carbohydrate-restricted eating for folks with diabetes. Definitely worth a listen for anyone with diabetes who’s not sold on a very-low-carb diet. If you’re sitting on the fence, at least check out Dr. Runyan’s “About Me” page.
Steve Parker, M.D.
Triathlon: run, swim, bike
Dr. Jay Wortman has been thinking about whether our bodies prefer to run on carbohydrates (as a source of glucose) or, instead, on fats. The standard American diet provides derives about half of its energy from carbs, 35% from fats, and 15% from proteins. So you might guess our bodies prefer carbohydrates as a fuel source. Dr. Wortman writes:
Now, consider the possibility that we weren’t meant to burn glucose at all as a primary fuel. Consider the possibility that fat was meant to be our primary fuel. In my current state of dietary practice, I am burning fat as my main source of energy. My liver is converting some of it to ketones which are needed to fuel the majority of my brain cells. A small fraction of the brain cells, around 15%, need glucose along with a few other tissues like the renal cortex, the lens of the eye, red blood cells and sperm. Their needs are met by glucose that my liver produces from proteins. The rest of my energy needs are met with fatty acids and these come from the fats I eat.
Dr. Wortman, who has type 2 diabetes, in the same long post also writes about oolichan grease (from fish), an ancestral food of Canandian west coast First Nations people.
Drs. Jeff Volek and Stephen Finney have done research on athletes using a low-carb, high-fat diet.
Steve Parker, M.D.
Posted in Dietary Fat, Exercise, Low-Carb
Tagged athletes, carbohydrate, exercise, fat as energy source, fat metabolism, fatty acids, Jay Wortman, Jeff Volek, Stephen Phinney