Sports Nutrition is Going Deep

Sports Nutrition is Going Deep

By | January 27, 2013 at 6:43 pm | 15 comments | Fitness, Nutrition | Tags: ,

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According to an article by Trevor Wong recently posted on the NBA.com website (scroll down to “Kobe Bryant’s Diet”), Kobe  feels that his continued age-defying performance has more than a little to do with his diet.

It’s well known that Kobe Bryant has always thought with the precision of a scientist, and for years he has brought that logic to bear when it comes to the foods he choses to eat.

Kobe Attributes Energy to Diet, in Part

“I feel like I can run all day long. A lot of that has to do with diet and being committed to it, and watching what I eat.”

If I have anything to say about it, we are seeing the beginning of a trend—for those players, coaches and trainers who are willing to think outside the box for the benefit of the team—based on things like source (including animal feeding and treatment), freshness and careful preparation the healthiest cooking techniques.

Intense Nutrition for Intense Performance

Taking a more comprehensive approach toward better eating means one thing: More nutrition per bite—or as I call it, nutrient intensity. That means smart sports nutritionists will start to consider the benefits of reducing the kinds of empty calories that do little more than elevate blood sugar, which is to say reducing starchy foods and sweets.

“The current science reverses the pyramid, the base of the pyramid is on the top,” Says Gary Vitti, head Head Athletic Trainer. “We’re not telling them to just eat fat – it has to be the right kind of fat. Pasture-grazed beef and products from that; you can eat butter, but it has to be pasture-fed.”

Vitti had many insightful things to say about cutting-edge performance nutrition. Whoever he’s working with (wink wink) must be pretty smart!

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15 Comments

  1. What Does Kobe Bryant Eat? - The McCarthy Project (6 months ago)

    […] Part of that changed diet and those healthy eating tips come from Dr. Cate Shanahan, a team consultant who has her own practice in Napa Valley. Pasture-fed foods – pasture-grazed beef from a pasture-fed cow, eggs from a free-range chicken (not a cage chicken) – are just some of the main staples of Bryant’s diet. Sugars, specifically anything with corn syrup, should be avoided, and the intake of carbohydrates has been scaled down, consumed in moderation. Article on Fit For Life by Trevor Long and Post by Dr. Cate Shanahan […]

  2. gordon (8 months ago)

    i purchased grass-fed, raw milk for a while and it costs $9 per half gallon. however, the grass-fed milk that happens to be pasteurized sold by Organic Valley is more like $6. why do you think there is such a difference in price considering it should be the same product before pasteurization?

    • Dr. Cate

      Dr. Cate (8 months ago)

      Good question. My guess would be it’s got to do with the fact that distribution is more complicated with raw milk products for legal and shelf-life related reasons.

      • gordon (8 months ago)

        Thanks for the response. In fact, Organic Vally grassmilk is more like $5 for a half gallon. I can’t imagine the distribution is much more complicated for Organic Pastures, all of which leads me to believe there is a bit of price gouging happening. I also can’t believe shelf-life concerns would make it nearly 100% more costly. Very disappointing.

  3. Michael Bramlett (1 year ago)

    Hi, thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and trying to be such a good influence on health for everyone. I am in the Military and work a streanous job working from 14-16 hours a day at times. Also, many of us attempt to work out after or before work. We are up in the sun in the heat on the Flight Deck for hours at a time. Energy drinks are consumed by the dozens, along with pre-work outs and supplements. I have to be honest, i was one of these people devouring energy drinks and protien shakes and pre-workouts. It was hard to sleep, and now I feel like my body has taked its toll. Im in pain all the time, and hardly have the energy i need just to make it into the gym, or be as efficient at work. I am really trying to make a step forward in showing that this is not healthy, and there is better ways. Although getting such high quality food out in the middle of the Ocean is not very likely. Our fitness, and well being is. its important enough to make attempts at doing everything we can to do better. Now i am just a small fish in a big ocean, but, i am not concerned about that. I am reaching out, to try and take a leap, the way Kobe has done for athletes. Knowledge is power, and its time we start focusing our knowledge on things more then just technology, and entertainment. We need to start with the people! I am going to invest in your Book and am going to try and effect some change in the Navy. I just wanted to say thank you for your hard work. And, thank you for sharing it with us. If you have any suggestions on how to aquire more information and the resources, I would really appreciate it. Or if you would like to get involved even better, as in, i do not want to take away from all your hard work, or take any of the credit from you and other specialists.

    Thank You and Be Blessed,
    ABH2 Bramlett, Michael
    United States Navy
    Jacksonville, Florida

  4. Mary Collis (1 year ago)

    Hi Dr Cate,
    Can you spell out please why powdered protein (eg. whey protein, not soy protein) used in workout shakes is not a great choice. I’ve been primal/paleo for over a year, but it seems that much of the community uses protein powder to increase protein intake for exercise. They also make reasonable use of vitamin powders/fake products too, I find, such as greens supplements. I find it does make a difference to drink some protein powder in water before or during resistance exercise (energy does not drop, but seems to increase). I’ve been wondering if drinking bone broth would be a beneficial replacement. Are these powders really so bad, and why?

    • Dr. Cate

      Dr. Cate (1 year ago)

      Good question and one that few people ask. I’ll be discussing in a future publication.

  5. lisak (1 year ago)

    These article facinate me as a mama to teen boys…particularly teen boys who LOVE sports and find role models in these athletes. What a great example for boys who’s eating habits become FAR from ideal when they become teenagers and spend more meals away from home. I’m curious… do you know where I might find the red, yellow and green lists Coach Vitti talks about in this quote “Vitti acknowledges they have created, not only for Bryant, but also all their players, food groups that are red, yellow and green. ” This link http://www.nba.com/lakers/community/1213_fitforlife_features It seems like a great way to show kids what they should be eating when they begin choosing foods for themselves. I apprecite you sharing this link. It’s been so helpful. My boys were QUITE interested!

  6. Lisa (1 year ago)

    This is really exciting. I would love to see a more detailed write up about what Kobe does and does not eat. I would find it extremely helpful when it comes to feeding my son (I’m sure other parents would as well). He’s at an age now where he begs to eat what his friends do (empty calories). He plays basketball, loves the lakers, and idolizes Kobe Bryant. I’m excited to have a role model for him that practices the kind of real food nutrition that I want him to have.
    Thanks for posting this Dr. Cate!

    • Dr. Cate

      Dr. Cate (1 year ago)

      For more insights, check out the (truncated) news segment with Lakers Head Strength and Conditioning coach Tim DeFrancisco and email them to make sure he gets invited back!

      • lisak (1 year ago)

        This is FANTASTIC! I have 4 sport loving sons and I’ll be showing them all copies of this article! Thanks for sharing! We’ve been eating a WAPF/Paleo whole food diet for 10 years and can’t believe the difference! I found a link to the Kobe story at another site and saw your name! Yay Dr. Cate!

  7. Lauren (1 year ago)

    Good to see the media around his diet rather than all the high-carb athlete diets! My sister does crew, and she sent me the powerpoint given to her team about nutrition – recommended 70% carbs, 15% fat (!!), and post-workout foods like chocolate milk and gatorade. She was hesitant about trying a new approach with more balance and real food and less carbs – but it’s working. She texted me this morning saying she beat a best time after switching from bagels to eggs for breakfast!

    • Phi Earnhardt (1 year ago)

      It seems a headline of “Kobe for Kobe” would be appropriate for this article. ;-)

      @Lauren: I think that college sports like crew will be one where the teams will rapidly flip to a lo-carb diet. It’s essentially an all-out drag race against the clock with cardiovascular performance of the athletes the highest priority. The significantly decreased ventilatory drive when burning ketones should be a crucial factor in performance. I’d also put long-track speedskating (especially the 10k) in this category; those athletes should see the most pronounced improvement from the physiological boost.

      I suspect that, in general, athletes will drag the rest of the population into a ketogenic revolution.

      • Dr. Cate

        Dr. Cate (1 year ago)

        Kobe’s mom decided to name her baby Kobe after seeing it on the menu at a finer restaurant, the story goes.