3 Apr 2013

Eating Right for Cyclists

Cyclists need to consume adequate amounts of carbohydrates, protein, and fat to maintain and improve strength, speed and stamina. The daily diet should ideally comprise of 55-65% carbohydrates, 15-20% protein, and 20-30% fat. The food  pyramid here is a good approximation of the recommended food intake.


  1. Paleo diet enthusiasts actually recommend 40-40-20; at 20% of 2000 KCal, that is 400KCal, or <100gm of carbs/day, all of it from the less-sweet fruits, potatoes, yams, nuts and some legumes etc., i.e. complex carbs, as also low-glycemic index carbs. NO grains. With a good fat-burning metabolism, endurance athletes need to get rid of their habit of carb-loading.

    1. Thanks for sharing : ) This is the USDA Food Guide Pyramid based upon what most of the studies recommend...cheers : )

    2. The USDA food guide pyramid is a travesty. Study after study in western universities, even from Harvard, are now debunking this recommendation. Following it has led to their sorry state of SADness (standard american diet) - with obesity levels at a record high.

      We in India must not fall into the same trap. I follow for myself -
      - coarse grains - 1-2 helpings a day - rough bajra, jowar, oats, ragi, jaun; not wheat or rice
      - nuts - 4-5 servings of 1 oz (~28 gms) each
      - dairy - preferably yoghurt, not milk of any kind - 2-3 servings
      - fruits - 4-5 servings, and that too the less sweet kinds - berries, guava, oranges, apples; mangoes, cheekoo, litchis and bananas in moderation (no fruit juices ever)
      - vegetables as salad - infinitely as many as possible
      - cooked vegetables and beans - as much as one can, as long as cooking is low in fat
      - seeds - in moderation - 2-3 servings/day (flax, chia, etc)
      - masalas - in abundance, other than salt. Spices are extremely good for the body, combating oxidation and promoting cell repair.

      for non-vegetarians
      - white of eggs - as many as one can - boiled, or poached in very small amount of milk
      - red meat =< once a week
      - fish - 2-3 times a week
      - chicken - 2-3 times a week

      for vegetarians, protein sources are dairy (as yoghurt, not milk), daals, nuts, beans, coarse grains. soya for women (men should be cautious - soya has estrogen compounds).

      I use low fat cooking, using only meager amounts of ghee (some saturated fat is good and essential). Most vegetable oils are bad, very bad. Good oils are coconut, olive, sesame, flaxseed. In these oils, omega3 fatty acid content is high, omega6 is low.

    3. Thanks so much for sharing this...it's going to be of immense help to all our riders since there's not much info available for the Indian diet...would like to include it in a separate blog post with your permission...Cheers : )

    4. sure. I have a sweet tooth, as do most Indians, but sugar is evil, so I use stevia, a natural leaf extract - aspartame and sucralose are synthetic and potentially very dangerous compounds.
      Occasional low calorie smoothies
      1. mango 100 gm + water 100 ml + 6-10 ice cubes + stevia - 60-70 KCal
      2. banana 100 gm + water 100 ml + ice cubes + stevia - 60-70 KCal

      The blood sugar response of wheat and rice is very high, much higher than a full banana/mango. Why diabetics eat rotis and stay away from fruits is a mystery, when blood sugar is better controlled with a fruit/veggie diet than a daal-roti diet. Even for non-diabetics, the roller coaster of insulin/blood-sugar with a high carb diet can be killing, specially for endurance athletes.

    5. Thanks a lot : ) Will work on the post soon...n am adding the gr8 smoothie recipes to BikeFood...Cheers