Saturday, August 16, 2008

Phelps and Food

There's been an interesting discussion on Diet Blog (and elsewhere) lately about the 10 to 12,000 calories American swimmer Michael Phelps is rumoured to put away. His diet is said to consist of copious amounts of fried eggs, French toast, chocolate chip pancakes and ham and cheese sandwiches.

My first reaction was that I felt sick just thinking about eating the amount he was putting away, and that it seemed high in saturated fats and refined carbs and low in fruit and vegetables and whole grains. However I also noted that I'm not a sports nutritionist and heck, his diet seems to be working for him ...

A British journalist tried and failed miserably to consume Phelp's stated daily food intake, although it seems his leftovers kept the office happy for the rest of the day. I was interested to read comments from a real nutritionist who made the same observations I did about the high levels of saturated fat, but then also made the obvious point that Phelps wouldn't be able to take in the amount of energy he needs if he didn't eat the way he does. This is not a man who is about to turn raw foodist any time soon.

I have to admit to being slightly mesmerised by the sheer athletic freakishness of this guy. For example a few years ago he experienced an episode in which his heart began racing during training. As someone whose arm span is so much greater than normal he is apparently at risk for a particular type of heart condition and his cardiac functioning is therefore tested on a regular basis. Surely Phelps is the result of some kind of knife-edge genetic accident. History may or may not prove the man to be the greatest Olympic athlete ever, but his performance at the 2008 games will surely be recorded as legendary.

1 comment:

Sass said...

Yeah, I've been reading various things about Phelps' diet as well and how he couldn't get the calories he needs off regular stuff. Plus how he is a genetic freak more or less. Way to be an awesome freak though - I wouldn't mind some freakiness in some of my exercise!