Longer Distance Runners Can Eat more of their Favorite Foods

November 12, 2012

Longer Distance Runners Can Eat more of their Favorite Foods

A new study published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise has found that runners show less affect to change of diet than non runners or infrequent runners. The large scale study involved almost 107,000 runners and was carried out by researchers from the U.S. government’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

For runners this could mean that an extra helping of their favorite foods may have less affect to their bodies.

The large scale study divided the 107,000 runners into five different groups. One group ran 8km, thatÂ’s about 5 miles, or more everyday, another group covered 3.7 to 5 miles (6 km to 8 km) daily. The next group ran from 2.4 to 3.7 miles (4km to 6km) daily and then the runners running between 1.2 to 2.4 miles (2 km to 4km) were in the next group and the final group ran less than 1.2 miles (2 km) per day.

When investigated it was found that the runners who covered the most distance were significantly less likely to change their body mass index (BMI) or waist circumference when they changed their diet to eat more meat and less fruit, than those who ran very little or not at all. The researchers identified that very active runners showed about 50% less change than the least active runners. Any runners who ran more than 1.2 miles (2km) per day also saw the same effects but to a lesser degree than the longer distance runners.

One of the researchers, and study author Paul Williams said, “Generally, body mass index and waist circumference increase as a person eats more meat and less fruit. My analysis indicates that this relationship weakens as runners increase their daily mileage. It appears that the more miles a person logs each week, the less affected they are by variances in their diet”.

Presently the reasons for this affect are open to discussion but some thoughts are that high levels of exercise produce an ability to burn fat more effectively or the runners who cover greater distances need to balance their diets more efficiently.

Concluding, Williams said, “My observations suggest that runners who exceed the recommended Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans can reduce their risk of gaining weight from high-risk diets, those with high meat and low fruit content.” He also added that, “We have other data suggesting this benefit may also apply to walking”.


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