The truth about fad diets for runners

If you’re considering using a diet plan to aid your weight loss goals, it’s important to understand how various approaches can affect you as a runner.

The truth about fad diets for runners

The Running Bug asked personal trainer for DW Fitness Clubs and nutritionist Carly Tierney to cast her expert eye over five popular diet trends to see how they would impact on you.

1. Juice detox diet

'Our body doesn't need a detox. Our liver and kidneys do this for us. This diet is predominantly made up of juices, which replace actual food. A runner needs a balanced diet of lean protein, fats and carbs to perform at their best. This diet is likely to leave an athlete feeling tired, irritable and will play havoc with hormones and metabolism.'

2. Paleo

'Paleo style eating has a lot of good qualities: It emphasises whole foods, lean proteins, vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats. Incorporating more of these foods into your diet would likely be a big improvement for the general population. However it may be too low in carbs for runners due to restrictions on grains and starchy carbs. This would likely lead to fatigue and if adopted long term could stifle progress.'

3. The Zone

'This diet is possibly too low in carbs for most endurance athletes who need a lot more carbs than most fuel their training. Without enough carbs a runner is likely to fatigue easily, feel weak and unable to perform to their optimal capabilities.

4. The blood type diet

'This diet excludes certain food groups depending on your blood type. Blood type A for example recommends cutting down on dairy products, which can lead to brittle bones and osteoporosis. As a runner, this is likely to lead to injury and issues with joints.'

5. The raw food diet

'This diet can be unsociable and difficult to maintain. Any athlete wanting to progress relies upon consistency to do this. Arguably if a diet cannot be maintained long term it may hinder long term performance and improvement strategies.

'This diet also lacks in essential vitamins and minerals meaning you may have to supplement to ensure that you remain healthy. Eating raw eggs and unpasteurised diary can also inevitably lead to illness.'

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