Kobe Bryant inspires a lot of strong feelings in both sports and non-sports fan. I don’t know much about basketball but I do know, from people who follow the sport, that he has a strong work ethic, strong self-discipline and commitment to the game. The focus he brings to his game is also brought to his fitness and dietary routines.
Part of his fitness routine is maintaining a diet created for him by a Dr Shanahan which sounds suspiciously similar to the paleo and primal diets.
Note the emphasis on properly sourced proteins and the de-emphasis on carbohydrates:
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.
The Lakers’ personal trainer, Gary Vitti, explains clearly why it’s not a good idea to use refined carbs or sugar for energy boosts:
What happens is the athlete consumes one of these products high in carbohydrates and sugar, they get a spike of energy and feel really good…Your body knows that, sends insulin and then they crash. As soon as they crash, they need another sugar fix, and they’re yo-yoing up and down. If we get them off that stuff and get them into more of protein and the right kind of fats, then they’ll have a higher level of energy without the lows or the dips.
What I really found interesting was the acknowledgement that the whole fat-free dogma preached by the nutritional establishment is disregarded and even turned upside down on its head by the practitioners of an elite sport like professional basketball:
The traditional food pyramid is not what they’re preaching to the players. In fact, it’s the inverse.
The current science reverses the pyramid,” Vitti said. “The base of the pyramid is on the top. 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. Not pasteurized, pasture-fed. There’s a big difference. Milk from a pasture-fed cow, cheese from a pasture-fed cow.
Check this post to see the visual manifestation of the pyramid Vitti is talking about.
The emphasis on grass-fed meat and pasture-fed butter and dairy products is excellent but don’t let the notion of properly sourced food put you off the quest of eating right. If it is not within your budget to get grass-fed meats, the next best thing is to get regular meat from the super-market. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.