I know some people don’t want to hear this, but the fact is consuming fats during exercise has to be the absolute worst thing you could ever do to your gastrointestinal tract. I’m not getting into a discussion about fat adaptive athletes as we’ll discuss this topic in another blog, but it has been proven that every athlete should minimize the amount of fats you consume during any endurance session or it could have a significant, long term, damaging effect on your gastrointestinal tract. Without being too scientific (and making this blog huge) here is the three major reasons why: firstly your body contains such a large amount of fat stores (5000g-7000g) that the small amounts of fats you are consuming during exercise (10-40g per hour) has no net effect on your overall fat storage levels and will only lead to gastrointestinal irritation and upsets. Secondly when you start to absorb fats, your body stops absorbing carbohydrates and fluids as it reduces gastric emptying and doesn’t allow these nutrients into the small intestine to be absorbed again leading to irritation and a sense of bloating. Thirdly, ingestion of fat reduces the mobilisation and release of the body’s own fat stores which in turn reduces the overall fat oxidation (use of fat as a source of energy) as there is a reduced amount being released from fat stores and a reduced amount being absorbed in the intestines leading to more irritation. So during any endurance event all of the research strongly suggests consuming just 3 key nutrition components, carbohydrates, electrolytes and fluids and to avoid fats.
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