Is junk food really on the menu for our Olympians?

Posted 15 Aug 2016.

Athletes competing in the Rio Olympic Games will have spent years training day and night for the privilege to compete on the world stage.  However, preparation for such an elite sporting event doesn't stop at training.  Nutrition also plays a major part in maximising performance during training and competition.  It can also support recovery and immune function.  Just like athletes will train their bodies for various scenarios and conditions during competition, they have a nutrition plan for before, during and after competition to ensure they remain in peak condition.

However, marketing around the Olympics can send a very different message.  Companies like Coca-Cola and McDonalds spend millions to have their brands associated with the Olympics.  When you consider that most athletes wouldn't use a lot of the products, it's obvious that the marketing has one audience in mind - the public.

But don't be fooled, although athletes may endorse junk food, it certainly isn't a regular part of their diet.  Of course, athletes are people too and they may succumb to temptation when their competition is over, however for the most part this will be temporary, before the hours of training and disciplined eating start again the lead-up to the next competition.

Except for those brief moments after competition, athletes follow nutrition plans based on core foods such as, lean meat, reduced-fat dairy, wholegrain cereals; fruit and vegetables.  There is little room for junk food.

"About 95% of Australians eat too much junk food and almost two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese," says Steve Pratt, our Nutrition and Physical Activity Manager.

This is why it is so important to recognise the conflicting message that comes from celebrating healthy athletes and being bombarded with junk food marketing.

So, what's really on the menu for our Olympians? Find out here. You can also check out Live Lighter's yummy recipes to help you recreate healthy versions of your favourite take away meals at home, here. 

Found in:  News - 2016 | View all news