HomeAnswersWhat is the best diet for endurance athletes?

What is the best diet for endurance athletes?

This question is about Cycling, Nutrition and Running
Sarah Achleithner, health and wellness writer
The right eating approach for an endurance athlete depends on a variety of factors including age, sex, training load, taste preferences, and goals. That said, endurance athletes should focus on nutrient-dense whole foods and aim to eat a combination of lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and dairy every day to support performance and general wellness [1]
Carbohydrate intake is especially important for endurance athletes before, during, and after exercise to fuel working muscles, offset fatigue and promote recovery. Furthermore, protein intake is critical for building muscle and accelerating recovery during the post-workout period [1]
Emerging evidence suggests that plant-based diets may improve cardiovascular function, glycogen storage, V02 max, and body composition among those who participate in endurance activities, although it may require additional planning to achieve nutrient adequacy [2]. 
For more information on eating for endurance activities check out our ultimate guides to running and cycling nutrition.
fresh fruit and vegetables on a slate background
[1] Thomas, D. T., Erdman, K. A., & Burke, L. M. (2016). Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Dietitians of Canada, and the American College of Sports Medicine: Nutrition and Athletic Performance. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 116(3), 501–528. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jand.2015.12.006
[2] Barnard, N. D., Goldman, D. M., Loomis, J. F., Kahleova, H., Levin, S. M., Neabore, S., & Batts, T. C. (2019). Plant-Based Diets for Cardiovascular Safety and Performance in Endurance Sports. Nutrients, 11(1), 130. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11010130