Everyone’s body needs exercise for optimum health, and you may be wondering what’s the best road to run regarding sports nutrition, especially if you’re very physically active. Research on this subject can be controversial. The consensus, however, is that a diet rich in complex carbohydrates is optimum for obtaining strong athletic performance. The form of carbohydrates that the body stores, glycogen, is used for energy. To achieve optimum performance, avoid fad diets that emphasize high protein, fat, and low carbohydrates. Too much protein– especially protein from animal sources– can lead to calcium loss, which can cause bone loss, especially in female athletes. Also avoid simple carbohydrates, such as products with sugar. When you consume sugar, your energy level rises rapidly, which affects your pancreas, which excretes insulin, causing your level to then fall rapidly, making you feel tired and rundown. It’s also important to keep your body well hydrated. As a guideline, an athlete should consume between five and twelve ounces of water every 15 minutes. Plain water is superior to sports drinks, which can contain many harmful additives, dyes, and sugar. If you’re an athlete, food is fuel that you need to consume in higher amounts than non-athletes. Many athletes believe that vitamin supplements can boost their energy, but only carbohydrates, fat, and protein can provide energy. So-called ‘energy bars’ and other energy supplements, protein powders, fat burners, and weight gainers are a multi-billion-dollar business. But all that you may gain by spending a lot of money on them may be a slimmer pocketbook.