The Importance of Tracking Your Eating Stats - Article by Jenni Staples
Basketball is a game filled with great stats, which players and fans alike love to pore over, allowing them to analyse and compare the performances of players from around the league in a number of important categories; from rebounds and steals, to three-pointers and fouls. Whether checking individual boxscores to see who racked up the most bombs from beyond the arc in any given game, or going through the league leader lists to see who has pulled down the most rebounds per game on the season, it’s easy to get lost in the row upon row and column upon column of numbers, all of which tell a story.
Players naturally tend to take a great interest and pride in their own stats as well. Not only do they function as a marker of their current performance, but perhaps even more importantly, they can tell the attentive player what area(s) of his or her game needs fine-tuning. It wouldn’t be all that surprising then if the average player could easily rattle off how many points and rebounds they had in their last game. They might even be able to recite their free throw percentage on the season, right down to the fourth digit (that’s the hundredths one).
However, it’s far less likely they know how many calories they consumed the previous day, or how many grams of protein they should be consuming on a weekly basis. These stats are just as important in predicting their future performance as their statistics on the court are, and neglecting to spot the areas of weakness in their diet will prevent them from correcting them and improving their general health and well-being.
Making eating fun (and informative)
The nutritional labels on packaging (the ones you probably mostly ignored to this point) are the vital performance statistics of that food. For those who know how to read those stats, they can tell the reader whether that food is an all-star for the body, or should be relegated to the bench. Those labels are also where you can begin to track your own eating stats in your food diary (yep, you’re gonna start keeping a diary; lock and key optional).
Track what food you’re eating each day (no need to be too fine with the amounts, as long as it’s close) and then look them up on those handy stats pages so you can record the calories, protein, carbohydrates, fat, salt, and sugar you’re eating. Pay particular attention to the amount of sugar you’re consuming. Limiting sugar intake is a key component of a healthy diet, yet is something we are generally fare poorly at. Our sugar intake is as much as 6-8 times higher than the recommended levels according to 1997 figures. The WHO currently recommends that only 5% of your total calories come from sugar. Your salt intake meanwhile should hover around the 1500 mg mark.
When it comes to calories, you may eventually want to have a target calorie count per day based on what your goals are for weight gain (more likely than not you’re looking to add some weight, as most young basketball players tendto tall and lanky). You can use a handy calorie calculator to determine your recommended daily caloric intake based on your current weight and height, and exercise levels.
Lastly is the triumvirate of protein, carbs, and fat (consider these the triple-double’s of food). These are the 3 main categories of your caloric intake, and different diets encourage different ratios of each of the three as a percentage of your daily intake for optimal health. One such diet is the zone diet, which stresses that a 40%/30%/30% ratio of carbs/protein/fat is ideal for putting the body in a low-inflammatory state which protects against disease and slows the aging process. For putting on more lean muscle you might want to up the protein intake to 40% as well at the expense of fat.
You’re likely to find (probably to even your own surprise) that it’s rather fun monitoring and comparing the differences in your daily food intake, and how certain foods drastically differ from each other in their nutritional content. You’re also likely to begin developing a strong self-interest in food and its contents, which should set you up for a life of informed and healthy eating.
Article by Jenni Staples