From the Introduction
The major requirements of sound nutrition are water, calories, vitamins, and minerals. Calories come from carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. All known caloric, protein, vitamin, and mineral needs can be met by a varied and healthful diet.
The body needs a certain amount of protein and fat to work properly, but the necessary amounts are small compared with the amounts most of us consume. Almost all of us who eat meat, fish, fowl, or dairy products regularly get more than enough protein; we don't have to monitor our intake. The same situation applies to fat intake, whether you're a vegetarian or not: most of us get many times the daily requirement of fat.
Since carbohydrates are inexpensive, easily digested and metabolized, and associated with less health risk than fats, they form the dietary cornerstone of caloric intake. Also, fortunately, as you'll read soon, they are the preferred fuel for high-intensity exercise and the mainstay of the aerobic endurance athlete.
The needs of a cyclist may, at times, differ from the nutrition required for good health in general, but this is unusual. General nutrition principles still apply. A variety of foodstuffs in moderation provide a "balanced diet."
In some ways, optimum nutrition is a lot like a bicycle tire you need the right amount of air. Too little and your tire is flat; you don't go fast enough. Too much and it may have side effects: a harsh ride or a burst.
Not enough of the right nutrients, and you may fatigue easily. Too much, and side effects may also limit your performance!
Copyright © 1998 by Arnie Baker, M.D.