Saturday, August 16, 2008

How Olympic athletes get their fuel

ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- If carb-loading were an Olympic competition, U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps would probably medal there, too. His day starts with three cheese-tomato-onion-fried egg sandwiches, an omelet, three powdered-sugar-covered slices of French toast, a bowl of grits and three chocolate chip pancakes to top it off, according to news reports.

Swimmer Michael Phelps, who set the men's 200-meter freestyle record at the Olympics, packs in the calories.

Phelps told reporters earlier this week he was instructed to eat between 8,000 and 10,000 calories every day. Other news reports put the total as high as 12,000 calories.
This sounds extreme, even to some dietitians. But Olympic athletes' nutritional needs do vary widely according to their sports and body sizes, and swimming for long periods of time will naturally burn a lot of calories, experts told CNN.

Phelps' intake is just what his appetite requires, said Nancy Clark, a sports nutritionist in Boston, Massachusetts. Phelps to answer your video questions"He's a limousine, he's tall. A limousine needs more gas than a Mini Cooper," said Clark, who has worked with Olympic athletes. "Hunger is simply a request for fuel." Watch what Phelps eats »

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