Whenever I have preliminary talks with Burak Yildirim for our new podcast, when we are preparing a new episode, it is now pure “me-time” for me. Burak has been one of the most respected doctors in the Bundesliga for years. At Bayer 04 Leverkusen he started out as a youth coach. Today, under the new coach Xavi Alonso, he is an integral part of the team as a doctor. For me, Burak is a special person.
He has the gift of being able to see inside people. He is not a “normal” doctor. He is interested in people and his special gift is that he explains things clearly. So that everyone understands. He’s not the god in white. He seems like a friend. For me he is anyway.
“If so, drink a real coke”
It’s no secret that a runner needs to drink plenty of fluids. That water is probably perfect when we are already 80 percent made up of this element certainly makes sense for everyone. But what if you just can’t drink three to four liters of water a day? Because you just can’t afford it, because it just doesn’t taste good!?
And what if we as runners simply need more than just water. When we need to fill up our empty tanks? “Sugar is insane per se. And basically just as bad as smoking. But: The dose makes the poison,” Burak tells me in the preparation of our episode, which deals with the subject of “soul food” and adds: “There are moments when athletes definitely need sugar quickly.
This is the case with every marathon, for example. Of course, you can also get that from drinking. And then the guilty conscience quickly sets in, because everyone who deals with nutrition has saved: Cola, for example, is evil! I always say: If you want cola as a quick source of sugar, or even in everyday life, then drink a real cola”. That from the mouth of a doctor? I was surprised.
Diet drinks were my water substitute
I’m not usually one of those people who has trouble drinking lots of water. However, as a runner, I’m no different than anything else: I need taste every now and then. I’m lucky that we produce about 200 liters of our own apple juice every year from apples from the garden. For me, the apple spritzer is the perfect healthy alternative for in between meals.
And yet: I love the taste of a cold cola or sugary energy drinks. Precisely because I wanted to avoid sugar, I always preferred the “light version”. Gladly the one with zero calories. I also knew that this might not be really valuable for my body, but I never gave it any further thought. The only important thing was: taste and zero calories.
Light not only increases the desire for sweets and more food
Research has now found that the biggest problem with diet drinks is that they increase hunger and cravings for sweets. And many people fall into this trap. Although you don’t take in any calories by consuming light drinks, you do get them back several times afterwards through food! Much more important for me, however, was the addition of Burak Yildirim: “You know, the main problem that almost no manufacturer talks about is that the body cannot process these drinks. He can’t do anything with them. There is a very clear study on this.”
Book tip: “More Power. Run free!” (Advertisement)
From overweight chain smoker to marathon runner – a success story
And indeed, Burak was right once more! For a soft drink analysis, the University of Texas Studies carried out on over 700 subjects. All participants were regularly weighed, measured and asked about their eating habits. Some maintained their weight, while others gained weight despite consuming diet drinks. In all of them, however, the waist circumference changed for the worse. The researchers concluded that diet soda with artificial sweeteners redistributes body fat so that it accumulates more around the internal organs and midsection. This is extremely unhealthy because belly fat promotes cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Thank you Doc! I drink a coke!
I really always believed that I was well informed about nutrition, that I might be doing some things right. Not even close. The conversation with Burak once again helped me face the facts: drink water and green tea, unsweetened. And if you do, drink a real cola from time to time. And remember: the dose makes the poison!
That’s how it works!
Read all of Mike Kleiß’s columns here.