Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Dr.Van Aaken on Eating....and Not Eating

Dr Van Aaken was a physician who ran,coached runners, and wrote about running and diet.He's been featured many times on this site before.His views,particularly on eating,are still considered by many to be provocative. In an era where there is a unhealthy preoccupation with what we should eat,Dr Van Aaken recognized that healthy eating was much more than what we did or didn't eat. Consider this:
"Nutritionists as well as food faddists are forever specifying what one should eat.But it seems obvious that not the 'what' but the 'how much' is decisive. To keep one's weight at an ideal level,one should take in a n minimum of food and a maximum of oxygen."
The good doctor was referring to getting a maximum amount of oxygen by mostly easy running.However,Dr Aaken recognized decades before the general public,so-called nutritionists and food faddists did, that "excessive amounts of food overload the digestive system and metabolism and increase demands on the liver and kidney." He went on to write that this was a major cause of disease and the reason we encountered poor health as we aged.
During the, endurance athletes must consume mostly carbohydrates years,Van Aaken repeatedly spoke out against the folly of  such a way of eating. "If a person emphasizes carbohydrates in his diet,the excess is turned into fat. The organism acts as a depot for stored energy,since otherwise carbohydrates would be burned up to quickly.And so, while most carbohydrates enter metabolism via the detour of stored fat,the organism uses proteins and fats directly.A consequence of depot fat is water retention and excessive perspiration.At the same time,normal heat regulatuion is disturbed because of unfavorable surface-area-to-heat production relationships."
Most of us these days I'm sure are aware that too many carbos in the diet leads to more body fat but how many were aware of the other problems that come with a carbohydrate heavy diet?
Van Aaken lays it out that just running more to lose weight will most likely not work.
"To burn up one kilo of body fat requires 2000 liters of oxygen,corresponding to walking 350 kilometers in 70 hours or running 120 kilometers in 16 hours.So it should be obvious that a daily one hour stroll isn't the wayto lose weight."
The last line seems almost heretical in an age where walking is repeatedly touted as the best all- around exercise for health and fitness.
Take heed to this runners:"The runner in the middle and long distances should learn to fast again,and run best with a certain feeling of hunger."
Why you ask? Because,"Digestive work shortly before and during a run wastes energy.
In this 21st century,people have made what to eat and what not to eat so complex and confusing.It's all very simple,it's natural,it's logical,is it any wonder why people have become neurotic and paranoid over their diet(way of eating) with so many "experts" giving contradictory direction? Again,I digress.
In closing,Van Aaken tells us that the distance runner who is in training" should eat no more than 2000 calories per day,"  of which should include 50 grams of high quality protein.
The food should be fresh and natural.
Maybe that's why more people don't follow such a plan,it's too simple,too logical,no books to buy,no miracle claims offered.
Sinple Living,High Thinking.


  1. van Aaken had much to offer then, but possibly more today as affluence and waist lines have grown at an alarming weight since his death.

  2. Co-incidentally,today I heard on the radio that 2/3's of American adults and 1/3 of its children are significantly overweight. That figure is only expected to increase. Americans now have a totally different view of eating then the one I saw as I was growing up. Eat to live is the key,get your satisfaction and pleasure from the countless other means available rather than from eating.