A lot was made during the Beijing Olympics about the diet of U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps, who said about 8,000-10,000 calories per day helped him fuel eight gold-medal victories.
Although WebMD reports that 10,000 calories per day would be nearly impossible, his diet of cooked and processed foods is certainly of sizeable proportions. One breakfast, for example, included three fried-egg sandwiches, an omelet, grits, three slices of French toast and three chocolate-chip pancakes.
Now, even if Phelps’ metabolism is through the roof and he truly burns all of those calories in competition, his diet could likely be the cause of a little indigestion or bloating.
Given that many of the foods he eats are cooked, it’s likely his meals have little, if any, natural enzyme content. Food enzymes, which are found in uncooked fruits, vegetables and meats, help the body naturally break down fats, carbohydrates and proteins.
When food enzymes are not present, the body relies on enzymes produced by the pancreas to take care of digestion and assimilation of nutrients. This process can rob energy from the body, as well as decrease energy for tissue repair and immune function.
For any diet, whether you’re an Olympian or you stick with 2,000 calories per day, broad-spectrum digestive enzyme supplements can help the body break down food to combat symptoms of indigestion, bloating and other digestive problems. Better digestion improves nutrient absorption and contributes to tissue maintenance and immune health.