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Summer Sports and Digestion: Myth or Fact

Andréanne Tremblay-Lebeau

Andréanne Tremblay-Lebeau

Shape up:

Registered Dietitian

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Here’s a little overview of some summer sports myths and facts that often come up during the season.


It’s best to work out an hour after supper.

Myth. If you’re looking to work out after a big meal, you should wait at least 3-4 hours, to give your body the time it needs to digest. After that, the workout is all yours!

High-fat foods are perfect for a high-endurance workout.

Myth. Fat slows down digestion. So you should limit your intake of these foods or eat them in moderation before exercise.

You should never swim after eating.

Myth. There’s nothing wrong with recreational swimming (low intensity) after a snack or a light meal. Having a big meal before a swim, however, could lead to stomach discomfort. Also, alcohol should be avoided before swimming.

Water is a better choice than energy drinks for staying hydrated.

Fact. Water hydrates your body without the excess calories, sugar and caffeine found in energy drinks. Drinking your fair share will promote digestive health.

Only high-intensity exercises help improve digestive woes like bloating and constipation.  

Myth. Lighter exercises like walking can help pass gas and foods through the digestive tract. These exercises also help reduce stress, at times the culprit of digestive problems.




A good sports drink should contain no more than 2 g of sugar per 100 ml serving.

Fact. A drink high in sugar may cause gastro-intestinal discomfort and/or diarrhoea.

The best time to jog is in the morning before eating.

Myth. Doing exercise on an empty stomach is not advised, as your body won’t have the fuel it needs to have an efficient workout. Have a small, easy-to-digest snack 30-45 minutes before your jog.

A bean salad is the perfect lunch during a long hike.

Myth. Legumes are high in fibre, which could provoke stomach pains. Have your chick pea salad for lunch during the week instead!

Before going on a long bike ride, it’s a good idea to try a new food.

Myth. You should avoid all new foods/drinks before an important outing. You don’t know how your body’s going to digest the new food, so you’re better off trying it some other time.

You should avoid eating high-protein foods before a soccer match.

Fact. Protein should be consumed in moderation before physical activity as it’s harder to digest than carbohydrates and doesn’t give you as much energy.

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