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Fitness Friday: 10 Worst Things to Eat and Drink for Golf

October 04, 2012

*Every week my colleague @RonKaspriske, Golf Digest Fitness Editor, presents Fitness Friday on the Instruction Blog. This week he talks about nutrition and the 10 worst things you can eat before a round or at the turn. Look for Weekend Tip tomorrow, and remember to follow me on Twitter: @RogerSchiffman**.

Roger Schiffman

Managing Editor

Golf Digest

*Here's Ron: I don't want to sound like a conspiracy theorist, but remember when you were in elementary school and they introduced you to the "food pyramid?" You probably haven't thought about it in a long time, but the European versions introduced in the 1970s and the United Stated Department of Agriculture version introduced in 1992 are a big reason so many people have bad eating habits.

The idea was that these pyramids would illustrate how much of each type of food you should eat on a given day. The closer the food type was to the top of the pyramid, the less of it you should eat. Now take a guess what foods were at the bottom?

The USDA's 1992 version said a person should have between six to 11 servings of bread, cereal, rice and pasta per day. Yup, instead of loading up on fruits, vegetables, lean protein, or fiber-rich beans, the USDA told you scarf down six bowls of cereal.

Sound fishy, or in this case, grainy? It sure does to me. Especially when you consider the United States is the largest wheat producing and exporting country in the world. When you make all that grain, it sure does behoove you to tell your citizens to buy it and eat it.

I'm going off on a rant here because I still see people eating bad foods such as refined ("simple") carbohydrates when they play golf. For some reason, people often choose a bag of pretzels over a handful of nuts; a sports drink over a banana; beer over water and a hot dog over some natural beef jerky.

Now I'm not so naive to realize that, for many, taste comes before nutrition. It's why there's a McDonald's in Moscow's Red Square. However, I do think it never hurts to remind people why they shouldn't be eating what they are eating.

In short, golfers need protein, complex carbohydrates (think fiber), iron, potassium, B vitamins and water to get through a round, says dietician Amanda Carlson-Phillips, who heads the nutrition department at Athletes Performance in Phoenix.

So what should you NOT eat? Click on this link for a list of 10 common foods and drinks you can find at just about any golf course in the U.S. It's OK if you're guilty of consuming one, a  few or even many of them over the course of your golf career. It's not OK if you eat or drink them regularly when you play.

Oh, and by the way, under intense pressure from politicians and nutritionists, the USDA adjusted the pyramid in 2005 and then did away with it altogether in 2011 and is now using something called This will come as a shock, but the USDA is now downplaying the amount of wheat products you should eat each day.

*Ron Kaspriske

Fitness Editor

Golf Digest*