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Milind Soman’s Dietary Sins

B. Haritha Shyam

The official distance of a marathon is 42.195 kilometres (26 miles and 385 yards). Running that distance needs a whole lot of calories and those from carbohydrates really help. One look at Milind Soman – lean, without an extra ounce of fat mass on his athletic body - and one is forced to conclude that he must be doing all things right, especially his diet.

But then, you discover that this marathon man loves to start his day with two large masala dosas! Well, that is not entirely wrong if the fat/ oil is well taken care of, and accompanied by fruit and milk, to make the breakfast wholesome and complete. But then, Milind hates eating any fruit other than bananas!

Though bananas are a good bet as a pre marathon snack or even a milkshake, a larger variety of fruits, especially those rich in potassium would help a runner better. This is because our body sweats out a lot of potassium, which has to be replenished. So eating fruits like oranges, watermelon, banana etc as a whole fruit or in the form of milkshake will be good.

Being a Maharashtrian, he sticks to a simple Maharashtrian lunch, which in itself is one of the finest examples of a well balanced meal, with all the foods on the plate reflecting a replica of the ideal food pyramid. A simple meal of roti, vegetable, daal, and curds is well balanced, nutritious and at the same time, not heavy on the stomach.

His dinner is more or less the same, but he has it only an hour or so before he hits the bed. The last meal of the day is best received by the body when it is taken at least three hours before you retire for the day.

His dietary sins
His dietary sins come in the form of desserts and evening snacks – a juicy chicken burger or a chocolate dessert! Milind argues that he can get away with eating any calorie dense food as he is burning 700 to 750 calories per day approximately during his 12 to 15 kilometre run per day.
However, all high fat food makes the body work harder to digest it, thereby making the person sluggish. If these sins are a daily pattern, they will lead to higher body fat percentage and less instant energy. That could make all the difference between winning and losing a marathon.

Eat right, Marathon Man


  • Eat food at regular intervals.
  • Drink plenty of liquids rich in electrolytes - coconut water, buttermilk, fruit milkshakes, fruit juices etc to replenish your body.
  • High fat foods slow you down, so minimise the intake of these. Turn your back on temptation.
  • Take complex carbohydrates so that a steady release of energy is maintained, especially while running the marathon. Simple carbohydrates give an instant energy boost, but it does not last long to help a long distance runner.
  • Pre marathon snacks should be light and give continuous energy. A heavy meal just before the run is best avoided.

B. Haritha Shyam is Clinical Nutritionist, Apollo Health City, Hyderabad


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