Ketchup is the nation’s favorite condiment. And according to leading brand Heinz, it also serves unexpected health uses.
A recent ad for ketchup claimed that “runners everywhere use Heinz ketchup packets in their races.”
The company has even designed running routes in the shape of its logo in cities including New York, highlighting restaurants where runners can grab a packet of ketchup along the route.
While spice may seem like an unlikely fuel, it contains two key components that runners need: simple carbohydrates and salt.
A recent video released by Heinz claims that “runners everywhere are using Heinz ketchup packets on their runs”
The body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose, which is used to fuel the muscles, and we lose salt (which contains vital minerals)when we sweat.
However, dietitians have pointed out the drawbacks of this fueling method: there is too much salt in one packet and you would have to carry at least 15 packets with you, they say.
But top athletes, performing at their peak, have a number of alternative suggestions – which are equally unconventional.
And below, New York-based dietitian Cara Anselmo gives her verdict.
Washington Nationals shortstop Brice Harper previously revealed that his pregame snack is Eggo Waffles.
He said: ‘I’m eating Eggo waffles.It has to be Eggo before the game. I mean, it’s really weird. PB [peanut butter] and honey. I’m really superstitious.’
Mountain bikers, runners and baseball players say a variety of fast foods, from waffles to cinnamon rolls, get them through their races
Claire Gallagher, ultrarunner and ambassador for clothing brand Patagonia, swears by icing as a cost-effective way to keep energy levels up during a facial.
“I was totally disappointed at the thought of buying 20+ gels, and I’m a fan of frosting anyway.” It occurred to me that I actually like frosting better than gels,” Ms Gallagher told Outside.
“I hate to think that my genius frosting idea was born out of being cheap, but it really was,” she added.
MsGallagher now sponsors Frostd, a coconut oil-based frosting company started by fellow ultrarunner Jessica Hamel.
Cara Anselmo, a registered dietitian in New York, says the frosting is easy to consume on the go, without the need to chew.
It’s also good for quick energy, and the lack of fiber means you won’t have to use the bathroom, she said.
Philly Phillies shortstop Bryce Harper previously revealed that his pregame snack is Eggo Waffles
Dylan Bowman, another ultrarunner, opts for savory brownie cookies — the kind his girlfriend makes.
Cookies used to be a treat for Mr. Bovan, but by the 50-mile race, he realized it would be a good idea to eat them beforehand.
During his 20-mile race, he ate seven cookies — and ended up winning the race.
Ms. Anselmo approved of Dr. Bowman’s snack choice, explaining that cookies contain quick, simple carbohydrates. Chocolate also provides a small dose of caffeine, which can help boost energy.
The salty element of the cookie also provides sodium and potassium to replenish depleted electrolyte levels, she said.
Obstacle runner Amelia Boone nibbles on Pop-Tarts cinnamon rolls before a race.
She told the Outsider: ‘I ate one before the 2013 Spartan Race World Championships and won the race…I actually find they sit really well in my stomach.’
Ms. Boone also indulges during and after exercise. She said: “During the races, I’ll eat gummy bears, baby food bags and peanut M&Ms. After races, I feed myself pints of ice cream; it’s the only thing I can eat for about 12 hours.’
Ms. Anselmo said she also eats Pop-Tarts before a run because they’re quick, simple carbs with no fiber that lead to gas, bloating and diarrhea.
Mountaineer Sean Burch said peanut butter gets him through the expedition.
He said, “I’m making sure we bring peanut butter because I don’t think I’ll be able to get it there. And I long for it. I look forward to eating it every day.’
Ms Anselmo said the spread is a good exercise option because you don’t have to chew it, plus it’s packed with protein, which helps muscles repair after injury.
Phil Gaymon, a retired pro-cyclist, said he eats chocolate croissants during the race.
He said: “There wasn’t a moment in the race when I wasn’t counting down to unroll those things.
“I remember the moment I went crazy for ten minutes to pull a breakaway on the climb of the Tour de Provence. So I started eating chocolate but I was out of breath and then the descent was crazy but I didn’t want to spit it out and use it up so I did a 20 minute technical downhill just holding it in my mouth.’
Ms. Anselmo said the chocolate croissant is good fuel because it contains both carbohydrates and fat.
Aaron Gwynn, Red Bull mountain bike racer, snacking on pancakes between rides.
He said: “I make a batch of pancakes at home in the morning and then I pack two to six, depending on how much riding I do that day. I make them pretty healthy, adding protein powder to the batter so I get all the nutrition I need.
“They get a little out of control the more I add ingredients like sweet potatoes, bananas, peanut butter powder and oats, but I dig them.”
Ms Anselmo said the pancakes had “carbohydrates galore”, while the added protein was good for post-workout muscle recovery.
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