Low-sugar diet takes hold in All Blacks squad

By Cam Carpenter

The All Blacks power through 80 minutes of blood, sweat and tears - so what do they eat to ensure their bodies perform at their best on game day?

Under the influence of strength and conditioning coach, Dr Nicholas Gill, the All Blacks have moved to a low sugar diet.

"The movie 'The Sugar Film' has influenced the players quite a lot I think. Most of the guys now understand that we need to get the sugar out," explained Gill last year.

"We've come a long way. I would say we are in a low-sugar environment. That's a big change. We now have nuts on the sideline after training, not lollies. I wouldn't say we've made it all the way to high fat, but we have healthy fat on hand when we need it.
Those healthy fats include coconut oil and peanut butter.

"We go through 6-7 tins of coconut oil a week. We travel with peanut butter and nut butters for the guys to use in smoothies and wherever else it can fit in".

All Blacks nutritionist Kat Darry says each of the All Blacks come with their own needs, so they all require their own complex nutritional needs.

"At the beginning of the series I measure weight, skin bulk or body fat, to try and get them at a range that is optimal for their position."

Malakai Fekitoa shared this Snapchat image of his lunch yesterday.
Malakai Fekitoa shared this Snapchat image of his lunch yesterday.

She then maps out their diet over the week focusing on what they need each day to meet their training and recovery needs.

Despite nutrition being a strong focus, she says it's still important to make sure that the boys are eating food that tastes good.

"People are happy if food is good," Darry explains. Food is not just about carbohydrates, proteins and fats - it actually feeds the soul.

"It's really about trying to find that balance between fueling and having good healthy food, but having food that makes people feel happy and enjoy eating it."

"If they have energy and they're still out there firing at 78 minutes that's a really good indication that we've done something right during the week."

What the All Blacks would eat on game day?

Based on the interviews the All Blacks nutritionists and coaches have given, Rugby website Ruck Science has provided an insight into what their diet would look like on game day.

BREAKFAST
Peanut butter on toast and roasted tomatoes. An omelette with egg whites, butter and coconut oil mixed in. Some simple greens like spinach and a half an avocado. Fresh fruit including oranges and bananas for their potassium content.

LUNCH
Lean chicken, rice, pasta and sweet potatoes eaten at last 3 hours before warm ups.

PRE-MATCH
Porridge with bananas, almond butter and honey. Water and some salts were probably encouraged. (we know some teams are using nitrate supplements before games now too).

POST-MATCH
Nuts and nut butters, fluids and simple fruits. Perhaps a shake with whey protein, bananas and walnuts.

DINNER
Red meats including steak, lamb chops and ribs. Green vegetables including spinach, guacamole and brussel sprouts as well as more sweet potatoes.

- NZ Herald

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