What Do Divers Eat?
Without food, no one can survive. We eat to stay alive and help our body organs to work properly. Food includes all the elements and chemicals needed to supply the body with energy and to process organs with the nutritional value of the meals that we eat daily.
The previous words summarize very briefly the aim of food and the primary purpose of this system. It is to provide the human body with the necessary fuel for this race to continue; a race that always seeks innovation and development to the point of perdition.
Since we are divers who use their minds constantly, we must start calculating the value of our meals and the number of calories in every meal when we plan for each dive. The calculation of food is completely related to our diving performance, and it is very necessary to take that into account when planning for diving. It is a matter of high importance and we will prove that.
The human body is designed to enjoy the taste of food, so why should we count calories?
Calculating calories is a way to measure the amount of fuel contained in food and drinks and compare them to the extent of the body’s need for energy during metabolism. When we know how much calories the body needs and how much will be burned during diving, we will not have to eat more food that slows our movement during our daily diving activities and accumulates inside our bodies to appear in the form of harmful fats that later ruins the external appearance of the body.
Divers always rely on energy, concentration, and full vitality in the practice of their activity. The excess amounts of food will be a major impediment to all the basic and important diving pillars of the diver’s body. These excess amounts would use up a large portion of the body energy, causing inactivity and lack of concentration, because the body energy and the organs will be heavily involved in digesting food and storing excess quantities in the form of fat. At this time, the muscles, brain, blood vessels, and all the internal organs in the body will be in a very weak condition. This is completely contrary to the specifications of an aware diver that is very accurate in choosing the appropriate timing for diving.
A diver prepares for diving, takes enough sleep, performs the necessary exercises in preparation for diving safely and securely, checks their equipment and air pipe, and spends some time inspecting their colleague and other steps to prepare for diving. Is it possible that a meal would waste all those preparations while a meal with properly-calculated calories and can be valuable to complete the preparations and positive diving planning?
Calculate your calories yourself before every meal, especially on diving days.
Calorie Calculation Tips for Divers
Every 1 gram of sugar produces 4 calories – 1 gram of protein produces 4 calories – 1 gram of fat (animal/vegetable) produces 9 calories – 1 gram of starches produces 4 calories.
It is very fun after knowing the calories contents of the basic elements contained in any food component. As you can see, each element contains 4 calories for every 1 gram, except for fats that contain 9 calories. The first step then is that we on grains, legumes, vegetables, and fruit instead of meat and dairy products rich in fats. Beans and legumes are listed because they are a source of protein and they make good options to start a moderate diet while considering eating small amounts of sugars and fats.
To identify these types, and activate the skill of calculating calories, we can use some of the applications available in smartphones, then we start with the stickers on the food products and pay attention to the total calories in these products. Since calories are an essential energy source for the body, it is necessary to constantly have the amounts that the body needs on these elements. However, we should consider that diving is a sport that does not require a lot of effort and does not involve a dynamic activity such as running. Therefore, a diver needs a smaller number of calories compared to the amount needed by a runner who exerts great effort on running.
This simple example can help you determine the useful number of calories needed immediately before diving and during the day diving, then you can generalize this system for all days and continue this pattern of a healthy diet.
How Many Calories Do We Need Per Day?
There is a simple and very common equation. If the bodyweight is 176 lbs., for example, we add 0, so the number becomes 1760 calories needed daily by the body. However, our measurement unit for weight is kilograms. One kilogram equals 2.2 pounds, so 176 pounds equals 80 kg.
After knowing the daily calories intake needed for the body, we divide this amount into the main meals and snacks and distribute them in the form of servings divided into five meals a day.
As for the meals on a diving day, it must be taken into account that the main meal contains no more than 55% of the starch calories (rice, potatoes, grains) or 35% of protein calories (chicken, fish, meat).
Avoid eating the main meal while resting on the surface. Let it be a snack with only 15% of your total daily caloric intake.
Diving does not lead to a significant calorie burning. Imagine that a dive for about an hour burns only less than 300 calories (the burning rate may vary according to the diving conditions and temperature). Take into account the effort that the diver makes while preparing for diving, descending, and surface swimming before the last steps to descend deeper. We considered all these steps before advising our fellow divers on how to divide their calories intake into daily meals. We found that actually, 15% of the daily calorie intake is sufficient and useful during resting on the surface and between dives and that 35% of the daily intake is very good for the main meal on a diving day.
A diver burns fat and gets rid of calories through the process performed by the body to maintain the average body temperature. In fact, this process varies as it is related to the water temperature, the diver’s selection for the thickness of the wetsuit, the diving season, and sometimes the depths. For example, the water temperature at a depth of 10 meters differs from the temperature at 30 meters. Other factors also count. We know that while our bodies lose heat twenty times faster when submerged in water than in open air, because of the difference in density between air and water. Therefore, we always advise our diving students to consult the trainer for help regarding the selection of the appropriate diving suit and accessories.
In Diveholics, we always provide the right and professional advice to our clients. And like all other PADI professionals, we must direct and guide the general diving community to adjust the process of balancing calories in meals and how to burn them, taking into account keeping the body within the natural and safe temperature limits through continuous awareness activities.
You Are What You Eat
Sometimes eating is for fun, sometimes for celebration, and sometimes it is due to stress and anxiety. Eating snacks in a small amount at separate times of the day helps a diver avoid starving, especially in celebrations or fun activities.
Also, remember that drinks contain a greater number of calories than food, and always keep in mind that soft drinks and energy drinks contain amounts of fat.
A diver’s high level of fitness reduces the possibility of diving accidents. It also requires good fitness for the lungs and blood vessels to deliver oxygen and for the muscles and other cells to extract and use oxygen. In fact, diver’s fitness makes them feel more comfortable while practicing diving under various conditions, such as climbing the ladder to get off the boat, wearing the equipment, helping pull a tired diver, or swimming in a high wave area.
Achieving a good fitness level does not come from nothing. Two things are required: a balanced diet and regular exercise. Start walking today and follow the tips in this article.
We wish you safe and enjoyable diving!