The basic supposition is that there is an optimized diet for human beings and athletes in particular. That diet is similar to what our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate. Apparently there is no such thing as a fat Bushman since these guys are walking 15-20 klicks a day, then sprinting to shoot an antelope or two, and not eating a lot of starch or sugar and no dairy, period. On the other hand, if you move the aboriginals onto a reservation where they start eating starch, sugar, fried foods and cheese on everything it seems cancer, obesity and heart disease rates sky rocket as they have with many Native Americans. In particular, for optimum performance, your diet should be based upon lean meat (preferably fish or free range), and minimally processed nuts, fruits and veggies. And absolutely no dairy, grains or cereals. This of course flies in the face of much of the conventional wisdom regarding diet and training which, for a very long time, has focussed on carbo loading both before, during and after exercise.
I went on the South Beach two years ago and lost forty pounds, so a lot of this made sense already. But these guys have taken things a step further. You definitely want to avoid foods with a high glycemic index, but even more you want to avoid foods with a high glycemic load. Also, they reject a lot of the Atkins hooey about unlimited fats. While they are not opposed to fats, these need to be the right kinds, ie. omega 3 vs. omega 6 so more fish and monounsaturated so more olive and not other vegetable oils. On top of at least 50 % fish they recommend more turkey, buffalo, venison, rabbit and lamb since these guys eat grass not grain and thus have a better fat/protein profile. A recommended day looks like 10-12 servings of fruits and vegetables with up to 40 % of the calories in the diet coming from 3-4 large servings of lean meat and fish. By contrast, the average American only gets 15 % of their calories from meat or fish and up to a whopping 50 % in starch, sugars and really bad fats from processed foods.
For optimum performance they say you should start out with a high pro breakfast with fruit and/or low fiber veggies, since fruit carbs (fructose) and vegetables are metabolized more slowly than danish and pancakes so you avoid an insulin spike. Caffeine taken before a work out also has beneficial effects, with coffee three times as effective as tea. During the day where you are engaging in events with four to twelve hours of continuous exercise you need to keep reloading carbs early on and continuously. Also dehydration becomes a serious issue, so lots of fluids. They recommend sports drinks, fruit juice, and small meals that are high in energy content during exercise. Immediately post exercise it looks like some type of a recovery drink with a little protein powder is extremely important, since your muscles are more receptive to reloading energy stores in the 30 minutes immediately following exercise. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like beer and nachos qualify, they like fruit juices, fruit and protein powder with lots of branched chain amino acids (leucine, isoleucin and valine) kind of like egg whites.
If I'm understanding this correctly a typical day for the skier seeking optimum performance would start with a hearty breakfast of fish, lean meat or egg white omelettes and fruit/veg with black coffee at least an hour before you start skiing and preferably up to two or three. Then lots of small meals with high energy content foods and sports drinks and juice during the day, things like nuts, tuna or jerkey, a banana for electolytes, other dried and fresh fruit, carrot sticks, etc. You would probably want to stop at 11 and 2 instead of eating a single big heavy lunch, and alcohol during exercise is absolutely prohibited. Then the recovery drink immediately apre ski and followed by an early dinner with lean meat or fish again and 2-3 minimally processed (fresh or fresh frozen) vegetables, a glass of wine or two if you so desire, and fruit for dessert.
All of this makes a lots of sense to me after South Beach, since a lot of that diet is about eliminating high glycemic index/load foods, ie starches and sugars from your diet and increasing training levels. And it's actually close to what I have been doing for a number of years while skiing, even though I have not been as rigorous about things when training at home. But it seems to me that this takes things scientfically up a notch or two. If you read the book there are additional insights about supplements, etc. which I am still working through. But on the whole their arguments make a lot of intuitive sense and seem to jibe well with things I have been reading elsewhere. I was wondering given their Fort Collins location whether anybody knows these guys and/or has been on this program for a while so they can comment on long term benefits. I am looking forward to other's thoughts/feedback here.