Fabio Capello needs a history lesson. The retired Italian footballer and current manager of England’s seeded – and now soundly defeated – World Cup team banned butter as part of the team’s rigorous training regimen.
Big mistake. Big, huge mistake.
A study of traditional cultures from around the world as performed by Dr. Weston A. Price in his epic work Nutrition and Physical Degenerationshowed that, without exception, a strong correlation exists between diets rich in animal fats, robust health, and elite athletic ability. Traditional Swiss athletes, for example, were fed bowls of cream before competition. In Africa, groups that ate lots of fatty meat, organ meats, and fatty fish consistently won athletic competitions. Tribes whose diets were largely vegetarian were athletically dominated by the animal fat/meat eating tribes (or powned as my son would say – tween slang for punished and owned, in case you were wondering).
Mr. Capello apparently recommended that Team England follow a Mediterranean style diet in preparation for World Cup competition. While the common people in Ancient Greece may have focused on bread, fruit, and vegetables, the integral parts of a Mediterranean diet, the elite athletes at that time did not eat this way. In fact, Ancient Olympians ate a mostly meat based diet, and it wasn’t lean meat either!
Banning butter (and probably fatty meat, cream, and other sources of blood sugar steadying and stamina producing saturated fats) from the diet of England’s World Cup team was truly a very foolish thing for Mr. Capello to do.
Athletes that “carb load” prior to competition have significantly less endurance than athletes that “fat load” prior to athletic events (High Fat Diets Help Athletes Perform, Science News, 1996, 149:18:287).
Given that England’s level of play at the World Cup was consistently less than inspired and definitely lacking in spirit, it is clear that Mr. Capello could have used a crash course in history before issuing his short sighted diet edict.
You know the old saying that those who are ignorant of history are doomed to repeat it? In Fabio Capello’s case, England’s flame out at the World Cup illustrates this adage perfectly.
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
The Healthy Home Economist holds a Master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania. Mother to 3 healthy children, blogger, and best-selling author, she writes about the practical application of Traditional Diet and evidence-based wellness within the modern household. Her work has been featured by USA Today, The New York Times, ABC, NBC, and many others.