Bellator champ Ben Askren on his top performance food

Undefeated Bellator welterweight champion and former Olympic wrestler Ben Askren reveals what his top fuel is for training while elite nutritionist Robert Ferguson breaks down the benefits

10 December 2012    |    0 Comments

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Ben Askren says:
My favourite food is pasta. Spaghetti and meat sauce is my favourite, but I like pretty much all kinds of pasta. I'm going to eat something that tastes good and that is healthy too. It's just something my mum cooked real well and I've eaten it ever since I was a kid and I still like it. I cook at my house a lot and it's always good the next day. I eat it for lunch and sometimes for dinner. It's what I eat the most, so maybe three or four times a week. It's one of my main sources of carbs and energy. I get some sauce, some onions, garlic, beef, a few peppers, throw it all together, and there you go. I like the pasta cooked firm because it tastes better that way. I use spaghetti most of the time, but I change it up every once in a while so it doesn't get boring. I don't measure the portions - I just eat until I'm full. I just eat and practise, I don't think about it. I tried the brown rice pasta spaghetti once and it wasn't good at all; it just didn't taste good. No one advised me to try wholemeal pasta, but I saw it in the grocery store while I was shopping one day and decided to try it. I thought if I can be healthier without it having to taste gross then that would be great. I could give up pasta if I wanted to, but I haven't got a reason to so I'm not going to do it.

Nutritionist Robert Ferguson says:
Pasta is without question a fat-burning carbohydrate because of its nutrition profile. It sounds like the pasta Ben Askren is opting for is made with durum semolina. Many people avoid this pasta and opt for egg noodles, whole wheat or some low-carb pasta. There's no need for this unless you are gluten sensitive. Pasta made with semolina durum flour yields a good amount of protein and fibre, which helps to make pasta convert to sugar slower and contributes to keeping your body in fat-burning mode versus fat storing. When possible, choose a pasta that markets '100 per cent semolina' on the label to ensure you're getting the highest quality.

To read our full article on championship food click here to order your copy of issue 34 of Fighting Fit. To buy this edition via our app, please click here.

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