Why This RD Says Pop-Tarts Are the Ideal Pre-Run Fuel – Well+Good

Why This RD Says Pop-Tarts Are the Ideal Pre-Run Fuel  Well+Good

Fitness Tips

September 22, 2022

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Photo: Getty Images/alvarez

When Kristy Baumann’s clients are looking for suggestions for a pre-run snack, the dietitian often has a somewhat surprising recommendation: Pop-Tarts.

Baumann, who specializes in working with distance runners, recently shared on her Instagram how, though Pop-Tarts are often demonized as “junk food,” they actually contain exactly what athletes need before a run: easily digestible, simple carbs that convert to quick energy and won’t cause GI issues.

It’s a recommendation that shocks runners and non-runners alike, she says, since there’s a misconception that exercise should be fueled by non-processed foods, or foods that we think of as “healthy.”

But in reality, says Baumann, simple carbs (including sugar!) are a runner’s best friend. Reaching for a Pop-Tart could give your pre-run snack not only a nutritional upgrade, but a fun and convenient one.

What to look for in a pre-run snack

For Baumann, the first order of business is often convincing clients to eat something before a run. Not only can it improve your performance by providing additional energy, but it can actually be a key injury-prevention tool. If you run too long on an empty stomach, your body may begin breaking down protein for fuel, which means it’s depleting the amino acids in your muscles, leaving you at a higher risk of hurting yourself.