Are you jealous that one of the top athletes of the world, perhaps the greatest U.S. Olympian ever, eats 12,000 calories a day?
Well, Michael Phelps has 3 meals that each has around 4,000 calories a day. The average male generally needs 2,000 calories a day. So imagine what a adult male should have (way different than what a lot of adult males have), double that, and that's breakfast.
To quote from the papers writing on the matter:
Phelps lends a new spin to the phrase "Breakfast of Champions" by starting off his day by eating three fried-egg sandwiches loaded with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, fried onions and mayonnaise.
He follows that up with two cups of coffee, a five-egg omelet, a bowl of grits, three slices of French toast topped with powdered sugar and three chocolate-chip pancakes.
At lunch, Phelps gobbles up a pound of enriched pasta and two large ham and cheese sandwiches slathered with mayo on white bread — capping off the meal by chugging about 1,000 calories worth of energy drinks.
For dinner, Phelps really loads up on the carbs — what he needs to give him plenty of energy for his five-hours-a-day, six-days-a-week regimen — with a pound of pasta and an entire pizza.
He washes all that down with another 1,000 calories worth of energy drinks.
At my lowest, I would eat a pound of pasta, though I would stretch that out for a couple of meals, eating a bit here and there over maybe 9-10 hours, miserable yet still eating. Right now, the idea of a pound of pasta AND an entire pizza makes me feel a little nauseous.
But Phelps does a lot of work to get himself into Olympic shape. I look at his physique, and I know a team of experts couldn't get me into the same time zone as he is physically.
His situation reminds me of the "Amish diet" a while back. There was a study on how many calories the Amish eat and their low levels of heart disease and otherwise bad health. The theory is that you can eat a mindblowing amount of calories, and keep in good shape if you work really hard.
And the Amish eat a diet full of meat, potatoes, fruit, and desserts such as cakes and pies. Still, they are in much better shape than the rest of us.
I would figure that even though the Amish eat a lot of calories, few little if any of them are from processed foods. We eat a lot of processed foods, and it shows.
I do wonder about Phelps' diet: admittedly he is young and in fine shape. But he does eat a lot of mayonnaise and white flour pasta and bread. He does need some fat, but you hope there's a balance there. And long-term, 1,000 calories from energy drinks (on top of 2 cups of coffee) can't be good for you. More whole grain pasta and a lower-fat mayonnaise/mustard mixture would give Phelps even more of an edge.