To Eat or Not to Eat

Should you really indulge in that treat after the Paczki Run? An expert weighs in.


Photograph by Trevor D'Silva // Courtesy of Tour de'Troit

The annual Paczki Run, a 5K race before Fat Tuesday, returns to Hamtramck on Feb. 10. Hundreds of runners will hit the city’s streets aiming for the best time. Of course, it wouldn’t be the same without the paczki greeting at the finish line. Post-run racers are welcomed by a beer from Motor City Brewing Works and a paczki, courtesy of New Martha Washington and New Palace bakeries.

But what are the health implications, if any, of eating that gluttonous (and delicious) pastry after physical activity?

Dr. Diane Cress, Registered Dietician and Associate Professor at Wayne State University’s Department of Nutrition and Food Science has good news. According to Cress, there really are no health implications for most runners, unless you are a part of an at-risk group, such as those with pre-existing heart disease and/or obesity. These runners may be susceptible to a heart attack under strenuous activity and excessive consumption.

“For individuals at risk for heart attack, running the 5k, if it’s really cold out and if you’ve had a beer beforehand, constitutes risky behavior,” says Cress. At-risk runners should moderate both exercise intensity and post-exercise consumption. Plenty of warm-ups and a more comfortable pace is recommended for these runners.

Cress says that a paczki has between 350-400 calories, about the same as a McDonald’s Quarter Pounder without cheese. It packs 19 grams of sugar and 15 grams of fat. In reference, a recreational event runner will usually burn approximately 200-300 calories. So, if running the 5k is a matter of calorie burning, skip the post-race paczki.

The real risk is the weather. Cold weather can increase dehydration, so dressing in layers, wearing a hat, and making sure to warm-up sufficiently is highly recommended. Here are a few parting tips for the Paczki Run from Dr. Cress:

  1. Dress in layers to prevent dehydration. 
  2. Eat a small meal beforehand. A few options include a bowl of low fiber cereal, a hard-boiled egg, or peanut butter on toast 
  3. Hydrate yourself. Post-race drinks may include chocolate milk or oral rehydration solutions. 
  4. For individuals who are not fit, consider walking/jogging; enjoy the race at a comfortable pace. 
  5. Have fun, Na Zdrowie!

Dr. Diane Cress is a Registered Dietitian and Associate Professor at Wayne State University's Department of Nutrition and Food Science. Along with teaching and research, Dr. Cress works on community-based outreach for nutrition and food access programs, like the Detroit Food Policy Council. 
Edit Module
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. Review: Testa Barra Wows with Contemporary Dishes
    The Macomb Township restaurant serves Italian fare that is on par with the surging Detroit food...
  2. Exploring Metro Detroit’s Tiki Trend
    Mutiny Bar and Lost River serve up island vacations with every drink
  3. Michigan-Made, Mother Nature-Approved Tools for Your Kitchen
    Ditch disposables and opt for reusable products
  4. A Deeper Look into the Racial and Ethnic Tensions Dividing Metro Detroit
    From the city to the suburbs, existing segregation could be hindering the region’s progress
  5. Every Day is Throwback Thursday at This Roseville Steakhouse
    Mr. Paul's Chophouse has remained consistently delicious for more than 50 years
  6. 3 Eateries that Focus on People, Profit, and the Planet
    These triple bottom line businesses are part of Detroit’s FoodLab organization
  7. A Look at the Inexplicable Exclusion of Detroit Tigers’ Lou Whitaker from the Baseball Hall of Fame
    Writer Michael Betzhold investigates the Major League slip-up
  8. Q&A: Nancy Barr, Curator of Photography at the Detroit Institute of Arts
    Plus, information about the DIA’s upcoming exhibit, Lost & Found
  9. This Vegan Catering Company Celebrates the ‘Natural Beauty of Food’
    Plus, tips on how to create your own photo-worthy grazing board
  10. Your Guide to Environmentally Friendly Organizations in Metro Detroit
    These 10 local businesses are paving the way for a healthier and happier planet