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Eat 'Em Ups? Can What You Eat Change Your Gaming Experience?

Neil Davey
Call Of Duty, Capcom, Diet, gamers, games, gaming, health, Street Fighter

Eat 'Em Ups? Can What You Eat Change Your Gaming Experience?

We’ve all been there. Some of us are probably still there, in fact: the gaming all-dayer / all-nighter. During those sorts of sessions, we tend to get by on adrenaline but news has reached us of a new angle to explore: the gaming diet.

Capcom, they of assorted legendary coin-ops and console classics, have teamed up with a health and fitness expert to create a menu to keep your gaming abilities in tip top condition. The argument is that healthy food will keep energy levels ticking along, keep you mentally alert, boost your reaction times and maintain your concentration levels.

Given my abilities on multi-player games such as Call of Duty – loiter in abandoned building, line up great shot with sniper rifle, chuckle to myself, get stabbed in neck by annoying 12-year old before I can pull the trigger – I decided I needed all the help I could get so, this week, I’ve tested the theory.

The menu – the “Street Fighter” menu to give it its official title – has been put together by health and fitness expert Laura Williams. No, me neither, frankly but the photo on the press release suggests she’s annoyingly radiant and fit and stuff, so who am I to question?

"In games such as Super Street Fighter IV, a proper, balanced diet which releases energy over time rather than in short bursts can give a real competitive edge," says Laura. "A gaming diet is nutritionally balanced, easy to make and combines essential fatty acids - which help brain functioning - with high protein to increase stamina and reaction times. Eating well can certainly help you game better, and this is the perfect gaming meal."

So there you go. While I’m still slightly bemused why a menu designed to cut down on snacking features, er, a between-meal snack, I figured two days without the usual gaming staple of fried potato hand held snacks could be a good test. It would probably make my controller less crumby too... More than that, I’d rather improve my health this way than with that pesky Pokemon pedometer.

Eat 'Em Ups? Can What You Eat Change Your Gaming Experience?

So, Day One. And to start the day... oh. Scrambled eggs on toast. That’s alright, actually. And quite “manly”. Apparently the high protein content will keep you fuller for longer and keep drowsiness at bay and, after three hours of trying – and failing – to not get stabbed in the neck by my underage nemesis, I’d just about agree. I can’t say it did much for my reaction times but it’s a start.

Lunch was a little trickier. Stuffed pitta with tuna, sweetcorn, chopped peppers and tomatoes and a teaspoon of low fat mayonnaise was the instruction. Low fat mayonnaise? What is this abomination? But hey, this is the new me we’re talking. Besides, pepper and sweetcorn are antioxidants (apparently your oxidants need opposing) and using pitta means less “sleep-inducing bread”. Even less in this instance. Bread? That’s not bread. That’s some mystery, moisture-absorbing material - like kitchen roll only without the flavour...

There was some bread later in the permitted half bagel and peanut butter snack. Peanut butter is apparently a decent source of protein, and better than less healthy snacks. Just think how good a whole jar of it must be then... What? It doesn’t work like that? Oh come on, where’s the justice?

After an afternoon of running around that aeroplane graveyard (and yes, getting stabbed in the neck), and after removing the traces of peanut butter from the R1 button, it was time for dinner and that meant steak and jacket potato? Rah. More manly food. When questioned by the other half, I pointed out that jacket spuds are high in fibre and steak is high in protein, and that keeps my muscles in good form. She sniggered, which wasn’t very nice frankly, and then muttered something about how it might be good for the muscles but it’s not stopping me getting stabbed in the neck by a 12-year old...

Eat 'Em Ups? Can What You Eat Change Your Gaming Experience?

And so to day two, which started in the sort of style I’d anticipated: cereal containing some seeds and/or nuts. These are good, Laura explains, for brain-function boosting EFAs, or Essential Fatty Acids. You can also occupy yourself while avoiding sneaky sub-teen assassins by trying to get the bits of nut and pumpkin seed out of your teeth...

Today’s snack suggestion was chocolate containing fruit and nuts. Peanuts count right? And caramel, well, that’s basically boiled sugar and that comes from a plant so it’s basically a vegetable, isn’t it? Apparently not, claimed the other half, removing the Snickers and thrusting the other half of that bagel into my hand...

The sulking stopped around lunchtime (and wasn’t helped by that annoying little bastard with the blade. Again.) with a roast beef sandwich on rye with horseradish. The beef’s full of iron and zinc, you see, which is essential for energy and the rye bread provides fibre and releases energy slowly, so you don’t get a post-lunch slump. I'd need to try it a few more times to be sure, but a diet that allows this sort of sandwich? They had me at "roast beef".

The evening called for grilled chicken and cous cous, which was simple and damned tasty and filling, and should keep you going for a late night sesh. It did, to be fair, and after two days of this – cough, splutter – important experiment, I felt better than I had for a while. I slept better too, which possibly had a greater overall effect on my reaction times and things.

So, there might actually be something in this gamer’s diet and hell, it never hurts to up the fruit and veg consumption, does it? Saying that, I never did catch that little bugger with the knife. if I really want to boost my abilities, maybe I should just ask him what brand of fishfingers his mum buys...

Eat 'Em Ups? Can What You Eat Change Your Gaming Experience?

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