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What Olympic Athletes Eat: 14 Things to Know

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Diets range from 1,200 to 10,000 calories a day

the Olympic dining hall in London Anthony Devlin - WPA Pool/Getty Images

It’s day seven of the 2016 Olympics in Rio, and Team USA is racking up the medals: We’ve already snagged 16 gold, 12 silver, and 10 bronze, largely thanks to some outstanding swimming and gymnastics performances. Of course, all these world-class athletes have to eat — a lot: More than 10,000 athletes will consume 460,000 pounds of food a day at the Rio Games.

Here now, some fascinating facts about what the Olympians in Rio are eating before, during, and after competing for medals:

— Olympic athletes can eat anywhere from 1,200 to 10,000 calories a day. Wrestlers or other competitors trying to “make weight” may eat very little, while those in endurance sports like rowing eat a ton.

— Olympians are not immune to Instagram food trends. Proof: Ryan Lochte eats avocado toast.

— Team USA rugby player Zack Test eats pizza with whipped cream on top.

— In considerably healthier news, juicing is big with athletes.

— But they also like fast food burgers: water polo competitor KK Clark loves In-N-Out (though tragically there are none in Brazil).

— Some prefer meat alternatives. Beach volleyballer April Ross is into Beyond Meat, the plant-based protein company that counts Bill Gates and the founders of Twitter as investors.

— The world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt, eats McNuggets for breakfast.

— Olympic athletes eat Uncrustables. Yes, those frozen, pre-made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are apparently good sports fuel, according to Team USA high jump competitor Erik Kynard and beach volleyball star April Ross.

— The most common cheat meals include Oreo cookies and pizza. (Simone Biles says she eats pepperoni pizza after every meet.)

— Overall, though, most athletes are into “clean eating” these days.

— Many have also climbed aboard the gluten-free bandwagon.

— Olympians seemingly ignore the age-old advice about waiting an hour after eating to swim. See: Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte chowing down on pre-race pasta.

— In fact, Lochte carb-loads for an entire week before a big race. Good thing he has a personal chef (who used to work for LeBron James).

— While in Rio, athletes sadly won’t be sampling Rio’s finest restaurants. No matter the city, competitors are discouraged from eating anywhere but the Olympic Village due to food safety concerns.

Golden Gymnast Simone Biles Celebrates With Pepperoni Pizza [E]

All Olympics Coverage [E]