Olympic food for thought: It'll catch up

Michael Phelps says it was only a rumor that he was consuming 12,000 calories a day. PRNewsFoto/McDonald's

Olympic swimming champion Michael Phelps recently told Details magazine, "I don't count calories. Whether it's Sour Patch Kids or Reese's or a bag of chips, if I feel like eating it, I'm going to eat it."

Then he told NBC's Ryan Seacrest that the rumors he was eating 12,000 calories a day aren't true. "I never ate that much," Phelps said. "It's all a myth. I've never eaten that many calories."

But that doesn't mean Phelps has stopped chowing down on junk food.

And neither have some of the other Olympic athletes.

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Nathan Adrian, who swam on the silver-medal-winning 4x100-meter relay team, told the Wall Street Journal, "I love fatty desserts."

And American breaststroker Scott Weltz told the Journal, "Cheeseburgers, grease, anything like that, I'm a big fan of."

Do they have anything to fear?

"I think athletes at that elite level can kind of get away with murder," said fitness guru Tony Horton, who is out promoting his new food line at Tony Horton Kitchen. "There really isn't much you can say to them. They have been training so hard to be good at what they do. Throw in genetics, and their bodies can handle it. Oh, and they are young, too."

But Horton does caution those athletes.

"There is always a payback. The pendulum will swing back in the other direction once they stop their training," Horton said. "When they reach their 30s and 40s, I'd hope somewhere along the way they got the information to make that shift. A lot of them don't, though."

Phelps said he'll obviously slow down his intake of food in the next chapter of his life. But Horton fears everyday people will just continue focusing on working out and not thinking about their diet.

"They assume fitness alone will do it. But they are not doing enough for their insides," Horton said. "Use food as proper fuel to have energy for the workouts and fuel for the body to recover. One thing shouldn't be fighting the other."