Although chronic exercise is generally believed to improve the lipidemic profile, it is not clear whether this is due to exercise training or to other determinants such as the usually low body fat of athletes. The aim of the present study was to compare the lipidemic profile of young lean athletes and non-athletes matched for percentage body fat. Fourteen endurance athletes and fourteen sedentary men participated in the study. Participants provided two blood samples at the beginning and end of a 7-d period, during which they recorded physical activity and food intake. Athletes had significantly higher energy expenditure and energy intake but not significantly different macronutrient composition of their diet from non-athletes. No significant differences were found in serum triacylglycerol, total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations between groups. These data suggest that athletes and non-athletes with similar body fat do not differ in their lipidemic profiles.
The authors are with the Dept of Physical Education and Sport Science, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 541 24 Thessaloniki, Greece.