Organization of Dietary Control for Nutrition-Training Intervention Involving Periodized Carbohydrate Availability and Ketogenic Low-Carbohydrate High-Fat Diet

in International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism
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  • 1 Australian Institute of Sport
  • | 2 Australian Catholic University
  • | 3 University College Zealand
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The authors describe the implementation of a 3-week dietary intervention in elite race walkers at the Australian Institute of Sport, with a focus on the resources and strategies needed to accomplish a complex study of this scale. Interventions involved: traditional guidelines of high carbohydrate (CHO) availability for all training sessions; a periodized CHO diet which integrated sessions with low and high CHO availability within the same total CHO intake; and a ketogenic low-CHO high-fat diet. Seven-day menus and recipes were constructed for a communal eating setting to meet nutritional goals as well as individualized food preferences and special needs. Menus also included nutrition support before, during, and after exercise. Daily monitoring, via observation and food checklists, showed that energy and macronutrient targets were achieved. Diets were matched for energy (∼14.8 MJ/d) and protein (∼2.1 g·kg−1·day−1) and achieved desired differences for fat and CHO, with high CHO availability and periodized CHO availability: CHO = 8.5 g·kg−1·day−1, 60% energy, fat = 20% of energy and low-CHO high-fat diet: 0.5 g·kg−1·day−1 CHO, fat = 78% energy.  There were no differences in micronutrient intake or density between the high CHO availability and periodized CHO availability diets; however, the micronutrient density of the low-CHO high-fat diet was significantly lower. Daily food costs per athlete were similar for each diet (∼AU$ 27 ± 10). Successful implementation and monitoring of dietary interventions in sports nutrition research of the scale of the present study require meticulous planning and the expertise of chefs and sports dietitians. Different approaches to sports nutrition support raise practical challenges around cost, micronutrient density, accommodation of special needs, and sustainability.

Mirtschin, Forbes, Cato, Heikura, Hall, and Burke are with Sports Nutrition, Australian Institute of Sport, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia. Heikura and Burke are also with the Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research, Australian Catholic University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Strobel is with University College Zealand, Sorø, Denmark.

Address author correspondence to Louise M. Burke at louise.burke@ausport.gov.au.
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