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Anna Baylis, David Cameron-Smith and Louise M. Burke

Many athletes report using a wide range of special sports foods and supplements. In the present study of 77 elite Australian swimmers, 99% of those surveyed reported the use of these special preparations, with 94% of swimmers reporting the use of non-food supplements. The most popular dietary supplements were vitamin or mineral supplements (used by 94% of the group), herbal preparations (61%), and creatine (31%). Eighty-seven percent of swimmers reported using a sports drink or other energy-providing sports food. In total, 207 different products were reported in this survey. Sports supplements, particularly supplements presented as pills or other non-food form, are poorly regulated in most countries, with little assurance of quality control. The risk of an inadvertent “positive doping test” through the use of sports supplements or sports foods is a small but real problem facing athletes who compete in events governed by anti-doping rules. The elite swimmers in this survey reported that information about the “doping safety” of supplements was important and should be funded by supplement manufacturers. Although it is challenging to provide such information, we suggest a model to provide an accredited testing program suitable for the Australian situation, with targeted athlete education about the “sports safety” of sports supplements and foods.

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Jan M. Moore, Anna F. Timperio, David A. Crawford, Cate M. Burns and David Cameron-Smith

Jockeys are required to maintain very low body weight and precise weight control during competition. This study examined the weight loss and weight management strategies of professional horseracing jockeys in the state of Victoria, Australia. An anonymous, self-completed questionnaire was administered (55% response rate, n=116). Almost half (43%) reported that maintaining riding weight was difficult or very difficult, with 75% routinely skipping meals. In preparation for racing, 60% reported that they typically required additional weight loss, with 81% restricting food intake in the 24 hours prior to racing. Additionally, sauna-induced sweating (29%) and diuretics (22%) were frequently employed to further aid in weight loss prior to racing. These rapid weight loss methods did not differ between the 51% of jockeys who followed a weight management plan compared to those who did not. The impact of these extreme weight loss practices on riding performance and health remains unknown.

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Louise M. Burke, Julie A Winter, David Cameron-Smith, Marc Enslen, Michelle Farnfield and Jacques Decombaz

The authors undertook 2 crossover-designed studies to characterize plasma amino acid (AA) responses to the intake of 20 g of protein. In Study 1, 15 untrained and overnight-fasted subjects consumed 20 g protein from skim milk, soy milk, beefsteak, boiled egg, and a liquid meal supplement. In Study 2, 10 fasted endurance-trained subjects consumed 20 g protein from a protein-rich sports bar at rest and after a 60-min submaximal ride. Plasma AA concentrations were measured immediately before and for 180 min after food ingestion using a gas-chromatography flame-ionization detection technique. A pharmacokinetic analysis was undertaken for profiles of total AAs (TAA), essential AAs, branched-chain AAs (BCAA), and leucine. Although area-under-the-curve values for plasma TAA were similar across protein sources, the pattern of aminoacidemia showed robust differences between foods, with liquid forms of protein achieving peak concentrations twice as quickly after ingestion as solid protein-rich foods (e.g., ~50 min vs ~100 min) and skim milk achieving a significantly faster peak leucine concentration than all other foods (~25 min). Completing exercise before ingesting protein sources did not cause statistically significant changes in the pattern of delivery of key AAs, BCAAs, and leucine apart from a 20–40% increase in the rate of elimination. These results may be useful to plan the type and timing of intake of protein-rich foods to maximize the protein synthetic response to various stimuli such as exercise.

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Jenni M. Felder, Louise M. Burke, Brian J. Lowdon, David Cameron-Smith and Gregory R. Collier

The aim of this study was to assess the dietary practices of 10 elite female surfers. Four- and five-day food diaries completed over competition and training periods demonstrated energy intakes (mean ± SD) of 9,468 kJ (±2,007) and 8,397 kJ (±1,831), respectively. This level of energy intake was less than that estimated for the requirements of surfing. Female surfers' carbohydrate intakes failed to meet the recommendations, and suboptimal zinc intake was observed with 90% of subjects not meeting the Australian RDI. Comparisons between competition and training demonstrated that carbohydrate (g and g/kg body weight) and confectionary (g) intakes were significantly higher (p < .05) and protein intake was significantly lower (p < .05) during competition. These results show that although body fat stores were not compromised (mean 22%), self-reported energy, carbohydrate, and nutrient intakes were marginal in elite female surfers. Questionnaires revealed that 90% of surfers did not have good nutritional habits while traveling, which was compounded by a lack of knowledge of nutritional practices.

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Vandre C. Figueiredo, Michelle M. Farnfield, Megan L.R. Ross, Petra Gran, Shona L. Halson, Jonathan M. Peake, David Cameron-Smith and James F. Markworth

Purpose: To determine the acute effects of carbohydrate (CHO) ingestion following a bout of maximal eccentric resistance exercise on key anabolic kinases of mammalian target of rapamycin and extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) pathways. The authors’ hypothesis was that the activation of anabolic signaling pathways known to be upregulated by resistance exercise would be further stimulated by the physiological hyperinsulinemia resulting from CHO supplementation. Methods: Ten resistance-trained men were randomized in a crossover, double-blind, placebo (PLA)-controlled manner to ingest either a noncaloric PLA or 3 g/kg of CHO beverage throughout recovery from resistance exercise. Muscle biopsies were collected at rest, immediately after a single bout of intense lower body resistance exercise, and after 3 hr of recovery. Results: CHO ingestion elevated plasma glucose and insulin concentrations throughout recovery compared with PLA ingestion. The ERK pathway (phosphorylation of ERK1/2 [Thr202/Tyr204], RSK [Ser380], and p70S6K [Thr421/Ser424]) was markedly activated immediately after resistance exercise, without any effect of CHO supplementation. The phosphorylation state of AKT (Thr308) was unchanged postexercise in the PLA trial and increased at 3 hr of recovery above resting with ingestion of CHO compared with PLA. Despite stimulating-marked phosphorylation of AKT, CHO ingestion did not enhance resistance exercise–induced phosphorylation of p70S6K (Thr389) and rpS6 (Ser235/236 and Ser240/244). Conclusion: CHO supplementation after resistance exercise and hyperinsulinemia does not influence the ERK pathway nor the mTORC1 target p70S6K and its downstream proteins, despite the increased AKT phosphorylation.