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Rebecca T. Viner, Margaret Harris, Jackie R. Berning, and Nanna L. Meyer

The purpose of this study was to assess energy availability (EA) and dietary patterns of 10 adult (29–49 years) male (n = 6) and female (n = 4) competitive (USA Cycling Category: Pro, n = 2; 1–4, n = 8) endurance cyclists (5 road, 5 off-road), with lower than expected bone mineral density (BMD; Z score < 0) across a season. Energy intake (EI) and exercise energy expenditure during preseason (PS), competition (C), and off-season (OS) were estimated from 3-day dietary records, completed once per month, across a cycling season. BMD was measured by DXA at 0 months/5 months/10 months. The Three-Factor Eating Questionnaire (TFEQ) was used to assess cognitive dietary restraint. Seventy percent of participants had low EA [(LEA); < 30 kcal·kg fat-free mass (FFM)−1·day−1] during PS, 90% during C, and 80% during OS (range: 3–37 kcal·kg FFM−1·day−1). Ninety percent of cyclists had LEA during ≥ 1 training period, and 70% had LEA across the season. Seventy percent of cyclists were identified as restrained eaters who consciously restrict EI as a means of weight control. Mean daily carbohydrate intake was below sport nutrition recommendations during each training period (PS: 3.9 ± 1.1 g·kg−1·day−1, p < .001; C: 4.3 ± 1.4 g·kg−1·day−1, p = .005; OS: 3.7 ± 1.4 g·kg−1·day−1, p = .01). There were no differences in EA and EI·kg−1 between male and female cyclists and road and off-road cyclists. Low EI, and specifically low carbohydrate intake, appears to be the main contributor to chronic LEA in these cyclists. Adult male and female competitive road and off-road cyclists in the United States may be at risk for long-term LEA. Further studies are needed to explore strategies to prevent and monitor long-term LEA in these athletes.

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Fiona Pelly, Nanna L. Meyer, Jeni Pearce, Sarah J. Burkhart, and Louise M. Burke

The aim of this study was to evaluate the food provision and nutrition support at the London 2012 Olympic (OG) and Paralympic Games (PG) from the perspective of sports nutrition experts attending the event. Participants (n = 15) were asked to complete an online survey and rate on a Likert scale menu qualities, food safety, sustainability practices, nutrition labeling, and provision for cultural needs, dietary regimes and specific situations. Open-ended responses were incorporated to explore expert opinion and areas for improvement. Participants rated their overall experience of the food provision as 7.6 out of 10 (range 5 to 10), with the majority (n = 11) rating it greater than 7. The variety, accessibility, presentation, temperature, and freshness of menu items rated as average to good. A below average rating was received for recovery food and beverages, provision of food for traveling to other venues, taking suitable snacks out of the dining hall and provision of food at other venues. However, the variety and accessibility of choices for Ramadan, and provision of postcompetition food were rated highly. A number of comments were received about the lack of gluten free and lower energy/fat items. The inclusion of allergens on nutrition labeling was considered more important than nutrient content. While dietetic review of the menu in advance of the OG and PG is clearly a valuable process that has resulted in improvements in the food supply, there are still areas that need to be addressed that are currently not implemented during the event.

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Alba Reguant-Closa, Margaret M. Harris, Tim G. Lohman, and Nanna L. Meyer

Nutrition education visual tools are designed to help the general population translate science into practice. The purpose of this study was to validate the Athlete’s Plate (AP) to ensure that it meets the current sport nutrition recommendations for athletes. Twelve registered dietitians (RDs; 10 female and 2 male) volunteered for the study. Each registered dietitian was asked to create three real and virtual plates at three different times corresponding to breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and the three different AP training loads, easy (E), moderate (M), and hard (H), divided into two weight categories (male 75 kg and female 60 kg). Data of the real and virtual plates were evaluated using Computrition software (v. 18.1; Computrition, Chatsworth, CA). Statistical analyses were conducted by SPSS (version 23.0; IBM, Armonk, NY) to compare the difference between each training load category (E, M, and H) and the recommendations. No statistically significant differences were found among the created plates and the recommendations for energy, carbohydrates, fat, and fiber for E, M, and H. Protein relative to body mass (BM) was higher than recommended for E (1.9 ± 0.3 g·kg−1 BM·day−1, p = .003), M (2.3 ± 0.3 g·kg−1 BM·day−1, p < .001), and H (2.9+0.5 g·kg−1 BM·day−1, p < .001). No differences were found for the macronutrient distribution by gender when correcting for kilograms of body mass. The authors conclude that the AP meets the nutrition recommendations for athletes at different training intensities for energy, carbohydrates, fat, and fiber, but exceeds the recommendations for protein. Further research should consider this protein discrepancy and develop an AP model that meets, besides health and performance goals, contemporary guidelines for sustainability.