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Victor Lun, Kelly A. Erdman, Tak S. Fung and Raylene A. Reimer

Dietary supplementation is a common practice in athletes with a desire to enhance performance, training, exercise recovery, and health. Supplementation habits of elite athletes in western Canada have been documented, but research is lacking on supplement use by athletes across Canada. The purpose of this descriptive study was to evaluate the dietary supplementation practices and perspectives of high-performance Canadian athletes affiliated with each of the country’s eight Canadian Sport Centres. Dietitians administered a validated survey to 440 athletes (63% women, 37% men; M =19.99 ± 5.20 yr) representing 34 sports who predominantly trained ≥16 hr/wk, most competing in “power” based sports. Within the previous 6 months, 87% declared having taken ≥3 dietary supplements, with sports drinks, multivitamin and mineral preparations, carbohydrate sports bars, protein powder, and meal-replacement products the most prevalent supplements reported. Primary sources of information on supplementation, supplementation justification, and preferred means of supplementation education were identified. Fifty-nine percent reported awareness of current World Anti-Doping Agency legislation, and 83% subjectively believed they were in compliance with such antidoping regulations. It was concluded that supplementation rates are not declining in Canada, current advisors on supplementation for this athletic population are not credible, and sports medicine physicians and dietitians need to consider proactive strategies to improve their influence on supplementation practices in these elite athletes.

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Kelly Anne Erdman, Jasmine Tunnicliffe, Victor M. Lun and Raylene A. Reimer

The purpose of this study was to determine the meal- and snack-eating frequency and the nutritional composition of each eating occasion of Canadian high-performance athletes during training. Athletes from 8 Canadian Sport Centres prospectively completed 3-d dietary records including all food, fluid, and supplements consumed. The time of consumption and whether the consumption was a meal or snack were also identified. The dietary records were analyzed for energy (kcal) and macronutrient intake (carbohydrate, protein, and fat) and compared based on gender, age, meal vs. snack, and training vs. rest days. Three hundred twenty-four athletic subjects (64% female and 36% male) completed the study. On average, the athletes ate 4.8 ± 0.8 times daily. Nearly all athletes consumed 3 daily meals of breakfast (98.9%), lunch (97.9%), and dinner (98.7%), with few having snacks: 57%, 71.6%, and 58.1% of athletes consumed an a.m., p.m., and evening snack, respectively. Training-day meal frequency did not differ from that during rest days; however, fewer snacks were consumed on rest days. A.m. and p.m. snacks were consumed significantly more often on training days than rest days. Overall, snacks contributed 24.3% of total daily energy intake. Few dietary variations were discovered between genders, while the youngest athletes (<18 yr) ate less often, especially their morning snack, than the older athletes. In conclusion, Canadian high-performance athletes self-adjusted their energy intakes on training vs. rest days primarily by snacking less and reducing their carbohydrate and protein intakes on rest days, yet they consistently ate regular meals.