There is a recent growing interest in better understanding the determinants of food choice in athletes, as this impacts their subsequent dietary intake, which in turn affects sports performance ( International Olympic Committee, 2011 ; Jeukendrup, 2017 ). Although athletes may be aware of
Rachael L. Thurecht and Fiona E. Pelly
Constance Georgiou, Nancy Betts, Terri Hoos and Marty Glenn
Health experts recommend merging a healthy diet and adequate physical activity into one behavior. This study compared attitudes about foods, recent dietary changes, and food choices of 319 18- to 24-year-olds, who defined themselves as exercisers or nonexercisers. Subjects were recruited by telephone and were mailed questionnaires that asked about factors influencing food selection and changes in intake of high-fat foods. Exercisers considered it more important to eat nutritious foods; ate more nutrient-dense, low-fat foods; and more frequently met the Food Guide Pyramid recommended grain and fruit intakes than nonexercisers. Female exercisers more often perceived foods high in calcium to be fattening and not healthful, and they reported decreasing their intake of high-fat foods more than did female nonexercisers. Some merging of healthy diet and exercise behavior is evident among the young adult exercisers in this study. Nutrition and exercise messages targeted to young women should emphasize low-calorie calcium sources.
Paula J. Ziegler, Judith A. Nelson, Chloe Tay, Barbara Bruemmer and Adam Drewnowski
Dietary energy density (kcal/g) is defined as available dietary energy per unit weight or volume of food. The consumption of energy-dense foods has been associated with increased obesity risk and with excessive weight gain. The objectives of this study were to compare how dietary energy density, calculated using three different methods relates to food choices and nutrient composition of the diets of elite figure skaters. Participants were 159 elite figure skaters attending training camps. Mean age was 18.4 y for boys (n = 79) and 15.9 y for girls (n = 80). Heights and weights were measured to calculate body-mass indices (BMI). Dietary intakes were based on 3-d food records analyzed using the Nutritionist IV program. Mean energy intakes were 2326 kcal/d for boys and 1545 kcal/d for girls. Dietary energy density, based on foods and caloric beverages only, was 1.0 kcal/g. Dietary ED was positively associated with percent energy from fat and negatively with percent energy from sugar. The main sources of dietary energy in this group were baked goods, cereals, regular soda, low-fat milk, fruit juices, bagels and pizza. Percent energy from fast foods was associated with higher dietary energy density, whereas percent energy from dairy products, soft drinks, vegetables, and fruit was associated with lower dietary energy density. These results are consistent with past observations; higher energy density diets were higher in fat. In contrast, there was a negative relationship between sugar content and energy density of the diet.
Maria Heikkilä, Raisa Valve, Mikko Lehtovirta and Mikael Fogelholm
The benefits of training, rest, and proper nutrition in athletic performance are unquestionable. In the case of young athletes, the important role of nutrition in growth and development should also be considered ( Cotugna et al., 2005 ). To understand the importance of daily food choices and
D. Enette Larson-Meyer, Kathleen Woolf and Louise Burke
, or assistance with sport-specific nutrition strategies, advice on supplement use is also commonly desired. The use of dietary supplements, however, should not compensate for poor food choices and an inadequate diet, except as a short-term strategy when dietary changes are not possible ( Maughan
Kapria-Jad Josaphat, Vicky Drapeau, David Thivel and Marie-Eve Mathieu
and Kawamura ( 1998 ), the human preference for sweet-tasting solutions is increased following a single bout of exercise. These changes in response to food consumption could lead to an alteration of food choices. For instance, sweet-taste liking has been linked to increased energy and carbohydrate
Anna Robins and Marion M. Hetherington
A qualitative research study investigated food choice by triathletes prior to training and competition, and gauged attitudes towards nutritional management. Five focus groups were conducted with 7 male and 6 female non-elite triath-letes. Sessions were semi-structured, tape recorded, and transcribed verbatim for coding and analysis. Transcripts were coded using grounded theory and higher order themes emerged including: “somatic complaints,” “performance,” “trust,” “preferences,” and “routine.” Food choices, especially those of the more competitive triathletes, were made to maximize performance. Choices were based on past experience and “trial and error” rather than specialist advice. Subjects varied in nutritional knowledge, which appeared to relate to the level of competitiveness. More competitive triathletes were interested in improving performance but distrusted others making their nutritional choices. Less competitive triathletes embraced nutritional manipulation for gains in cognitive and athletic performance. “Trust” became a focus of the study and warrants further investigation, as this is a crucial component of providing nutritional advice to competitive athletes and to the general population.
lean-Xavier Guinard, Kimberly Seador, John L. Beard and Peter L. Brown
This study was undertaken to determine whether high-level training alters food choice behavior with regard to meat and dairy products because of their high fat content. Twenty male collegiate swimmers were compared to 20 male sedentary students for dietary fat intake, nutrition knowledge, and liking of meat and dairy products. There was no significant difference between the two groups for restraint, energy intake, dietary fat intake, and energy derived from fat. Nutrition knowledge, energy derived from saturated fat, and cholesterol intake, however, were significantly higher in the athletes. The two groups did not differ in their hedonic ratings of flavor or in their overall degree of liking of the meat and dairy products, and the athletes actually liked the appearance and texture of the products significantly more than did the sedentary students. This study shows that the sensory appeal of fat-containing animal products is not affected in male swimmers by a high level of exercise.
After graduating from college and entering the work force, young adult athletes often struggle with the task of fueling themselves optimally for top performance and weight control. The stresses and time constraints of work, family, and social responsibilities often result in eating fast foods on the run. These young adults can benefit from nutrition education programs at the worksite, at health clubs, in the community, and via the media. Dietitians who specialize in sport nutrition have particular appeal to these athletes, who are struggling to eat well, exercise well, and stay lean yet put little time or effort into their food program. This article includes two case studies of young adults and the dietary recommendations that taught them how to make wise food choices, fuel themselves well for high energy, and control their weight.
Gregory Shaw, Kevin T. Boyd, Louise M. Burke and Anu Koivisto
Swimming is a sport that requires considerable training commitment to reach individual performance goals. Nutrition requirements are specific to the macrocycle, microcycle, and individual session. Swimmers should ensure suitable energy availability to support training while maintaining long term health. Carbohydrate intake, both over the day and in relation to a workout, should be manipulated (3–10g/kg of body mass/day) according to the fuel demands of training and the varying importance of undertaking these sessions with high carbohydrate availability. Swimmers should aim to consume 0.3g of high-biological-value protein per kilogram of body mass immediately after key sessions and at regular intervals throughout the day to promote tissue adaptation. A mixed diet consisting of a variety of nutrient-dense food choices should be sufficient to meet the micronutrient requirements of most swimmers. Specific dietary supplements may prove beneficial to swimmers in unique situations, but should be tried only with the support of trained professionals. All swimmers, particularly adolescent and youth swimmers, are encouraged to focus on a well-planned diet to maximize training performance, which ensures sufficient energy availability especially during periods of growth and development. Swimmers are encouraged to avoid rapid weight fluctuations; rather, optimal body composition should be achieved over longer periods by modest dietary modifications that improve their food choices. During periods of reduced energy expenditure (taper, injury, off season) swimmers are encouraged to match energy intake to requirement. Swimmers undertaking demanding competition programs should ensure suitable recovery practices are used to maintain adequate glycogen stores over the entirety of the competition period.