Author(s): GonzlezGross M, Gutirrez A, Mesa JL, RuizRuiz J, Castillo MJ
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Abstract In spite of all the advances in sport nutrition and the importance of an adequate food intake in order to improve sport performance, both recreational and professional athletes forget frequently to include planning an optimum diet and fluid intake in their global strategy for performance. Physiological and metabolic adaptations produced as a consequence of physical exercise lead to the necessity of increasing caloric (in accordance to energy output) and protein (based on the trophic needs of the organism) intake. Likewise, paying major attention to vitamin and mineral intake, specifically B vitamins and zinc and chromium, is required, in order to optimize carbohydrate metabolism, the ultimate limiting factor for sport performance. During the training phase, 60\% of calories should come from carbohydrates, protein intake should be 1.2-2 g/kg/day and athletes should follow the recommendations of the food guide pyramid. During the pre-, per- and post-competition phase the healthy aspect of the diet passes to a second level, in order to obtain good sport performance and to guarantee a fast and effective recovery. Again, carbohydrates with a high or medium glycaemic index and water are the nutrients which have to be calculated more thoroughly. In conclusion, athletes have to follow a diet that is adequate to their higher energy output and to their higher metabolic turnover. The food guide pyramid is a graphic expression which facilitates the comprehension and following of a healthy diet. In the present article, the authors introduce the pyramid adapted to the characteristics of sports nutrition, with easy-to-follow practical recommendations regarding the kind and amounts of foodstuffs that should be consumed in order to cover nutrient needs of people who exercise regularly.
This article was published in Arch Latinoam Nutr
and referenced in Sports Nutrition and Therapy