Estimation of energy and nutritional intake of young men practicing aerobic sports.Rocz Panstw Zakl Hig 2013; 64(2):143-8RP
Keeping to a balanced diet plays a key role in maximizing the body's efficiency so that sports training becomes more effective. Previous studies have shown that an athletes' diet is often not properly balanced, and can thus negatively affect sporting performance.
To assess the energy and nutrient intake in young men practicing aerobic sport and compare them with those recommended.
MATERIAL AND METHODS
Subjects were 25 male athletes, aged 19-25 years, practicing aerobic sports who were students at two Warsaw Universities; The Military University of Technology and University of Physical Education. The average body mass was 80.6 +/- 9.6 kg and average height was 187.0 +/- 7.6 cm, (BMI thus being 23.01 +/- 1.70 kg/m2). Dietary assessment was based on three-day dietary recalls consisting of two weekdays and one day of the weekend. The energy and macro/ micro-nutrient intake were evaluated using the Polish Software 'Energia' package and compared to recommendations and standards. Supplements were absent from the athletes' diets.
The energy value of diets were too low in most instances; average %-age deficiency was 30.22 +/- 13.76%. Total protein intake, (mean 1.41 +/- 0.36 g per kg body weight) was inadequate in 40% of cases, whilst all showed appropriate intakes of animal protein. Most subjects' carbohydrate intake (84%) was deficient; median 3.28 g/kg body weight. Fibre intake, (median 17.17 g) was also insufficient in 76% cases. Total fat intake, (33.9% +/- 5.7 energy) was too high in 32% of cases. The %-age dietary energy obtained from saturated fatty acids was 12.18% +/- 2.53 and 5.72% +/- 1.43 from polyunsaturated fatty acids, where most subjects' diet (64%) was, as well, high in cholesterol. Furthermore, significant deficiencies were observed in the following: Vitamin A (44% of group below EAR), vitamin C (80% below EAR), vitamin D (92% below EAR), foliate (84% below EAR), calcium (52% below EAR) and magnesium (60% below EAR). Vitamin E intake was however higher than the AI level. Almost all subjects had adequate intakes of vitamins B1, B2, B6, B12, niacin and zinc.
The energy value of diet and carbohydrate intake were inadequate to the athletes' requirements. Dietary deficiencies of folate, vitamins C and D, magnesium, calcium and potassium were also observed. There is therefore a need for sports nutrition counselling and education which would help athletes improve their eating habits and health, as well as for optimising their sports training performance.