Good Sports Nutrition Literature Review Example
This paper explores the sports nutrition, sports diet and respective supplements. Sports nutrition is a general term comprising everything related with products manufactured mainly for people doing sport. The main aim of such nutrition is improving the athlete’s performance and increasing endurance. Sports nutrition is not doping, but a rather a complex of easily digesting and highly nutritious elements. Any diet should consist of three main elements: carbohydrates responsible for providing energy, liquid preventing body from heat collapse, proteins maintaining muscle mass, fats, vitamins and minerals. In order to make sports nutrition the most efficient, the diet should be accompanied by the highly energetic sports supplements requiring minimum time for detesting. They are amino acids, protein cocktails and isolates, gainers, creatine etc. The knowledge of sports nutrition can be in need for a nurse when taking care about the athletes because it will give the better understanding of what their ration consists of and what consequences it may cause.
Keywords: sports nutrition, diet, supplements
Sports Nutrition is a special group of food products manufactured mainly for people with active lifestyle, doing sport and fitness. Sports nutrition aims primarily at improving athlete’s performance, increasing strength and endurance, health promotion, the normalization of metabolism, achieving optimal body weight, and, in general, increasing the quality and length of life.
Sports nutrition is developed and manufactured on the basis of scientific research in various fields, such as physiology and dietetics and, most often, is a carefully selected composition, a concentrated mixture of basic food items easily fixated by the sportsman’s body. Sports nutrition has nothing in common with doping.
Compared with the conventional food, sports supplements require minimal time and effort for the digestion and absorption, with many kinds of sports nutrition having very high energy value. Notably, sports nutrition is considered as supplements, because its use is only a supplement to the basic diet of conventional foods, rather than its full replacement.
First of all, when making sports diet, energy intake should be increased in the form of carbohydrates in the body, while reducing the consumption of fats. According to Clark (2013), “The fundamental key to building a healthy sports diet is to consume a variety of nutrient-dense foods from the five basic food groups (fruits, vegetables, grain, lean protein, and low-fat dairy and calcium-rich foods).”
Lack of fluid in the body and the depletion of energy resources are the two main factors that negatively affect the physical condition of the athlete. Even small exercises contribute to fluid loss. In case they are intense and prolonged, fluid loss can be significant, which may lead to severe health deterioration. If such losses are made up in time, the negative results of dehydration will be eliminated.
Any physical activity requires some energy. The body can produce energy either from food or by using its own energy. If the body does not get have enough energy from the outside when keeping the diet, it begin to use reserves of fat and carbohydrate (glycogen), and if they are on the wane, protein becomes the energy source. Carbohydrates are stored in small quantities in the liver and muscle tissue as glycogen, and fat deposits are distributed throughout the body.
Despite the fact that the carbohydrate reserves in the body are limited, they are the best source of energy for muscle. During exercises glycogen stores are depleted, and if the body just does not receive extra energy, the athlete will not be able to maintain the maximum level of efficiency. The use of specialized sports drinks (isotonic) during training allows athletes to keep the necessary level of carbohydrates in the body, which ensures maximum efficiency of the training process. Selection of a particular beverage depends on the type of sport and exercise intensity, and from a variety of external factors, such as temperature and humidity.
Sports diet components
The human body requires for more than 50 food components on a daily basis. In order to provide the body with all the necessary components keeping the sports diet, the dietary intake should be ultimately diversified. Generally, the athlete’s nutrition should be based on a diet designed for normal and healthy people, with the consumption of carbohydrates, protein and water, and the total amount of energy absorbed by the food being elevated.
In order to reach the optimum fitness level, the body should be supplied with more energy by increasing the content of carbohydrates in the diet. 55-60% of the energy must be ingested along with carbohydrate. Daily intake of carbohydrate should be 5 grams per kilogram of body weight. The required amount of energy depends on the age, sex, body weight, and the ratio of the amount and intensity of training.
Proteins are responsible for maintaining muscle mass, repairing damaged tissue and producing antibodies for combatting various infections. The percentage of energy derived from protein should be approximately12-15%. According to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies (2002), Athletes with relatively low energy needs, protein consumption rate should be 0.8g per kg. In those sports where they need greater endurance, recommended ratio is 1.2-1.6 g per kg, and in strength sports, it can reach up to 1.8 g per kg. Exceeding these standards can lead to dehydration, osteoporosis and increased fat stores.
Athletes are recommended a diet with low amount of fat (25-30% of total calories consumed), as they get the main part of the energy from carbohydrates. Although fats are a necessary component of proper nutrition, their high content in diets is not necessary. Even the leanest athletes have a lot of fat reserves. Excess fat slows down the digestive process, which creates a feeling of heaviness in the stomach, resulting in a sluggish state of health.
Liquid is required for body hydration. Fluid loss during intense workouts in the heat can reach up 2-3 liters per hour. After such training it is necessary to reimburse moisture loss abundantly. “Chilled fluids are absorbed faster and help lower body temperature”, according to Anderson, Young and. Prior1 (2010).
Vitamins and minerals
Vitamins and minerals are necessary in small amounts compared to the proteins’ and carbohydrates’ ones. However, the richest in protein-carbohydrate and lipid composition of food, combined with enhanced training will not help to build a strong body with bulky muscles without vitamins. Sports nutrition makes up this deficiency. Foods products contain vitamins and minerals, though if not cooked properly vitamins are destroyed, and minerals can form insoluble compounds not metabolized by the body.
Unlike vitamins, minerals are not produced by living organisms and plants. Minerals are inorganic in nature. They are essential for the proper body functioning, responsible for the conduction of nerve impulses and muscle contractions, electrolyte balance, density and bone strength, energy production and testosterone. Wolinsky and Driskell (2006) argue, “Minerals are required cofactors for function of numerous enzymes in almost every aspect of metabolism and physiology.”
Micronutrients include zinc, copper, silicon, cobalt, and other minerals. Although they are needed in very small quantities, but without the normal functioning of the organism is impossible. A special role in the body play sodium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and other minerals, called macrominerals. According to Wolinsky and Driskell (2006), the normal amount of them is approximately 200 mg per day. The fluid cells within the body and in the intercellular space contain mineral ions, i.e. an electrolyte. Potassium and sodium in the body participate in the regulation of water-salt metabolism. Potassium is responsible for the intracellular fluid balance. Sodium acts in interstitial fluid. In case of their ratio violation a cell won’t be able to receive nutrients or display products of its life. Sportsmen need vitamins and minerals larger quantities than in everyday life.
According to Cruzat, Krause and Newsholme (2014), “The use of proteins and amino acids for supplementation deserves special attention, since these molecules are critical for anti-oxidant and fuel provision, participating in the whole-body energy homeostasis, growth, development, recovery and immune responses.” Thus Cruzat, Krause and Newsholme (2014) argue that nutritional supplements can also help the athlete’s nutrition along with diet.
Amino acids are an integral part of the protein. There are nearly 19 kinds of amino acids in various food products, such as meat and dairy products. Liquid amino acids have the form of suspension with amino acids being dissolved in water or fructose (for rapid uptake). Free amino acids with index ‘L’ do not require digestion and are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream. BCAA are a branched chain amino acids. These amino acids are often a part of the protein mixture, and are recommended for people who do not take protein mixture.
Protein cocktail is a high-protein mixture promoting muscle growth. It is used to provide the body with a deficiency of a protein in the main power supply. It can be consumed throughout the day, as well as before and after training. Protein isolate is protein powder without carbohydrates. It is obtained from the products of foods which are high in proteins: milk, cheese, soy and meat. Protein isolate is quickly digested and contains essential amino acids.
Gainer is a protein with the addition of carbohydrates for rapid absorption by the body. Casein is a protein containing slowly digestible protein usually used at bedtime or a long break in the diet. Creatine is a part of the protein contributing to the accumulation of water and nutrients to the muscle itself. When consumed regularly, creatine contributes to an increase in visual muscle.
Sports Nutrition is a special group of food products preferably for people doing sport and having active lifestyle. Sports nutrition aims primarily at improving athlete’s performance, increasing strength and endurance, health promotion, the normalization of metabolism, achieving optimal body weight, and, in general, increasing the quality and length of life.
Sports diet is mainly aimed at ensuring full body with essential vitamins, trace elements and calories during intense training or competent organization is not large deficit in order to reduce excess body fat without losing muscle. Sports diet should contain proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and a sufficient number of liquid. In order to further improve the athlete’s nutrition, the diet should be accompanied with the sports supplements such amino acids, proteins etc.
The knowledge of sports nutrition can be in need for a nurse when taking care about the athletes because it will give the better understanding of what their ration consists of and what consequences it may cause.
Anderson, J., Young, L., & Prior, S. (2010). Nutrition for the Athlete. Retrieved February 5, 2015, from http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/foodnut/09362.html
Clark, N. (2013). Nutrition Guidebook. Human Kinetics.
Cruzat, V., Krause, M., & Newsholme, P. (2014). Amino acid supplementation and impact on immune function in the context of exercise. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 11(61). Retrieved January 5, 2015, from http://www.jissn.com/content/11/1/61
Driskell, J., & Wolinsky, I. (2006). Sports Nutrition: Vitamins and Trace Elements. (2nd ed.). CRC Press. Clark, N. (2013).