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Role of nutrition in performance enhancement and postexercise recovery

Authors Beck K, Thomson JS, Swift RJ, von Hurst PR

Received 7 April 2015

Accepted for publication 19 May 2015

Published 11 August 2015 Volume 2015:6 Pages 259—267

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/OAJSM.S33605

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Fu


Kathryn L Beck,1 Jasmine S Thomson,2 Richard J Swift,1 Pamela R von Hurst1

1School of Food and Nutrition, Massey Institute of Food Science and Technology, College of Health, Massey University Albany, Auckland, 2School of Food and Nutrition, Massey Institute of Food Science and Technology, College of Health, Massey University Manawatu, Palmerston North, New Zealand

Abstract: A number of factors contribute to success in sport, and diet is a key component. An athlete's dietary requirements depend on several aspects, including the sport, the athlete's goals, the environment, and practical issues. The importance of individualized dietary advice has been increasingly recognized, including day-to-day dietary advice and specific advice before, during, and after training and/or competition. Athletes use a range of dietary strategies to improve performance, with maximizing glycogen stores a key strategy for many. Carbohydrate intake during exercise maintains high levels of carbohydrate oxidation, prevents hypoglycemia, and has a positive effect on the central nervous system. Recent research has focused on athletes training with low carbohydrate availability to enhance metabolic adaptations, but whether this leads to an improvement in performance is unclear. The benefits of protein intake throughout the day following exercise are now well recognized. Athletes should aim to maintain adequate levels of hydration, and they should minimize fluid losses during exercise to no more than 2% of their body weight. Supplement use is widespread in athletes, with recent interest in the beneficial effects of nitrate, beta-alanine, and vitamin D on performance. However, an unregulated supplement industry and inadvertent contamination of supplements with banned substances increases the risk of a positive doping result. Although the availability of nutrition information for athletes varies, athletes will benefit from the advice of a registered dietician or nutritionist.

Keywords: nutrition, diet, sport, athlete, supplements, hydration

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