Position of the American Dietetic Association, Dietitians of Canada, and the American College of Sports Medicine: Nutrition and Athletic Performance

        Abstract

        It is the position of the American Dietetic Association, Dietitians of Canada, and the American College of Sports Medicine that physical activity, athletic performance, and recovery from exercise are enhanced by optimal nutrition. These organizations recommend appropriate selection of foods and fluids, timing of intake, and supplement choices for optimal health and exercise performance. This updated position paper couples a rigorous, systematic, evidence-based analysis of nutrition and performance-specific literature with current scientific data related to energy needs, assessment of body composition, strategies for weight change, nutrient and fluid needs, special nutrient needs during training and competition, the use of supplements and ergogenic aids, nutrition recommendations for vegetarian athletes, and the roles and responsibilities of sports dietitians. Energy and macronutrient needs, especially carbohydrate and protein, must be met during times of high physical activity to maintain body weight, replenish glycogen stores, and provide adequate protein to build and repair tissue. Fat intake should be sufficient to provide the essential fatty acids and fat-soluble vitamins, as well as contribute energy for weight maintenance. Although exercise performance can be affected by body weight and composition, these physical measures should not be a criterion for sports performance and daily weigh-ins are discouraged. Adequate food and fluid should be consumed before, during, and after exercise to help maintain blood glucose concentration during exercise, maximize exercise performance, and improve recovery time. Athletes should be well hydrated before exercise and drink enough fluid during and after exercise to balance fluid losses. Sports beverages containing carbohydrates and electrolytes may be consumed before, during, and after exercise to help maintain blood glucose concentration, provide fuel for muscles, and decrease risk of dehydration and hyponatremia. Vitamin and mineral supplements are not needed if adequate energy to maintain body weight is consumed from a variety of foods. However, athletes who restrict energy intake, use severe weight-loss practices, eliminate one or more food groups from their diet, or consume unbalanced diets with low micronutrient density, may require supplements. Because regulations specific to nutritional ergogenic aids are poorly enforced, they should be used with caution, and only after careful product evaluation for safety, efficacy, potency, and legality. A qualified sports dietitian and in particular in the United States, a Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics, should provide individualized nutrition direction and advice subsequent to a comprehensive nutrition assessment.
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        • Erratum
          Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and DieteticsVol. 113Issue 12
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            In the “Position of the American Dietetic Association, Dietitians of Canada, and the American College of Sports Medicine: Nutrition and Athletic Performance,” which appeared in the March 2009 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association (pp 509-527), there are two errors. On page 511, the sixth sentence of the first paragraph under the “Energy Metabolism” heading currently reads, “Creatine phosphate is an ATP reserve in muscle that can be readily converted to sustain activity for 3-5 minutes.” The corrected sentence should read, “Creatine phosphate is an ATP reserve in muscle that can be readily converted to sustain activity for 3-4 seconds.” On page 519, the first sentence of the first paragraph under the “During Exercise” heading currently reads, “Current research supports the benefit of carbohydrate consumption in amounts typically provided in sport drinks (6% to 8%) to endurance events lasting 1 hour or less (103-105), especially in athletes who exercise in the morning after an overnight fast when liver glycogen levels are decreased.” The corrected sentence should read, “Current research supports the benefit for carbohydrate consumption in amounts typically provided in sport drinks (6% to 8%) to endurance events lasting 1 hour or more (103-105), especially in athletes who exercise in the morning after an overnight fast when liver glycogen levels are decreased.”
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