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Sports Nutrition Research Updates and Articles

I enjoy keeping up-to-date with the latest nutrition, sports science, and disease-prevention research.  Remember, although one study can make a dramatic headline, it often takes years of research and different kinds of studies to show how something is affecting our health.

  • For a general overview of nutrition for athletic performance that puts the latest research in context, check out this page.
  • If you are looking for good sports nutrition resources, check out this page.

Below are links to recent research or well-presented articles that caught my attention.  I’ll be updating the list so be sure to check back!

Carbohydrates

Low Carb Diets for Athletes

Eating for Performance

Foods That Might Boost Athletic Performance

Pre-Exercise Nutrition

Protein Intake and Performance

Sports Nutrition to Prevent or Help Heal Injuries

Nutritional Support for Exercise-Induced Injuries. Nice review article summarizing the evidence to date about nutrition for sports injuries. (Kevin Tipton, Sports Medicine, November 2015).

Can what you eat help sports injuries? Muscle and tendon injuries are common in athletes, and new studies are uncovering new rehabilitation and and diet strategies that can help muscle and tendon heal faster.  Exercise physiologist Asker Jeukendrup summarizes evidence presented at a recent conference for muscle injury and tendon injury. (Asker Jeukendrup, Mysportscience.com)

Sports Nutrition to Prevent Stress Fractures

Prone to stress fractures? Consider your sports nutrition.
Weight bearing exercise is generally good for bone health, because bone responds to the stress of exercise by becoming stronger.  But some athletes are more prone to stress fractures than others, especially athletes who aren’t eating enough for the demands of their sport.

Female athletes who are underweight and amenorrheic often have decreased bone mineral density and are at increased risk for fractures (reduced estrogen limits the amount of calcium absorbed and laid down in bone). Also, late menarche (more common in female athletes) has a negative impact on bone health and increases stress fracture risk.

Although a variety of factors contribute to fractures, recent research suggests that what an athlete eats before, during, and after exercise can influence bone turnover. Making the right choices could potentially offset bone loss and prevent stress fractures.

Carbohydrates during exercise might benefit bones.  It is already firmly established that eating carbohydrates helps endurance performance; this week a study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology looked at how carbohydrates (8% glucose solution, similar to most sports drinks) during exercise influence bone metabolism during a strenuous 2-hour treadmill run. Researchers found that compared to placebo, runners who ingested carbohydrates during their run had reduced markers of bone resorption (breakdown). The effect was small and requires further study, but if you’re someone who goes without food/carbs during long workouts (and are prone to stress fractures), it seems this would be an good strategy to adopt, especially since carbohydrates will help other performance measures as well.   (Journal of Applied Physiology, October 2015)

Another strategy for bone health is a calcium-rich meal before exercise. Athletes lose calcium through sweat during exercise, which puts them at risk for bone loss, especially if their activity is non impact since it doesn’t benefit bones. A study in female cyclists found that eating a dairy-rich meal 90 minutes before riding can counter bone loss.  The pre-ride calcium-rich meal keeps blood calcium levels stable, so your body doesn’t borrow calcium from your bones to replace what’s lost in sweat. (PLOS ONE, May 2015)

Sports Drinks

Special Diets

Eating Disorders

Vitamins and Supplements

Iron & Calcium

Antioxidant Supplements

General

Eating for Recovery/Adaptations to Endurance Exercise

Sport Specific Nutrition Research

Swimming

Sprinting, weightlifting, throwing events, and bodybuilding

 Photo by jimmyharris

 

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Updated April 21,  2016

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