The following is a summary of the presentation given by Dr. Jackie Berning at the 2013 US Lacrosse Sports Medicine Symposium in Philadelphia.
Some athletes are very meticulous about the food and drinks that they put into their body, but others adhere to few nutritional guidelines and lack the basic understanding of best practices.
||Dr. Jackie Berning
So says Jackie Berning, Ph.D, professor of biology at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs and a member of US Lacrosse’s Sports Science & Safety Committee.
Presenting at the 2013 US Lacrosse Sports Medicine Symposium, Berning painted a disturbing picture of the nutritional practices of the majority of high school, college and professional athletes she encounters. In information gathered through surveys, she noted that 95% of the participants could identify the basic food groups (fruits, vegetables, grains, etc.), but only 45% could identify foods within the groups.
Among the other harsh realities, Berning noted that 30% of athletes skip breakfast, 25% skip lunch, and 85% eat at fast food restaurants at least once per week.
She also highlighted the fact that for athletes in season and for those engaged in daily workouts, consuming carbohydrates within 30 minutes after exercise and again after two hours can help muscles reload and rebuild by replacing glycogen up to 50% quicker. Berning cited chocolate milk as an excellent source for this energy replenishment among younger athletes.
Recovery nutrition is not as critical to athletes during offseason exercise, Berning said, because consuming rehydration beverages and salty foods in routine meals will also help the body to replace lost fluids and electrolytes.
Guidelines for fluid intake and hydration provided by Berning were 2-3 cups of fluid in pre-exercise mode (2-3 hours prior to exercise) and 1-2 cups approximately 15 minutes before exercise. She also encourages enough fluid to maintain weight during the workout, and three cups of fluid for each pound lost post exercise.
When it comes to dietary supplements, Berning issued a strong "buyer beware" warning, noting that due to the Dietary Supplement Health Education Act (DSHEA) passed by Congress, manufacturers do not need to register their products with the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) or receive FDA approval before producing and selling supplements. The DSHEA simply requires manufacturers to be responsible for ensuring that a supplement or ingredient is safe, not necessarily effective, before it is marketed.
Among these supplements, some of the most popular with athletes today - energy drinks – basically combine fluid with high concentrations of caffeine. Berning noted that users should understand that these drinks are not formulated for athletes, and may in fact cause liver and kidney dysfunction for some users.
Complete notes from Berning’s nutritional presentation and from all the other presentations during the Symposium can be accessed here.