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Revista de Nutrição

On-line version ISSN 1678-9865


PANZA, Vilma Pereira et al. Athletes' food intake: reflections on nutritional recommendations, food habits and methods for assessing energy expenditure and energy intake. Rev. Nutr. [online]. 2007, vol.20, n.6, pp.681-692. ISSN 1678-9865.

The purpose of this paper was to review the bibliography on athletes' food intake, emphasizing nutritional recommendations, dietary propriety and behavior, limitations of the methods for assessing food intake and estimated energy expenditure in this population. Thirty articles were analyzed, published from 1984 to 2004, selected from electronic databases. Articles that discussed nutritional aspects associated with exercise and those that made recommendations regarding energy, nutrient or food intake were included. Determinations for energy, macronutrient and liquid intake for athletes are already well established but little is known about their need of vitamins and minerals. However, there is a consensus that the micronutrient requirements for most of these individuals can be met by a varied and balanced diet. On the other hand, studies show that unbalanced energy and nutrient intakes still prevail among many athletic groups, revealing the need for dietary education. Many factors related to the type of sport such as training schemes and body image requirements may influence the athletes' dietary habits. Therefore, understanding the relationship between the athletes' eating patterns and the various patterns associated with the sport in question is essential to establish specific nutritional guidance. The occurrence of systematic errors in researches involving athletes that employ methods that rely on self reports emphasizes the importance of following a strict methodology when using these instruments.

Keywords : athletic; food consumption; nutrition policy; training.

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