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Journal of the American Dietetic Association

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Swimmers, like all athletes, require a well-balanced diet with adequate energy intake for normal daily activities and the demands of training and competition. Investigators have typically studied nutritional status of athletes during heavy or peak training (1), (2). These studies generally show low levels of energy intake relative to expenditure, and carbohydrate intake also well below recommendations. However, several studies of the effects of exercise on energy intake have shown that as exercise energy expenditure increases or decreases, dietary intake tends to remain the same (3), (4), (5). Because training volume varies with the competitive season, it is important to investigate dietary intake at different levels of training. One period of training during which nutritional intake has not been studied is during taper, a period of decreased training before an athletic event to improve mental and physical readiness for competition (6). An important issue during this period is whether the discrepancy between energy intake and expenditure previously reported during heavy training is maintained during a period of reduced training.

Another consideration is the number of reduced-fat food products consumed by female athletes. (In recent years, there has been an overwhelming increase in the availability of low-fat and fat-free food products.) Increased use of these foods may contribute to the increased carbohydrate intake observed in some recent studies of female athletes (7), (8), (9), which contrasts with earlier studies suggesting that carbohydrate intakes of female endurance athletes are 14% to 24% lower than recommended (1).


Accepted version. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, Vol. 101, No. 3 (2001, March): 351-354. DOI. © 2001 Elsevier. Used with permission.

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