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Nutrition and the Athlete

Preparation and Resources Needed

Materials: Handout sheets (copies of food labels from different foods) to familiarize students with the way information is presented.

Equipment: None.

Personnel: Gymnastics and wrestling coaches to discuss their experiences with athlete eating disorders; a sports nutritionist who can explain the profession and answer many questions that students may have about nutrition.

Recommended Time to Complete: Eight days (based on two class periods per day, 170 school days per year). More activities are available through the textbook, workbook, and instructor’s manual than can be fit into the recommended time. The instructor should select activities that best suit his or her own teaching situation and training program duration.

Key Terms

anorexia nervosa A psychophysiological disorder characterized by an abnormal fear of becoming obese, a distorted self-image, persistent unwillingness to eat, and severe weight loss.

body mass index (BMI) The medical standard used to define obesity.

bulimia An eating disorder characterized by episodic binge eating, followed by feelings of guilt, depression, and self-condemnation.

calorie The energy needed to raise the temperature of one gram of water from 14.5° to 15.5° Celsius.

carbohydrate An essential nutrient that provides the primary source of fuel for the body; sugars and starches.

Daily Value (DV) The percentage per serving of each nutritional item listed on a modern-day food label; based on a daily intake of 2,000 kcal.

dietary fat A nutrient that is a source of energy, insulates body tissues, and transports fat-soluble vitamins.

dietary fiber The indigestible component of plants that are consumed by humans.

disaccharide A form of carbohydrate consisting of double sugars, such as sucrose, maltose, and lactose. These forms of sugars must be reduced to monosaccharides before they can be absorbed by the body.

energy The power used to do work or to produce heat or light.

fat-soluble vitamin A vitamin that can be dissolved in fat.

fatty acid A metabolic byproduct of the breakdown of fat.

female athlete triad A collection of symptoms seen in female athletes, consisting of disordered eating, amenorrhea, and osteoporosis (bone loss).

Food Guide Pyramid An outline for making food selections based on the government’s dietary guidelines.

insulin A hormone, produced in the pancreas, that lowers the level of glucose in the blood by stimulating cells to store excess glucose.

manorexia An eating disorder in men.

mineral An inorganic substance that participates in many biochemical and physiological processes required for the growth, maintenance, repair, and health of tissues and bones.

monosaccharide The simplest form of carbohydrate, consisting of sugars that cannot be further reduced by the body, such as glucose, fructose, and galactose.

monounsaturated fatty acid Fats that do not contain high levels of hydrogen in combination with carbon atoms; these types of fats are found mainly in vegetable, olive, and peanut oils.

nutrition The process by which a living organism assimilates food and uses it for growth and, tissue replacement; the science or study that deals with food and nourishment.

polysaccharide A form of complex carbohydrate containing combinations of monosaccharides, such as starch, cellulose, and glycogen.

polyunsaturated fatty acid Fats that contain only limited amounts of hydrogen attached to carbon atoms; found mainly in some forms of vegetable oils and seafood.

protein An essential nutrient that contains nitrogen and helps the body grow, build, and repair tissue.

saturated fatty acid Fats that contain the maximum number of hydrogen atoms attached to carbon atoms; these types of fats are found mainly in animal sources.

trans fatty acid A type of fat that is produced through the process of hydrogenation; found mainly in processed foods such as margarine and snack foods.

vitamin A complex organic substance that the body needs in small amounts.

water-soluble vitamin A vitamin that can be dissolved in water.

Lecture Outline

I. Nutrition

a. Process by which a living organism assimilates food and uses it for growth and tissue replacement

b. Field of science or study that deals with food and nourishment

c. Proper nutrition can reduce likelihood of injury and increase performance

II. Energy

a. Power used to do work, or to produce heat or light

d. Cannot be created or destroyed, but can be changed from one form to another

i. Solar energy

ii. Photosynthesis

Key Concept

Athletic performance can be enhanced by a full understanding of nutritional principles. An athlete who follows a proper diet will have fewer injuries and perform at a higher level.

e. Needed:

i. To maintain body functions

ii. For active movement

iii. For growth and repair

f. In nutrition, energy is measured as calories

Key Concept

In nutrition, energy is measured as calories. Calories define the energy value of foods.

III. Food Components

a. Carbohydrates

i. Primary source of fuel (glucose) for energy

. Simple carbohydrates (sugars)

. Complex carbohydrates (starches)

g. Proteins

i. Body’s main structural elements

ii. Found in every cell and tissue

h. Fats

i. Dietary fat

. Carrier of fat-soluble vitamins

. Provides certain essential fatty acids

. Important source of energy

. Used interchangeably with protein and carbohydrates

ii. Fatty acids

. Saturated, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and trans fatty acids

i. Vitamins

i. Complex organic substances the body needs in small amounts

. Measured in milligrams (mg) or micrograms (mcg)

ii. Fat-soluble

. Meats, liver, dairy products, eggs, and leafy green vegetables

iii. Water-soluble

. Whole-grain cereals, leafy green vegetables, fruits, and legumes

j. Minerals

i. Inorganic substances

ii. Participate in biochemical and physiological processes necessary for proper growth, development, and health

Key Concept

Vitamins are essential to helping the body use energy taken in as food. Minerals are necessary to repair and maintain tissue and bone.

k. Water

i. Most important, often neglected, nutrient

ii. Kidneys play an important role in conserving and excreting water

iii. On average, the body will lose approximately seven glasses of water each day

. To maintain proper hydration, drink six to eight glasses of fluids each day, more when active

l. Sports drinks

i. Contain sugar, minerals (e.g., potassium and sodium), and water

ii. Can help with long, hard workouts exceeding one hour

m. Dietary fiber

i. Indigestible component of plant material

ii. Keeps the digestive tract running smoothly

. Soluble fiber

. Insoluble fiber

Key Concept

Each of the food components plays an important role in maintaining health:

• Carbohydrates are the body’s primary source of fuel for energy.

• Proteins are necessary for growth, and to repair and build tissues.

• Fats store energy, insulate body tissues, and transport fat-soluble vitamins through the bloodstream.

• Vitamins do not provide energy, but are needed to help utilize the energy from other nutrients.

• Minerals are necessary for growth, maintenance, and repair of tissue and bone.

• Water is the most important nutrient.

• Fiber aids in maintaining the health of the digestive tract.

IV. Daily Values

a. Helps consumers use food label information in diet planning

n. Daily Reference Values are based on the number of calories consumed per day

i. 2,000 calories has been established as the reference

V. Food Guide Pyramid

a. Six groups in the USDA food pyramid:

ii. Breads, cereals, rice, and pasta

iii. Vegetables

iv. Fruit

v. Meat, poultry, and fish

vi. Milk products

vii. Fats, oils, and sweets

Key Concept

The most striking similarity in all food guide pyramids is the emphasis on eating plenty of grains, fruits, and vegetables and getting enough physical activity. Their differences lie in the quantities of typical foods eaten by different ethnic groups on a regular basis.

VI. Nutritional Quackery

a. Many seek out “magic” supplements to give them an edge

o. Nutritional quackery is successful because it plays on emotions and misinformation

p. Many supplements are developed and sold without supporting scientific research

VII. Making the Weight

a. Proper weight management enhances good health and athletic performance

i. Gaining weight

. Increase lean body mass

ii. Losing weight

. Restricted calorie intake

. Exercise

. Both

VIII. Disordered Eating

a. Extreme expressions of food and weight issues experienced by many individuals

iii. Include:

. Anorexia nervosa and manorexia

. Bulimia nervosa

. Binge eating

iv. Female athlete triad

. Disordered eating, amenorrhea, and osteoporosis

Key Concept

The underlying reasons for disordered eating are distorted self-image, guilt, depression, and overemphasis on leanness and physical appearance.

IX. Special Diets

a. Pregame meals limit protein intake and concentrate on carbohydrates

v. Example:

. 1 to 2 cups pasta with 1 1/2 cups tomato meat sauce

. Bread

. Milk (low-fat or skim)

. Orange juice

. Oatmeal raisin cookie

. Water

X. Calculating “Ideal” Weight for Athletes

a. Body mass index (BMI) is a reliable indicator of total body fat

q. Limitations:

i. May overestimate body fat in athletes and others who have a muscular build

ii. May underestimate body fat in older persons and others who have lost muscle mass

r. To determine BMI:

i. Divide weight in pounds by height in inches

ii. Divide again by height in inches

iii. Multiply by 703

XI. Conclusion

a. Proper nutrition reduces the likelihood of injury and allows higher performance levels

s. Disordered eating is an extreme expression of food and weight issues

t. As athletes become aware of the nutritional components of their diet, they face fewer problems

Lesson Plans and Teaching Strategies

Follow the lecture outline to present material to students, using a variety of teaching strategies described in the Preface, such as modified lecture and cooperative/collaborative learning.

This is an especially long chapter with a great deal of information presented. To save some time, teaching strategies that break students into groups, with each group exploring one topic thoroughly and reporting back to the class, are a good idea. The jigsaw method described in Instructional Strategies is particularly good for this approach.

Have a sports nutritionist as a guest lecturer. Students have heard a lot about nutrition by this age, much of which is inaccurate. A professional in the field should be able to answer even the most bizarre questions from students. Information provided by the nutritionist is applicable to more than just athletes.

Have students present what they find on possibly questionable claims made by products at nutrition stores (textbook activity #4). Present your own collection of supplement claims, including video and audio ads if available.

Get the wrestling and gymnastics coaches to discuss eating disorders in their sports. If available, have a guest lecturer who has gone through an eating disorder.

Answers to Student Exercises

Textbook Review Questions

1. The body needs energy to maintain functions such as breathing, heartbeat, maintaining body temperature, movement caused by muscle contraction, and growth and repair as newly made tissues are needed.

2. Carbohydrates are used for energy; proteins build new cell parts; fats provide energy and insulation; vitamins and minerals help with the body’s chemical reactions and tissue building; water transports and dissolves materials; and fiber maintains proper functioning of the intestines.

3. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that causes cells to remove glucose from the blood.

4. Since “k” stands for “kilo” (which is the metric prefix for 1,000), 2,800 kcals equals 2,800,000 calories.

5. Monosaccharides are simple sugars and are mostly found in processed foods, such as soda and candy, or as parts of more complex sugars and starches. Disaccharides are found as table sugar, milk sugar, and malt sugar. Polysaccharides are found as starch, glycogen, and cellulose, which are different chemically-bonded arrangements of the monosaccharide glucose.

6. The body digests the proteins it takes in as food. Digestion breaks down the food protein until the amino acids are completely separated. The amino acids are then absorbed by the body.

7. Limit the consumption of red meat; choose low-fat or nonfat varieties of milk and cheese; remove skin from chicken or turkey before eating; snack on pretzels instead of potato chips; decrease or eliminate fried foods, butter, and margarine from the diet; cook with small amounts of olive oil instead of butter to cut down on saturated fat.

8. Vitamins are complex organic molecules that have a variety of functions in the body. They provide materials important to night vision in the eyes, increase the absorption of calcium in the intestines, and function as coenzymes in a variety of metabolic chemical reactions necessary for proper body functioning.

9. Fat-soluble vitamins can only be absorbed by the body along with fat eaten in the diet, whereas water-soluble vitamins dissolve in water, which is abundant in the digestive tract.

10. On the average, the body loses the equivalent of seven glasses of water, or nearly two quarts, daily. More is lost when the body is actively exercising.

11. For labeling purposes, the reference of 2,000 calories per day is used. The DRVs for energy-producing nutrients are calculated as follows: 10 percent saturated fat with an overall 30 percent from fat; 60 percent carbohydrates; and 10 percent proteins.

12. The Food Guide Pyramid was developed to provide an easy way to display the food groups that make up a good diet and their relative proportions in the diet.

13. Aim for a healthy weight; be physically active each day; let the pyramid guide your food choices; choose a variety of grains daily, especially whole grains; choose a variety of fruits and vegetables each day; keep foods safe to eat; choose a diet that is low in saturated fat and cholesterol and moderate in total fat; choose beverages and foods to moderate your intake of sugars; choose and prepare foods with less salt; and if you drink alcoholic beverages, do so in moderation.

14. Each pyramid emphasizes cultural differences in foods eaten (for example, more plant-based proteins than meat-based). They are similar in that each pyramid emphasizes eating plenty of whole-grain products and fruits and vegetables.

15. The six food groups are breads, cereals, rice, and pasta; vegetables; fruit; meat, poultry, and fish; milk products; and fats, oils, and sweets.

16. Individuals and companies promote false and/or unproven nutritional supplements or products with the aim of making money. They prey on innocent, unsuspecting athletes eager for an edge.

17. In addition to healthy exercise and diet moderation, some girls and women resort to the use of diuretics, laxatives, self-induced vomiting, diet pills, or excessive exercising.

18. Most of the dangers come from malnutrition, and include dehydration, muscle and cartilage deterioration, osteoporosis, and heart problems, including heart failure.

19. Disordered eating is seen in 10 percent of male athletes, especially those participating in wrestling.

20. BMI = Weight (lb.) ÷ Height (in.) ÷ Height (in.) x 703. Students calculated answers will vary.

Workbook Quiz

1. B

2. A

3. D

4. B

5. C

6. B

7. A

8. A

9. A

10. C

Critical Thinking

1. Using the USDA Food Pyramid, students are to create a healthy food plan for one week. They must then calculate the daily calorie intake for each day of their food plan. Answers will vary.


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