Navigation Links
Athletes need to be careful to monitor diet, weight to maintain muscle mass

CORVALLIS, Ore. Athletes seeking a healthy performance weight should eat high fiber, low-fat food balanced with their training regimen in order to maintain muscle while still burning fat, according to a report by an Oregon State University researcher.

The United States now has a record number of overweight athletes, a population many think of as untouched by the obesity crisis. Nationally, more than 45 percent of high school linebackers are obese, and the number of overweight students entering college level-sports is increasing.

In a peer-reviewed literature review published this summer in the Nestle Nutrition Institution Workshop Series, OSU researcher Melinda Manore looked at the benefits of teaching athletes how to consume what she calls a low-energy-dense diet, or high-fiber, high-water, but lower-fat foods. She said too many athletes are pushed into fad diets or try to restrict calorie intake too much in a way that is unhealthy and unsustainable.

"Depending on the sport, athletes sometime want to either lose weight without losing lean tissue, or gain weight, mostly lean tissue," she said. "This is very difficult to do if you restrict caloric intake too dramatically or try to lose the weight too fast. Doing that also means they don't have the energy to exercise, or they feel tired and put themselves at risk of injury."

Manore is professor of nutrition in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences at OSU. She said the overwhelming body of research shows that just counting calories does not work. What does work is a healthy lifestyle that can be maintained, even during breaks or when not in training. She said an athlete's optimum body weight should include the following criteria:

  • Weight that minimizes health risks and promotes good eating
  • Weight that takes into consideration genetic makeup and family history
  • Weight that is appropriate for age and level of physical development, including normal reproductive function in women
  • Weight that can be maintained without constant dieting and restraining food intake

In the paper, Manore outlined some strategies that athletes can use to maintain a healthy weight and remain performance-ready. It's important, she said, to adopt a low-energy-dense diet, which includes a large amount of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meat, fish, and low-fat dairy. Avoid beverages high in sugar, especially soda and alcohol. Manore said half of a plate of food should be filled with fruits and veggies, and processed food should be avoided.

"Always opt for the food over the drink, don't drink your calories," Manore said. "Instead of drinking orange juice, eat an orange. It has more fiber, and fills you up more."

Other key points:

  • Eat breakfast. Data from the National Weight Control Registry shows that 80 percent of people who lost at least 30 pounds in a year and kept it off were breakfast eaters. Eat a breakfast rich with high-fiber whole grains, fruit, high-quality protein such as egg whites, and low-fat dairy. Skip the processed cereals.
  • Get plenty of protein. Most athletes get plenty of protein, but they may not be strategic about making sure to refuel after exercise, and spreading their protein intake throughout the day. Depending on the goals, some athletes may need to get as much as 30 percent of their calories from protein, but many get that in one large meal. Spreading that protein out throughout the day is a better strategy; and nuts, beans and legumes are a great source of protein, not just meat.
  • Exercise regularly. This may seem obvious for an athlete, but many seasonal athletes can pack on pounds during off-seasons, making it that much harder to get performance-ready.
  • Avoid fad diets. Combining severe calorie restriction with intense training can result in metabolic adaptions that actually can make it more difficult to lose weight. Severe weight loss also makes an athlete stressed out and tired, and that is never good for sport.

While her paper is aimed at competitive and recreational athletes, Manore said all of these tips can apply to anyone who wants to change their diet and head in a healthier direction.


Contact: Melinda Manore
Oregon State University

Related biology news :

1. Monitoring nutrient intake can help vegetarian athletes stay competitive
2. Computer model may help athletes and soldiers avoid brain damage and concussions
3. Sickle cell trait can cause sudden cardiac death in black athletes: Why is this controversial?
4. Urban athletes show that for orangutans, it pays to sway
5. Higher pain tolerance in athletes may hold clues for pain management
6. Breakthrough: Sensors monitor cells at work
7. Stanford engineers monitor heart health using paper-thin flexible skin
8. Measuring microbes makes wetland health monitoring more affordable, says MU researcher
9. Acoustic monitoring of Atlantic cod reveals clues to spawning behavior
10. Invention opens the way to packaging that monitors food freshness
11. Monitoring and robust induction of nephrogenic intermediate mesoderm from human iPSCs
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/6/2015)... Oct. 6, 2015 Track Group, Inc. (OTCQX: ... it has signed a contract with the Virginia Department ... full range of sentences under the Department,s oversight. ... Americas. "This contract with the Virginia DOC will expand ... and advances our position as a trusted leader in ...
(Date:9/30/2015)... , Sept. 30, 2015  With nearly 300,000 ... number of new SCIs estimated to reach 12,500 annually, ... Southern California Resource Services for Independent Living (SCRS-IL) ... in California opening doors to ... of programs and services, notably assistive technology services and ...
(Date:9/28/2015)... YORK , Sept. 28, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... announced today that its expedited traveler service ... innovative platform transforms travel, bringing a frictionless ... its members. "CLEAR offers our ... enhances customer service," said Jim Smith ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/13/2015)... Florida , October 13, 2015 ... specializing in the development of innovative peptide and gene-based ... metastatic disease, will be a featured presenting company at ... at the Wyndham Grand Hotel in Jupiter, ... TapImmune, Inc. (TPIV), a clinical-stage immunotherapy company ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... 2015 , ... Clinovo recently appointed Jeff Parr and Ed Donaldson to its ... solutions business. , Jeff Parr has spent the past decade providing quality management software ... Fisher, and Ab Sciex to name a few. He is based in Salt ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... -- the United States , ... about 14% of all new cases of kidney cancer.   ... and Europe .  PRCC represents about ... Hutchison China MediTech Limited ("Chi-Med") (AIM: HCM) today announces that ... (publ) ("AstraZeneca") have completed enrolment in a global Phase II study ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... , Oct. 12, 2015 This report covers ... include cell type, products, applications, end-user markets and geographic ... HIGHLIGHTS The global cell expansion market generated revenue ... to reach revenues of $9.7 billion in 2015 and ... rate (CAGR) of 17.8% from 2015 to 2020. ...
Breaking Biology Technology: