Nutritional care of the elite child and adolescent athlete: Part II: Special dietary issues and competition nutrition
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This article (second of two parts) presents a review of literature and resources on special dietary issues and sport performance. Young athletes preparing for competition adopt various dietary plans. Those adopting a vegetarian diet should be screened for possible low energy and specific micronutrient (e.g Fe, Ca, vit B12) intakes which can be avoided with a well-balanced diet and appropriate supplementation. Vegetarianism has also been linked with disordered eating (DE). The prevalence of DE is rising amongst male athletes and black female athletes. Adolescent athletes are at great risk of developing DE due to dramatic life changes, increased vulnerability and low self-esteem during the adolescence period. Meal skipping, especially breakfast and unhealthy food choices are prominent in this group of athletes. Education and motivation regarding healthier and more nutrient dense food choices away from home is needed. Pre-event carbohydrate loading is not needed when an adequate carbohydrate-rich diet is followed. Low or high glycaemic index (GI) carbohydrate can be eaten pre-event. Fluids should be consumed regularly from one day pre-event to ensure euhydration. The ACSM recommends ingesting ~ 5-7ml.kg-1 slowly 4-hours pre-event. During long-term events as well as during the recovery period the ingestion of carbohydrate with high or medium GI at frequent intervals is promoted. To prevent voluntary dehydration regular ingestion of a flavoured carbohydrate-electrolyte drink is recommended at quantities individualized according to body weight losses surrounding the event.