Factors Influencing Ultra-Endurance Athletes Food Choices: An Adapted Food Choice Questionnaire

Claire Blennerhassett, Lars McNaughton, Andy Sparks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
91 Downloads (Pure)


Inadequate nutritional intake has been reported during ultra-endurance training and competition. While substandard nutritional knowledge may contribute to inappropriate nutritional choices, the relationship between these variables is often weak. As such, this study investigated the importance of a range of factors to the food choices of ultra-endurance athletes. An existing food choices questionnaire was extended to reflect the main factors proposed to influence the food choices of these athletes. The questionnaire was pilot tested with endurance athletes, during which, it was refined and reassessed for internal consistency and test-retest reliability. Subsequently, 101 experienced ultra-endurance athletes completed the amended questionnaire. Athletes also documented dietary restrictions or strategies employed in preparation for competition. The factors rated as important by the majority of the athletes were ‘provides me with energy’, ‘do not cause me gastrointestinal discomfort’ and, ‘are nutritious’. Despite the high importance of the provision of energy, only 38.2% of participants reported following a high carbohydrate diet in preparation for competition. In addition, given that nutritious foods are typically high in fibre, it is likely that this factor may conflict with the avoidance of gastrointestinal discomfort. The potential incompatibility of these factors may help explain the observed suboptimal nutritional intake.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)257-271
Number of pages15
JournalResearch in Sports Medicine
Issue number2
Early online date14 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2019


  • FCQ
  • ultra-endurance
  • dietary knowledge
  • sports nutrition
  • nutritional intake


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