Nutrition in Soccer: A brief review of the issues and solutions: Nutrition and Soccer

DORIANNE BONNICI, MATTHEW GREIG, Ibrahim Akubat, Andy Sparks, David J Bentley, LARS MCNAUGHTON

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Abstract

This review examines the issues surrounding soccer nutrition, including the nature of the game, training, and how nutrition can play a significant role in improving player performance and recovery. In soccer match-play, a total distance covered of up to 13 km is characterised by an acyclical and intermittent activity profile. The aerobic system is highly taxed, with average heart rates of ~85% of maximal values, and the finite muscle glycogen stores represent a key aspect of the interface between training, performance and nutritional support. Diets with high CHO content can optimise muscle glycogen, reduce net glycogen depletion, delay the onset of fatigue and improve soccer performance. It is more common however, for players to consume an excessive amount of protein in their daily diet perpetuating the popular belief that additional protein increases strength and enhances performance. More comprehensive recommendations suggest that soccer players should consume a high CHO diet from nutrient-rich complex CHO food sources that ranges from a minimum of 7 g∙kg-1 BM to 10 g∙kg-1 BM and up to 12 g∙kg-1 BM on match or heavy training days. Unfortunately, players often have a low energy intake which can lead to negative energy balance, especially at times of schedule congestion. In many cases soccer players often consume diets that are not very different from those of the general public. Therefore, despite a clear understanding of the physiological demands of soccer, and the association between nutritional preparation and performance, the dietary habits of soccer players are often characterised by a lack of education and mis-informed sporting traditions. This review discusses the potential barriers and various nutritional phases that need to be considered for training, pre, on the day of, and post-match to enable players and coaches to be more aware of the need to achieve more optimal macronutrient nutrition.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Science in Sport and Exercise
Volume1
Issue number1
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 25 Apr 2019

Keywords

  • Carbohydrates
  • Protein
  • Fluid
  • Fats

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