"Determination of the nutritional intake and energy balance in Swiss elite cross-country skiers"

Clijsen, Ron and Negele, Martina and Taeymans, Jan and Clarys, Peter (2008) "Determination of the nutritional intake and energy balance in Swiss elite cross-country skiers". In: 1st International Low-Lands Congress on Science and Skiing, October 11th, 2008, Brussels, Belgium.

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Introduction: Cross-country skiing is a weight bearing endurance sport. There are several types of ski races over various distances. Two different skiing techniques are used, the original diagonal stride and the free-technique skating style. The cross-country locomotion uses all major large muscle groups. Athletes show very high energy expenditure, which can amount up to 15.1 – 20.2 MJ/d (3608.99 – 4827.92 kcal) for female, and 25.4 – 34.9 MJ/d (6070.75 -8341.30 kcal) for males [1]. Objectives: (I) To investigate the energy intake and balance in Swiss national team cross country skiers. (II) To determine the macro and micro nutritional intake of the athletes and to compare them with the references from the literature. Methods: Eleven Swiss national A and B team athletes (4 females and 7 males) participated in this study. During a week of ski training in October 2006, the energy intake was determined by (3-day) food questionnaires. The individual metabolic rate (“Harris-Benedict-Standards”) and physical activity level (PAL) were calculated to obtain the energy balance. The results for energy intake and expenditure were compared with the results of Sjödin et al. (1994) [1]. The results for energy and nutritional intake were also compared with the references from the DACH [2] and the “sports nutrition, vitamins and trace elements” references [3]. Results: During training the energy intake for both genders (female: 3876.42 ± 828.47 kcal, male: 6221.86 ± 877.58 kcal) covered the energy expenditure (female: 2670.84 ± 211.10 kcal, male: 3588.93 ± 260.05 kcal). In general the macro and micro nutritional intake matched with references from the DACH. According to the recommendations of DACH, (0.070 mg) and “Sports nutrition” (0.055 mg) the Selenium intake was too low for both the male (0.040 ± 0.013 mg) and female skiers (0.032 ± 0.006 mg). The protein intake of the male skiers (10.4 ± 1.6%) was too low according to the DACH reference (14%). The female skiers had an insufficient intake of vitamin D (2.220 ± 1.346 μg) according to the sport nutrition, vitamins and trace elements references. Conclusion: The cross-country skiers of the Swiss national team were able to maintain their energy balance during a week of training. Energy intake covering the energy expenditure is essential for sport performance as well as for health aspects in endurance athletes. The energy intakes as well as the macro and micro nutritional intake of the Swiss elite cross-country skiers are in line with the results of the Norwegian Study that shows that cross-country skiers have better nutritional habits compared to high level athletes of other sport disciplines [4]. References: 1) Sjödin AM., Andersson AB., Högberg JM. & Westerterp KR.: Energy balance in cross- country skiers: a study using doubly labeled water. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1994 26(6):720-4 2)Deutschen Gesellschaft für Ernährung, Österreichische Gesellschaft für Ernährung, Schweizerische Gesellschaft für Ernährungsforschung und der Schweizerischen Vereinigung für Ernährung. D A CH /Referenzwerte für die Nährstoffzufuhr / ISBN 3-8295- 7114-3,1. Auflage 2001, Umschau-Braus-Verlag 3)Sport Nutrition, Vitamins and Trace elements/ ISBN0-8493-3022-x,2. Auflage 2006, Taylor Francis Group 4)Ronson O., Sundgot-Borgen J. & Maehlum S.: Supplement use and nutritional habits in Norwegian elite athletes. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 1999 Feb;9(1):28-35

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