Athletic Performance

Athletic Performance

Welcome to the Nutrition in Athletic Performance EAL project. The 2014 is an update to the 2007 project.

The workgroup was tasked to review the current scientific literature pertaining to 9 specific sports nutrition questions divided into 3 broad sub-topics including Energy Balance and Body Composition; Training; and Recovery.
  • Under energy balance and body composition, the research regarding negative energy balance on subsequent exercise performance, and timing, energy and macronutrient requirements to gain lean body mass were reviewed.
  • Under nutrition during recovery from exercise, research regarding carbohydrate and protein (both separately and in conjunction) and their effects on recovery were reviewed.
  • Under nutrition during training, the optimal blend of carbohydrate intake for training, the effects of training with limited carbohydrate availability, and the effect of low and high glycemic index foods on metabolism and exercise performance were reviewed.
Use the links on the left to access the evidence analysis work. Expand the Project Team sections to view a listing of the individuals who contributed their time and expertise to this project. Expand the Project Resources section to download a copy of the 2009 J Am Diet Assoc article. The findings from the 2014 project will be used to write the update for the Joint Position Paper of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Dietitians of Canada, and the American College of Sports Medicine.
  • Project Team (2014)
    The following individuals contributed their valuable time and expertise to this project:

    Workgroup Members:
    • Kim Crawford, Chair, PhD, RD, CSSD, LDN
    • Matthew Beekley, RD, CSSD, FACSM, CSCS,
    • Jacqueline Berning, PhD, RD, CSSD
    • Karen Dolins, EdD, RD, CSSD, CD-N
    • Jennifer Gibson, MS, RD, CSSD
    • Kris Osterberg, MS, RD, CSSD
    • Nancy Rodriguez, PhD, RD, FACSM
    Project Manager
    • Mujahed Khan, MBA, RDN
    Lead Analyst
    • Diane M. DellaValle, PhD, RDN
    Evidence Analysts
    • Lori Brizee, MS, RDN, CSP
    • Vijaya Juturu, PhD, RD, FACN
    • Julie Kennel, PhD, RD, LD
    • Holly Larson, MS, RD
    • Nichole McGrath, MEd, RD, LDN
    • Hope Paul, MS, RD, CDE, CNSC
    • Joan Pleuss, MS, CDE, CD, RD
    • Debra Waldoks, MPH, RD, CLC

    Financial Contributors
    • Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

    Disclosures of Potential Conflict of Interest: In the interest of full disclosure, the Academy has adopted the policy of revealing relationships workgroup members have with companies that sell products or services that are relevant to this topic. Workgroup members are required to disclose potential conflicts of interest by completing the Academy Conflict of Interest Form. It should not be assumed that these financial interests will have an adverse impact on the content, but they are noted here to fully inform readers.
    • Jacqueline Berning - Consultant for Gaorade Company
    • Kris Osterberg - Formerly employed by Gatorade Company
  • Project Team (2007)
    The following individuals contributed their valuable time and expertise to this project:

    Workgroup Members
    • Jacqueline R. Berning, PhD, RD, Chair
    • Nancy M. DiMarco, PhD, RD
    • Kelly Anne Erdman, MSc, RD
    • Susie H. Langley, MS, RD
    • Nanna L. Meyer, PhD, RD
    • Nancy R. Rodriguez, PhD, RD, FACSM
    • Elizabeth D. Mansfield, MS, RD (resigned)
    Lead Analyst
    • Erica K. Gradwell, MS, RD
    Evidence Analysts
    • Suzanne Brodney Folse, PhD, RD
    • Amanda G. Carlson, MS, RD
    • Eric D. Ciappio, MS, RD
    • Susan B. Moyers, PhD, MPH, MBA, LDN
    Association Positions Committee Members
    • Christine M. Palumbo, MBA, RD
    • Pat M. Schaaf, MS, RD
    Financial Contributors
    • Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
    • American College of Sports Medicine
    • Dietitians of Canada
    • Academy Association Positions Committee

    Disclosures of Potential Conflict of Interest: In the interest of full disclosure, the Academy has adopted the policy of revealing relationships workgroup members have with companies that sell products or services that are relevant to this topic. Workgroup members are required to disclose potential conflicts of interest by completing the Academy Conflict of Interest Form. It should not be assumed that these financial interests will have an adverse impact on the content, but they are noted here to fully inform readers.
    • None of the workgroup members listed above disclosed any potential conflicts of interest.
  • Project Resources
    Academy Position Paper
    It is the position of the American Dietetic Association, Dietitians of Canada, and the American College of Sports Medicine that physical activity, athletic performance and recovery from exercise are enhanced by optimal nutrition. These organizations recommend appropriate selection of foods and fluids, timing of intake and supplement choices for optimal health and exercise performance. This updated position paper couples a rigorous, systematic, evidence-based analysis of nutrition and performance-specific literature with current scientific data related to energy needs, assessment of body composition, strategies for weight change, nutrient and fluid needs, special nutrient needs during training and competition, the use of supplements and ergogenic aids, nutrition recommendations for vegetarian athletes and the roles and responsibilities of sports dietitians. Energy and macronutrient needs, especially carbohydrate and protein, must be met during times of high physical activity to maintain body weight, replenish glycogen stores and provide adequate protein to build and repair tissue. Fat intake should be sufficient to provide the essential fatty acids and fat-soluble vitamins, as well as contribute energy for weight maintenance. Although exercise performance can be affected by body weight and composition, these physical measures should not be a criterion for sports performance and daily weigh-ins are discouraged. Adequate food and fluid should be consumed before, during, and after exercise to help maintain blood glucose concentration during exercise, maximize exercise performance and improve recovery time. Athletes should be well hydrated before exercise and drink enough fluid during and after exercise to balance fluid losses. Sports beverages containing carbohydrates and electrolytes may be consumed before, during, and after exercise to help maintain blood glucose concentration, provide fuel for muscles and decrease risk of dehydration and hyponatremia. Vitamin and mineral supplements are not needed if adequate energy to maintain body weight is consumed from a variety of foods. However, athletes who restrict energy intake, use severe weight-loss practices, eliminate one or more food groups from their diet, or consume unbalanced diets with low micronutrient density, may require supplements. Because regulations specific to nutritional ergogenic aids are poorly enforced, they should be used with caution, and only after careful product evaluation for safety, efficacy, potency and legality. A qualified sports dietitian and in particular in the United States, a Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics, should provide individualized nutrition direction and advice subsequent to a comprehensive nutrition assessment.

    Position of the American Dietetic Association, Dietitians of Canada, and the American College of Sports Medicine: Nutrition and Athletic Performance. J Am Diet Assoc. 2009;109:509-527 (PDF)