The need for fat intake for athletes

, medical expert
Last reviewed: 19.10.2021

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Fat diets for athletes are extremely diverse, depending on the type of sport, fitness and level of athlete results. Although there are no specific dietary recommendations for sports, the athlete's intake of food usually reflects the need for energy for this sport during training sessions and competitions. In general, athletes training for endurance, runners and cyclists, according to observations, choose a diet that corresponds to the basic guidelines for edible fats (<30% of energy is given by fats). Runners on the distance consume 27-35% of energy at the expense of fat, and professional cyclists participating in the Tour de France race are approximately 27%. Rowers, basketball players and skiers-doublers use a diet that contains 30-40% of energy due to fat. On the other hand, for gymnasts and figure skaters, where the appearance is of great importance for a successful performance, consumption of food fats, as is known, should be within 15-31%.

The consequences of a low-fat diet

Most of the sports rations are consistent with the general dietary recommendations, ie, at least 30% of the energy is given by fats. However, athletes who train for endurance to improve their competitiveness, as well as gymnasts and figure skaters to improve the appearance can use a diet with a very low fat content (no more than 20% of calories due to fat), so as not to increase body weight and percentage in he's fat.

Some athletes, especially those who train for endurance, tend to increase carbohydrate intake from fat to increase glycogen stores. In any case, diets with a low fat content may not meet the requirements for the growth and development of young athletes and the energy needs of endurance indicators. In addition, nutrition with a low fat content for a long time can contribute to the development of athletes deficiency of essential fatty acids and fat-soluble vitamins.

The consumption of mineral elements, such as calcium and zinc, can also be threatened. In female athletes, diets with a very low fat content can cause menstrual dysfunction and disrupt future reproductive capacity. Male athletes with this diet have a low level of testosterone in the blood serum, which, in turn, can affect their reproductive function. Therefore, athletes do not recommend a diet with a very low fat content.

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