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Nutrition for football - FIFA.com

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4 NUTRITION FOR FOOTBALL | introduction5All players should choose foods wiselyto help achieve their goals in sport.“The foods and drinks that players chooseto consume can affect how they per<strong>for</strong>m insport and help them to stay fit and healthy.All players should choose foods wisely tohelp achieve their goals in sport.We must also remember the important socialand cultural aspects of eating and thepleasure that we gain from food. A healthydiet that is good <strong>for</strong> per<strong>for</strong>mance can alsobe a source of enjoyment.<strong>FIFA</strong> is <strong>com</strong>mitted to helping all players toachieve their goals. This booklet is part ofthat <strong>com</strong>mitment. We see the practicalguide to eating and drinking <strong>for</strong> health andper<strong>for</strong>mance in <strong>football</strong> as an integratedpart of the ‘Football <strong>for</strong> Health’ programmesinitiated by F-MARC in order to maintainthe health. For many it is also to improvetheir health conditions by playing <strong>football</strong> asa very efficient physical exercise and to alsotackle many non-<strong>com</strong>municable diseases.A healthy diet and an appropriate intake offluids are very important pillars of the programme‘Football <strong>for</strong> Health’.“Staying <strong>com</strong>mitted to a balanced nutritionaldiet is key to achieving peak-level athleticper<strong>for</strong>mance. To help you in this regard, TheCoca-Cola Company, through our POWERADEbrand, is proud to partner with <strong>FIFA</strong> and the<strong>FIFA</strong> Medical Assessment and Research Centre(F-MARC) to create this nutrition guidelinebrochure <strong>for</strong> all players, including those eliteplayers who are <strong>com</strong>peting in the 2010 <strong>FIFA</strong>World Cup South Africa.The Coca-Cola Company’s POWERADEbrand can help athletes refresh, revitalizeand per<strong>for</strong>m at their optimum levelwhenever they <strong>com</strong>pete, by helping toprevent dehydration and by delaying theonset of fatigue during exercise.Coca-Cola has a rich heritage of support<strong>for</strong> <strong>football</strong> at all levels, from youthdevelopment activities to the <strong>FIFA</strong> WorldCup. On behalf of our 700,000 Coca-Cola associates in 206 nations around theworld, we wish you the very best at theWorld Cup, as you <strong>com</strong>pete and establishfriendships with people from other culturesand countries who share your passion <strong>for</strong><strong>football</strong>, friendship and goodwill.Sincerely,Joseph S. Blatter<strong>FIFA</strong> PresidentMuhtar KentChairman & CEOThe Coca-Cola Company


6 NUTRITION FOR FOOTBALL | KEy MESSaGESNUTRITION FOR FOOTBALL | KEy MESSaGES7KeymessagesWhenever highly talented, motivated and well trained players meet in<strong>com</strong>petition, the margin between victory and defeat is small. Attention to detailcan make that vital difference. Diet affects per<strong>for</strong>mance, and the foods that wechoose in training and <strong>com</strong>petition will affect how well we train and play. Everyplayer needs to be aware of their personal nutritional goals and of how they canselect an eating strategy to meet those goals.Every player is different, and there is no single diet that meets the needs of allplayers at all times. Individual needs also change across the season and playersmust be flexible to ac<strong>com</strong>modate this.Diet may have its biggest impact on training. A good diet can help supportconsistent intensive training while limiting the risks of illness or injury. Goodfood choices can also promote adaptations to the training stimulus – this canlead to more improvement <strong>for</strong> the same training load. The right diet is alsoimportant in preparing <strong>for</strong> games and in hastening recovery afterwards.Getting the right amount of energy to stay healthy and to per<strong>for</strong>m well is key.Too much and body fat increases: too little and per<strong>for</strong>mance falls, injuriesincrease, and illness results.Foods rich in protein are important <strong>for</strong> building and repairing muscles, buta varied diet containing everyday foods will generally supply more than enoughprotein. Well-chosen vegetarian diets can easily meet protein needs. Eating asmall amount of protein just after training may help promote adaptations inresponse to the training stimulus.A varied diet that meets energy needs and is based largely on nutrient-richchoices such as vegetables, fruits, beans, legumes, cereals, lean meats, fishand dairy foods should ensure an adequate intake of vitamins and minerals.Excluding any of these food groups means that more careful food choicesmust be made.Maintaining hydration is important <strong>for</strong> per<strong>for</strong>mance.Fluid intake be<strong>for</strong>e, during (where appropriate) and afterexercise is important, especially in hot climates. Whensweat losses are high, foods and drinks consumed mustcontain sufficient water and salt to replace these losses.Players are cautioned against indiscriminate use of dietarysupplements.Carbohydrate supplies the muscles and brain with the fuels they need to meetthe stress of training and <strong>com</strong>petition. Players must be aware of what foodsthey should choose to meet their carbohydrate needs, how much should beeaten, and when these foods should be eaten.


8 NUTRITION FOR FOOTBALL | introductionNUTRITION FOR FOOTBALL | introduction 9<strong>Nutrition</strong><strong>for</strong> <strong>football</strong>This booklet contains in<strong>for</strong>mation that will help players atall levels of <strong>com</strong>petition to make in<strong>for</strong>med choices to meettheir nutritional needs in different situations. This booklettries to give practical in<strong>for</strong>mation that will be of use to theserious player, but is not a substitute <strong>for</strong> individual advicefrom a qualified professional.Every player is different,and there is no single dietthat meets the needs of allplayers at all times.


10 NUTRITION FOR FOOTBALL | introductionNUTRITION FOR FOOTBALL | introduction 11The benefits ofeating wellFootball is structured so that the two opposing teams areclosely matched: a one-sided game is no fun <strong>for</strong> playersor <strong>for</strong> spectators. Every player and every team there<strong>for</strong>ehas to strive to achieve the advantage that is necessary towin. Hard work in training and sound tactics are vital,but a well-chosen diet can offer many benefits:• Optimum gains from the training program• Enhanced recovery within and between workouts andevents• Achievement and maintenance of an ideal bodyweight and physique• A reduced risk of injury and illness• Confidence in being well-prepared <strong>for</strong> match play• Consistency in achieving high level per<strong>for</strong>mances inmatches• Enjoyment of food and social eating occasionsDespite these advantages, many players do not meettheir nutrition goals. Common problems and challengesinclude:• Poor knowledge of foods and drinks and inadequatecooking skills• Poor choices when shopping or dining out• Poor or outdated knowledge of sports nutrition• Inadequate finances• Busy lifestyle leading to inadequate time to obtain orconsume appropriate foods• Limited availability of good food and drink choices• Frequent travel• Indiscriminate use of supplements and sports foodswhich eating and drinking well can allow players at alllevels of per<strong>for</strong>mance to achieve the special goals oftheir training and <strong>com</strong>petition programs. It makes nosense to train hard if you ignore the benefits that followfrom good food choices.<strong>Nutrition</strong> <strong>for</strong> Football is based on the conclusions ofthe <strong>FIFA</strong>/F-MARC Consensus Conference on <strong>Nutrition</strong><strong>for</strong> Sport, held in Zurich in September 2005. Wegratefully acknowledge the contribution of theconference participants as the expert scientific sources<strong>for</strong> this booklet.This booklet was prepared <strong>for</strong> the<strong>FIFA</strong> Medical Committee by• Professor Ron Maughan, UK• Professor Louise Burke, Australia• Dr Donald T. Kirkendall, USAThe booklet was revised and updated in January 2010.We thank all of those who have made helpful contributionsto the revision process.We thank all the participants in the <strong>FIFA</strong>/F-MARC internationalconsensus conference <strong>for</strong> their insight and <strong>com</strong>ments in thepreparation of this booklet.The in<strong>for</strong>mation in this booklet is designed to provideplayers and coaches with an overview of the latestguidelines in sports nutrition. While there is no suchthing as a magic diet or food, there are many ways inProf Jiri Dvorak, MD,Chairman F-MARC, <strong>FIFA</strong> Chief Medical Officer


12 NUTRITION FOR FOOTBALL | ENErgy dEMandsNUTRITION FOR FOOTBALL | ENErgy dEMands 13Energy demandsof training and match playMost serious <strong>football</strong> players play in one or moreshould be taken into account in the training andIn pre-season, the training load is usually at its<strong>com</strong>petitive games per week <strong>for</strong> a large part of the yearnutritional strategies of all serious players.greatest as players strive to reach full fitness <strong>for</strong> theand will train most days of the week, sometimes twice aThe total distance run by a player during a gameopening games of the season. Energy demands in aday, throughout this time. The energy demands ofdepends on many different factors, including the level oftraining session focused on fitness may exceed those oftraining must be met to maintain per<strong>for</strong>mance capacity<strong>com</strong>petition, the player’s position, the playing style, anda hard game. In sessions where the emphasis is onand prevent the development of excessive fatigue.fitness level of the individual. At the elite level, malerecovery and regeneration or on skill, the energy costThose who play <strong>for</strong> fun and train occasionally will findoutfield players typically cover about 10-13 km, makingwill be much less.this a good way to stay fit and control weight, but they<strong>football</strong> an endurance sport. The physical demands aredo not face the same nutritional challenges.increased by the fact that more than 600 m are coveredEnergy needsat sprinting speed and about 2.4 km at high intensity.The foods we eat and the fluids we drink provide <strong>for</strong> theEnergy <strong>for</strong> match playOver the whole duration of the game, heart rate is aboutimmediate energy needs of the body as well asFootball is a game of intermittent work. Players generally85% of the maximum rate and the oxygen demand isinfluencing body energy stores. Energy stores play aper<strong>for</strong>m low intensity activities <strong>for</strong> more than 70% ofabout 70% of the maximum oxygen uptake (VO2max).number of important roles related to exercisethe game, but heart rate and body temperatureThese values suggest that the total energy cost of aper<strong>for</strong>mance, since they contribute tomeasurements suggest that the total energy demand isgame <strong>for</strong> a typical player weighing about 75 kg would• Size and physique (e.g. body fat and muscle mass)high. The high energy demand may be partly explainedbe about 1800 kcal (about 5.5 MJ). The value <strong>for</strong> players• function (e.g. muscle mass)by the repeated high intensity ef<strong>for</strong>ts that players areat lower levels of the game is somewhat less than this;• fuel <strong>for</strong> exercise (e.g. muscle and liver carbohydratecalled upon to per<strong>for</strong>m. A top class player per<strong>for</strong>msbecause the VO2max is also lower, the total energystores)about 150-250 brief intense actions during a game.expended will be less. Of course, heavier players needThese ef<strong>for</strong>ts place high demands on the anaerobicmore energy <strong>for</strong> a given distance run, and energy needsThe energy needed <strong>for</strong> training and match play must beenergy systems, and are a major factor in the fatiguealso vary greatly between individuals.added to the energy required <strong>for</strong> normal daily activities.that occurs at all stages of the game.This will depend on physical activity at work and onCarbohydrate is stored in the muscles and in theEnergy demands of trainingother lifestyle factors.liver as glycogen. This is probably the most importantThe energy demands of training will vary depending onHow much food a player needs will depend largelyfuel <strong>for</strong> energy production and fatigue towards the endthe intensity, frequency, and duration of the trainingon the total energy needs, and there is no simple <strong>for</strong>mulaof a game may be related to depletion of glycogen insessions, but they will also change over the course of theto predict this. Energy needs depend not only on thesome of the individual muscle fibres. If even a few ofthese are unable to contract, then sprinting ability isreduced and skill may also be impaired. Free fatty acidseason. Most players will follow a weekly cycle thatinvolves a reduced training load to allow recovery fromthe previous game, days of harder training, and ademands of training and match play, but also onactivities outside the game. For those who traininfrequently, or where training sessions are short or easy,How much food a playerneeds will depend largely on(FFA) levels in blood increase progressively during agame and partially <strong>com</strong>pensate <strong>for</strong> the progressivereduction in training load in preparation <strong>for</strong> the nextgame.the energy demands will not be high. Similarly, energyneeds are lower during periods of inactivity such as thethe total energy needs.lowering of muscle glycogen, but this is a less effectiveoff-season or while a player is injured, and playersfuel source. The physical demands during a game varyshould adapt their food intake accordingly.greatly between players and are related to physicalcapacity and tactical role in the team. These differences


14 NUTRITION FOR FOOTBALL | Body fatNUTRITION FOR FOOTBALL | Body fat 15Body fatAn individual’s body fat stores represent a lifetime historyof the balance between energy intake and energyexpenditure. Fat is the major energy store in the body,and is an efficient way to store excess energy <strong>for</strong> use intimes of need.A player will per<strong>for</strong>m best when the amount ofbody fat is within his or her individual optimum range.This will vary between individuals, and will also varyacross a player’s career, so there is no single value that isideal and less is not always better. If the body fat storesfall too low, health will suffer. If body fat stores are toohigh, the player will be slowed down by having to carryunnecessary additional weight. Excess body fat is also ahealth risk. It is important, there<strong>for</strong>e that players managetheir food intake and energy output to achieve anoptimum body size and body <strong>com</strong>position.differences in hydration levels and longer term changescan’t distinguish changes in body fat and muscle mass• Monitoring of skinfold fat thicknesses at intervalsthrough the season, especially when undertaken by atrained kinanthropometrist, can provide usefulin<strong>for</strong>mation about changes in body fat stores• Urinary ketones might provide a marker of inadequatecarbohydrate intake• Measurements of changes in muscle strength andendurance provide a useful biomarker of muscledevelopment• Premature fatigue and loss of <strong>for</strong>m may be signs ofnutrition-related problemsStrategies <strong>for</strong> managing energy intake andenergy balance:Players should individually manage their energy stores ofbody fat, carbohydrate (muscle fuel) and protein (musclemass) by managing intake and expenditure of thesenutrients separately. These issues will be discussed inseparate parts of this booklet.Players should follow an eating plan that helpsthem to achieve their specific goals rather than relyingon appetite to guide energy intake. Advice from a sportsnutrition expert is often required to develop this plan.Players should use a number of separate biomarkersto monitor their progress in achieving each oftheir energy-related goals. Monitoring body weight canbe misleading, and the in<strong>for</strong>mation can be misinterpreted.Body weight is not a reliable or accurate indicator ofenergy balance, since day to day changes mostly reflectSpecial concerns about restricting energy intakeMany players reduce their energy intake at times to assistwith the loss of body weight and body fat, but it isharmful to restrict energy intake so much that it interfereswith normal body function. The diet must provideenough energy (calories) to meet the demands of trainingand match play, as well as cost of growth, development,and staying healthy. Eating less than this on a long-termbasis will lead to a loss of per<strong>for</strong>mance and a risk tohealth.Players requiring advice <strong>for</strong> weight loss or fat lossshould seek guidance from a qualified sports nutritionexpert such as a sports dietitian.If a reduction in body fat content is necessary, thisshould be achieved gradually. Players can avoid potentialproblems by taking care to avoid excess weight gain inthe off-season. Careful management of both diet andactivity levels in the off-season and in the pre-season canhelp players to reach their ideal weight and body fatlevel with minimal impact on health or per<strong>for</strong>mance.To avoid irreversible skeletal damage, any femaleplayer with disruption of normal menstrual functionshould be referred without delay to a medical expert <strong>for</strong>investigation.Weight loss supplementsSome players turn to weight loss supplements and “fatburners” to help them achieve their target weight. Thisis to be strongly discouraged. Most of these supplementsdo not work and those that do carry serious health risks.Some herbal weight loss products have been shown tocontain illegal drugs that are not declared on the label.


16 NUTRITION FOR FOOTBALL | CarbohydratES in the dietNUTRITION FOR FOOTBALL | CarbohydratES in the diet 17Carbohydratesin the dietCarbohydrate is an important fuel <strong>for</strong> exercise but thebody can store enough to last <strong>for</strong> only one day of hardtraining. The player’s everyday eating and drinking planthere<strong>for</strong>e needs to provide enough carbohydrate to fueltheir training program and to optimise the recovery ofmuscle glycogen stores between workouts. Generaltargets can be provided <strong>for</strong> carbohydrate needs, basedon the player’s size and the demands of their trainingprogram (see Table below). Actual needs are specific tothe individual, however, and must be fine-tuned to takeDuring longer recovery periods (24 hours), the patternand timing of carbohydrate-rich meals and snacks do notappear to be critical, and can be organised according towhat is practical and <strong>com</strong><strong>for</strong>table <strong>for</strong> each player. Thereis no difference in glycogen synthesis when carbohydrateis consumed in liquid <strong>for</strong>m or as solid foods. Given theamount of carbohydrate to be consumed, highcarbohydrates foods will need to be spread out over thefull 24 hours.It is valuable to choose nutrient-rich carbohydratesExamples of carbohydrate foods with moderatehighGlycaemic Index:Most breakfast cerealsMost <strong>for</strong>ms of riceWhite and brown breadsSports drinks and soft drinksSugar, jam and honeyPotatoesTropical fruits and juicesaccount of the total energy needs and specific trainingand to add other foods to recovery meals and snacks togoals. It is important to get feedback from per<strong>for</strong>manceprovide protein and other nutrients. These nutrients mayin training and match play to assess whether there is aproblem with fuel availability. An inadequateassist in other recovery processes, and in the case ofprotein, may promote additional glycogen recoveryExamples of nutrient-rich carbohydrate foodsand meal <strong>com</strong>binationscarbohydrate intake will lead to early fatigue.Targets <strong>for</strong> carbohydrate intake• Immediate recovery after exercise (0-4 hours): about1 g per kg of the player’s body weight per hour,consumed at frequent intervalswhen carbohydrate intake is below targets or whenfrequent snacking is not possible.Carbohydrate-rich foods and drinks with a moderateto high glycaemic index (GI) provide a readily availablesource of carbohydrate <strong>for</strong> glycogen synthesis. Thesefoods should <strong>for</strong>m the major part of recovery meals.Breakfast cereal with milkFlavoured yoghurtFruit smoothie or liquid meal supplementSandwich with meat and salad fillingStir-fry with rice or noodles• Daily recovery from a moderate duration/low intensityAdequate energy intake is also important <strong>for</strong>Breakfast cereals are good.training session: 5-7 g per kg BW per dayoptimal glycogen recovery; the restrained eating• Recovery from moderate-heavy endurance trainingpractices of some players, particularly females, make it(such as pre-season) or fuelling up <strong>for</strong> a match: 7-10 gdifficult to meet carbohydrate intake targets and toper kg BW per dayoptimise glycogen storage from this intake.Special <strong>com</strong>mentsStrategies <strong>for</strong> choosing carbohydrate foods anddrinks and optimising recovery of glycogen storesSimilar strategies apply to recovery after games.This can be especially challenging after matches thatfinish late in the evening, with further <strong>com</strong>plications ifGuidelines <strong>for</strong> carbohydrate should not be provided interms of percentage contributions to total dietary energyintake (<strong>for</strong> example, stating that carbohydrate shouldCarbohydrate is an importantfuel <strong>for</strong> exercise but the bodyWhen the period between training sessions is less thanabout 8 hours (as in pre-season <strong>for</strong> elite players),carbohydrate intake, in the <strong>for</strong>m of solids or liquids,there is a homeward journey beginning immediatelyafter the match. Neglecting an adequate carbohydrateintake after the game will delay recovery and it isprovide 55% of energy intake). Such re<strong>com</strong>mendationsare hard <strong>for</strong> most people to follow since they requireboth carbohydrate and energy intake to be tracked. Theycan store enough to last <strong>for</strong>only one day of hard training.should start as soon as practicable after the first session toimportant that some carbohydrate is consumed be<strong>for</strong>ecan also be misleading when energy intakes aremaximise the effective recovery time. There may be somesetting off on the journey home and be<strong>for</strong>e going toparticularly high or particularly low.advantages in meeting carbohydrate targets through abed.series of snacks during the early recovery phase.


18 NUTRITION FOR FOOTBALL | Protein NEEdsNUTRITION FOR FOOTBALL | Protein NEEds 19Protein needs<strong>for</strong> training and bulking upProtein has been considered a key nutrient <strong>for</strong> sportingPlayers most at risk of failing to meet their protein needsExciting new research shows that the most importantFurther work is required to fine tune guidelines <strong>for</strong> thesuccess by athletes of all eras and in all sports. Ancientare those who severely restrict their energy intake <strong>for</strong>factor in the protein story is the timing of intake ratheroptimum amount, type, and timing of intake of theseOlympians were reported to eat unusually large amountslong periods or who lack dietary variety. An adequatethan the total amount that is consumed. Recent studiesnutrients and to confirm that these eating strategies leadof meat, but today’s players have access to a vast array ofenergy intake is also important in promoting proteinhave focused on the acute response to workouts of bothto an enhancement of the goals of training.protein and amino acid supplements to help thembalance or increasing protein retention.endurance and resistance training. Enhanced proteinIn the light of this in<strong>for</strong>mation, it appears sensibleincrease their protein intakes.Some resistance-trained athletes and body buildersbalance is a desirable goal of the recovery phase – toto focus on the total balance of the diet and the timingProtein plays a key role in the adaptations that takeconsume very large amounts of protein, but there is nooverturn the increased rates of protein breakdown thatof protein-carbohydrate meals and snacks in relation toplace in response to training. Amino acids from proteinsevidence that such dietary patterns enhance the responsenormally occur during exercise and to promote muscletraining, rather than on high protein intakes per se. Such<strong>for</strong>m building blocks <strong>for</strong> the manufacture of new tissue,to training or increase the gains in muscle mass andgrowth, repair, and adaptation following the exercisea <strong>com</strong>bination can look after refuelling and proteinincluding muscle, and the repair of old or damagedstrength. While such diets are not necessarily harmful,stimulus. These studies have found that the intake ofrecovery needs.tissue. They are also the building blocks <strong>for</strong> hormonesthey are expensive and can fail to meet other nutritionalsmall amounts (about 20-25 g) of high quality proteinand enzymes that regulate metabolism and other bodygoals, such as providing the fuel needed to optimiseenhances protein synthesis during the recovery period.functions. Protein provides a small source of fuel <strong>for</strong> thetraining and per<strong>for</strong>mance.exercising muscle.Some scientists have suggested that endurance andresistance-training exercise will increase daily proteinneeds up to a maximum of 1.2-1.6 g per kg body weight(BW). This is 50-100% more than the re<strong>com</strong>mendedintake of 0.8 g/kg BW <strong>for</strong> a sedentary person. Theevidence <strong>for</strong> this increase in protein needs, however, isnot clear and universal. Part of the confusion is causedby problems involved in scientific techniques used tomeasure protein requirements.Protein has been consideredThe debate over the precise protein needs of playersis largely unnecessary. Dietary surveys show that mostplayers who eat enough to meet their energy needsa key nutrient <strong>for</strong> sportingsuccess by athletes of all erasalready consume diets that provide protein intakesabove 1.2-1.6 g/kg/d, even without the use of proteinand in all sports.supplements. There<strong>for</strong>e, most players do not need to beencouraged or educated to increase their proteinintakes. Rather, anyone who consumes adequate energyintake from a variety of nutrient-rich foods should beconfident of meeting their protein needs, including anyincreases that could arise from high-level training


20 NUTRITION FOR FOOTBALL | Protein NEEdsNUTRITION FOR FOOTBALL | VitamiNS, miNErals and anti-oxidants 21Vitamins, minerals andanti-oxidants <strong>for</strong> training and staying healthyProtein rich foods – 10 g protein is provided by:Special sports foods such as sports bars and liquid mealsupplements can provide a <strong>com</strong>pact and convenient wayHard training and match play place a heavy stress on thebody, but good food choices can reduce the risk of harm.improved – <strong>for</strong> example, when the player is travelling ina country with a limited food supply - or if an individualAnimal protein (high quality)to consume carbohydrate and protein when everydayAdequate intakes of energy, protein, iron, copper,is found to be suffering from a lack of a particular2 small eggsfoods are unavailable or are too bulky and impractical tomanganese, magnesium, selenium, sodium, zinc, andvitamin or mineral, then supplementation may be300 ml cow’s milkconsume. The additional cost of these products and thevitamins A, C, E, B6, and B12 are particularly importantwarranted. This should be undertaken with the advice of20 g skim milk powder30 g cheese200 g yoghurt35-50 g meat, fish or chicken150 ml fruit smoothie or liquid meal supplementfact that they contain only a limited range of nutrientsmust be taken into account. There is little justification <strong>for</strong>using very expensive protein-only powders or amino acidsupplements. Everyday foods are likely to be just aseffective, and perhaps even better.to health and per<strong>for</strong>mance. These nutrients, as well asothers, are best obtained from a varied diet based largelyon nutrient-rich foods such as vegetables, fruits, beans,legumes, grains, lean meats, fish, dairy products, andunsaturated oils. Dietary surveys show that most playersa qualified sports nutrition expert. In general, a broadrangemultivitamin/mineral supplement is the bestchoice to support a restricted food intake, althoughtargeted nutrient supplements may be necessary tocorrect an established nutrient deficiency (e.g. ironVegetable proteinare able to meet the re<strong>com</strong>mended intakes <strong>for</strong> vitaminsdeficiency).4 slices bread90 g breakfast cereal2 cups cooked pasta or 3 cups rice400 ml soy milk60 g nuts or seeds120 g tofu or soy meatand minerals by eating everyday foods. Those at risk ofsub-optimal intakes of these micronutrients include:• players who restrict their energy intake, especiallyover long periods, to meet weight loss goals• players whose diets lack variety and who eat a lot offoods with a poor nutrient-densityAnti-oxidant nutrientsAnti-oxidant nutrients are important in helping protectthe body’s tissues against the stresses of hard exercise.Hard training increases the need <strong>for</strong> antioxidants, but thebody naturally develops an effective defence with a150 g legumes or lentilsbalanced diet. Supplementation with antioxidantsThe best way to correct this situation is to seek advicecannot be re<strong>com</strong>mended because there is little evidencefrom a qualified sports nutrition expert such as a sportsof benefit while it is known that over-supplementationdietitian. When food intake cannot be adequatelycan diminish the body‘s natural defence system.Hard training and match playplace a heavy stress on thebody, but good food choicescan reduce the risk of harm.Animal ProteinVegetable Protein


22 NUTRITION FOR FOOTBALL | VitamiNS, miNErals and anti-oxidantsNUTRITION FOR FOOTBALL | VitamiNS, miNErals and anti-oxidants 23Ideas <strong>for</strong> promoting dietary variety and nutrientricheating• Be open to trying new foods and new recipes• Make the most of foods in season• Explore all the varieties of different foods• Mix and match foods at meals• Think carefully be<strong>for</strong>e banishing a food or groupof foods from your eating plansInclude fruits and vegetables at every meal. The strongcolours of many fruits and vegetables are a sign of a highcontent of various vitamins and other food anti-oxidants.Aim to fill your plate with highly coloured foods to ensurea good intake of the range of these health-promotingdietary <strong>com</strong>pounds. It is good to ensure that you “eat arainbow” each day by choosing fruits and vegetablesfrom each of the following schemes:Special concernsIron deficiency is the most <strong>com</strong>mon nutrient deficiencyin the world. It may occur in athletes, including <strong>football</strong>players, and can impair training and match per<strong>for</strong>mance.Unexplained fatigue, especially in vegetarian eaters,should be explored with a sports physician and sportsnutrition expert. Routine use of iron supplements is notwise: too much is just as harmful as too little. Selfmedicationwith iron supplements may not address thereal problem that is causing fatigue or solve the cause ofpoor iron status.Calcium is important <strong>for</strong> healthy bones. The best sourcesare dairy foods, including low fat varieties. Fortified soyfoods may provide a useful substitute where playerscannot consume dairy foods. Three servings a day arerequired by adults, with an increased requirement duringgrowth spurts in childhood and adolescence, and <strong>for</strong>pregnancy and lactation.White – e.g. cauliflowers, bananas, onions, potatoesGreen – e.g. broccoli, lettuce, green apples and grapesBlue/purple – e.g blueberries, plums, purple grapes,raisinsOrange/Yellow – e.g. carrots, apricots, peaches,oranges, cantaloupe, mangoesRed – tomatoes, watermelon, cherries, berries, redapples, red peppersExamples of fruits and vegetablesrepresenting the colours of the rainbow


30 NUTRITION FOR FOOTBALL | SuPPlEMENts and SPorts foodsNUTRITION FOR FOOTBALL | SuPPlEMENts and SPorts foods 31Compounds in the muscle building category includeMany nutrition supplements, including glutamine, zinc,dose is not helpful. Creatine is normally found in meatplayers should be warned that a <strong>com</strong>mon side-effect ofchromium, boron, hydroxymethylbutyrate, colostrumEchinacea, colostrum and others, are on sale with claimsand fish, but the doses used in supplementation protocolsmost beta-alanine supplements is an un<strong>com</strong><strong>for</strong>tableand others. Based on current research, none of these hasthat they can boost the immune system, but there is no(10-20 g per day <strong>for</strong> 4-5 days to load, and 2-3 g per dayprickling sensation that lasts <strong>for</strong> about an hour.anything worthwhile to offer the player.strong evidence that any of these is effective. The best<strong>for</strong> maintenance) are more than is found in normal foods.A number of sports foods have been developed toIncreasing energy supplyevidence supports practices which maintain goodcarbohydrate stores during exercise - thus lowering stressThere is some evidence that creatine supplements canalso help increase glycogen storage in muscle. Creatinesupply a specific <strong>for</strong>mulation of energy and nutrients ina <strong>for</strong>m that is easy to consume. These can be valuable inSupplements in this category include carnitine, pyruvatehormone levels - and appropriate rest periods.supplementation appears not to be harmful to health.allowing players to meet their special nutrition needsand ribose as well as some more exotic herbalpreparations. None of these is likely to improveSupplements <strong>for</strong> bone and joint healthCaffeine. A small amount of caffeine (2-3 mg/kg) canwhen everyday foods are unavailable or impractical toeat. This is most often the case just prior to, during, orper<strong>for</strong>mance and, in spite of advertising claims, none isHard training puts extra wear and tear on the bones,help per<strong>for</strong>mance in prolonged exercise and may also beafter an exercise session. Examples of useful sportssupported by good independent evidence.<strong>Nutrition</strong> and the immune systemThere is some evidence that players who are traininghard may be at increased risk of minor illnesses andinfections. These are generally trivial, but they caninterrupt training or cause a player to miss important<strong>com</strong>petitions. Hard training may <strong>com</strong>promise the body’simmune system and high levels of stress hormonesreduce its ability to fight these infections.joints and associated structures, and numeroussupplements are claimed to look after these tissues.Healthy bones need a good supply of calcium from thediet and Vitamin D from exposure to sunlight. Playerswho suffer from problems related to sub-optimal bonedensity should seek professional advice and supervisedtreatment from a sports physician.Glucosamine, chondroitin, methylsulphonylmethane(MSM) and other products are promoted <strong>for</strong> joint health.Long-term (2-6 months) glucosamine treatment mayhelpful in exercise of shorter duration. Such moderatedoses can be found in everyday amounts of coffee, coladrinks and some sports products (e.g. gels, some sportsdrinks). For example, 100 mg of caffeine is supplied by asmall cup of brewed coffee or 750 ml of a cola drink.Larger doses of caffeine do not seem to be more effective,and may have negative out<strong>com</strong>es such as over-arousaland poor sleep patterns after an event.Bicarbonate. In very hard exercise, the muscles producefoods include:• sports drinks (providing fluid and carbohydrate duringexercise),• sports gels (additional carbohydrate intake, especiallyduring exercise)• liquid meals (carbohydrate, protein, vitamins andminerals <strong>for</strong> a pre-event meal, post-exercise recoveryor a high-energy diet)• sports bars (carbohydrate, protein, vitamins andminerals – often a solid <strong>for</strong>m of the liquid meal).provide subjective relief in elderly individuals sufferinglactic acid. This is both good (giving energy to allow hardfrom osteoarthritis, but there is little or no evidence ofef<strong>for</strong>ts) and bad (causing pain and interfering withOf course, the relatively high cost of these sports foodsbenefit <strong>for</strong> otherwise healthy players.muscle function). In the same way that excess stomachmust be taken into account when deciding whether toSupplements that might workacidity can be buffered by taking bicarbonate, so sodiumbicarbonate (in a dose of about 0.3 g per kg body weight)use them.Some supplements do offer the prospect of improvedbe<strong>for</strong>e an event can counter the negative effects of lacticper<strong>for</strong>mance: these include creatine, caffeine,acid. Bicarbonate supplements are widely used bybicarbonate, and perhaps a very few others.Creatine. Creatine supplements can increase the amountof high energy creatine phosphate stored in the muscles,and may improve per<strong>for</strong>mance in single or multipleathletes in events that cause fatigue within a few minutesand there is now evidence of possible benefits fromstudies designed to simulate the activity patterns of<strong>football</strong> players. There is a real risk of gastrointestinalproblems and players should experiment in training.All players should look carefully atthe risks and rewards of individualsupplements be<strong>for</strong>e trying them.sprints. It may also lead to a gain in muscle mass, whichAnother buffering supplement that is gaining attentionis helpful <strong>for</strong> some players but harmful <strong>for</strong> others. Asis beta-alanine. More work is needed on beta-alanine towith all supplements, exceeding the maximum effectiveknow if it can be of benefit to <strong>football</strong> play. However,


34 NUTRITION FOR FOOTBALL | AlcoholNUTRITION FOR FOOTBALL | Alcohol 35AlcoholThe use of alcohol is often intimately associated withAlcohol metabolismunderstood, the aftermath of alcohol use (hangover)Alcohol is a high energy (and nutrient-poor) food andsport, and the association is particularly strong inAlcohol is metabolised primarily in the liver, and the ratemay also adversely affect per<strong>for</strong>mance <strong>for</strong> many hoursshould be restricted when the player is attempting to<strong>football</strong>. As well as providing a source of energy, alcoholof metabolism varies greatly between individuals. Alcoholafter intoxication.reduce body fat.(ethanol) has metabolic, cardiovascular, thermoregulatorycan be oxidised at a rate of about 100 mg/kg body massThe most important problem associated with theThe player should certainly avoid a heavy intake ofand neuromuscular actions that may affect exerciseper hour – equivalent to about one unit of alcohol perexcessive consumption of alcohol after exercise is that italcohol on the night be<strong>for</strong>e a match. It appears unlikelyper<strong>for</strong>mance.hour <strong>for</strong> most people. Despite popular belief, themay disinhibit the player and distract them from makingthat the intake of 1-2 standard drinks will have negativeclearance of alcohol from the system cannot be enhancedgood choices. Alcohol intoxication may make the playereffects in most habitual drinkers.Sensible drinking guidelines <strong>for</strong> the <strong>com</strong>munityby having showers, drinking coffee, or other practices<strong>for</strong>get about following sound recovery practices such asAlcohol is not an essential <strong>com</strong>ponent of a diet. It isAlcohol intake may be measured in grams or ml ofbelieved to help an intoxicated person “sober up”.appropriate treatment <strong>for</strong> injuries, adequate sleep, ora personal choice whether an adult player consumesethanol, or in units of alcohol: each unit of alcohol in theThe actions of alcohol on the central nervous systemoptimal eating and drinking. Alcohol may displacealcohol at all. However, there is no evidence ofUK contains approximately 8 grams (10 ml) of ethanol.result in decrements in skill and in behavioural changescarbohydrate from the diet at a time when restoration ofimpairments to health and per<strong>for</strong>mance when alcohol isThe UK Department of Health re<strong>com</strong>mends that adultthat may have adverse effects on per<strong>for</strong>mance. There isglycogen stores should be a priority. The need <strong>for</strong> otherused sensibly.men should not consume more than 3-4 units of alcoholalso evidence of dose-dependent decrements in aerobicimportant nutrients may be neglected while the player isBe<strong>for</strong>e consuming any alcohol after a match, theper day and women should not consume more than 2-3capacity. Although the mechanisms are not wellconsuming large amounts of alcohol, or sleeping off theplayer should consume a meal or snack to replaceunits daily. In the US, however, a standard drink delivershangover next day. An intoxicated athlete oftencarbohydrate, and protein. This snack or meal will startabout 12-14 grams of alcohol, and the US Departmentsuccumbs to high-risk activities leading to accidents,the recovery process. Food intake will also help to reduceof Agriculture re<strong>com</strong>mends that men should not drinkviolence, or other anti-social behaviour. Negativethe rate of alcohol absorption and thus reduce the ratemore than 1-2 drinks per day and that women shouldout<strong>com</strong>es range from the tarnishing of a reputation toof intoxication.not exceed 1 drink per day.serious (and sometimes fatal) injury.Once post-exercise recovery priorities have beenThese re<strong>com</strong>mendations provide a guide to theaddressed, the player who chooses to drink is encouragedeveryday use of alcohol, but the problems associatedto do so “in moderation”. Drink-driving educationwith alcohol in <strong>football</strong> generally arise from “binge”messages in various countries may provide a guide todrinking on specific occasions – especially in the post-sensible and well-paced drinking.match period. This type of drinking has implications <strong>for</strong>The player who drinks heavily after a match, or atthe players’ post-match recovery, their well-being, andother times, should avoid driving and other hazardoustheir reputation.activities.Examples of one unit (~ 10 g) alcohol250 ml standard beer (4% alcohol)500 ml standard low alcohol beer (2% alcohol)The use of alcohol is often250 ml wine coolers or alcoholic soft drinksintimately associated with sport,100 ml wine or champagneand the association is particularlystrong in <strong>football</strong>.60 ml <strong>for</strong>tified wines, port25 ml (one nip – a shot in the US)


36 NUTRITION FOR FOOTBALL | the elite playerNUTRITION FOR FOOTBALL | the elite player 37Special needs of theelite playerThere are no easy games <strong>for</strong> the elite player whoseTraining issuesCompetition issuesseason includes pre-season tours, domestic league andCup games plus international <strong>com</strong>petitions. Each gameis played at high pace with corresponding physicaldemands. The elite player’s club will usually providesupport and advice, but most meals will be taken awayfrom the club, so players must take some responsibility<strong>for</strong> meeting their nutrition needs.• A demanding endurance training program usuallyinvolves daily or twice daily workouts. Inadequaterefuelling leads to fatigue, ineffective training, and arisk of injury. Traditionally, many team players havefocussed on fuelling up only on the day be<strong>for</strong>e amatch or in the pre-event meal. However, the dailydemands of training are best met by a permanent,daily approach to adequate fuel intake.• Once the season is under way, the focus shifts fromgaining fitness to staying healthy and being in peakcondition <strong>for</strong> every game.The elite, professional player has <strong>com</strong>petitive demandsbeyond scheduled domestic league matches, includingCup <strong>com</strong>petitions and national team duty in friendlymatches or qualifying matches <strong>for</strong> a variety ofinternational <strong>com</strong>petitions. Competition is no longerconfined to weekly games on a Saturday afternoon, andplayers may be asked to play at any time of day, withmidweek evening games now <strong>com</strong>mon. Congestedfixture lists may mean that only 2-3 days of rest areavailable between games, with some of that timerequired <strong>for</strong> travel to and from away fixtures. WhereThe pre-match meal is a good opportunity <strong>for</strong> a sharedmeal, ensuring final nutritional preparation as well as anopportunity to boost morale and share final tactics. Ideas<strong>for</strong> the pre-event meal are found in the box below, andare best provided as a buffet, to allow each team memberto meet their individual needs and preferences.An individual approach to fluid and fuel needsduring matches is also useful. Undertaking fluid balancemonitoring sessions during training or practice matchesmay help players to identify their individual needs andadjust their drinking practices accordingly. The currentrecovery opportunities between games are limited, it isrules of <strong>football</strong> place some limitations on the intake ofvital that the training load is reduced to allow recovery offluid or sports foods during matches. Players may needthe carbohydrate stores. Fatigue is largely related toto use creative ideas to meet their refuelling anddeclining glycogen levels as the game progresses.rehydration goals.Carbohydrate intake – usually, but not always, in liquidPost-match or post-training recovery is another<strong>for</strong>m - during a match can be effective at delayinggood opportunity <strong>for</strong> team nutrition. Many professionalfatigue, and although the nature of the game makes it<strong>football</strong> clubs have invested in an organised dining roomdifficult to ingest carbohydrate during a match, it is notor cafeteria to offer meals or snacks to players afterimpossible. The most difficult players to reach are thetraining. This not only provides players with immediatecentral midfielders as they are the most distant from theaccess to the nutrients to promote recovery, but providessides/ends of the field.an educational message of the importance of nutritionin recovery. The provision of post-match snacks and lightSpecial issues and eating strategiesmeals providing nutritious <strong>for</strong>ms of carbohydrate andMany teams have a large contingent of young playersprotein, as well as fluid options, will help players towho are ‘”fresh from home”. It is a good team strategyrecover effectively while celebrating or <strong>com</strong>miseratingto organise cooking and shopping classes <strong>for</strong> youngthe results of the match. Alcohol, often a large part ofplayers to help them develop the domestic skills andpost-game activities< should be discouraged, unless innutrition knowledge that will allow them to reach theirmoderation and even then only after recovery eatingfull potential as players. Players looking after themselvesgoals are achieved.<strong>for</strong> the first time can find it hard to juggle the team<strong>com</strong>mitments, as well as work/school. Many recipebooks developed <strong>for</strong> athletes offer quick and nutritiousmeal ideas suited to the special needs of sport.


38 NUTRITION FOR FOOTBALL | the elite playerNUTRITION FOR FOOTBALL | the SEMi-proFESSional player 39Special needs of thesemi-professional playerIdeas <strong>for</strong> high carbohydrate pre-event meals*Snacks <strong>for</strong> recovery after training or matchesThe ambition of most young semi-professional players isThe demands of training (intensity, duration, frequency)to be<strong>com</strong>e a full-time player. Most teams at this level willare likely to be less than that of full-time professionals,Breakfastmenus• 250-350 ml fruit smoothie or liquid mealinclude a mixture of older players who have played at abut some players will do extra sessions on their own as• Breakfast cereal and milk, fresh or canned fruit• 60 g (1-2 cups) breakfast cereal + milk + 1 fruithigher level with younger players wanting to move up.they pursue a career at a higher level. Training is usually• Toast and jam/honey• 200 g carton of yoghurt + cereal/breakfast barThis <strong>com</strong>bination of experience and youthful ambitionscheduled after the work day, meaning the player has• Pancakes and syrup• 1 round of meat/cheese and salad sandwichesgives these teams a unique set of opportunities andhad a full day of some other activity prior to training. The• Fruit-flavoured yoghurtor roll + 250 ml fruit juicechallenges.time demands of having two jobs may mean limited• Baked beans or tinned spaghetti on toast• 150 g thick crust pizza – lean meat and vegetableWithin the team, there may be very differentopportunity <strong>for</strong> adequate nutrition.• Liquid meal supplement or fruit smoothietoppings and easy on the cheeseapproaches to training, depending on the demands of• Fruit juice or sports drink• 60 g sports bar + 250 ml sports drinkother employment and on individual perceptions of theLunch and dinner menus• Rice dishes – risotto, fried rice, paella• Pasta and light sauce• Bread, including rolls and sandwichesEach choice provides ~ 50 g carbohydrate and a valuablesource of protein and other nutrientsneed <strong>for</strong> training to maintain fitness. Experienced playerswith proven skills may not be able - or may not feel itnecessary – to train as hard as the younger players. Anynutrition strategy developed <strong>for</strong> the team must takeaccount of these individual differences as well as thePlayers looking after themselves<strong>for</strong> the first time can find it hardto juggle the team <strong>com</strong>mitments,as well as work/school.• Fruit and fruit based dessertsusual concerns about individual food preferences of the• Rice puddingdifferent players.Competition issues* A low-fat or low-fibre menu may help to reduce therisk of gastrointestinal problems in susceptible athletesTraining issuesThe semi-professional player typically must balance two<strong>com</strong>peting demands - that of their work/career and thatSemi-professional teams vary greatly in the level ofsupport available to their players. Some clubs might offera high level of support while others offer little. Eachof the <strong>football</strong> team. Schedules need to be flexible soplayer needs to take responsibility <strong>for</strong> their own foodthat the player can <strong>com</strong>petently handle bothchoices to ensure they are as well-prepared as possibleresponsibilities. Each will have their own daily demands,<strong>for</strong> <strong>com</strong>petition.travel schedules, and time requirements that may, attimes, conflict with each other.


40 NUTRITION FOR FOOTBALL | the SEMi-proFESSional playerNUTRITION FOR FOOTBALL | the SEMi-proFESSional player 41A semi-professional club usually has a fixed schedule ofmatches, most <strong>com</strong>monly one match per week. Thenumber of Cup matches is likely to be fewer than <strong>for</strong>professionals. It is not unusual <strong>for</strong> these players to have amatch on some midweek evenings after their regulardaily activities. The match is generally played at a lowerabsolute speed and the amount of work is less due tolower levels of fitness, reduced training demands andother reasons. Nonetheless most players are still very<strong>com</strong>mitted to their play and will do everything possibleto ensure they can play at the levels they desire.Special issues and eating strategiesrequirements of a serious player. This is further<strong>com</strong>plicated by the need to balance dietary demandswith the challenges of work, training, and matches.These players frequently must seek out the in<strong>for</strong>mationnecessary to educate themselves about the details ofsports nutrition.The pre-match meal <strong>for</strong> a midweek game may needto be eaten during their work day and the timing maynot always coincide with the normal mid-day meal. Aweekend match could follow the timing and selectionguidelines <strong>for</strong> the professional, assuming that jobdemands are not a factor. Players should follow thehydration guidelines <strong>for</strong> the professional regardingglycogen. Muscle is most receptive <strong>for</strong> glycogenrefuelling immediately after exercise and the playershould still strive to eat some carbohydrates after amatch following choices outlined <strong>for</strong> professionals.Alcohol after the match should be limited as it mayaffect rehydration and food selections.Strategies to help with planning meals<strong>for</strong> the week• Plan the weekly menu around matches and trainingsessions. Note the days that the meal plan must bealtered to suit this schedule• Use days with light or no <strong>football</strong> <strong>com</strong>mitments to geton top of the nutrition plan. Do the shopping andcook meals ahead of need. Refrigerate or freeze oneportionservings of meals <strong>for</strong> a pre-game meal atwork, or a quick meal after training or matches.• If you live in a shared household, work as a team toshare these tasks• If you are struggling, consider seeking advice from anSemi-professional players do not have the dietary supporttiming, type, and volume of replenishment. Playersexpert in nutrition or time managementthat is available to professional players. Some will have toshould generally strive to restrict fluid losses to not moremake all their own purchasing, preparation, selection,than 2% of body weight.and timing decision, while others will rely on partners orThe scheduling of matches and training at this levelparents <strong>for</strong> most of their meal preparation. Those whois probably not as dense as the professional meaning theprovide meals may have little awareness of the nutritionplayer has more time to refill the muscles of depleted


42 NUTRITION FOR FOOTBALL | the amateur playerNUTRITION FOR FOOTBALL | the amateur player 43Special needs of theamateur playerThe vast majority of <strong>football</strong> players world wide areThese players often play in organised teams, but have noTraining issuesCompetition issuesamateurs who play <strong>for</strong> the enjoyment of the game. Theirorganised support other than setting up a team andThere is a wide range of training schedules <strong>for</strong> amateurThe number of matches per week, month, or year is likely<strong>com</strong>mitment may be purely recreational or they mayalerting team mates of the schedule. More serious teamsteams. Some teams gather only <strong>for</strong> matches while othersto be variable. The amateur adult will likely <strong>com</strong>peteplay in an attempt to improve their game to move up inmay have a coach and some measure of external support.may train one or more days each week. These sessionsonce per week, but could play multiple, usuallytheir level of play. Whatever their long-term ambitions,are <strong>com</strong>monly in the afternoon (youth) or eveningabbreviated, games in a weekend at a tournament.they will want to win every game. The age range extends(adults). Most practices focus on tactics and techniqueYouth teams usually have one match per week, but longfrom the very young up to older adults who continue torather than on fitness.travel might mean two or more games on any one trip toplay <strong>for</strong> the love of the game.The intensity and volume of training will be wellsave travel time and money. Youth players may play onbelow that of players at higher, more <strong>com</strong>petitive levels.multiple teams and accumulate a substantial number ofAttendance at training can be quite variable.matches in a year. There are reports of young playersplaying 100 or more matches a year.While matches will be played at a slower paceleading to reduced volume of running, these games maystill be important to the players and teams, meaning thatthese players can still benefit from practising soundprinciples of sports nutrition.Special issues and eating strategiesThe vast majority of research into <strong>football</strong> focuses onprofessionals, but most experimental work is done onrecreational-level players. The mixture of carbohydrates,fats and proteins is the same regardless of the level ofplay. What is different is the amount of food eaten. Theamateur who tries to eat the same volume of food as aprofessional would probably gain weight. Amateurplayers can choose foods from the suggestions <strong>for</strong>During the off season, theamateur needs to reduce foodintake because there is littleor no training.


44 NUTRITION FOR FOOTBALL | the amateur playerNUTRITION FOR FOOTBALL | the FEMale player 45Special needs of thefemale playerprofessional players, but they may not need to eat theThe amount of <strong>football</strong> training and supplementalTraining and <strong>com</strong>petition issuesGeneral health issuessame volume of food unless they have a physicallytraining is well below that of professional teams. TheThe women’s game is now more popular than ever, andPlayers should eat sufficient food to achieve an energydemanding occupation in addition to their <strong>football</strong>amateur needs to carefully monitor weight and foodit is estimated that more women than men will beintake that:<strong>com</strong>mitments.intake to minimise changes in weight. The older amateurplaying the game by the year 2010. Estimates of work• provides sufficient energy <strong>for</strong> training and <strong>com</strong>petitionAmateur leagues sometimes modify the Laws ofwho has played at a very high level might rememberrate and energy demand suggest that women generallyneeds<strong>football</strong> <strong>for</strong> their own circumstances. Primary changestheir diet as a professional and eat far more than needed,cover less distance in training and match play than men,• meets the energy demands of other daily activitiesusually involve unlimited substitutions and shorter matchleading to increased body fat and weight gain.but the relative exercise intensity over the course of a• allows the player to achieve a body size andduration. This means some players will not play theAn amateur’s <strong>com</strong>petitive season is usually not asgame is about the same, at 70% of maximum oxygen<strong>com</strong>position that meets their health and fitness goalsentire match and will probably not experience the levellengthy as that of a professional, though some play yearuptake. Typical energy expenditure during a match isof glycogen depletion seen after highly <strong>com</strong>petitiveround with only short holiday breaks. During the offabout 1,100 kcal <strong>for</strong> a 60 kg player.Some players restrict food intake to achieve their desiredmatches. There is probably no need to eat the amountseason, the amateur needs to reduce food intake duringThere have been few studies of the eating habits ofweight at the expense of both health and per<strong>for</strong>mance.of carbohydrate required by the glycogen-depletedthis period of reduced energy expenditure because therefemale players, but the in<strong>for</strong>mation we do have suggestsRestricting food intake can lead to fatigue, leading toplayer, but this does not mean the player can ignoreis little or no training.that their dietary habits and major nutrition concerns arereduced training and in turn to reduced energysound dietary principles.Some amateur players are motivated to play <strong>football</strong>not so different from those of other female athletes or ofexpenditure and there<strong>for</strong>e weight gain. Weight controlAt amateur matches, each player is probablyby the social element of team sport, and this can bemale players.needs careful management.responsible <strong>for</strong> their own hydration because they lackexpressed in the <strong>for</strong>m of heavy drinking after matches orthe support a more organized program might have. Alltraining sessions. Whatever the level of play, abuse oftenLosing body fatplayers need to prepare <strong>for</strong> training and matches bybringing their own drinks and bottles. Sound hygienesuggests that each player should have their own bottleand not share with team mates.impairs per<strong>for</strong>mance, health, and can cause socialproblems. The in<strong>for</strong>mation about alcohol given aboveprovides a guide to sensible use of alcohol in sport.Some players restrict food intaketo achieve their desired weight atthe expense of both health andThere is enormous pressure on many women to achievean unrealistic body weight and body fat level. This can<strong>com</strong>promise both short term playing per<strong>for</strong>mance andlong term health with the real possibility of harm toper<strong>for</strong>mance.reproductive health and to bone health. A player with


46 NUTRITION FOR FOOTBALL | the FEMale playerNUTRITION FOR FOOTBALL | the FEMale player 47any menstrual irregularity should consider this as apossible warning sign and seek professional advice.If there is a need to reduce body fat, this should bedone sensibly. Reducing body fat requires a negativeenergy balance – energy expenditure should be greaterthan energy intake – and a negative body fat balance. Itis a mistake to reduce energy intake – especially proteinand carbohydrate intake – too far. This increases fatiguein training and daily life, reducing energy levels and thuslimiting weight loss.Strategies <strong>for</strong> reducing body fat• Set realistic targets: this is a medium –term goal ratherthan something to be achieved by next week• Limit portion sizes at meals rather than skipping mealsaltogether• Use well-chosen snacks between meals to maintainfuel levels <strong>for</strong> training sessions. Save part of a meal <strong>for</strong>a later snack, rather than eating extra food• Maintain carbohydrate intake to maintain fuel levels<strong>for</strong> exercise• Use low-fat strategies in choosing foods and whilecooking or preparing meals• Limit alcohol intake or cut it out altogether – it is notan essential part of the diet• Make meals and snacks more “filling” by includingplenty of salads and vegetables, by taking the higherfibreoption, and by including low glycaemic <strong>for</strong>ms ofcarbohydrate-rich foods.CalciumCalcium is important <strong>for</strong> healthy bones. In somecountries, many everyday foods are <strong>for</strong>tified with calcium(e.g. fruit juice). The best sources of calcium, however,are dairy foods with low fat varieties providing a greatway to meet calcium needs within a smaller energybudget.Each player should aim to include at least 3 servingsof dairy foods in their daily eating plans – e.g. 200 ml oflow fat milk, 30 g cheese or a 200 ml carton of low fatyoghurt.Calcium-<strong>for</strong>tified soy versions of dairy foods arealso suitable – e.g. soy milk, soy yoghurt.An additional one-two daily servings are requiredduring growth spurts in childhood and adolescence, and<strong>for</strong> pregnancy and when breast feeding.Fish eaten with bones (e.g. tinned salmon, sardines)and leafy green vegetables (e.g. broccoli, spinach) providea useful source of additional dietary calcium.IronIron deficiency is a cause of fatigue and reducedper<strong>for</strong>mance. Females are particularly at risk because ofincreased iron requirements due to menstrual bloodlosses matched against a smaller intake of food. Iron richeating will help to reduce this risk.Iron-rich eatingConsume moderate servings of red meats (well-absorbediron) in 3-5 meals per week.Choose iron-<strong>for</strong>tified cereal products such asbreakfast cereals.Combine plant and non-meat sources of iron (e.g.legumes, cereals, eggs, green leafy vegetables) with foodfactors that enhance iron absorption. These includevitamin C and a factor found in meat/fish/chicken.Examples of clever matching include fruit juice or fruitwith breakfast cereal, or chilli con carne (meat and beans).


50 NUTRITION FOR FOOTBALL | the youNG playerNUTRITION FOR FOOTBALL | the rEFErEE 51Special needs of therefereespatterns, clothing, and hydration to avoid problems ofDrinks such as fruit smoothies, liquid meal supplements,The referee is frequently the <strong>for</strong>gotten participant in theshould tailor their food and fluid intake prior to andhyperthermia and hypothermia.<strong>for</strong>tified milkshakes, and juices can provide a substantialmatch. Much is written about training and nutrition <strong>for</strong>during a match to the demands of the game. TheThe growth spurts during childhood andsource of energy and nutrients that are quick andthe player, but the referee must also keep up with thedemands on the referee’s assistants are less, but eachadolescence require nutritional support in terms of<strong>com</strong>pact to consume and less likely to causegame and needs similar guidance to minimise fatigue.assistant needs to be prepared to carry the whistle. It isadequate intake of energy, protein and minerals. Activegastrointestinal dis<strong>com</strong><strong>for</strong>t than bulky foods.The players may have someone watching out <strong>for</strong> theminteresting to note that there is little in<strong>for</strong>mation in theyoung people may find it difficult to meet their needs <strong>for</strong>Sugary foods and specialised sports productsduring training and <strong>com</strong>petition, but referees are oftenreferee’s training and education regarding adequateenergy and nutrients when the costs of training and(drinks, bars) can provide a <strong>com</strong>pact <strong>for</strong>m of carbohydrateleft to themselves to prepare <strong>for</strong> the demands of afitness preparation or nutrition <strong>for</strong> per<strong>for</strong>mance.growth are added. Young people may not haveand other nutrients, which is particularly useful whenmatch.Thereferee is often older than the players in the match,developed the nutritional knowledge and timeenergy needs are high.There have been several studies of the volume andand this poses additional stress.management skills to fit in all the eating occasionsrequired to achieve high energy, nutrient-rich eating.A food record can identify the times in a busy daythat aren’t being well used <strong>for</strong> fuelling up. The playerintensity of running by the referee during a match.Recent data show that the referee runs about as far asTraining issuesThe rate of obesity in children is still rising, butshould use creative ideas and good planning to arrangethe players, but in a different pattern of movement. ForA team generally trains as a group under the guidanceactive youngsters do need to eat lots of food.a supply of portable snacks and drinks that can travelexample, the referee covers more distance goingof a coach or trainer. The referee usually trains alone.Many young players are eager to increase the rate ofwith them over their day.backwards than do players. Without an appropriateThe level of play that the referee is responsible <strong>for</strong>their growth and muscular development in pursuit ofAdaptation to a resistance training program may betraining program and good nutritional preparation, thedictates the volume and intensity of training needed.the physique of an adult player. While growth andenhanced by consuming “recovery” snacks providingreferee may be<strong>com</strong>e fatigued and may not be able toInternational referees and referees of high levelmaturation are genetically determined, high-energyprotein and carbohydrate be<strong>for</strong>e and after each workout.exert proper control over a match. In particular, refereesprofessional matches have fitness standards that musteating plans can assist the athlete to maximise theout<strong>com</strong>es of growth and specialised training programs.Young players eating a wide range of foods should notneed to use dietary supplements, and parents andplayers alike should be aware that these do not providea short cut to success.Strategies <strong>for</strong> high energy eatingIt is usually more efficient to increase the number oftimes that food is eaten each day – <strong>for</strong> example, a seriesof 5-9 meals and snacks – than trying simply to increaseFood <strong>com</strong>binations supplying carbohydrate andproteinBreakfast cereal and milkthe size of meals.Sandwiches with meats, cheese or egg fillingsMeat/fish/chicken stir-fries served with rice or noodlesFruit smoothies or liquid meal supplementsFruit and yoghurtDried fruit and nut mixes


52 NUTRITION FOR FOOTBALL | the rEFErEENUTRITION FOR FOOTBALL | playiNG on the road 53Special needs whenplaying on the roadbe met in order to maintain their status and goodSpecial issues and eating strategiesProfessional <strong>football</strong> players are well-seasoned travellers,Contact the catering organisers at the destination to letnutrition will help them to achieve this.A particular issue surrounds fluids during <strong>com</strong>petition.spending much time travelling and living far away fromthem know of special needs <strong>for</strong> meal timing and menus.There are published programs that a referee canThe players may have support on the sidelines helpinghome. These trips are often short, but may involveMake an eating plan <strong>for</strong> travel that incorporates the bestfollow that will adequately prepare <strong>for</strong> matchthem to hydrate when possible during a match. Thelonger spells of travel <strong>for</strong> tournaments or pre-seasonof the available food supplies (e.g. airline catering,<strong>com</strong>petition. Referees of lower level matches will notreferee has no such support. The referee is also usually intours. Competition is usually organised in a national orrestaurants en route) as well as self-supplied snacks.likely need to train so intensively and many rely onrefereeing multiple matches each week as a sufficientthe middle of the field, far from the sidelines and accessto drinks. At the higher levels of play, the fourth officialregional league that requires weekly or bi-weekly travelto matches. Frequent travel over long distances can pose2. Eat and drink well while on the movetraining stimulus <strong>for</strong> their level of <strong>com</strong>petition. The off-might be able to assist the referee during normal playa number of challenges:Recognise that en<strong>for</strong>ced rest while travelling will reduceseason poses special challenges <strong>for</strong> those not used tostoppages. The referee’s assistants are already on the• Disruptions to the normal training routine and lifestyleenergy needs, but create more opportunities <strong>for</strong> hightraining alone.sidelines and can place fluids along their running path.while the player is en routeenergy intake if the player succumbs to “boredomCompetition issuesIn lower levels of play, referees must take care of theirown fluid needs. As normal stoppages of play frequently• Changes in climate and environment that createdifferent nutritional needseating”. Be aware of eating only when there is areal need.Because referees run a similar distance to that of theinvolve the referee, those opportunities may be few.• Jet lagWhen moving to a new time zone, adopt eatingplayers they are watching they should follow similarOne suggestion <strong>for</strong> the referee would be to wear a• Changes to food availability including absence ofpatterns that suit your destination as soon as the tripguidelines <strong>for</strong> daily nutrition, food choices <strong>for</strong> training,‘camelback’ device worn by cyclists and carry onlyimportant and familiar foodsstarts. This will help to adapt your body clock.pre-match nutrition, and hydration. Essentially, theenough fluids <strong>for</strong> a half, refilling between halves or• Reliance on hotels, restaurants, and takeaways insteadBe aware of unseen fluid losses in air conditionedreferee should follow the nutritional guidelines <strong>for</strong> thebe<strong>for</strong>e overtime.of familiar home cookingvehicles and pressurised plane cabins. Have a drink planlevel of play they are arbitrating.• Exposure to new foods and eating culturesthat helps maintain hydration.• Temptations of an “all you can eat” buffet-style dininghall or restaurant3.Be wary of food and water hygiene• Risk of gastrointestinal illnesses due to exposure toFind out whether it is safe to drink the local water supply.Fluid and nutrition suggestions <strong>for</strong> the refereefood and water with poor hygiene standardsIf risky, stick to sealed bottles of water and other drinksFollow the pre-match meal suggestions <strong>for</strong> the players.Plan ahead <strong>for</strong> easy and quick access to fluids duringmatches. Water, sports drinks and carbohydrate replacementsolutions are viable drink options.At half-time, drink a sports drink to provide water tominimise dehydration and some carbohydrate to delayfatigue. You can eat solid food if you find that you cantolerate this.After the match, follow the player suggestions <strong>for</strong> earlyreplenishment of glycogen, especially when games areclose together.During periods of frequent travel, consider suggestions<strong>for</strong> eating on the road.• Excitement and distraction of a new environment.Some keys points <strong>for</strong> eating well while travellinginclude:1. Planning aheadInvestigate food patterns and availability at yourdestination be<strong>for</strong>e leaving home. This may help inplanning useful food supplies to take on trips that canreplace missing and important items.or hot drinks. Be wary of ice added to drinks – it is oftenmade from tap water. In high risk areas use bottledwater when brushing teeth and avoid swallowing waterwhen washing the face or showering.In high-risk environments, stick to food produced ingood hotels or well-known restaurants. Avoid eatingfood from local stalls and markets, however tempting itis to have an “authentic cultural experience”.


58 NUTRITION FOR FOOTBALL | Cultural and rEGional iSSuESNUTRITION FOR FOOTBALL | Cultural and rEGional iSSuES 59Cultural andregional issuesFootball is a truly international sport, and great playershave emerged from every country in the world. Teamsfrom different parts of the world will face differentnutritional challenges, but none of these presents aninsurmountable problem. A little attention paid tonutrition will pay big dividends in terms of betterper<strong>for</strong>mance and better health.Most teams will contain players from differentethnic, cultural and socio-economic backgrounds. Onthe field, they all play together and share the same aimsand ambitions, but at home they are likely to have verydifferent eating habits. Even though they all have broadlysimilar nutrition goals, an infinite variety of differentfood <strong>com</strong>binations can be chosen to meet theirnutritional goals. All the essential nutrients can beobtained from normal foods, and variety is a key tomeeting nutrient needs, but many different foods can beinterchanged. Good sources of carbohydrate may bebread, rice, pasta, potato, couscous, or maize porridge.Protein will be provided by many different foods; theobvious foods are meat, fish, eggs and dairy products,but bread, cereals, pasta, lentils, and beans are only afew of the other excellent sources of protein. The fruitsand vegetables that are <strong>com</strong>monly available will differfrom region to region, although many staples orfavourites are exported around the globe. Our eatinghabits are much more international than they once were,and players can enjoy foods from different countries ofthe world.The vegetarian player need not be at any disadvantage.These players, though, must be more aware of the foodchoices that they make. If there are no animal foods inthe diet, then a Vitamin B12 supplement may benecessary. Players who avoid red meat must pay specialattention to ensuring that the diet contains enough ironfrom plant sources, and this should be <strong>com</strong>bined withother foods that aid iron absorption: <strong>for</strong> example, iron<strong>for</strong>tifiedbreakfast cereals, consumed at a mealcontaining Vitamin C (a glass of orange juice). Dairyproducts should be included in the diet to ensure anadequate calcium intake, but calcium-<strong>for</strong>tified foods arealso available <strong>for</strong> players with lactose intolerance.There may be special circumstances that causeathletes to change their normal training and dietaryhabits. Muslim players avoid food and fluid intake duringdaylight hours throughout the holy month of Ramadan.This can mean that changes to training times arenecessary to ensure that adequate hydration ismaintained, especially in very hot weather and at highlatitudes. Where matches take place during Ramadan,players should be aware that prior preparation isnecessary to ensure good liver and muscle glycogenstores and good hydration. Per<strong>for</strong>mance will notnecessarily suffer if the player is well prepared.Teams from different parts of the worldwill face different nutritional challenges


60 NUTRITION FOR FOOTBALL | further readiNGNUTRITION FOR FOOTBALL | introduction 61References<strong>for</strong> further readingNUTRITION FOR FOOTBALL is based on in<strong>for</strong>mation discussed at the <strong>FIFA</strong>/F-Marc ConsensusConference on <strong>Nutrition</strong> <strong>for</strong> Football, held at Home of <strong>FIFA</strong> in Zurich in September 2005. Thepapers listed below were presented at that meeting and were published as a Special Issue ofthe Journal of Sports Sciences (Volume 24, No 7, 2006). The in<strong>for</strong>mation in this booklet wasupdated in January 2010 to take account of the many papers published since then.1. Physical and metabolic demandsof training and match play inthe elite playerBangsbo J, M Mohr, P Krustrup2. Macronutrients and energy<strong>for</strong> training and recoveryBurke LM, A Loucks, N Broad3. <strong>Nutrition</strong> on match dayWilliams C, L Serratosa7. Alcohol and <strong>football</strong>Maughan RJ8. Dietary supplements <strong>for</strong> soccerHespel P, RJ Maughan, PL Greenhaff9. <strong>Nutrition</strong>al strategies to counterstress to the immune system inathletes, with special referenceto soccerNieman DC, NC Bishop4. Water and electrolyte needs<strong>for</strong> soccer training and match playShirreffs SM, M Sawka, M Stone5. Promoting training adaptationsthrough nutritional interventionsHawley JA, KD Tipton, ML Millard-Staf<strong>for</strong>d6. <strong>Nutrition</strong> strategies <strong>for</strong> soccer:counteracting heat, cold, highaltitude and jet lagArmstrong LE10. The brain and fatigue:new opportunities <strong>for</strong>nutrition interventionsMeeusen R, P Watson, J Dvorak11. <strong>Nutrition</strong> needs of femaleand youth soccer playerRosenbloom C12. <strong>Nutrition</strong> needs of the soccer refereeReilly T, W Gregson


62 NUTRITION FOR FOOTBALL | <strong>FIFA</strong>/F-Marc CoNSENSus StatEMENtNUTRITION FOR FOOTBALL | <strong>FIFA</strong>/F-Marc CoNSENSus StatEMENt 63<strong>Nutrition</strong> <strong>for</strong> Football:the <strong>FIFA</strong>/F-MARC Consensus StatementFootball players can stay healthy, avoid injury and achievemoderate training and up to about 10 g/kg duringsweating responses dictates that monitoring toHeat, cold, high altitude, and travel across time zonestheir per<strong>for</strong>mance goals by adopting good dietary habits.intense training or match play.determine individual requirements should be an essentialact as stressors that alter normal physiological function,Players should choose foods that support consistent,<strong>Nutrition</strong>al interventions that modify the acutepart of a player’s hydration and nutrition strategy.homeostasis, metabolism, and whole-body nutrientintensive training and optimise match per<strong>for</strong>mance.responses to endurance, sprint, and resistance trainingThere is no evidence to support the currentbalance. Rather than accepting per<strong>for</strong>mance decrementsWhat a player eats and drinks in the days and hourshave the potential to influence chronic trainingwidespread use of dietary supplements in <strong>football</strong>, soas inevitable, well-in<strong>for</strong>med coaches and athletes shouldbe<strong>for</strong>e a game, as well as during the game itself, canadaptations. The everyday diet should promote strategicthe indiscriminate use of dietary supplements is stronglyplan strategies <strong>for</strong> training and <strong>com</strong>petition that offsetinfluence the result by reducing the effects of fatigueintake of carbohydrate and protein be<strong>for</strong>e and after keydiscouraged. There<strong>for</strong>e, supplements should be usedenvironmental challenges.and allowing players to make the most of their physicaltraining sessions to optimise adaptation and enhanceonly on the advice of a qualified sports nutritionAlcohol is not an essential part of the human diet.and tactical skills. Food and fluid taken soon after arecovery. Solid or liquid carbohydrate consumptionprofessional.Recovery and all aspects of per<strong>for</strong>mance may be impairedgame and training can optimise recovery. All playersshould begin during the first hour after training or matchFemale players should ensure that they eat foods<strong>for</strong> some time after alcohol use. Binge drinking shouldshould have a nutrition plan that takes account ofplay to speed recovery of glycogen. Taking food or drinksrich in calcium and iron within their energy budget.be avoided at all times.individual needs.that contain protein at this time may promote recoveryYoung players have specific energy and nutrientThe needs of the referee are often overlooked, butThe energetic and metabolic demands of <strong>football</strong>processes.requirements to promote growth and development, ashigh standards of fitness and decision-making aretraining and match play vary across the season, with theMatch day nutrition needs are influenced by thewell as fuelling the energy needs of their sport. Manyexpected of all referees. At every level of <strong>com</strong>petition,level of <strong>com</strong>petition and with individual characteristics.time since the last training session or game. Playersfemale and youth players need to increase carbohydratetraining regimens and nutritional strategies, includingTypical energy costs of training or match play in eliteshould try to ensure good hydration status prior to kickintake and develop dietary habits that will sustain thefluid intake during the game, should be similar to thoseplayers are about 6 MJ (1500 kcal) per day <strong>for</strong> men andoff and use opportunities to consume carbohydrate anddemands of training and <strong>com</strong>petition.followed by players.about 4 MJ (1000 kcal) <strong>for</strong> women. The <strong>football</strong> playerfluids be<strong>for</strong>e and during the game according to theirPlayers may be at increased risk of illness duringTalent and dedication to training are no longershould eat a wide variety of foods that provide sufficientnutrition plan. Fatigue impairs both physical and mentalperiods of heavy training and stress. For several hoursenough to achieve success in <strong>football</strong>. Good nutritioncarbohydrate to fuel the training and <strong>com</strong>petitionper<strong>for</strong>mance, but intake of carbohydrate and otherafter heavy exertion, <strong>com</strong>ponents of both the innate andhas much to offer players and match officials, includingprogram, meet all nutrient requirements, and allownutrients can reduce the negative effects of fatigue.adaptive immune system exhibit suppressed function.improved per<strong>for</strong>mance, better health, and enjoyment ofmanipulation of energy or nutrient balance to achieveTraining <strong>for</strong> and playing <strong>football</strong> lead to sweat lossCarbohydrate supplementation during heavy exercisea wide range of foods.changes in lean body mass, body fat or growth. Loweven in cool environments. Failure to replace water andhas emerged as a partial countermeasure.energy availability causes disturbances to hormonal,electrolyte losses can lead to fatigue and impairedZurich, September 2, 2005metabolic, immune function, and to bone health. Anper<strong>for</strong>mance of skilled tasks. Breaks in play currentlyadequate carbohydrate intake is the primary strategy toprovide limited opportunities <strong>for</strong> carbohydrate and fluidmaintain optimum function. Players may need 5-7 gramsintake, and may not be adequate in some conditions.of carbohydrate per kg body mass during periods ofFootball is a team sport, but the variability in players’


Fédération Internationale de Football AssociationMember Associations and Development <strong>FIFA</strong>-Strasse 20 P.O. Box 8044 Zurich SwitzerlandTel.: +41-(0)43-222 7777 Fax: +41-(0)43-222 7878 www.<strong>FIFA</strong>.<strong>com</strong>

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