Year IX., number 2.
Special diets and athletic performance
Keywords:low FODMAP, fasting, vegetarian, performance
Athletes adopt special diets, alternative forms of nutrition to maintain their health and to improve their performance and they are even eager to follow them for a long period of time. Nowadays, among athletes, the four most commonly used diets are the gluten-free (GFD), the low FODMAP diet, the vegetarian nutrition and the intermittent fasting. Keeping a gluten-free diet has become more populare among athletes, however there are no reliable prevalence data, forty-one percent of non-celiac athletes reported themselves having gluten-intolerance. Nowadays, the effect of gluten-free diet on performance is not clear yet. Nutrition based on taking low fermentable oligo-, di-, monosaccharides and polyols (FODMAP) is one of the possible therapeutic approaches on patients with irritable bowel syndrome. Athletes are using this diet to relieve gastrointestinal symptoms associated with high physical activites. Vegetarian nutrition can help to achieve proper carbohydrate intake, body weight management, furthermore they found a weak but positive relationship between plantbased diet and sports performance. In the intermittent fasting, the fasting period lasts for 16-20 hours, it is followed by a 4-8 hour long energy intake period. However, this form of fasting has not shown any performance enhancing effect so far. Inappropriate use of alternative forms of nutrition may lead to unnecessary dietary restrictions, which should carefully examine the basis and indication of the specific diet that the athlete intends to follow and the potential negative effects of dietary restriction on performance.