On evaluation of the intake of high-fatty diet consumed by the individual for a week, the estimated calorie intake of three days can be calculated as a total intake of about 7725 calories with the total fat percentage of 70% per day which can be tabulated as a consumption of 210% in just three days which is an extremely unhealthy diet.
The measured calorie intake as consumed on a regular week-day and a week-end can be calculated as 3200 k/Cal on a weekend and 2800 k/Cal on a regular week day with an average of 67.5% fat intake every day.
The 15 open-ended, semi-structured questions that were asked to the participant included the following:
The diet history of the individual reflects an intake of a high proportion of junk food rich in unsaturated fat and a high proportion of protein value which can be considered to be an extremely unhealthy diet which if continued to follow would lead to severe health complications including high cholesterol levels and gastric issues to name a few (Freeland-Graves & Nitzke,2013).
According to the recommended guidelines of the New Zealand ministry of health, a healthy athletic adult in order to remain fit and perform the best should consume less than 500 g of cooked meat per week and reduce the consumption of processed meat, red meet, food items with added sugar and highly refined and processed products. The dietary guidelines recommend the exchange of these products with healthy products such as whole grain fibre, low fat milk products and fresh fruit juice. Sedentary lifestyle should be avoided and an average calorie intake of an athletic individual should be around, 55% of carbohydrates and 15 to 20% from proteins and fats (Freeman et al.,2014).
The dietary intake of the individual concerned was extremely unhealthy and comprised of a high amount of junk food with a lot of fat value. The individual concerned wanted assistance in being able to modify the diet into a healthy one suited to serve the athletic requirements of being a basket-ball player as the sport selected by the individual along with following a strict diet was basketball. The dietary intake was highly modified to comprise of a decent breakfast with a large bowl of oatmeal with skimmed milk and dry fruits, 250 ml fresh fruit juice and 25g whey protein water. The mid-morning snack constituted of 2 slices of whole grain bread slices with low fat cheese, one cup of green tea and 7 almonds. The Lunch comprised of sandwiches made of whole grain, 150 grams of ham, low sugar yoghurt and one glass of fresh fruit juice. Mid-afternoon snack included, one whole fruit and 100 grams of nut and apricots. Pre-exercise meal constituted of 1 banana and two slices of wheat bread with low fat cheese, during the exercise session continuous water intake was allowed at every 15 minutes interval. After the extensive exercise schedule, a drink was given that comprised of 30 grams of protein powder and 25 grams of dextrose in 500 ml of water. After 45 minutes post workout, 150 grams of chicken breast was given with one cup of green tea and finally just before bedtime, a protein shake was given that comprised of 50 g oats, 30 g whey-protein and 200 ml skimmed milk.
The analysis of the 3-day specific diet revealed that in the initial phase, the individual was extremely reluctant to adapt to the new diet, however with strong motivation the participant confessed to feel a lot more refreshed and less fatigued compared to the previous diet being followed by him. Also, the participant confessed that he felt energetic throughout the day with the small meals and experienced lesser gastric issues.
Evaluation of the sports-specific diet:
It is important to consider the unhealthy diet plan that was being followed by the individual as it comprised of a high percentage of fatty food items and proteins, but the sports-centred modified diet did not seem palatable to the individual as cravings of high calorie food items was hard to be conquered in the first few weeks, however strong motivation in terms of the following factors helped in acquiring focus on the restricted diet (Gaarnett et al.,2014),
- The individual was made aware of the health complexities that would eventually invade the body if the unhealthy diet is not stopped.
- The individual often felt fatigued and was not able to carry out daily chores
- Fitness goals achieved by other obese individuals who too followed an unhealthy diet proved to be a source of motivation
- Friendly dietician who helped in highlighting the important aspect of following a healthy diet proved to be extremely helpful.
Despite all the above mentioned factors, there were certain factors that proved to be major obstacles in helping the individual follow the restricted diet chart and it included the following factors (Jankovic et al.,2014):
- Craving for unhealthy junk food
- Not being able to find cereals and vegetables palatable
- Sweet cravings
- Mentally not being able to resist food items rich in fat and high calorific value such as caffeinated beverages and alcoholic beverages.
It is extremely clear from the research oriented study conducted above that the subject concerned in the research possessed an extremely unhealthy diet and lifestyle pattern. In order to provide assistance to the individual, it is extremely important that the prescribed sports specific diet and heavy workout schedule be followed by the individual minutely so that the individual can reach the final goal of becoming a professional athlete (Jospe et al.,2015). The sports specific diet is designed for aspiring athletes and follows a strict diet plan with proportional intake of carbohydrates, protein, vitamins and minerals and supplements that are highly required for the generation of energy in an individual to let properly channelize the energy (Lis et al.,2015). Supplements can be defined as tablets that are consumed by the athletes orally in order to increase the metabolic output of the body. The supplements come in a variety of forms, such as caffeine tablets or another popular supplement is Guarana (Loucks et al.,2013). However it is important to note here that the supplements are not always taken as tablets and can be consumed as beverages like tea and coffee that have a high amount of caffeine in them. Research studies reveal that caffeine has the characteristic property of reducing fatigue and as a result can increase the physical activity output by as much as 4.7%, but on the other hand, regular use of caffeinated energy drinks have been reported to cause a lot of health troubles such as reduced blood pressure and production of ovarian cysts (Pingitore et al.,2015).
Principles of the sport-specific diet:
It is extremely important to note that the athletes constantly push their bodies to the extreme during the training as well as during the competitive sessions and the body is in constant need of energy. In the circumstances, it is extremely inevitable to stick to a strict sports-specific diet, which is somewhat different from an ordinary diet and follows strict guidelines that are made keeping in mind the necessity of the sportsperson (Schnell et al.,2014). It is important to note here that the athlete has to constantly perform for which an excessive amount of energy is required and carbohydrates are identified to be the best source that provides quick energy, hence the athletes must adhere to a diet that has a proportionate quantity of carbohydrates in it. A balanced breakfast with adequate carbohydrate content is essential so that the athlete can successfully train himself. Along with the carbohydrates, adequate quantity of proteins and vitamins must also be consumed by the athletes in order to maintain normal and active physiological functions. Vitamins B2, B12 and iron are highly required in a sports specific diet in contrast to the normal diet consumed by non-sportsperson (Slater et al.,2013). There are a number of vegan sportsperson and it is important that they seek expert advice and incorporate adequate amount of proteins and vitamins in their diet in order to avoid any disorders pertaining to malnutrition or nutritional deficiencies. Therefore, a perfect sports-specific diet as advised by the health council of the New Zealand suggests the proper intake of a lot of green-leafy vegetables high in fibre value and fresh fruits, high consumption of protein value food items that could include, fish, eggs, meat and legumes, whole grains, essential fats and food items high in roughage value and along with all this a minimum of 6 litres of water intake per day. According to the work-out session of an athlete the diet-chart is planned. Research studies reveal that various athletes require various type of diet, for instance, vegan athletes have a problem with the adequate intake of protein content, increased proportion of sodium, water and readily digestible carbohydrates are required by endurance athletes, high demand for protein-based diet is found among athletes who involve themselves in power sporting activities such as weight lifting and wrestling and finally athletes who participate in winter sports have an altogether different set of requirement in accordance to the weather conditions and primarily look out for food items that would keep them warm in the drastic weather conditions.
A sports-specific diet is extremely stringent with the slowed proportion of dietary intake and should only be followed by someone who is motivated enough to follow it till the end. A person who loathes the idea of cutting down on calories for good and is pressurizing himself to follow a strict diet in order to combat the shame and feeling of guilt after stepping into the weighing machine is not fit for following a strict diet regimen (Spronk et al.,2015). It is important to note that an athlete is in continuous endeavour to burn the consumed calories for a high energy output in terms of performance and that can be only achieved on compliance with the prescribed dietary plan. Sudden dieting or eating nothing at all has negative implications in the body in the form of extensive hair fall, fatigue, skin rashes and weakness which is definitely not the goal of a fit and healthy athlete (Wylie et al.,2013).
Based on the above findings it can be finally concluded that a sports specific diet is extremely mandatory for an athlete to follow and it incorporates the right amount of carbohydrate, fat, proteins, vitamins and minerals that are required to maintain the fitness and performance output of an athletic individual. Along with the balanced diet, it is also important to incorporate sufficient quantity of water and a proportionate quantity of dietary supplements.
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