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Nutr Res. 2009 Oct;29(10):736-42. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2009.10.004.

Athletes' dietary intake was closer to French RDA's than those of young sedentary counterparts.

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  • 1Univ Lille Nord de France, Lille, France.


It has been demonstrated that athletes' dietary intake was relatively well-balanced according to the recommended dietary allowances (RDAs). In contrast, other studies have shown that athletes may have low energy intake or imbalance of protein and fat and insufficient minerals and vitamins. Nonetheless, we hypothesized that practicing a sport may allow young adults to have a nutritional status closer to recommended values. The purpose of this experiment was to study the nutritional status of young French adults, particularly to compare the nutritional status of trained young male and female athletes to those of young sedentary control subjects, and to national RDAs. A total of 85 young adults were recruited and filled a 4-day food and physical activity record. Dietary intake, energy expenditure, energy balance, carbohydrate, protein, fat, water, vitamins, and minerals were recorded. Data were analyzed with a software Nutrilog and statistics with Sigma Stat. Energy intake values were 9874 +/- 3050 kJ for the athletes and 7506 +/- 1845 kJ for control subjects. Athletes' nutritional status was closer to French RDAs than those of sedentary subjects who present a lower energy intake, a greater percentage of the energy intake from fat and lower values for minerals and vitamins. In conclusion, practicing a sport may allow athletes to balance their energy intake and expenditure and could be a good way to have a nutritional status closer to RDAs. Educational programs for students on proper food selection, eating habits and physical activity are needed to improve the nutritional status of these young French adults, particularly in sedentary students.

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