In an effort to build muscle, young guys eat a pound of chicken breast for breakfast and ten eggs during the day. But is it really effective, and most importantly, useful? The correspondent of the Moscow 24 portal talked with three dietitians about the peculiarities of sports nutrition and the most common myths, and also learned what football players need to eat on match day to achieve maximum results on the field.
Alexey Kovalkov, nutritionist, doctor of medical sciences, Russian Academy of Natural Sciences: In any national team, nutrition is determined by the coach. If an Italian coach comes to you, then you will eat Italian food, if Georgian - Georgian and Caucasian. It happens that the national team arrives in some country, does not have time to accommodate yet, but is already going to the fast food chain, not to mention the constant trips to restaurants with the consumption of large amounts of food and alcohol. All this negatively affects the health of the body.
It must be remembered that proper nutrition is a conscious necessity, it is not always tasty and healthy. For example, if players eat meat (say, lamb) right before the game, it will take eight to twelve hours to digest in the stomach. They have already played the match, but the amino acids from this meat will not enter the body. It will simply be the extra weight that the players will carry around in their stomachs, like in a bag. And if you calculate everything correctly and give fast carbohydrates in combination with complex ones, then fats will start to burn in their flame, a second wind will open, and the players will run around the field like with Energizer batteries.
Ideally, pilaf with lamb should be eaten at lunchtime, if the match is in the evening. It contains long grains and animal fats, a mix of fast and slow carbohydrates. In the morning, you can make scrambled eggs from three or four eggs, coffee with cookies or biscuits. And after the match, you can eat whatever you want - to recuperate. You can even wine and dessert - to raise the level of carbohydrates and a good mood.
Advice: you don't need to eat anything two to three hours before the game. Drink only water, preferably with lemon or lime. Football players have to scream a lot, and this water softens the vocal cords, stimulates salivation due to acid, so the mouth is not so dry while running. The water must be mineral in order to maintain electrolyte balance. It is necessary to calculate what minerals and trace elements each player lacks (magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, zinc and others) and regularly add them to the water. When he runs, he loses these trace elements with sweat. If an athlete does not have enough potassium, then right at the match his leg can be brought together, then the player will have to be eliminated from the game.
Anna Turusheva, Associate Professor of the Department of Family Medicine, North-Western State Medical University named after I. I. Mechnikova, PhD, MD: The most common myth in sports nutrition is the need to consume large amounts of protein after exercise. In fact, to build muscle, you need to consume both carbohydrates and protein - in a ratio of three to one. If you focus only on proteins, then there is a great load on the kidneys. I had a patient who decided that to build muscle quickly, he needed to eat five eggs for breakfast, a couple of chicken breasts for lunch, and drink protein shakes. After a couple of months of this diet, the muscles did not grow much, but protein appeared in the urine - an indicator that his kidneys could no longer cope with the huge protein load.
There is no universal diet for all athletes. When drawing up an individual menu, it is important to take into account the peculiarities of the constitution of each person, his habits and preferences. Each type - hypersthenics, asthenics and normosthenics - will have its own dietary habits. People with asthenic physique will need to consume more carbohydrates, and hypersthenic, on the contrary, focus on proteins and fats. Thus, despite the fact that a menu for a professional athlete is always based on specific recommendations for each sport, the final set of products may be different.
For football players on the day of the match, I would advise to focus on carbohydrates. Three to four hours before the game, you can eat carbohydrates with an average glycemic index and relatively easily digestible protein - chicken breast, uncooked cutlets, dairy. An hour before the game, it is better to eat fruits, dried fruits, drink natural juices or smoothies. After the match, the athlete can afford to eat pizza and even drink a little beer to rehydrate.
In general, the drinking regime is very important to observe. The main volume of water should be drunk three to four hours before the match (about half a liter), so that later you do not run to the toilet during the game. It is especially important to observe the drinking regime in the heat - if there is not enough fluid, athletes will develop weakness, fatigue, lack of strength in the muscles, which will lead to a high risk of injury.
Dmitry Nikityuk, Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Director of the Federal State Budgetary Scientific Institution "Federal Research Center of Nutrition and Biotechnology", MD: The nutrition of athletes meets the same requirements as the nutrition of people in general. They are special only in the specificity that their sports activity presents to them. The first requirement is that the amount of energy expended must correspond to the energy supplied with food in the form of proteins, fats and carbohydrates. The fatty component of food is the most energy-intensive.
If a thin girl who does not play sports, on average, spends 700 kilocalories per day, and the average man who watches TV, drives a car and uses an elevator instead of walking on foot - 2000 kilocalories, then for athletes this is 3000-4000 kilocalories. And in the professional bicycle race Tour de France, for example, energy consumption reaches 10-12 thousand kilocalories. It is impossible to consume such an amount of food, because the load on the gastrointestinal tract, liver, pancreas is excessive, and this cannot be sustained. Therefore, it is advisable to use specialized food products in the diet of athletes. They are divided into different groups: protein-carbohydrate, protein, and there is also a group configured for rehydration, that is, replenishment of fluid loss. Their integration into the diet is used all over the world.
It is also important to remember that you need to eat not only in the evenings in front of the TV, as we usually do, which provokes the appearance of extra pounds, but four to five times a day. In this case, energy enters the body more evenly. In addition to the main diet, it is advisable for athletes to use biologically active additives (dietary supplements). These are not drugs. For normal regulation of metabolism, approximately 150-170 biologically active substances are needed, which must be supplied to the body every day - these are minor metabolism regulators.
There are plenty of myths about nutrition for athletes. One of the most dangerous is the use of corticosteroid drugs or anabolic hormones. The organism can respond to this. For example, their own hormones will cease to be produced due to the constant supply of synthetic analogs. In the future, there is a high probability of the development of pathologies, including diseases of the liver and skin. Moreover, it can even lead to cases of sudden cardiac death.