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Condition - Tackling footballers’ diets

By Nutri People

Dr Justin Roberts has worked with Higher Nature to help formulate the unique Performax® Sports range of healthy foods and food supplements. He has previously worked with both National and Premier Football Teams as a Performance Nutritional Advisor and here talks about the complexities of preparing a nutritional programme specifically for footballers.

Clearly, professional footballers push their bodies very hard. What was the biggest problem you identified?

The biggest problem seemed to be with recovery. An athlete will need to eat and supplement correctly to be able to recover sufficiently, in order to continue training and competing. Athletes frequently complain of tiredness and fatigue. Typically, athletes often reported to not eat breakfast, whereas others relied on poor quality foods. Their diets rarely varied and many would have a chicken/pasta style lunch and then similar in the evening. And suprisingly, their diets were lower in carbohydrates than expected.

The Performax® Sports range contains a wide range of antioxidant nutrients. Is there a particular reason for this?

Yes, most definitely. We found, through diagnostic testing, that a high proportion of players had an increased demand for antioxidants, but actually showed a lower status in their body. Having sufficient antioxidants is key to the recovery phase, as is the inclusion of whole foods and plenty of colourful fruits and vegetables in the diet. Removing the ‘bad’ refined foods, especially the sugary snacks, was also a key priority. Performax® Fuel Up bars are an example of a good daily staple snack.

It seems that many sports specific supplement ranges are packed full of sugar and sweeteners. What is the main health issue surrounding these sugar-laden foods and supplements?

Initially I found that some players readily consumed more than three  sports drinks a day! That’s a lot of chemicals! The main problems with ingesting so much sugar and sweeteners is the upset to blood sugar levels, frequent gastrointestinal disturbances such as diarrhoea and increased risk of tooth decay. My main priority was to offer support to their current dietary routine by offering fresh, tasty, whole food menus to include the right balance of protein, carbohydrates and fats, and also power snacks such as chicken wraps filled with vegetables and fresh, whole foods. Of course, when you are making significant demands on your body, a healthy diet needs to also be supported with supplements, especially for re-hydration, essential fats and antioxidants.

So what would your recommended typical daily diet look like?

Obviously timings would vary depending on training schedules but typically:-

Breakfast 1 cup of whole oats with semi skimmed or almond milk, blueberries, cinnamon and mixed nuts (especially almonds)
  Scrambled egg on rye toast
  Protein shake including Hemp Protein Sachets (only for those who really couldn’t eat breakfast)

Fish and root vegetables such as sweet potato

  Fish, wild rice and salad
Evening meal Salmon and vegetables
  Chicken stir fry and vegetables
Snacks    High quality hemp protein drink

Suggested supplements

• One daily strip with breakfast containing a multi vitamin and mineral, vitamin C and essential omegas

• An electrolyte drink

• Post recovery drink – fruit smoothie with Hemp Protein

• An antioxidant and probiotic after exercising 

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