Diets for Physically Active People Rebecca Rogers College of William and Mary

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Nutrition is a vital component in any person’s development and growth. To athletes, certain diets and nutritional practices could be the ultimate determinant between success and failure. When taking in proper amounts of imperative nutrients and fluids to gain optimal energy for growth and activity, physically active individuals excel.

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This paper’s objectives are to delve into the various diets for physically active people and how certain altercations can help one excel in his or her activity. In addition, the paper will also analyze and help determine which diet leads to the best performance and the variations between training, competition, and recovery nutritional needs. Accordingly, this paper examines the various dietary needs of physically active people and the science behind it.

Differences between diets of active vs. non-active people

The energy expenditure differs between physically active and sedentary individuals greatly. Physically active people expend more energy and in result have a larger need to fill their micronutrient, macronutrient, and fluid depletions to avoid weight loss, fatigue, prolonged recovery, injury, and illness (Rodriguez et al., 2009). A journal article published by the American College of Sports Medicine states that “the fundamental differences between an athlete’s diet and that of the general population are that athletes require additional fluid to cover sweat losses and additional energy to fuel physical activity” (Rodriguez et al., 2009). For physically active people the necessities differ mainly in carbohydrate, protein, fat, and fluid intake. During physical activity, an individual experiences depletion of glycogen stores, damage to muscle, and dehydration through sweat (Nascimento et al., 2016). Due to this, it is imperative that those who engage in physical activity utilize lean milk, fruits, vegetables, and complex carbohydrates alongside hydration to maintain thermoregulation and improve energy stores while maximizing muscle protein synthesis (Nascimento et al., 2016). Active individuals expend more energy than sedentary individuals, which creates the difference in diets. Athletes require a more adjusted and specific diet to meet and enhance the demands of the sports they participate in. Non-active individuals typically have lower estimated energy requirements therefore their diets can be generalized throughout the population to conform with basic daily values and RDAs.

Different types of diets for different types of physical activity

There are numerous types of physical activity that many individuals and athletes participate in. The sports that athletes chose to participate in often are determined by what the athlete has a natural gravitation towards. This natural gravitation can be a result from the genetic components within one’s body. There is a common divide between endurance, strength, and sprint sports, and the individuals that participate in them. Those who gravitate towards endurance activities, like cross country or swimming, tend to have a higher compilation of “slow twitch” muscle fibers (Type I).

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