Diet and supplementation practice in professional Ethiopian football players : effects on performance and recovery.
Masho, Tesfaye Berhane.
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The game of football places high physiological demands on players, who are expected to react by carrying out a range of physical activities at different intensities. Such movement patterns contribute to a high energy turnover in both training and match-play, which in turn must be sustained by the intake of adequate fuel sources. In this thesis, three studies were undertaken with the intention of gaining greater insight into, and adding to the body of knowledge of, football nutrition in Ethiopia. The studies included an evaluation of the impact of a sports nutrition education programme on the dietary, sports nutrition and supplement practices of the Ethiopian national football squad during the period 2012 to 2014 (Study 1). The dietary intake, sports nutrition and supplementation practices of professional Ethiopian football players currently playing in Ethiopian Premier League clubs (Study 2) were then studied, as well as the relationships between training load, energy balance, performance and recovery (Study 3). Study – 1. Football players require adequate knowledge of nutrition to allow correct selection and consumption of food and fluids to meet their performance, body composition and overall health needs. The aim of this study was to examine the effect of a sports nutrition intervention on the nutrition knowledge and dietary choices of the players who were members of the Ethiopian national football squad between 2012 and 2014. The following sports nutrition topics were discussed: timing of nutrition, recovery, hydration, post exercise physiological perceptions, macronutrients, sports drinks, fruit and vegetables, alcohol and its impact on performance. Participants attended nutrition education sessions for six months, each one 20 to 30 minutes in duration. Interview and focus group discussions were administered to 20 Ethiopian national squad players and the head and two assistant coaches working with them. The data were analysed using manual coding matrices. The analysis of the interview data revealed that all the national team players exhibited significant knowledge of football nutrition after the nutrition education intervention. The intervention helped them to adhere to proper dietary and recovery procedures, and also significantly helped the players understand dietary CHOs as a vital source of fuel for football which as a result benefited them to change their misconception they had about CHO before the intervention. Some players had believed, at the beginning of the intervention, that alcohol had an ergogenic effect. In conclusion, this study revealed that nutrition education for professional football players can have positive results. The education programme must be entertaining and should not be too long. Based on these findings, was concluded that football players in Ethiopia would benefit from nutrition education targeting an improvement in nutrition knowledge and dietary practices. Key words: Ethiopian national squad football players, dietary practices, Nutrition education, nutrition knowledge. Study – 2. Similarly, to other professional football players, Ethiopian players require appropriate nutritional intake because of the physiological demands of the game. To understand the dietary practices and nutrition plans of these players, a dietary assessment of current Ethiopian professional players was conducted. The aim of this study was to assess the dietary intake of 126 players age M = 27.3, ±SD = 3.0 years), weight M = 72.4, ±SD = 7.0 kg, height M = 1.77, ±SD = .06 m, BMI M = 23.1, ±SD = 1.6 kg.m2 from seven Ethiopian premier league football clubs; during a competitive week, over a four-day period. Food was weighed and means (standard deviation) and 95% confidence limits were calculated and compared across clubs using one-way analysis of variance followed by Bonferroni post-hoc testing. There were significant differences in dietary macronutrient composition across the teams in the four study periods, the dietary intake in g/day and in g/kg of body weight for CHO on Thursday was significantly different M = 344.6, ± SD = 12.5, p = 0.030, g/day compared with Monday’s dietary CHO intake, in g/day and in g/kg of body weight, M = 308.3, ± SD = 96.4 g/day. The study revealed a dietary CHO intake was below the recommendation of 500-600 g/day. With great significant difference among clubs ranging from M = 459.9, ± SD = 104.1, p < 0.001. g/day to M = 256.0, ± SD = 58.5, p < 0.001 The mean dietary CHO, compositions in g/kg of body weight, across the teams were significantly different ranging from, 3.6 (.9) g/kg of body weight to 6.1 (1.3) g/kg of body weight.; In conclusion, the results show that the nutritional intake of the players was not optimal unlike protein and fat the mean daily CHO intake of Ethiopian professional football players was lower than recommended. These findings may have both short- and long-term negative consequences on the performance and recovery as well as health of the players. On the basis of our results, we recommended that nutritional education should be given to the players at an early age and should continue throughout adolescence. Key words: Ethiopian premier league, Dietary macronutrient intake, dietary assessment. Study – 3. It is important that football training load, which includes functional testing, is closely linked with optimal energy intake. This enhances performance and recovery process between training sessions. The aim of this study was to investigate the associations between dietary practice and performance and recovery of twenty professional Ethiopian football players from the same team (M = 23.8, ± SD = 3.3 years). During an intense seven-day, (Monday to Sunday) pre-season training period, food was weighed and recorded, and total and macronutrient energy intake was determined, and energy expenditure calculated. Performance testing (Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test Level 1 (YYIR1) was also performed pre- and post the seven-day period. Data were expressed as the mean (standard deviation). A one-way ANOVA, with Bonferroni posthock testing, paired t-tests, Pearson correlation, and multiple regression were used in the statistical analysis. The mean dietary intake for protein was significantly higher in terms of daily intake in grams and per kilogram of body weight across the seven days ranging from M = 257, ± SD = 44, p < 0.001 g/day, to M = 168, ± SD = 24, p < 0.001, g/day. And M = 3.6, ± SD = .7, p < 0.001 g/kg of body weight to M = 2.3, ± SD = .4, p < 0.001 g/kg of body weight. Overall, our results show that the nutritional intake of the players was not optimal and resulted in a high mean daily energy deficit of M = -144.8, ± SD = 1111.7 calories was observed between the energy intake of M = 3765.1, ± SD = 1104.7 calories and the energy expenditure of M = 3909.9, ± SD = 191.2 calories. The study revealed that dietary fat was the highest source of energy, which is not the preferred fuel for football players. The mean distance covered post the seven days of training for the YYIR1 significantly decreased by 25% (pre: M = 2266 ± SD = 526 m versus post: M = 1666 ± SD = 456 m). This result represented a 10% decrease in VO2max values among the study participants from session 1 pre: M = 55.4 ± SD = 4.4 ml/kg/min versus post: M = 50.4 ± SD = 3.8 ml/kg/min. In summary, the YYIRT1 result may have been related to the energy deficit of the players over the seven days of pre-season training. In addition, players consumed higher levels of dietary fat and low levels of CHO during intense training, which is not the recommended for optimal performance and recovery in professional football players Key words: Preseason training, YYIRT1, energy balance and training load. In conclusion, the studies included in this thesis found that 1) elite Ethiopian football players benefitted from a sports nutrition education intervention, 2) there is a disparity in macronutrient composition across football teams participating in the Ethiopian Premier League and 3) energy deficit during a week of intense preseason training is associated with reduced performance and recovery of players.