LEVELS OF CARBOHYDRATE INTAKE AND PREVALENCE OF CARBOHYDRATE SUPPLEMENT USE AMONG MALE SPORT STUDENT GYM USERS
University of Wales Institute Cardiff
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Carbohydrate is a key fuel source for exercise, with muscle glycogen stores providing the main supply of energy to the body. Ingestion of a high carbohydrate diet can help facilitate the ability to train at a higher intensity, as well as the promotion of a faster recovery after exercise. Carbohydrate supplements can be consumed to replenish glycogen stores, however a large number of people who exercise at gyms do not necessarily have an adequate knowledge of this area of nutrition and may not need to consume these supplements. The study aimed to discover if there is a need for gym users to use carbohydrate supplements in addition to a normal diet, to help them meet the reference nutrient intake (RNI) for carbohydrate. A total of forty male participants (mean ± SD, age 20.95 years ± 1.04, height 179.16 cm ± 5.36, weight 84.52 kg ± 11.27) completed an exercise profile to determine frequency of gym use and the intensity at which they trained/the type of training they undertook. Subjects also completed a detailed 7 day food diary, which recorded their diet and any nutritional supplements consumed. Food diaries were analysed using CompEat Pro, version 5.8.0 (Nutrition Systems, Banbury UK). Results showed that more than half of the sample (52.5%) failed to meet the lower limit of the RNI for carbohydrate and a very high percentage (85%) of the participants consumed at least one carbohydrate supplement per week. This indicates that many participants are choosing to supplement the majority of carbohydrate instead of obtaining this macronutrient from food. However, even with supplements, participants are still not meeting the RNI for carbohydrate, which questions whether sport student gym users should waste their money on expensive products, when simply increasing their intake of carbohydrate through food would suffice. Future research should be done to examine the different types of supplements that sport student gym users consume and the reasons why they consume these products.
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