Food and macronutrient intake of elite Ethiopian distance runners

Lukas Beis, Lena Willkomm, Ramzy Ross, Zeru Bekele, Bezabhe Wolde, Barry Fudge, Yannis Pitsiladis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

BACKGROUND Explanations for the phenomenal success of East African distance runners include unique dietary practices. The aim of the present study was to assess the food and macronutrient intake of elite Ethiopian distance runners during a period of high intensity exercise training at altitude and prior to major competition. METHODS The dietary intake of 10 highly-trained Ethiopian long distance runners, living and training at high altitude (approximately 2400 m above sea level) was assessed during a 7 day period of intense training prior to competition using the standard weighed intake method. Training was also assessed using an activity/training diary. RESULTS Body mass was stable (i.e., was well maintained) over the assessment period (pre: 56.7 ± 4.3 kg vs. post: 56.6 ± 4.2 kg, P = 0.54; mean ± SD). The diet comprised of 13375 ± 1378 kJ and was high in carbohydrate (64.3 ± 2.6%, 545 ± 49 g, 9.7 ± 0.9 g/kg). Fat and protein intake was 23.3 ± 2.1% (83 ± 14 g) and 12.4 ± 0.6% (99 ± 13 g, 1.8 ± 0.2 g/kg), respectively. Fluid intake comprised mainly of water (1751 ± 583 mL), while no fluids were consumed before or during training with only modest amounts being consumed following training. CONCLUSIONS Similar to previous studies in elite Kenyan distance runners, the diet of these elite Ethiopian distance runners met most recommendations of endurance athletes for macronutrient intake but not for fluid intake.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition
Volume8
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2011

Bibliographical note

© 2011 Beis et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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