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Nutrition for Football

As a footballer the most important requirements from food are energy and fluids. Every training session or match, uses both of these. Energy is taken from fuel in Carbohydrate, Fat and Protein which are nutrients found in the foods we eat

nutrition football food

The pyramid shows the relative amounts of each type that should be eaten for a normal diet.

Although you use both carbohydrate and fat as sources of fuel in football, carbohydrate is most important. It is stored in the body in limited amounts as glycogen. In every training session or game, glycogen is used to supply the muscles with fuel to enable you to perform. When the stores get used up, your muscles feel heavy and you lack the energy to play. Stores of glycogen last for about 70-80 minutes of exercise, which may mean that for some by the end of the game you begin to flag because glycogen stores may be getting very low. When a game goes into extra time, performance may be hindered because of a lack of vital glycogen

Glycogen stores can only be built up by eating foods rich in Carbohydrate

Carbohydrates Starches Bread, Potatoes, Paste, Rice, Biscuits, Buns, Breakfast Cereals, Fruit, Fruit Juices, Vegetables, Milk, Yogurt, Thick Soups and Milk Puddings
Sugars Sugar, Foods Containing Lots of Sugar, Glucose, Jam, Honey, Sweets, Chocolate, Sweet Biscuits, Cakes, Sweetened Drinks

To take enough energy, it is necessary to include both starches and sugars in your diet. These should be eaten throughout the day

Fats Visible The fat on meat, margarine, butter, oils, cream etc
Invisible The fat in meat (like pork or ham), economy mince, full-fat dairy products, cheese, pastries, cakes, sausages, pies.

To make sure you get the most of your energy from carbohydrates, you will probably have to reduce your intake of foods rich in fat

Protein Animal Sources Meat, Poultry, Fish, Eggs, Cheese, Milk and Yoghurt
Vegetable Sources Pulses (peas, beans, lentils), Cereals (bread, pasta, rice), Nuts and Soya products

Most Footballers eat far too much protein-rich foods

Most foods contain a mixture of carbohydrates, fat and protein -  look on the label for a breakdown

To get energy from food in the correct proportion for football, it may be necessary to adjust portion sizes. The main food on the plate should be the starch ( such as potatoes, pasta, rice or bread) with vegetables or low fat sauce being the next largest, and the meat, chicken or fish as only a small portion

Fluids should be taken before, during and after training. It is vital to practice drinking little and often so that you get used to the feeling of fluid in the stomach during training. Drinking too much, too quickly, after dehydration can cause sickness !. Isotonic sports drinks are suitable fluids before and during training

Because your requirements for carbohydrates will be very great throughout the football season, you may have to snack on foods from the 'Foods rich in carbohydrate' list, to take sufficient of the vital energy source


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