Main content area

Availability of a sports dietitian may lead to improved performance and recovery of NCAA division I baseball athletes

Hull, MichaelV., Neddo, Jonathan, Jagim, AndrewR., Oliver, JonathanM., Greenwood, Mike, Jones, MargaretT.
Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 2017 v.14 no.1 pp. 29
athletes, beverages, breakfast, descriptive statistics, dietitians, eating habits, exercise, fast foods, healthy diet, meal planning, sports, sports nutrition
BACKGROUND: The purpose was to survey dietary habits (DH) and nutrient timing (NT) practices of baseball student-athletes (mean ± SD; 20.7 ± 1.4 yr.) from three NCAA Division I institutions, and examine the effect of a sports dietitian (SD) in regard to nutrition practices. METHODS: Descriptive statistics and Pearson X ² analyses were run. Responses on 10 DH and 5 NT items differed (p ≤ 0.10) between athletes who sought dietary planning from a SD (n = 36) versus those who consulted a strength and conditioning coach (SCC, n = 42). RESULTS: In regard to DH items, the SD group found it easier to eat before activity (92% vs. 71%, p = 0.03), did not consume fast food (31% vs. 14%, p = 0.02), caffeinated beverages (57% vs. 46%, p = 0.02), or soda (56% vs. 37%, p = 0.10), prepared their own meals more often (86% vs. 73%, p = 0.07), and took daily multi-vitamins (56% vs. 32%, p = 0.02). The SCC group ate more at burger locations (21% vs. 6%, p = 0.02). In regard to NT items, the SD group ate breakfast before training/lifting sessions (67% vs. 37%, p = 0.02), and had post-workout nutrition options provided (61% vs. 27%, p = 0.01). The SCC group reported pre-competition meals of fast food (58% vs. 45%, p = 0.01), and sport coaches who were less aware of healthy food options (39% vs. 65%, p = 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: The SD is as a valuable asset to an intercollegiate athletics program. In the current study, athletes from the SD group consumed less high calorie/low nutrient dense items, ate before exercise, and consumed healthier options post-exercise. The presence of a SD was linked to provision of healthier food options during team trips. The evidence-based eating strategies and dietary plan provided by a SD may lead to improved performance and recovery.