The client is a football player named Ola. He is 21 years old. He plays in a forward position at Tilbury football club. With a height of 5‘8“, he weighs 73 kg. He prefers to use his left foot while playing. His nationality is Angolan. An average footballer leads an active lifestyle, attending regular sessions of practice combined with 3 to 4 football matches per week. This high-intensity physical activity takes a toll on the muscles and therefore, as a footballer, Ola should follow a balanced diet consisting of high amounts of protein and carbohydrates followed by plenty of fluids and other nutrients but the diet followed by Ola is high in sugar and full of trans fats and saturated fats. Because of not following a balanced diet and playing a high-intensity sport, Ola often finds himself lacking strength and tends to gas out towards the end of matches even though naturally he has an attribute towards high speed and he is an explosive player. This paper suggests a balanced weakly meal plan for Ola.
What is Wrong with Ola’s Diet?
Ola is still a grassroots footballer without access to professional nutritionists. The problem especially with grassroots level footballers is that the cost of eating good food is not always affordable for footballers making a moderate income. However, that does not mean that the diet cannot be healthy and well-balanced because a well-balanced diet will provide an aspiring footballer with the required strength and fuel the body needs to perform at its best on the field of play.
According to the World Health Organization and the majority of nutritional authorities, a diet consisting of vegetables, seeds, beans, fruits, and nuts is a healthy diet, whereas a diet consisting of saturated fat, salt, and excess sugar is conducive to disease. Consumption of excessive amounts of animal products can cause premature aging and increase the probability of chronic disease. Multiple studies that have been conducted on hundreds of thousands of people have shown that the chances of death increase with the consumption of high amounts of animal products (Wang et al, 2014). Additionally, consumption of refined carbohydrates cannot only make one obese and diabetic but can also impact mental health, causing dementia and depression. Consumption of refined carbohydrates is also connected with the development of cancer. A good number of evidence shows that the risk of cardiovascular disease not only increases with the consumption of animal products and saturated fat but also with the consumption of refined carbohydrates, including sugar, rice, white bread, agave nectar, and maple syrup (Fan et al, 2012, Mirrahimi et al, 2012).
Ola consumes a lot of fast food, including fries, soda, and burgers type of food. Processed and fast food have high amounts of salt. The salt is added not only on the French fries or the meat used in the burger but salt is also added in the batter used for framed French fries end inside the chopped meat. Most fast food also contains high amounts of fructose corn syrup (Greaney et al, 2012). The combination of sugar, fat, and salt contributes to a taste that increases the craving for these foods among people, leading to an addiction. The intake of both sugar and salt increases the risk of stroke, especially if food high in sugar and salt is consumed daily for an extended period. The consumption of soda sweetened with artificial sweeteners can also increase the chances of stroke. High intake of salt does not only increase blood pressure, but it can also contribute to microvascular hemorrhaging, which harms the interior walls of the blood vessels in the brain, thereby increasing the risk for hemorrhagic stroke (Greaney et al, 2012).
Ola consumes food with a lot of bad fats including trans fats and saturated fats. Trans fats are the worst type of fats with no health benefits and the safe level of consumption cannot be determined. Many countries around the world, including the USA, have banned the use of trans fats (HMS, 2019). Trans fats are typically found in processed and fast-food items like fries. Trans fats have no known health benefits and that there is no safe level of consumption. Therefore, they have been officially banned in the United States. Consumption of food rich in trans fats enhances the quantity of harmful LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream and decreases the quantity of healthy HDL cholesterol. Trans fats are associated with several health conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and other chronic illnesses (HMS, 2019). Even the intake of small amounts of trans fats can cause harm to the health.
The common sources of saturated fat are whole milk dairy foods, red meat, whole milk, cheese, coconut oil, and many baked goods. Consumption of food rich in saturated fats can increase the total amount of cholesterol in the bloodstream, especially the LDL cholesterol level. It is recommended by nutritionists that the intake of saturated fats should be limited to less than 10% of calories per day (HMS, 2019). Good fats like monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that decrease the amount of bad LDL cholesterol and triglycerides in the bloodstream come from vegetables, fish, seeds, nuts, olive oil, avocados, and canola oil, among others. Polyunsaturated fats are required for normal human body functions, such as muscle movement and inflammation (HMS, 2019). There are two primary sources of polyunsaturated fats, including omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids.
Taking into consideration that Ola’s current diet does not fulfill his nutritional needs and is a bad diet for the long term, he needs to start eating a healthy combination of good carbohydrates, vegetables, and proteins every day. He needs to make sure that he is eating at least five portions of vegetables or fruits daily. Before suggesting a meal plan for Ola, it is important to take a look into the literature to develop an understanding of the unique nutritional requirements of a football player.
Nutritional Needs for a Football Player: What the Literature Says?
According to Rampinini et al (2011), the exercise capacity of football players decreases with football matches. A football match lasts about 90 minutes and towards the end of this 90 minutes long match, the physical capacity of players decreases, resulting in players sprinting less and covering less distance. The recovery of exercise capacity is crucial after training or matches to maintain optimal performance in the football field, especially if the player has to engage in multiple matches all week. The physical activity during matches leads to rapid depletion of muscle glycogen, which is almost exhausted after the match ends. A study conducted by Saltin (1973) revealed that the concentrations of muscle glycogen were at 96, 32, and 9 mmol/kg w.w before, at recess, and after the match of 90 minutes length ended. The study also showed that muscle glycogen depletion is correlated with the number of sprints taken and the total distance covered by the players.
Since muscle glycogen is important for optimal performance in the football field, the recovery of the muscle glycogen involves the type and amount of foods consumed by a player. If the amount of muscle glycogen is increased by taking an increased amount of carbohydrates in the diet, then players can run faster and greater distances. Therefore, carbohydrate replenishment should be the primary focus to recover muscle glycogen and exercise capacity. Research shows that optimal muscle glycogen recovery is possible if a combination of carbohydrates and protein is taken in a diet. The type of carbohydrates consumed can be based on the glycemic index. According to Burke et al (1993), foods high in glycemic index contribute to increased storage of muscle glycogen.
Protein is important to restore muscle mass, which is essential for optimal football performance. Additionally, muscle damage results from eccentric contractions and contact among players during the matches, and the healing of the damaged muscles or any injury involves the intake of additional protein. Because of this reason, intake of protein is essential after a hard training session or match to maintain a positive net protein balance. Regular intake of high doses of protein is essential. Ola must snack on proteins as much as possible. He can carry some snacks high in protein, such as sports bars, protein mousses, and flapjacks. If he is concerned about his intake of protein, he can make himself some nutritious smoothies with a mix of protein powder as a primary ingredient. Ola lacks physical strength because he does not eat good fat and loads himself on bad saturated fats. Some good examples of good fat include butter, low-fat cheese, oily fish, and avocado. Avocado does not only contain good fat, but is also packed with nutrients, such as vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B1, magnesium, and folate, among others (Cox, 2019). Ola can also consume beetroots, which is a good source of iron and helps in reducing inflammation. Instead of making pasta, Ola can make quinoa.
Ola must also eat a lot of fish regularly. Fish is not only rich in protein but is also packed with healthy omega 3 fatty acids and healthy fats required for the body to generate energy and recover the loss of muscles. Salmon and Trout are some of the fish high in omega 3 fatty acids (Cox, 2019). Ola can also consume sushi, such as temaki, sashimi, and hand rolls. Sushi is easy to digest, light, and packed with all the healthy nutrients (Cox, 2019). Ola will not feel bloated if he eats sushi right before his training session in the afternoon. Ola must also eat eggs daily as eggs are a good source of protein. Ola must also keep cereals on the side because on average a footballer must eat more calories and more protein but many a time many players do not eat sufficiently because of the lack of time to prepare food. Having a supply of eggs and granola will make sure that Ola has access to the source of calories in the kitchen. He can quickly make himself a plate of scrambled eggs or omelets for quick calorie intake. He can also consume sugar-free granola by mixing it with Greek yogurt. After a heavy training session when the body craves high carb food, having healthy options present right in the kitchen will prevent the intake of unnecessary sugar and bad carbohydrates.
One must remember that consumption of extra protein is not connected with building muscles. Muscles can be built only by lifting heavy weights and doing resistance exercises. However, because of the intense physical activity involved with football, football players require proteins just the same as bodybuilders per pound of body weight (Clark, 2016). Research has shown that the 20 g of protein intake four times a day leads to better muscle protein synthesis than eating 10 g of protein eight times a day or if 40 g of protein is taken twice daily (Clark, 2016). According to Areta et al (2013), since muscle protein synthesis reduces if the level of blood amino acids is high continuously, meals containing proteins should be consumed every 3 to 4 hours with the last meal containing protein to be taken right before the bed. Therefore, Ola should have the target of consuming 20 g of protein every 3 to 4 hours during breakfast, lunch, snacks in the afternoon, and dinner.
According to Nancy Clark, a sports nutritionist, the needs of protein are measured based on body weight and not based on the percentage of calories. The daily need for protein intake is between 0.5 and 0.75 g protein per pound but it is recommended that the distribution of protein intake per pound of body weight per meal should be between 0.12 and 0.12 g. On that note, a football player oh and 68 kgs or 150 pounds should take approximately 20 g of protein per meal (Clark, 2016). Since Ola weighs about 73 kgs, the ideal intake of protein per meal for him should be 20 g. Eating extra protein will not contribute to the building of muscles unless the protein intake is combined with weight-lifting sessions. Another thing Ola needs to keep in mind is not only the amount of protein he eats daily but also when he eats it. The muscles remain in the building mode after the weightlifting session for the subsequent two days but the best time to provide fuel to build the muscles is after an hour or two post-exercise. A combination of carbohydrates and proteins post-exercise will provide support for real and help in building muscles (Clark, 2016). So, Ola can eat eggs with toast or chicken with rice post-exercise.
According to Garlick (2005), animal protein has more amino acids, which contributes to muscle protein synthesis. According to Tang et al. (2009), whey protein is quickly digestible with a high amount of amino acid leucine. If consumed in isocaloric proportions, whey protein can also contribute to improved muscle protein synthesis. If Ola depends on consuming more plant-based proteins, then he will have to eat more plant-based proteins to maximize the synthesis level of muscle protein. Therefore, whey protein is preferred for consumption directly after exercise. According to Res et al (2012), after the initial protein consumption directly posts a training session, the muscle protein synthesis can be maximized with players continuing to take protein by eating a variety of foods, including meat, fish, dairy, poultry, and also vegetable sources (nuts, legumes, corn, rice, and wheat). For a bedtime snack, casein, such as cottage cheese, is ideal as it involves slow digestion over a longer duration of the night.
According to Edwards et al (2007), even a mild even mild dehydration makes a detrimental effect on the performance of a footballer. A footballer like Ola should keep fluid losses within 2% of his body weight (Sawka et al., 2007). On average a footballer loses sweat of around 2 L while playing a 90 minutes long football match. However, depending upon the individual tendency to sweat, the sweat loss can range from 1.1 L to 3.1 L during a 90 minutes long football match (Sawka et al., 2007). Ola should be aware of the rate at which he sweats to make sure the fluid quantity required for his body to maintain 2% body weight loss. Since dehydration leads to fatigue, Ola should drink plenty of water and fluid to make up for the fluid loss. Typically, the dehydration levels that take place after a football match can be restored within approximately six hours with the consumption of sufficient amounts of water and electrolytes. Electrolytes, specifically sodium, should be consumed to help water retention. Since sodium losses vary among individual football players with approximately 10 g of sodium chloride losses taking place during a football practice of 90 minutes long, sodium should be added to the recovery drink. The fluid deficit does not contribute to a limitation in the process of recovery because the time involved to rehydrate is only six hours compared to the replenishment of muscle glycogen, which takes place between 48 and 72 hours.
The Importance of Food Diaries and A Meal Plan
Below is presented the one-week of meal plan for Ola. This meal plan has been prepared in accordance with the information gleaned from the literature
The purpose of this paper was to highlight nutritional inefficiencies in the existing diet followed by Ola and replace that with a meal plan that fulfills the nutritional requirements of Ola. Since Ola is a football player, here's the nutritional requirements are different from that of an average person. Based on the high-intensity physical activity involved with football matches and training sessions, a football player needs to replenish muscle glycogen through a proper intake of protein and carbohydrates. He also needs to keep the body dehydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. The meal plan suggested for Ola is a balanced diet consisting of protein, carbohydrates, good polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, and casein, among others. If Ola follows this meal plan, it will fulfill his nutritional needs.
Examples don't inspire? Buy custom essays crafted by an essay writer free according to your requirements!
Areta, J. L., L. M. Burke, M. L. Ross, D. M. Camera, D. W. West, E. M. Broad, N. A. Jeacocke, D. R. Moore, T. Stellingwerff, S. M. Phillips, J. A. Hawley, and V. G. Coffey. 2013. Timing and distribution of protein ingestion during prolonged recovery from resistance exercise alters myofibrillar protein synthesis. J Physiol 591(Pt 9): 2319-2331.
Burke, L. M. (2001). Nutritional practices of male and female endurance cyclists. Sports Med 31(7): 521-532.
Clark, N. 2018. Soccer players: The bottom line on protein, muscles & nutrition. Soccer Today. <https://www.soccertoday.com/soccer-nutrition-on-building-muscles-for-youth-soccer-players/?cn-reloaded=1>
Cox, M. 2019. How to Eat Like a Premier League Footballer. The Soccer Store. <https://www.thesoccerstore.co.uk/blog/football-training/how-to-eat-like-a-premier-league-footballer/>
Edwards, A. M., M. E. Mann, M. J. Marfell-Jones, D. M. Rankin, T. D. Noakes and D. P. Shillington. 2007. Influence of moderate dehydration on soccer performance: physiological responses to 45 min of outdoor match-play and the immediate subsequent performance of sport-specific and mental concentration tests. Br J Sports Med 41(6): 385-391.
Fan, J, Song, Y, Wang, Y, Hui, R, & Zhang, W. 2012. Dietary glycemic index, glycemic load, and risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, and stroke mortality: a systematic review with meta-analysis. PLoS One, ;7:e52182.
Garlick, P. J. 2005. The role of leucine in the regulation of protein metabolism. J Nutr 135(6 Suppl): 1553S-1556S.
Greaney, JL, DuPont, JJ, Lennon-Edwards, SL, Sanders, PW, Edwards, DG, & Farquhar WB. 2012. Dietary sodium loading impairs microvascular function independent of blood pressure in humans: role of oxidative stress. J Physiol. 590:5519-5528.
Harvard Medical School (HMS). 2019. The truth about fats: the good, the bad, and the in-between. Available at: <https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-truth-about-fats-bad-and-good> [Accessed 30 June 2021].
Mirrahimi, A, de Souza, RJ, & Chiavaroli, L, et al. 2012. Associations of glycemic index and load with coronary heart disease events: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective cohorts. J Am Heart Assoc.; 1:e000752.
Rampinini, E., A. Bosio, I. Ferraresi, A. Petruolo, A. Morelli and A. Sassi (2011). Match-related fatigue in soccer players. Med Sci Sports Exerc 43(11): 2161-2170.
Res, P. T., B. Groen, B. Pennings, M. Beelen, G. A. Wallis, A. P. Gijsen, J. M. Senden and V. A. N. L. LJ (2012). Protein ingestion before sleep improves post-exercise overnight recovery. Med Sci Sports Exerc 44(8): 1560-1569.
Saltin, B (1973). Metabolic fundamentals in exercise. Med Sci Sports 5(3): 137-146.
Sawka, M. N., L. M. Burke, E. R. Eichner, R. J. Maughan, S. J. Montain and N. S. Stachenfeld. 2007. American College of Sports Medicine position stand. Exercise and fluid replacement. Med Sci Sports Exerc 39(2): 377-390
Tang, J. E., D. R. Moore, G. W. Kujbida, M. A. Tarnopolsky and S. M. Phillips (2009). Ingestion of whey hydrolysate, casein, or soy protein isolate: effects on mixed muscle protein synthesis at rest and following resistance exercise in young men. J Appl Physiol (1985) 107(3): 987-992.
Wang, X, Ouyang, Y, & Liu, J, et al. 2014. Fruit and vegetable consumption and mortality from all causes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer: a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. BMJ;349:g4490.