Why should soccer players eat foods that are high in carbohydrates?
Carbohydrates are the most efficient fuel for energy production. They function as a readily available energy source as they are stored as glycogen in muscles and in the liver. This is most beneficial for athletes engaged in strenuous exercise. With this being said, carbs may be the most important nutrient for sports performance. Some foods high in carbohydrates are: grains, bread, cereals, crackers, rolls, pasta (all kinds), rice, muffins, bagels, fruit, starchy vegetables, and low fat yogurt.
Soccer Players should AVOID foods that have high fat content or high in calories because these slow down the digestion process. Some foods that are high in fat or calories are: butter, margarine, mayonnaise, nuts, seeds, salad dressings, cream cheese, fried foods, sauces, gravies.
Soccer players should cut down on foods that are high in protein and high in fat such as: meat, fish, poultry, cheese, milk (unless skim milk), nuts, and seeds.
Another important nutrient is water. Dehydration, which is the loss of too much water, is the most common nutrition problem among athletes. Players should bring water to all practices and games and drink plenty of water before, during, and after practices and games.
For pre-game meals, make sure the athletes eat at least 2-3 hours before practice or game. This allows for good absorption.
Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem before making dietary changes.