Weekly Nutrition Tip September 14, 2013

Caffeine has become a hot topic these days; a topic that kind of comes and goes.

SCAN (the dietetic practice group for sports nutrition) just put out these recommendations:

Caffeine and Athletic Performance

Potential Benefits:

• There is evidence that caffeine may enhance performance in endurance
athletes (e.g. cyclists, runners, swimmers and rowers) and speed
endurance athletes (e.g. mid-distance runners, and soccer, rugby and
hockey players).

• Caffeine does not appear to increase weight loss but may delay fatigue
and improve mental sharpness.

Potential Risks:

• Side effects include: anxiety, jitteriness, rapid heartbeat, upset stomach, and insomnia.

• Caffeine is an addictive substance. Tolerance may minimize benefits, and withdrawal symptoms can negatively impact performance.

• Caffeine, in high amounts (>15 ug/mL in the urine), is a banned substance by the NCAA. For most individuals, more than 500mg right before competition may result in a positive test.

Strategies for Caffeine Consumers:

• Timing: ~1 hour pre-competition, but practice during training first

• Amount: Tolerance depends on the individual, but 2 – 6 mg/kg body
weight (no more than 9 mg/kg) is adequate.

• Type: Researchers suggest that caffeine, in pill form, may be more
effective than drinking coffee and is better tolerated.

Caffeine Source Amount (mg)
Brewed Coffee (8 oz.) 60 – 150
Energy Drinks / Energy Bars (varies depending on size & brand) 80 – 200+
Pills (1 tablet) 100
Soda / Tea (8 oz.) 40 – 60

Athlete Scenario
One athlete reports:
I usually have a couple of cups of coffee before my long
bike rides. My riding partners swear that caffeine gives them
a competitive edge and tell me that I should be consuming
more. Is all of the hype about caffeine true, and if so, how
much is safe?

Caffeine and Athlete Performance
Tips to Take With You

1. Know what you’re putting in your body.
Some caffeine-containing products may have additional additives that could impair performance.

2. In moderation, caffeine does not cause dehydration or electrolyte imbalance, but athletes should rely on non-caffeinated beverages when rapid hydration is necessary.

3. Meet with a sports RD to determine if caffeine is appropriate for you. (That’s me! )
Contact SCAN
© 2013 Sports, Cardiovascular, and Wellness Nutrition (SCAN) Photo Credit: ©all-free-download.com

We would love to know what your thoughts are on caffeine and your perfomance.
Email me at janet@nourishingathletes.com

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