FROM OUR GUEST EDITORS
We are honored and genuinely thankful to the Editor in Chief, Prof Popovic, and his team to be given an opportunity to produce this targeted edition on a topic that we both feel very passionate towards.
Sports nutrition has been rapidly evolving. A fact highlighted by Professors Louise Burke and John Hawley in their Science 2018 article “Swifter, higher, stronger; What’s on the menu?”. Perhaps of equal importance are the changing needs of athletes which currently include different generation cohorts (millennials, generation Z and generation alpha), as well as older athletes transitioning towards the end of their careers. This diversity is a significant challenge for the modern practitioner. It requires a wider bandwidth of knowledge in various aspects, not just nutrition, that have the potential to impact on dietary prescription and changing athlete behavior.
“Our menu” starts with articles considering athlete’s “choices”. Sports nutrition and the modern athlete considers the impact of ethical choices related to global food sustainability and what such a plant-based approach means for human performance. For competitive adolescent athletes, choices are explored in the context of the decisions faced in the absence of relevant sports nutrition guidelines. Finally, the theme is completed by examining the choices a modern athlete and their support team face when preparing for major sporting competitions.
The novel performance solutions section examines some of the nutritional innovations linked to greater physiological advances in recent years. Gut assessment and management offers a fascinating array of possibilities using microbiome which have the potential to further impact on the health and function of the athlete gut. Finally, further research of taste receptors in the mouth is presented to understand the implications of “having good taste” on performance.
Technology disruptors have been changing many industries and Sport Nutrition is no different. Personalised nutrition, starts by considering the controversial use of genetics, its validity for individual nutritional prescription in the athlete. The emerging role of artificial intelligence and novel avenues for nutritional interventions continues the controversial thread. In a post pandemic era when budgets are being cut, smart phone application technology offers dynamic, immediate and unrestricted by geography possibilities to affect behavior change in sports nutrition. But is this novel service solution a practitioner tool or does it potentially limit the need for a sports nutritionist?
This special edition finishes with a look at contemporary challenges in sports nutrition. Questionable practices involved in weight making within combat sport have life-threatening consequence. The same has also been argued across other sports where, the negative consequences from high performance are often linked to Relative Energy Deficiency Syndrome (REDS). Finally, we offer a topical commentary on the decision-making process around sports supplements. Modern food science and technology has now made it possible to include novel ingredients in any food preparation which has significant implications for athletes and the potential for an increase in anti-doping rule violations (ADRV). But are they really a threat?
We hope you enjoy the variety and depth of information provided in this special issue. A huge thankyou to the excellent work of the authors for their high-quality work and patience across the pandemic period to bring this targeted edition to reality.
Director of Clinical Projects
Marco Cardinale PhD
Executive Director of Research and Scientific Support
Aspetar Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, Qatar