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New Dietary Guidelines Have Implications for Tennis Players

January 26, 2005 03:55 PM

By Jim Brown, Ph.D., Executive Editor, Sports Performance Journal (athletesperformance.com)

When the government released its Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005 report in January, the information targeted the general population more than tennis players and other athletes. Many of the recommendations were based on a 2000-calorie-per-day intake, which is low. Serious female athletes consume 1800-3000 cal/day, while men take in 2500-6000 calories.

But there is information in the report that does apply to people who are very active and/or very big. Deep in the report there are guidelines for those whose daily calorie consumption is 3000 and above. Regardless of the food group, look for those that are “nutrient-dense” – substantial amounts of vitamins and minerals, but relatively few calories. Following are highlights of the report and some recommendations regarding nutrient requirements at various daily calorie intake levels. Tennis players might eat more in each category if their energy expenditures warrant an increase in calories higher than 3200 per day.

Whole Grains
A major emphasis has been placed on convincing Americans — athletes or not — to eat more whole grains (whole wheat breads and cereals, brown rice, oatmeal). For the 1800 calories-a-day person, the suggested amount is six ounces and includes three ounces of whole grains and three of other grains (white breads, enriched cereals, enriched pasta, white rice). At 2600 calories/day, the amounts jump to nine ounces divided equally between whole and other grains. At 3200 per day, eat the equivalent of 10 ounces of grains with at least five of them in the whole grain group. One slice of bread or one cup of cereal is about an ounce, as is ½ cup of cooked rice or pasta.

Fruits and Vegetables
No surprise here. The government wants you to eat more fruits (whole is better than fruit juice because of fiber content) and vegetables (especially those that are dark green, leafy, or orange). Following are the new recommendations.

1800 cal/day diet — 1.5 cups/day
2600 cal/day diet — 2 cups/day
3200 cal/day diet — 2.5 cups/day

1800 cal/day diet — 2.5 cups/day
2600 cal/day diet — 3.5 cups/day
3200 cal/day diet — 4 cups/day

Total fat should not exceed 35 percent of calories, which is up five percent from the 2000 report. Most fats should come from foods like fish, nuts, and vegetable oil. Consume less than ten percent of calories from saturated fatty acids and less than 300 mg/day of cholesterol. Keep trans fat consumption as low as possible. It’s the kind found in many desserts and fast foods. Read food labels to determine fat content. Five percent or less of daily value (DV) is low; 20 percent or more is high.

Less Sodium, More Potassium, More Milk
Limit sodium to no more than 2300 mg per day. That’s only about one teaspoon of salt and will require a great deal of discipline to comply with the guideline. Drink three cups per day of fat-free or low-fat milk. If you don’t drink milk, substitute a nonfat alternative such as low-fat yogurt.
For more detailed information and guidelines concerning other foods and beverages, go to
www.healthierus.gov/dietaryguidelines. The Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services have also produced a pamphlet outlining the 2005 guidelines titled Finding Your Way to a Healthier You.

© 2004 HMS Publishing, Inc.
Jim Brown will be contributing new content to this site on a monthly basis. If you have a question for Dr. Brown please feel free to email him at




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