Last Updated 27 Jan 2021


Category Exercise, Food
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CHAPTER ONE (1) 1. 0 GENERAL INTRODUCTION 1. 1INTRODUCTION The game of football of which Americans call soccer, has engulfed the world serving as a means of entertainment for its audiences, profession for those who play the game, business for those who invest in it and finally as a unifying tool for peacemakers. All these have been as a result of the growth of football in these past years. The game of football has grown faster than any other sport in history, doubling in its number of viewers every two to three years (FIFA/F-MARC, 2006).

The growing importance and popularity given to football as a sport has resulted in enormous researches to determine dietary intakes relevant for individuals undertaking such sport and nutritional influences on soccer performance (Kirkendall et al, 1993). Notwithstanding , the level of seriousness given to the dietary intakes of players and nutritional influences of foods taken, is lower in developing countries than in the developed ones although some aspects of football development has been launched in some of these developing countries.

Besides this, a developing country may be rated amongst the third world countries of the world, the Republic of Ghana has found itself swooped along with this pandemic that is virtually ruling the world today. In this case we can cite the case of Egypt, that in the last years have shown a very high growth in football achievements, and the case of Ghana, that has already reached a good level of development of the game with respect to achieving laurels.

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In the last two decades, this sport has gained tremendous attention by sports scientists (Chryssanthopoulos et al, 2009). The net performance of a football player is as a result of the combination of talent, appropriate training and good nutrition. The latter of which has an effect on the preceding two (talent and appropriate training) has being the aspect neglected by clubs and even players in particular.

The dietary pattern and food habits of football players determines their nutritional status, as in eating more, less or just as recommended, eating appropriate or junk foods and as to whether nutrients consumed from food fill gaps created by mechanisms resulting in energy expenditure. The game is characterized by periods of low to moderate aerobic exercise interrupted by frequent activities of short duration and high intensity, such as sprinting, jumping, and tackling.

It is obvious that such an energy-demanding sport requires proper dietary programmes that will restore or even super-compensate body energy stores and enhance the activity pattern of players during training and competition (Martin et al, 2006). The energy needs for an individual varies according to their age, sex and the physical activities they perform during the day. Healthy male individuals present an average energy demand of 2900 kcal·day-1 (National Research Council, 1996); however, a professional soccer player's energy demand oscillates from 3500 to 4300 kcal/day (Clark, 1994; Bangsbo et al. 2006; Ebine et al. , 2002; Rico-Sanz, 1998). It should be acknowledged that these values for soccer players vary, and energy needs are met if the dietary pattern and food habits of a player provides the recommended requirements coupled with the appropriate physical activity as energy expenditure depends on the frequency and intensity of training sessions, exercises and matches which can affect the nutritional status of an individual (Clark et al, 2003). 1. 2PROBLEM STATEMENT

Many researchers have studied the dietary habits of soccer players in an attempt to examine whether the reported diets fulfill dietary recommendations. The vast majority of these studies have examined players at especially Europe and a few times at the southern Americas. A large number of players, however, compete at the African region which is usually a pool from which foreign professional clubs in places like France, England, Italy and Germany choose their members to form their squads.

Requirement specifications in these studies are difficult to apply to participants in this part of the world as they differ in terms of the geographical area, climatic and weather condition, morphological and physiological features, social setting, available foods altering patterns and habits-to mention a few (Lemon,1994). Few studies have examined the dietary habits of lower level soccer players. Furthermore, another aspect of particular importance that has not received much attention is the diet of soccer players during the game day and especially the pre-competition meal and the food they consume during after-game recovery.

A proper pre-game meal will facilitate body energy stores before competition by helping to top up muscle and liver glycogen stores, something that may enable players to cover greater distances in the field and at higher speeds than they would with suboptimal glycogen levels (Chryssanthopoulos et al, 2009). Also, optimal dietary intake in the hours after the game will ensure rapid recovery (Burke et al, 2003). All participating teams at the 2006 world cup had a nutritionist/dietician in their technical setup (FIFA/F-MARC, 2006).

Also 19 out of 20 premier league teams in England have a nutritionist/dietician in their setup (Article-peak performance, 2005). On the contrary, the growing importance given to nutrition in football has not really gained grounds in Africa as out of the 8 teams that participated in the just ended CAF champions’ league, only 2 teams had a nutritionist (CCL report, 2009). In Ghana, research has shown that only two teams out of 16 in the elite division have a nutritionist (Ghanafa. com, 15/01/10).

In this case, players are left unguided to develop dietary patterns and food habits that might not be beneficial with respect to their chosen profession. 1. 3PURPOSE OF STUDY The purpose of this study is to assess the dietary patterns, food habits and energy expenditure of professional footballers in Real Tamale United Football Club in Tamale Metropolis. 1. 4JUSTIFICATION With the growing interest in football in Sub Saharan Africa, specifically Ghana, there is the need for researches into the nutritional needs of it participants.

Most information on dietary patterns, food habits, energy demands, training and conditioning strategies are extrapolated from researches on individuals out of this part of the world especially Europe and the Americas. This research will review the nutrition needs, energy expenditure, dietary patterns and habits of Ghanaian professional footballers and to identify what is not known to serve as a baseline data to encourage research in these populations. It will also establish the demands of a professional footballer in conditions here in Africa, specifically Ghana and also what influences these demands. . 5RESEARCH OBJECTIVES 1. 5. 1GENERAL OBJECTIVES The research aims at assessing the dietary patterns, food habits and energy expenditure of professional footballers in the Real Tamale United Football Club which is in the Tamale metropolis. 1. 5. 2SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES ?To assess the factors that influence dietary pattern and food habit of footballers. ?To assess the type of foods (macronutrients) commonly consumed by professional footballers. ?To assess the nutritional status of footballers in the club. ?To determine the physical activity level of footballers. To determine average energy expenditure of the footballers. ?To determine whether professional footballers meet their energy requirement. CHAPTER TWO (2) 2. 0LITERATURE REVIEW The purpose of this literature review is to summarize available research that is related to the concept of the dietary patterns, food habits and energy expenditure of professional footballers and the evaluation of its relevance and effects on nutritional status. The review includes sections devoted to various existing researches on dietary patterns, food habits and energy expenditure of professional footballers.

A second section will take snap shots into sports nutrition, particularly in football (soccer), and a brief description of requirement specifications of dietary intakes for professional footballers. 2. 1 SOME EXISTING RESEARCHES ON DIETARY INTAKES AND ENERGY EXPENDITURE OF PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALLERS There are quite a number of researches on the dietary patterns, food habits and energy expenditure of professional footballers in the sciences area. Some are still being developed, and yet some are under considerations which are likely to possess some amount of knowledge as the game gains popularity and participation.

Whatever be the case, one particular type of research might not contain just too much information or knowledge a professional footballer needs. The opposite is true, as knowledge in the sport does not necessarily trigger appropriate dietary patterns and food habits. As such, it is necessary to know the requirement specifications of participants and compare them to available accepted research publication requirement specifications for a professional footballer in order to make the best choice.

The requirement specifications might take into consideration, the geographical location, climatic and weather conditions, morphological and physiological features, social setting, available foods-just to mention a few. There is no doubt that the type, amount, composition, and timing of food intake can dramatically affect exercise performance, recovery from exercise, body weight and composition, and health (Burke et al, 2003). Good nutritional practice is essential to athletic success by improving the quality of training, maximizing performance and speeding recovery time.

Soccer is described as a high intensity intermittent sport involving continual changes in activity (Hargreaves, 1994). When exercise or physical work increase to more than 1 hour per day, the importance of adequate energy and nutrient intakes becomes more critical (Manore, 2004). The dietary patterns and food habits developed by individuals involved in such energy demanding sport determines their nutrient intake, coupled with demands of physical activity, have a collective influence on performance and nutritional status (Clark et al, 2003). 2. 2DIETARY PATTERNS AND FOOD HABITS OF FOOTBALLERS

All humans eat to survive. They also eat to express appreciation, for a sense of belonging, as part of family customs, for self-realization and due to their occupation and profession. For example, someone who is not hungry may eat a piece of cake that has been baked in his or her honour. People eat according to learned behaviors regarding etiquette, meal and snack patterns, acceptable foods, food combinations, and portion sizes. Individuals develop some kind of behaviors as a result of what goes on around them and they maintain these new behaviors as the best suitable for them (Bandura, 1997).

The social cognitive theory explains how people acquire and maintain certain behavioural patterns, while also providing the basis for intervention strategies (Bandura, 1997). The more a person is exposed to a food and encouraged to eat it, the greater the chances that the food will be accepted (C. Nti, 2009). As the exposure to a food increases, the person becomes more familiar and less fearful of the food, and acceptance may develop (C. Nti, 2009). Some persons only eat specific foods and flavour combinations, while others like trying different foods and flavors (Rodriguez, 2009). . 2. 1 FACTORS THAT INFLUENCE PATTERNS OF FOOD HABITS To live one must eat. But, we not only eat to live, what we eat also affects our ability to keep healthy, do work, to be happy and to live well. Knowledge of what to eat and in what quantities is a prerequisite to the healthy and happy life (Rodriguez, 2009). The average nutritional requirements of groups of people are fixed and depend on such measurable characteristics such as age, sex, height, weight, and degree of activity and rate of growth (Martin et al, 2006).

Good nutrition requires a satisfactory diet, which is capable of supporting the individual consuming it, in a state of good health by providing the desired nutrients in required amounts. It must provide the right amount of fuel to execute normal physical activity. If the total amount of nutrients provided in the diet is insufficient, a state of under nutrition will develop. What and how people eat is determined by a variety of factors, including economic circumstances, cultural norms, and religious restrictions (Judith C. Rodriguez, 2009).

Some factors influencing food choices include preferences, ethnicity, values, habits, availability, health and nutrition. Dietary patterns, which are affected by a number of reasons, some of which are enumerated above, determine the nutritional and health status of people (Krause and Mahan, 1984). Regardless of the factors influencing dietary patterns, adequate food intake is essential as nutritional well-being plays an important role in health promotion and maintenance. Diet may influence the risk of developing certain chronic diseases and plays a role in preventing morbidity and mortality.

Eating habits are thus the result of both external factors, such as politics, and internal factors, such as values. These habits are formed, and may change, over a person's lifetime. There is little research on the dietary patterns and food habits of soccer players, this notwithstanding, studying intakes gives some amount of information on their diet patterns. Professional footballers develop a habit of reducing the intake of carbohydrates and fats and increasing intake of proteins and vitamins with the knowledge of preventing increases in weight (Manore, 2000). This is not the case as R. J.

Maughan (2000) recommended increased intake of carbohydrate in particular looking at the nature of the sports which is energy demanding. He did this after studying the macronutrient intakes of two elite teams in Scotland. Individuals have some sort of perceptions that go with the kind of profession they choose and football players are not left out. The fact that one is a professional footballer could alter the dietary pattern and food habit of that person. Also, availability of food (the individual’s environment) influences the range of food choices he or she can make. 2. 3ENERGY AND NUTRIENT REQUIREMENTS OF ACTIVE INDIVIDUALS

Meeting energy needs is the first nutritional priority for athletes and one of the most frequently asked questions is "How much should I eat to stay fit and healthy? " A healthy diet contains the right proportions of carbohydrate, fat, protein, vitamins and minerals (Maughan, 2000). Carbohydrates and fats are the major sources of energy although energy can be obtained from protein. Active individuals need more energy (calories) each day than their sedentary counterparts-assuming individuals are of the same age, body size and participate in similar non-physically active daily activities (Manore, 2000).

Exercise requires energy to fuel and repair the muscles, thus, meeting one’s energy needs to maintain body weight should be a priority for any athlete or active individual (Clark et al, 2003). Energy balance is achieved when the energy consumed (sum of energy from food, supplements and fluids) equals energy expenditure (sum of all the energy expended by the body in movement or to maintain body functions) (Swinburn and Ravussin, 1993). Knowing whether one is in energy balance is simple: weight is maintained.

If energy intake does not cover the costs of energy expenditure, then weight and muscle mass are lost, and the ability to perform strenuous exercise typically declines (Black et al, 2000). When energy intake is restricted, fat and muscle mass will be utilized for energy to fuel the body, and the loss of muscle mass will result in the loss of strength and endurance. Additionally, chronically low energy intake usually results in poor nutrient intakes, including carbohydrate, protein, vitamins and minerals.

Exactly how much energy an active individual needs each day will depend on a number of factors, including age, gender, body size, level and intensity of physical activity and activities of daily living. The Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in 2002 reviewed the energy needs of active and very active individuals and provided some general recommendations based on age and body size. In general, the first goal of an active individual is to maintain adequate energy intake to ensure that a healthy body weight is maintained.

Although this seems like a simple task, there are many active individuals who find this difficult to do. For these individuals, a dietary plan that assures meals and snacks are not skipped will improve energy intake and help maintain weight (Manore, 2000). Finally, energy needs typically decrease with age, so even if activity levels do not change, the amount of energy required to maintain body weight will decrease. For this reason, body weight typically increases with age, even if activity levels remain constant (Black et al, 2000). 2. 4MACRONUTRIENT CONSUMPTION

Carbohydrate, protein and fat are important nutrients for active individuals, but the amounts of these macronutrients needed will depend on an individual’s physical activity, its intensity, duration and frequency, the type of exercise engaged in, and their health, body size, age and gender (Maughan, 2000). Macronutrient recommendations for those engaged in daily physical activity are given below and in Table 2. 1. Table 2. 1 Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) for macronutrients and recommendations for active individuals Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) for macronutrients and recommendations for active individuals

NutrientNew Guidelines-2002Old Guidelines-1989Guidelines for Active Individuals Carbohydrate45-65% of total energy? 50% of total energyThe amount of carbohydrate required for moderate intensity exercise is 5-7 g/kg body weight; 7-12 g/kg body weight for high intensity endurance activities Protein10-35% of total energy, 0. 8 g/kg of bodyweight10-15% of total energy, 0. 8 g/kg of body weightProtein requirements are typically higher in active individuals. Recommendations range from 1. 2-1. 7 g of protein/kg body weight. This level of protein typically represents 15% of total energy.

Fat20-35% of total energy? 30% of total energyFat intakes between 20-35%. Carbohydrate and protein needs should be met first. IOM, 2002. FNB, 1989. Burke et al, 2004; Tipton and Wolfe, 2004. 2. 4. 1Carbohydrate needs The mix of fuel (protein, fat, carbohydrate) burned during physical activity depends primarily on the intensity and duration of the activity performed, one’s level of fitness, and prior nutritional status. All other conditions being equal, as exercise intensity increases the use of carbohydrate for energy will also increase (Brooks & Mercier, 1994; Brooks & Trimmer, 1995).

The duration of exercise also changes substrates use. As duration of exercise increases (e. g. , from 60 to 120 min), muscle glycogen becomes depleted, causing the body to draw on circulating blood glucose as a source of carbohydrate (Clark et al, 2003). If blood glucose cannot be maintained within physiological range during exercise, the ability to perform intensity exercise will decrease (Coyle et al. , 1986). Fat can be used as a source of energy over a wide range of exercise intensities; however, the proportion of energy contributed by fat decreases as exercise intensity increases.

In these circumstances, carbohydrate becomes the dominant fuel source while the contribution from fat decreases (Bergman et al. , 1999). Protein can also be used for energy at rest and during exercise; however, in well-fed individuals it probably provides 4. 0 and TEE of 33 MJ/d in a bicycle race and a polar exploration. The maximum for a sustainable way of life may be that represented by soldiers on active service, with a mean PAL of 2. 4 and TEE of 18 MJ/d (Black et al, 2002). Among athletes in training, mean PALs is 2-3. 5, with TEE ranging from 11 to 18 MJ/d in women, and from 15 to 30 MJ/d in men (UNU, 2004).

PALs greater than 2. 4 were obtained in periods of 'rigorous training', which is unlikely to be a sustained lifestyle. The lower values for PAL, 2. 0-2. 3, were obtained in periods of apparently routine training and may well be sustained for extended periods of time (UNU, 2004). Table 2. 4 Characteristics and energy expenditure (obtained by DLW) in different age and sex groups by UNU, 2004. Age group (y)nAge (y)Height (m)Weight (kg)BMI (kg/m2)  means. d. means. d. means. d. means. d. Females 18-298924. 4(3. 7)1. 66(0. 06)69. 2(22. 3)25. 3(8. 1) 30-397633. 8(3. 0)1. 64(0. 07)67. (13. 9)25. 2(4. 9) 40-644751. 6(8. 3)1. 65(0. 07)70. 0(13. 3)25. 9(4. 6) Males 18-295622. 5(3. 5)1. 77(0. 07)75. 6(18. 4)24. 0(5. 3) 30-393634. 3(3. 3)1. 79(0. 06)86. 1(31. 4)26. 8(8. 8) 40-641550. 6(8. 8)1. 76(0. 06)77. 0(10. 0)24. 9(3. 0) TEE (MJ/d)BMR (MJ/d)AEE (MJ/d)PAL Age group (y)nmeans. d. means. d. means. d. means. d. Females 18-298910. 4(2. 2)6. 2(1. 1)4. 2(1. 7)1. 70(0. 28) 30-397610. 0(1. 7)6. 0(0. 6)4. 1(1. 5)1. 68(0. 25) 40-64479. 8(1. 7)5. 8(0. 7)4. 0(1. 4)1. 69(0. 23) Males 18-295613. 8(3. 0)7. 5(1. 2)6. 3(2. 5)1. 85(0. 33) 30-393614. 3(3. 1)8. 2(1. 8)6. 1(2. 5)1. 77(0. 1) 40-641511. 5(1. 7)7. 0(0. 8)4. 5(1. 3)1. 64(0. 17) The FAO/WHO/UNU Expert Consultation (2004) suggested the average daily energy requirement of adults whose occupational work is classified as light, moderate, or heavy, expressed as a multiple of BMR, to be as follows: LightModerateHeavy Men1. 551. 782. 10 Women1. 561. 641. 82 2. 7. 2Methods of determining caloric needs There are many different methods and formulas used to determine caloric maintenance level or energy expenditure by taking into account the factors of age, sex, height, weight, lean body mass, and activity level.

Any method and formula that takes into account lean body mass (LBM) gives the most accurate determination of energy expenditure, but even without LBM a reasonably close estimate can be attained. 2. 7. 3Equations based on BMR. A much more accurate method for calculating total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) is to determine basal metabolic rate (BMR) using multiple factors, including height, weight, age and sex, then multiply the BMR by an activity factor to determine TDEE (FAO/WHO/UNU, 2004). BMR is the total number of calories your body requires for normal bodily functions (excluding activity factors).

This includes keeping your heart beating, inhaling and exhaling air, digesting food, making new blood cells, maintaining your body temperature and every other metabolic process in your body. In other words, your BMR is all the energy used for the basic processes of life itself. BMR usually accounts for about two-thirds of total daily energy expenditure. BMR may vary dramatically from person to person depending on genetic factors. BMR is at its lowest when you are sleeping undisturbed and you are not digesting anything.

It is very important to note that the higher your lean body mass is, the higher your BMR will be (Burke et al, 2004). This is very significant if loss of body fat is needed because it means that the more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn. Muscle is metabolically active tissue, and it requires a great deal of energy just to sustain it. It is obvious then that one way to increase BMR is to engage in weight training in order to increase and/or maintain lean body mass. In this manner it could be said that weight training helps you lose body fat, albeit indirectly (Clark et al, 2003). . 7. 4The Harris-Benedict formula (BMR based on total body weight) The Harris Benedict equation is a calorie formula using the factors of height, weight, age, and sex to determine basal metabolic rate (BMR). This makes it more accurate than determining calorie needs based on total bodyweight alone. The only variable it does not take into consideration is lean body mass. Therefore, this equation will be very accurate in all but the extremely muscular (will underestimate caloric needs) and the extremely overfat (will overestimate caloric needs). Mathematically; Men: BMR = 66 + (13. X wt in kg) + (5 X ht in cm) - (6. 8 X age in years) Women: BMR = 655 + (9. 6 X wt in kg) + (1. 8 X ht in cm) - (4. 7 X age in years) Total daily energy expenditure is calculated by multiplying BMR by a multiplier (PAL). 2. 7. 5Katch-McArdle formula (BMR based on lean body weight) This formula from Katch & McArdle takes into account lean body mass (weight) and therefore is more accurate than a formula based on total body weight. The Harris Benedict equation has separate formulas for men and women because men generally have a higher LBM and this is factored into the men's formula.

Since the Katch-McArdle formula accounts for LBM, this single formula applies equally to both men and women. Mathematically; BMR (men and women) = 370 + (21. 6 X lean mass in kg) To determine TDEE from BMR, you simply multiply BMR by the activity multiplier: the physical activity level. 2. 8SNAPSHOTS INTO GENERAL SPORTS NUTRITION AND NUTRITION IN FOOTBALL (SOCCER) In every day to day activity in life on earth, maintaining a good health within and without has being the main aim of humans in general. This is not different from that of football players, as keeping fit and playing regularly void of injuries has being the motive.

Training and Diet plays a major role in this behaviour and keeping track of the latter (diet patterns and habits) becomes cumbersome with a lot of lapses coming up every now and then. Football was, for a long time, classed as an endurance sport due largely to the fact that a football match lasted at least 90 minutes. As a result, the nutritional requirements of football players were extrapolated from early scientific research carried out in relation to other ‘endurance sports’ such as running and cycling.

It is true that the duration of a football match is normally 90 minutes; however, the training loads associated with these sports are vastly different (Maughan, 2000). On closer inspection it becomes clear that daily energy expenditure of professional football players may not be particularly high. Football players are generally inactive when not training and training load will vary, depending on factors such as the stage of the season, or whether tactical or fitness drills predominate in training.

If football players were to consume 7-10g of carbohydrate per kg body weight each day (a recommendation found in many textbook) then a quick calculation that included reasonable amounts of protein and fat would generate a daily energy intake closer to 4,200kcal (Maughan, 2000). In Scandinavia this may be closer to the truth. Once the playing season gets underway the Scandinavian subjects typically train seven times per week (Manore, 2000). So it is not surprising that energy intakes will exceed 4,000kcal in a country like Sweden (Clark et al, 2003).

An athlete’s diet must be high in carbohydrate, moderate in protein, low in fat, include sufficient vitamins and minerals, and plenty of fluid. ’ This was the original model with which many football nutritionists and players used to work (Article-peak performance, 2009). Although very simple, much of it still holds today. However, understanding the game has improved; nutritionists have been able to tease out strategies from each of the model’s sub-sections that more closely match the requirements of our sport. What is different is that science no longer holds ll the cards. Football has caught up with science and is now dictating where research efforts are directed. For, example, the glycemic index of foods, a ranking of foods based on their immediate effect on blood glucose, has become a particularly useful tool in football. Five years ago the approach in football was to advocate a high carbohydrate, low fat diet at all times. Any food that at all met these requirements would be recommended to players in a bid to maximise muscle glycogen storage for training and competition.

Now a more measured approach is employed with the glycemic index and, to a lesser extent, the insulin index utilised in a bid to control body composition as well as carbohydrate provision (Article-peak performance, 2009). Emphasis is now placed more on achieving optimum carbohydrate intake prior to matches, and during the recovery period after matches, particularly when some clubs find themselves involved in up to three games per week in the busiest part of the season. Good attitudes to reducing fat intake are now a commonplace in the modern player.

Emphasis is placed on increasing intake of certain fatty acids that are found to be lacking in players’ diets. When performing dietary analyses of players, low intakes of essential fatty acids (eicosapentaenoic acid, EPA; docosahexenoic acid, DHA) are consistently reported. Despite the appearance of oily fish in the canteens of football clubs, there may be a case for blanket supplementation in this particular group of sportsmen (Maughan, 2000). There is growing evidence that protein supplementation after training can promote protein synthesis and adaptation of muscle.

The type, timing and amount of protein can be manipulated to enhance the adaptive response (Coyle et al, 1999). The work of researchers such as Bob Wolfe and Kevin Tipton in Texas, and Mike Rennie in Dundee (whose primary interest has been likened to ‘preventing older people falling down’) has enabled the design of strategies of protein-intake that may promote better adaptation to training. Despite the progress that has been made in our understanding of the demands of football, there is a need for continued improvement. No other sub-discipline of sports medicine comes with so many contrasting views of what is right and wrong.

The ‘Zone’ diet, the ‘Atkins’ diet, mass supplementation, the concept of the ‘nutritional guru’ – all are still prevalent in the modern game. Players are becoming more demanding due to conversations with other players from other teams, and also other athletes from other sports. Players from overseas bring with them their own ideas (nearly always related to vitamin intake), but very often lacking in scientific support (Article-peak performance, 2009). In addition, at present there is a fundamental mismatch in what players and practitioners view as important.

Players believe in supplements, extra vitamins and minerals: anything that involves increasing muscle mass, and reducing energy intake to achieve ‘lean’ body composition. Scientific research, on the other hand, demonstrates that players should concentrate more on appropriate energy intake, and high carbohydrate and fluid intake. Sports nutrition is important in football because food provides us with energy for our muscles, brain and other organs. Football requires plenty of exercise, and therefore it is important to have energy available during the game. The energy available at any particular time depends on blood sugar levels.

If we over-eat, we become over-weight. The heavier we are, the more work our muscles have to do to take us the same distance. This reduces stamina, and the ability to accelerate quickly. If we under-eat, we can become weak and our overall health can decline, because we are not getting enough nutrients. A healthy diet improves general level of health, and can help recovery more quickly from injuries (Clark et al, 2003). Along with a program of fitness training, diet can help develop stamina and improve athletic performance (Maughan, 2000). Diet is essential for our growth, and development.

The timing of the meals consumed is important. Healthy male individuals present an average energy demand of 2900kcal·day-1 (National Research Council, 1996); however, a professional soccer player's energy demand oscillates from 3500 to 4300 kcal/day (Clark, 1994; Bangsbo et al. , 2006; Ebine et al. , 2002; Rico-Sanz, 1998a). It should be acknowledged that these values for soccer players vary from week to week, and energy expenditure depends on the frequency and intensity of training sessions, exercises and matches. In soccer, players require a diet with a high percentage of carbohydrates (Rico-Sanz et al. 1998).

On the day of a match the intake of fat and protein should be restricted, as these nutrients require a relatively long time to be digested. Pre-competition meal must be 3-4 hours before the match (Bangsbo et al. , 2006). The pre-competition meal should be: high in carbohydrate (this is the fuel that your body needs to perform at the highest level), low in fat, low in protein, low in fiber, not too bulky, and easy to digest. A snack high in carbohydrate may be eaten about 2 hours before the match; however the time reference is only a guideline as there are great individual differences in the ability to digest food.

Once the game is over, fluids should be replaced and carbohydrate should be consumed as soon as possible to promote recovery of glycogen stores. As soon as possible aim to consume a meal which is high in carbohydrates. Foods such as pasta, spaghetti, rice, noodles, low fat pasta sauce, bread, potatoes, and baked beans should be consumed during this period (Manore, 2000). Carbohydrate rich foods must be the main source of your diet. Consume the main bulk of the diet from complex carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates should not be consumed in large quantities and are more useful as snacks between workouts, or to top up your energy intake.

The carbohydrate consumed should be balanced with a healthy intake of protein, low fat and plenty of fruit and vegetables. The water lost from the body during sweating needs to be replaced to stop the process of getting tired quickly, and also speed up the recovery process – that means feeling fitter and sharper afterwards a lot sooner. For footballers, the best fluid to drink is a diluted carbohydrate/electrolyte solution; ideally, it’s best to drink before, during and after a training session, as well as drinking frequently during a match (peak performance, 2009).

After all matches, players should attempt to ingest enough carbohydrate-containing sports drink to replace all the fluid they've lost during competition. After strenuous workouts, water should also be replaced, and football athletes need to eat at least 500 calories of carbohydrate during the two hours following practice in order to maximize their rates of glycogen storage. CHAPTER THREE (3) 3. 0METHODOLOGY The research aims at assessing the dietary patterns, food habits and energy expenditure of professional footballers, in Real Tamale United Football Club in the Tamale metropolis, and its effect on nutritional status.

The research will answer specific questions about the factors that influence dietary pattern and food habits of footballers, foods/macronutrients commonly consumed by professional footballers; the nutritional status of footballers in the club, the physical activity level of footballers, the average energy expenditure of the footballers and then whether professional footballers meet their energy requirement. 3. 1BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY AREA 3. 1. 1Location and Size Tamale metropolis is one of the eighteen districts of the northern region of Ghana. Tamale, the administrative capital of the region is located at the center of the region.

The metropolis shares common boundaries with Savelugu/Nanton district on the north, and Tolon/Kumbungu district on the northwest. Also, it is bordered west and central Gonja districts on the south; and east Gonja and Yendi districts on the east. The metropolis occupies a landmass with approximately 922 square kilometers, which is about 13 percent of the total land area of the region (Regional Coordinating Council, RCC, 2010). 3. 1. 2Vegetation and Climate The vegetation of the metropolis is that of a typical guinea savanna zone with tall trees such as neem, shea and kapok, interspersed with grasses.

During the rainy season, the vegetation becomes luxuriant, providing green scenery. The dry season is however, characterized by dry grasses with the trees shedding off their leaves as well as an exposed environment to bushfires. As a result of its location in the savanna belt, the metropolis experiences only one rainy season which begins in April/May, attains its peak in July/August and ends in September/October, and a long dry season from November to March. The mean annual rainfall and dry sunshine stands at 1100mm and 7. 5hours respectively.

On the average, the metropolis experiences only 95days of intense rainfall. Also, the average maximum and minimum ranges are relatively 33°C -39°C and 20°C -22°C (Ghana Meteorological Services, 2010). 3. 1. 3Demographic Characteristics Tamale metropolis has a population of about 350,000 inhabitants which constitutes about 20% of the total population of the region (Ghana Statistical Services, 2008). The metropolis is heterogeneous and encompasses diverse ethnic groups that are the Dagombas, Gonjas, Mamprusi and Akans among others with the dagombas constituting about 80% of the population.

Moslems are the predominant religious group followed by Christians. The most important festivals of the people of the metropolis are damba and yam festivals. However, other festivals including Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul Adha, which are Islamic festivals, are celebrated in the area. 3. 1. 4Socio-Economic Characteristics Farming is the major occupation of the people of Tamale. They cultivate rice, maize, guinea corn, cowpea, groundnuts, soybeans, yam and cassava. They also rear animals including sheep, goats, guinea fowls and cattle.

However, the crops and animals are mostly produced by peri-urban and rural dwellers. Other economic ventures include groundnut oil extraction and trading by women mostly on small scale. Men are often seen to engage in smock weaving, tailoring, automobile repairs, carpentry and butchery. The increasing levels of educational attainments have contributed to the number of civil servants including teachers, nurses and security personnel among others in the area. 3. 1. 5Foods Consumed A variety of foods are consumed by the people of Tamale and its environs.

At home, tuo-zaafi (TZ), a staple food of the Dagombas, which is prepared from maize, is consumed by most people. In general, TZ is consumed with a vegetable-based soup especially dry Okro. In the urban and peri-urban communities, TZ is usually the meal taken at supper, whilst a maize-based porridge or tea is taken as breakfast. In the metropolis, lunch is hardly prepared at home, hence the people choose from a variety of street foods available. Thus, the people in the urban Tamale consume a lot of street foods including fried yam, rice and beans among others. . 2THE STUDY AREA 3. 2. 1HISTORY OF RTU Real Tamale United, often called as R. T. U. , is a Ghanaian football club based in Tamale in the Northern Region of Ghana. They are a member of the Ghanaian Globacom premier league. Their home stadium is the Tamale Sports Stadium. The club was founded in 1976 by the first chairman Alhaji Adam. The club has 36 players currently, of which 25 were used in this study. With the operational definition of a professional football team and player, RTU was the only team that met the criteria for selection in the Tamale metropolis.

The club has only won the Ghana Telecom Gala once in 1997/98 season with three appearances in CAF competitions in 1992, 1996 and 1998 of which they were eliminated in the first round. Recently, the club battled for survival in the Ghanaian Globacom Premiership for two years running. 3. 3THE STUDY POPULATION AND SAMPLE SELECTION The population for this study will be male professional footballers in the club. The operational definition of a professional footballer in the context of this study will be an individual who plays elite or first division club football.

Football players in the Real Tamale United Football Club, in the Tamale metropolis of the Northern Region, were sampled purposively and used as the representative sample for this study on the basis that the club is based in Ghana, a country well known for its interest in football development; the club participates in the country’s first division known as the premiership which means all players in the club play at the top level of football in the country and finally located in the Northern Region of the country: an area where poverty and illiteracy rates are high which has influences in areas of sports nutrition and performance. . 3. 1SELECTION CRITERIA Thirty five members of the Real Tamale United football squad aged 17-30years were recruited for the study. Only 25 subjects met the requirements of being void of illness and injury carried out during a two day fitness test in the presence of the team physiotherapist. All measurements and data were done at a time when the premier league was ongoing with players playing week in week out matches. 3. 4BODY MASS INDEX: its Calculation Body mass index is based on a weight-to-height ratio that indicates the energy reserves of an individual.

BMI is a ratio of weight in kilograms to the square of the height in meters. Heights and weights are therefore the indicators for calculating the BMI of an individual. BMI is the current method for calculating a healthy body weight and is based on the study of a wide variety of people from many countries. The FAO/WHO/UNU (2004) established reference values for comparing the BMI of active individuals. Mathematically; BMI = WEIGHT (Kg) / height (M? ). The unit of BMI is thus, kgm??. 3. 5BASAL METABOLIC RATES: its Calculation

It is the minimum amount of energy needed to keep the body alive and is the largest component of an average person's daily energy expenditure. The BMR is usually expressed simply as kilocalories per day or in units of energy per unit surface area (or per kilogram body mass) per unit time. It is very difficult to determine the absolute minimum metabolic rate, but estimates are usually standardized by being made when a person is resting quietly after at least 8 hours sleep and 12 hours since the last meal.

In this study, BMR of subjects was estimated using the Harris-Benedict equation which takes into consideration parameters such as age, height and weight of the individual. Mathematically; BMR (MEN) = 66 + (13. 7 X wt in kg) + (5 X ht in cm) - (6. 8 X age in years). The unit of BMR is therefore kcal/day. 3. 6DETERMINATION OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY LEVELS AND ENERGY EXPENDITURE Physical activity levels of individuals are estimated from daily activities undertaken, taking into consideration its intensity and duration.

According to Ainsworth et al (2004), these daily activities are represented as values known as physical activity ratios (PAR values). Considering the intensity and duration of the activity taken with respect to the PAR values, an estimate of the physical activity level (PAL) is determined (FAO/WHO/UNU, 2004). The PAL values are categorized as light, moderate and heavy activity (FAO/WHO/UNU, 2004) and when multiplied by the BMR of the individual, an estimation of energy expenditure is determined. Mathematically; PAL = ? (PAR ? DURATION OF ACTIVITY) ? (TIME SPENT IN EACH ACTIVITY) ENERGY EXPENDITURE = PAL ?

BMR The unit of energy expenditure is thus, kcal/day or KJ. 3. 7DATA COLLECTION AND INSTRUMENTATION 3. 7. 1Questionnaire The major instrument for collecting the data was semi-structured questionnaire administered to soccer players through self-reporting. The questionnaire was designed to collect quantitative data, but some qualitative data was also gathered as well. The questionnaire was in three forms, namely, the general nutrition knowledge questionnaire which also had sections for anthropometric records, the food dairy and the physical activity dairy (Appendix I, II and III). 3. 7. 2Anthropometry

Anthropometry was one of the techniques employed in the data collection and was based on the measurement of only the height and weight of the respondents. The anthropometry was made an integral part of the questionnaire and efforts were made to ensure that these parameters were measured to make the questionnaire completely filled. The procedures employed in carrying out the measurements are elaborated in the sections below. These procedures are based on the FAO/WHO/UNU technical report standards for the measurement of weight and height of physically active individuals. Weight measurement

The subjects were weighed using an electronic bathroom scale with an accuracy of 0. 1kg, before morning training. The subjects wore light clothes as much as possible and on bare foot before weighing took place. Each subject to be weighed was made to stand upright and in a relaxed manner on the scale with the eyes looking horizontally to the feet and the hand by the sides. The weight was then read and immediately recorded. Height Measurement Heights of the respondents were measured using a wall-mounted stadiometer. Prior to the measurement, it was ensured that the subjects wore neither ootwear, boots nor socks. Each subject to be measured was made to stand upright and erect against the wall, with the heels, buttocks and the upper back touching the wall, the feet close together and the eyes looking straight. A ruler was then placed on the crown of the head towards the stadio measurements and the reading immediately recorded to the nearest 1. 0cm. 3. 7. 3Food intake Subjects were educated and given verbal and written instructions (Appendix IV) on the procedures involved in recording food intake in a food intake dairy on a free non-training day.

A food intake dairy (Appendix II) was given to each of the participants to be filled according to their daily dietary intake taking into consideration meals, portion sizes, food type and quantity for seven consecutive days ((Bingham, 2000; Tilgner and Schiller, 1991). Dairies were checked in every two days to ensure correct recording and correction in any case of wrong recording or difficulty in recording. All dairies were collected after seven days. Samples of estimated portion sizes of foods were acquired and weighed using a kitchen weighing scale and recorded to the nearest 0. g. The nutrient composition of the meals was calculated using the FAO food composition table for Africa and reported as a mean of 4 days’ food intake. This data was used to assess nutrient consumption. To assess adequacy in nutrient intake, the results obtained were compared with the FAO/WHO/UNU RDA for physically active adults (FAO/WHO/UNU, 2004). 3. 7. 4Physical Activity Pattern Subjects were educated and given verbal and written instructions (Appendix IV) on the procedures involved in recording, as detailed as possible, information on their daily activity patterns.

A physical activity or training dairy (Appendix III) was given to each subject to be filled under sections of activity type and its duration in minutes for seven consecutive days. Dairies were checked in every two days to ensure correct recording and correction in any case of wrong recording or difficulty in recording. Training sessions were constantly monitored and subjects where individually questioned in cases were irregularities in recording were encountered. Their activities were classified broadly into three categories: light, moderate and heavy. A 7-days’ activity record was compiled for each subject on imilar days when food intake was measured. The activity data were reported as a mean of 4 days’ activity records. This data was used to compute energy expenditure and nutrient requirement for each subject. 3. 7. 5Observation Several observations were made at the training fields, at camp bases and in homes of the subjects. These dwelled in the kinds of foods consumed and activities undertaken, the places of meal consumption and purchasing. Also, the components of training regimes were observed and recorded. 3. 7. 6Focus-Group Discussion Focus-group discussions were held with subjects on free and camping days.

Each discussion group was made up of between eight and twelve individuals with a facilitator and a recorder. The FDGs were meant to reveal certain issues that were not captured by the questionnaire and to confirm the answers provided in the semi-structured questionnaire including the factors that influence certain behaviours of subjects with respect to dietary habits and physical activity. 3. 8THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK AND CONCEPTS The study seeks to assess the dietary patterns, food habits and energy expenditure of professional footballers of Real Tamale United FC in the Tamale metropolis.

This is achieved through the assessment of usual food intake and physical activity and the computation of BMI and BMR and the determination of daily energy expenditure. These have being reported as relevant measurement of an athlete’s nutritional status. The first and second objectives of which respectively seek to assess the dietary patterns and food habits and macronutrient consumption are achieved through reported nutrition questionnaires and recorded food consumption for seven consecutive days using the food dairy.

The third objective, which seeks to assess the nutritional status of professional soccer players using BMI, was achieved through the measurement of height and weight of the footballers. The fourth and fifth objective, which seeks to determine the physical activity level and average energy expenditure of footballers was achieved through self-reported physical activity dairy for seven consecutive days computed using physical activity ratio with time duration (to attain physical activity levels) and physical activity levels in multiples of their BMRs (to attain energy expenditure).

The sixth and final objective, which seeks to determine whether professional footballers meet their energy requirements was achieved through a self-reported food record dairy for seven consecutive days with nutrient contents of foods consumed computed using the FAO food composition table for Africa. 3. 9STATISTICAL ANALYSIS Data were analyzed using the EpiInfo version 3. 2. 1 and Microsoft Excel computer programme. Results are presented as mean ±SD, range, graphs, figures and tables. Anthropometric data from players was transformed into BMI to assess their nutritional status and BMR to assess physical activity levels.

Dietary and physical activity data from players was transformed into nutrient requirements, physical activity levels and energy expenditure respectively to assess the level of malnutrition. 3. 10ASSUMPTIONS The most obvious assumption is that the sample represents the population. Also, it is believed that all instruments have validity and measure the required value. We assume that participants will not modify their habitual diet patterns and food habits during the course of the study week. Finally, we assume that respondents will answer sincerely all questionnaires and report truthfully in both the food and activity dairies. CHAPTER FOUR (4) . 0RESULTS The physical characteristics of the twenty five (25) subjects are shown in Table 4. 1. Out of the 25 subjects studied, only one weighed less than 60kg while the range indicated (57 and 87kg) were the two extreme body weights recorded in this study. Their body mass index (kg/m? ) ranged from 19. 38 to 30. 3 kg/m? ; out of the 25 subjects studied, only two were over the 190cm (1. 9m) while the range indicated (1. 52 and 1. 95m) were the extreme heights recorded in the study. Table 4. 1 Physical characteristics of subjects ParametersMeans (25)SDRange Age (yrs. )23. 684. 2417-30 Weight (kg)70. 647. 657-87 Height (m)1. 69. 41. 52-1. 95 BMI (kg/m? )23. 082. 719. 38-30. 3 4. 1Dietary Patterns and Habits 4. 1. 1Favourite Food Choices of Subjects The general meal patterns were obtained through self-reported food dairies. Porridges and beverages took the highest frequency of consumption in terms of its 7day presence in diets and its frequency among subjects. Records for breakfast shows that baby porridge made from corn, millet or rice, beans and groundnuts (tom brown) is mostly consumed by all subjects (100%). Fufu was the least consumed diet within the 7day period (2days) with Tuo Zaafi recording the least number of subject patronages (7subjects).

The results of the common foods taken, their frequencies in the diet and meal times are shown in table 4. 2. TABLE 4. 2 Common foods eaten by players SOURCES OF MACRONUTRIENTS (FOODS)FREQUENCY IN DIET (7DAYS) FREQUENCY OF SUBJECTSEATING MOMENTS Plain rice/jollof rice5days20Lunch and dinner Kenkey (Ga and Fante)3days15Lunch Tuo Zaafi4days7Dinner Banku5days18Lunch and dinner Fried rice and chicken 4days22Lunch and dinner Soups (groundnut, palm nut, light, Okro)3days20Lunch and dinner Porridges (baby, hausa, tom brown)7days25Breakfast Meat and Beef7days21Lunch and dinner Fufu2days11Lunch and dinner

Yam (boiled and fried)4days14Lunch and dinner Rice and beans (waakye)5days16Lunch Egg (fried and boiled)3days20Breakfast and lunch beverages (tea, oats, fruit drinks)7days22Breakfast and as a snack fish (fried)3days17Lunch and dinner 4. 1. 2Eating moments An assessment of the usual food pattern revealed that 90. 7% of the players took at least three meals a day. Most meal times skipped were breakfast and lunch, that is, 57. 14% and 28. 57% respectively. Table 4. 3 The eating moments of players in terms of meals skipped Meal TimeFrequencyPercentage BREAKFAST457. 14 LUNCH228. 57 SUPPER114 TOTAL7100 4. 1. Reasons for players food choices The reasons for the choice of foods by the subjects among others included convenience, lack of money, inability to cook, general sports reasons and food availability. The results indicated (as shown in figure 1) that, 10 of the players made food choices based on sports reasons. Figure 1The reasons for food choices of players 4. 1. 4General Food Habits of Players (Sports Nutrition) From the results obtained from the questionnaire on general sports nutrition, 60% of the players consume fried rice and chicken before a competitive match with 40% consuming plain rice and stew.

Players gave various reasons such as its easy and fast digestion, it not been too heavy, it been recommended by coaches and it been the only available food given at the camp base. 68% of players consumed these foods 3-4hrs before a match with 24% and 8% consuming theirs at 4 or more hours and 2-3hrs respectively. Most of the players gave similar reasons for eating at these times as giving the food ample time to digest. 92% of the players take fluids such as bottled water, glucose solution and energy drinks during a match. 88% of the players take 1-3 of 300ml fluid whiles 12% take 4-7 of 300ml of fluid.

Snacks consumed before and during a match included energy drinks, glucose mixtures, soft drinks, savouries among others. Most snacks were taken 2hours before a match. 56% of the players take nutrition supplements such as multivitamin capsules, iron and zinc capsules and blood tonics. Reasons such as increasing energy levels, boosting appetite and to aid in the body’s fast recovery were given. 64. 29% of the players take these supplements all the time and they get these supplements from the pharmacy shops. 96% of the players buy wayside foods such as fried rice, tuo zaafi and fufu and soup. 2% of the players eat once a while at the restaurant with 44% and 4% eating at times and all the time at the restaurant respectively. 80% of players eat home prepared meals. 4. 2NUTRITIONAL STATUS OF PLAYERS BMI CATEGORIES (kg/m? )FREQUENCYPERCENTAGES (%)INTERPRETATION 0. 05), suggesting average energy balance was achieved. The mean intakes of the energy producing macronutrients were 37. 18%, 43. 23% and 19. 6% for carbohydrate, fat and protein respectively. When reported as a percentage of total calories, carbohydrate and protein intakes were significantly lower and higher (p > 0. 05) respectively of the recommended levels.

Fat intake was significantly higher (p > 0. 05) than the higher value in the recommended range (35%). When macronutrient intake is expressed in g/kg/day (Table 4. 6), carbohydrate and protein intakes fell below and above their recommended ranges. The table below shows the mean energy and macronutrient intake of players. MealsMean of IntakesPercentagesSDRange Total energy intakes (KJ/day) Breakfast763. 2927. 42178. 09256-1019. 4 Lunch1015. 2136. 47227. 22680. 9-1723. 3 Dinner1004. 9836. 12286. 07528-1637 Total2783. 48100451. 551985. 6-4105. 5 Total energy intake in proteins (KJ/day) Breakfast349. 7564. 1294. 97106. 3-437. 2

Lunch89. 8816. 4837. 9930. 8-183. 0 Dinner105. 8519. 461. 5134. 9-253. 4 Total (%TEI)545. 49100 (19. 6)130. 81297-783. 9 Total energy intake in carbohydrates (KJ/day) Breakfast282. 427. 2974. 46116. 7-438. 7 Lunch360. 3234. 8283. 9265. 5-642. 3 Dinner392. 0937. 89129. 15172. 1-790 Total (%TEI)1034. 79100(37. 18)168. 79768. 1-1507. 3 Total energy intake in fats (KJ/day) Breakfast111. 189. 2459. 9433. 2-280. 5 Lunch595. 7349. 5309. 55296-1793. 7 Dinner496. 2941. 25150. 02206. 1-838. 4 Total (%TEI)1203. 20100 (43. 23)373. 25756. 8-2587. 5 TABLE 4. 6The mean daily energy and macronutrient intake of players in terms of meal times.

Energy intake from the table above indicates slightly higher levels of consumption at lunch times over dinner times at 1015. 21kcal/day (36. 47%) and 1004. 98kcal/day (36. 12%) respectively. Energy intakes range from 1985. 6-4105. 5kcal/day. Macronutrient intakes were slightly distributed across all meal times. Table 4. 7The mean daily energy and macronutrient intake of players in comparison with FAO/WHO/UNU 2004 reference values. IntakesMeans (kcal/dayPercentageskcal/kg/dayg/kg/dayReference: g/kg/day (%range) Energy (TDEI)2783. 43-39. 4-3500-4300 kcal/day Carbohydrate1034. 7937. 1814. 653. 7-12 (45-65) Protein545. 4919. 67. 721. 91. 2-1. 7 (10-35) Fat1203. 243. 2317. 031. 9- (20-35) TDEE3932. 55-55. 67-- TDEI2783. 45-39. 4-- TDEE-TDEI1149. 1-16. 27-- 4. 4. 2Difference in energy intake and expenditure According to data gotten from both the food and physical activity dairy, the mean energy deficit is 1134kcal/day (16. 1kcal/kg/day). Energy intake was slightly higher than expenditure at point 7, 11 and 20 representing 141. 76kcal/day, 1045. 7kcal/day and 447kcal/day in extra energy respectively. Figure 3 shows the graphical illustration of energy intake as against expenditure.

Figure 3Energy intake and expenditure of players CHAPTER FIVE (5) 5. 0DISCUSSION 5. 1DIETARY PATTERNS AND FOOD HABITS The dietary changes observed among these players are consistent with the findings of Rodriguez (2009) on changes in dietary habits as to a high protein intake of players in particular. R. Maughan (2000) suggested that football players tend to consume high intakes of protein with the belief of increasing muscle mass. This was not different with the current study as players consumed high levels of protein based foods due to its easy access and availability within the study area.

The players also had habits of consuming foods high in fat leading to its contribution of 43. 23% to total energy intake, as these levels of fat proportion may be detrimental to health (Martin et al, 2006). Cost, availability and convenience were challenges and these made them adapt to the habit of patronizing wayside foods (96%). It is, therefore, not surprising that majority ate fried rice and chicken, tuo zaafi and fufu and soup. Although breakfast is an important meal of the day, quite a significant number of players in this study skipped it.

Skipping breakfast may also lead to over eating during the rest of the day. Most of the foods consumed were from staples but these resulted in very low carbohydrate intakes (1034. 79 ± 168. 8 kcal/day). These may be as a result of the poor nutrient content of the foods as a result of poor cooking habits as foods eaten are prepared by food vendors (C. Nti, 2009). Meals consumed before a match was plain rice and tomato stew which may have negative effect on performance, with respect to the tomato stew which is high in fat, and this may hinder the fast release of energy to the body for endurance activities.

The over reliance on wayside food and players left to fend for themselves with no amount of supervision may be detrimental to health and nutritional status. Most of these way side foods have very high levels of fat and this may account for the high amount of fat in diets. The eating behaviour of the players might have been influenced by other factors including food availability, convenience and personal income level, as these obviously determine an individual’s food choice and habit. Thus one cannot eat foods if they are not available, cannot be prepared or cannot be afforded. . 2MACRONUTRIENTS Carbohydrate is the primary fuel substrate during soccer, and consequently high dietary intakes of 45-65% of total calorific intake have been recommended for athletes (Clark, 1994; Bangsbo et al, 2006; Ebine et al. , 2002) and footballers (Burke et al, 2004; IOM, 2002). In this study, carbohydrate intake was significantly lower than these recommendations (37. 18 ± 6. 1%, p < 0. 05). When expressed relative to body mass (weight), the daily carbohydrate intake of 3. g/kg/day was way below the recommended 7-12g/kg/day for very active individuals (FAO/WHO/UNU, 2004). The current data provide further evidence to the commonly observed low carbohydrate intakes that are insufficient for adequate glycogen replacement in male athletes (R. Maughan, 2000). Dietary recommendations for promoting maximal glycogen replacement and for the maintenance of muscle glycogen levels are to consume a high carbohydrate diet, 45-60% (IOM, 2002) and a daily intake of 7-12g/kg/day (Bangsbo et al, 2006).

Based upon these recommendations, players in the current study reported carbohydrate intakes that are likely to be inadequate to replace muscle and liver glycogen stores which rapidly deplete during repeated bouts of high intensity exercise performed during training and competition (Bangsbo et al, 2006). Ultimately, both the quality of training and match perform

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