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Between-meal Energy Intake Effects On Body Composition, Performance And Total Caloric Consumption In Athletes: 1754 12:15 PM - 12:30 PM

Benardot, Dan FACSM; Martin, David E. FACSM; Thompson, Walter R. FACSM; Roman, Susan B.

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: May 2005 - Volume 37 - Issue 5 - p S339
E-39: Free Communication/Slide – Weight Control II: FRIDAY, JUNE 3, 2005 11:15 AM - 12:45 PM ROOM: Jackson A

Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA


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The purpose of this study was to assess the effect of consuming 250 kcal between meals (750 kcal total per day) in male (M) and female (F) athletes.

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Using a double-blind protocol approved by Georgia State University's IRB, collegiate athletes (N=61; mean Age = 22.1 ± 6.0 y) were randomly assigned to experimental (E, 17 F and 14 M) and control (C, 15 F and 15 M) groups. E consumed a pre-packaged 250-calorie between-meal snack and C consumed a calorie-free between-meal flavored beverage (placebo) for two weeks. The subjects were assessed at baseline, and at 1, 2, and 6 weeks following baseline on height, weight, body composition (DEXA), anaerobic power and endurance (Wingate Test, 30-second protocol), and dietary intake (3-day food diaries). There were no significant differences between E and C on these values at baseline.

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After two weeks, E experienced a significant (P = .006) drop in % fat (− 1.03%), a significant increase (P = .003) in LBM (+ 1.2 kg), a significant (P <.001) increase in anaerobic power (AP, + 0.4 Watts/kg), and a significant increase (P <.001) in energy output (EO, + 12.27 Joules/kg) over 30 seconds. By contrast, C experienced no significant change in % fat, LBM, EO, or AP taken at the same intervals. Neither group experienced a significant change in weight. Although E received an additional 750 kcal of food each day, a non-significant dietary increase of 128 kcal per day after 2 weeks suggested that self-selected meal sizes were reduced to accommodate the kcal provided by the between meal snacks. At 6 weeks, values generally reverted to the baseline.

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Regular between-meal snacking results in desirable body composition and performance outcomes in collegiate athletes. Despite these benefits, athletes reverted to their baseline eating behaviors when the snack was not available, resulting in a general reversal of body composition and performance improvements. Providing foods to increase eating frequency and making these foods readily available to athletes could encourage desirable gains in athletic performance and improvements in body composition.

©2005The American College of Sports Medicine