What: Performance - "Science of nutrition makes the difference for athletes."
Where: TechTV
When: Sept 7, 2003 9 pm EST

Article from TechTV website:

Eat to Win

Without the right diet, even the best athlete will be left on the sidelines wondering what went wrong.
Watch Sunday 9/7 at 9 p.m. and Monday 9/8 at 1 a.m. Eastern.

By Lawrence Sanfilippo

Like an automobile, the human body -- no matter how good it may look on the outside -- isn't going to get very far without enough fuel. This means food. But just like a motor vehicle, you can't expect the best results from any old fuel. For athletes, reaching the pinnacle of their sport requires more than just knowing what to eat. They also have to know how much to eat and when to eat it.

You are what you eat

You need proper nutrition to get the most out of an athletic competition or workout, but "proper nutrition" means different things to different people. For some athletes, proper nutrition means loading up on carbohydrates, which the body processes as glucose, an immediate energy source, or stores as glycogen for later use. For others, proper nutrition means a heavy intake of protein, which the body uses to build and repair muscles. A nutritionist can steer an athlete toward their ideal diet -- and hopefully toward success.

Changing tastes

Can a world-class athlete cut meat -- a major source of protein -- out of their diet and still expect to compete at the same level? It seems unlikely, but just ask Carl Lewis. All it takes is the proper combination of plants. But that doesn't mean there are no drawbacks. Vegetarian athletes are missing out on one particular type of iron found only in red meat.

Don't sweat it

Dehydration can mean the difference between the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. Dehydration places stress on the heart and causes cramping, nausea, and the inability to concentrate, among other side effects. But you can prevent dehydration by drinking water every 15 minutes while engaged in physical activity.

A little something extra

Although nutritionists say that a proper diet and plenty of fluids -- combined with ability and hard work -- are all you need to be at the top of your game, they aren't the ones out on the field. If they were, they might side with competitors who swear by supplements such as creatine. Though creatine has been proven to enhance performance, its long-term effects are still unknown. Worse still, athletes can never be sure that what's listed on the label is what's in the bottle. And what's in the bottle could lead to disqualification and suspension for use of a banned substance.