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Individualized Nutrition Support Is Crucial To Athletic Performance: Revised Position Paper From Dietitians Of Canada

Feb 25, 2016

TORONTO, ON – Nutrition-related factors influence athletic performance, and registered dietitians are the best-qualified professionals to assist active adults and competitive athletes, according to a revised position paper from Dietitians of Canada, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the American College of Sports Medicine.
The position paper, “Nutrition and Athletic Performance,” will be published in the March issue of the Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research:
It is the position of Dietitians of Canada, together with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the American College of Sports Medicine that the performance of, and recovery from, sporting activities are enhanced by well-chosen nutrition strategies. The joint Position Paper provides guidelines for the appropriate type, amount and timing of intake of food, fluids and supplements to promote optimal health and performance across different scenarios of training and competitive sport.
The position paper “outlines DC’s, the Academy’s and ACSM’s stance on nutrition factors that have been determined to influence athletic performance and emerging trends in the field of sports nutrition. Athletes should be referred to a registered dietitian for a personalized nutrition plan,” according to the paper.
The position paper highlights new perspectives in sports nutrition, acknowledging the growth of the field as a dynamic area of science and practice that continues to flourish in both the scope of support it offers to athletes and the strength of evidence that underpins its guidelines.
“The position paper recognizes that nutrition goals and requirements for athletes are not static and therefore should be periodized, taking into account the needs of daily training sessions and overall individual nutrition goals,” according to the authors.
Significant points of the position paper include:

  • Calorie, nutrient and fluid recommendations for active adults and competitive athletes vary before, during and after sporting activities.
  • New perspectives on sports nutrition include individualized recommendations that accommodate the unique issues of individual athletes regarding health, nutrient needs, performance goals, physical characteristics (body size, shape, growth and composition) and food preferences.
  • Optimal health and athletic performance may be affected by appropriate type, amount and timing of food, fluid and supplement choices across different scenarios of training and competitive sports.
The position paper was written by Kelly Anne Erdman, MSc, RD, CSSD (Dietitians of Canada); D. Travis Thomas, PhD, RDN, CSSD (Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics); and Louise M. Burke, OAM, PhD, APD, FACSM (American College of Sports Medicine). It is a revision of the position originally adopted by the three organizations in 2009.
The position paper can be accessed at


Additional Information:

Interviews with a registered dietitian with expertise in nutrition and athletic performance can be arranged by contacting:

Kate Comeau MSc, RD
Manager of Public Relations and Media